Don't Be Evil, Google

Yes, it was easy to mock, but it was right. That’d be Google’s old corporate mantra “Don’t Be Evil.”

According to Time, the parent company for the internet search giant has replaced it with a more measured “do the right thing—follow the law, act honorably, and treat each other with respect.”

That’s all well and good, but it is a reminder of a very sad reality: sometimes following the law is evil. Don’t believe me? How about those laws instituted in Germany in the late 1930s? Cambodia? Soviet Russia?

The law can be evil. Consider the legal actions of Nero, dipping Christians in oil and lighting them on fire, while alive, to provide illumination and merriment at his parties. Follow the law?

Sadly, the dismissed motto unintentionally reflects the eagerness with which Google’s parent, Alphabet, wants to be accepted by totalitarian regimes, like in China. Remember, citizens behind the Great Firewall of China cannot learn about the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. At all. Nowhere. And especially not on the tightly controlled “internet” of China.

Follow the law? Yes, of course. Except when one should not.

Sorry, Google, I’d rather you act “dishonorably” in the eyes of the princes of this world, and not be evil.