I recently got into an argument with someone. They claimed that my use of Apple products is tantamount to being a murderer. The reason? The situation over at Foxconn. Conditions at the factory are bad enough that many employees prefer suicide to continued work, to the point where the company has installed, among other thing, nets to catch would-be jumpers.
Now, this is terrible, yes. It is something that should be improved, prodded, looked at, discussed and dissected, and those ultimately responsible for such situations should probably face some form of legal punishment. But the individual with whom I was arguing pretty much laid all the blame square on Apple, and then Apple consumers, for causing this. The way he put it, that I can’t repeat due to the use of multiple racial epithets, was essentially that their blood is on my hands.
Hold up a second, sparky. I pointed out that Apple themselves do not run this factory. That another company, Foxconn, is the one in charge. And that they don’t make things for Apple and Apple alone. Among the list of other companies who utilize their services are Acer, Asus, HP, Microsoft, Sony, Amazon, Dell and Google and BlackBerry. By this reasoning, anyone who’s performed a web search in the last decade, bought something online, played a gaming console or handheld that wasn’t Nintendo or purchased a phone or tablet is also thus guilty of murder.
I pointed this out to him. And the fact he had a recently delivered box from Amazon sitting on the table, had a browser window open to Google search, and owns a Surface, a Samsung Galaxy and an Asus tablet. And his computer is a Dell. I then pointed out that, by his own logic, he’s a far worse accessory-after-the-fact, as I just use Google and have my Mac. He’s got the whole company covered.
He didn’t care for this argument, and then proceeded to delve into how Coast to Coast AM explained to him the truth about Apple, that they’re all Satanists and devil-worshippers (my brief attempt to point out that those two terms are not inherently synonymous and that he is probably actually attempting to describe Luciferans was likewise ignored). His “proof” is that the Apple logo is really a representation of the Forbidden Fruit from the Garden of Eden and that one’s iTunes account is “bearing the number of the Beast.”
Yeah. One ticket to crazy-land, please.
I extricated myself from the discussion at that point before it got any stupider or I had to brain him to save what was left of my own sanity, but I came away from it wondering:
Why are so many people expected to defend their choices in technology? In particular if you’re using a non-Windows computer product, or so it seems. If something works for a person, and they spent their own time and money in acquiring it, why do they have to take abuse and try to defend their choice? How is it hurting anyone else if I have an iPhone in my pocket, a Galaxy, or a Windows Phone? What possible difference does it make to my life if my neighbor just installed the Windows 10 beta? How does it affect the kid down the street if his neighbor wants to order things from Amazon?
Short answer: It doesn’t and you shouldn’t. I can cite a thousand reasons why I despise Windows and Microsoft, but it ain’t my dime that bought someone else’s computer, so if that’s what they want, then more power to ’em. I can give a detailed explanation of why I refuse to buy anything from Barnes & Noble and Amazon will always get my dollar first if the option is there, but if you want to buy your books from B&N, I’m not stopping you. If, for some bizarre and unholy reason, you believe Bing is the search engine of the future, by all means, have that as your default engine. I’m quite happy with Google most of the time. They’re not things to be argued about; they’re not things to be ashamed of.
Now, does that mean discussions can’t happen? Arguments or debates, even, citing reasons for a preference and attempting to “convert” folks to your particular brand of silicon and microchips? Nope. But when you start belittling people for the choice – or go so far as to accuse them of sideways murder – you’re out of line and probably need a boot to the head.
Now, back to that Foxconn thing; I’m not saying that company should keep doing what it’s doing, and I’m not saying Apple (or anyone else) are in the right since they didn’t cause these situations directly. There probably should be some level of corporate liability there, and an expectation that the companies that outsource their needs take a more active interest in their partners. But, let’s be honest for one moment: If every company that had done something bad automatically extended the “sin” to anyone who has ever purchased anything that somehow related to that company or their practices, we’re all completely fucked. Moralist Vegans have spent money in places that eventually goes back to supporting the murder machine they oppose, staunch Catholics have given cash to companies that operate from an atheistic, anti-theistic or Satanist perspective, and somewhere along the line, every pacifist has given a dollar or two to weapons research and killing people. So get over it. Unless you plan to live entirely off of the land, craft your own tools, live without power, gasoline, or any modern convenience, you are in some way contributing to evil in the world. You can try to be a decent person, make the best decisions you can about who and how you support, and hope it offsets at least some of that evil, or you can be a hypo- and hypercritical douche who doesn’t want to tend to the beam in your own eye while picking at the motes in someone else’s.
I think the former choice is the better one. But hey, that’s just me. And I’m an evil murderer, as I type this on WordPress (which is probably powered, at least in part, via Dell, HP or Microsoft hardware or software), on a BlackWidow Keyboard (which gets some of its parts from Alienware, which in turn goes back to Dell, which comes back to Foxconn) attached to an iMac (which is the root of evil, of course) so what do I know?