Wednesday, February 01, 2012

No one's forcing you to read this

I hate this argument.
It is such a trite garbage argument but it doesn't quite fall into fallacy because of the few cases where it can actually apply.
I will let smarter people do the talking for me on this one, as I find it hard to offer a concrete counter to it most of the time.

Because when Google's chairman, Eric Schmidt, told NPR's Andy Carvin, "G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it", he implied the only time a service should come under critical scrutiny is when it is mandatory.

This simplistic theory of critical discourse is perfectly incoherent, implying that in a marketplace, the only role "consumers" have is to buy things or not buy things, use things or not use things, and that these decisions should not be informed by vigorous debate and discussion, but only by marketing messages.

After all, no one forces anyone to eat at a restaurant, so why should we review it? No one forces you to see a movie, so why have any informed public discussion about which movie you should see this weekend? No one forces you to take a job, so why rank employers? No one forces you to go to universities, so why should we debate which ones are best and which ones are worst?

-Cory Doctorow

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