Start-ups need funding: coders need to eat; take aways cost money. From the outset, internet projects, programmes and sites were built, managed, developed and expanded around the world on their potential as business and marketing tools in the American consumer-capitalist model.
Marketing is aspirational: if you buy the product, life will be better than it is now. Aspiration is predicated on dissatisfaction with present reality, with the bruising and upsetting compromises we have to make, every day, with other people, our physical and mental limitations, and the limitations of our world.
So the internet was soaked , from its very first lines of code, in the notion that technological advances: progress and development, would inevitably create a better world; that progress, innovation and development (like democracy) were by definition good things. If you can demonstrate that your activity or your organisation represents progress, innovation, or development, (or is arrived at through a democratic process) then it is automatically exonerated, no, it is exalted, morally virtuous.
To which I would say two things:
- The Manhattan Project
- Zyklon B
(or, in the case of democracy:
- The German Election of 1933
- The election of Donald Trump.
Although, in all three of these examples, the democratic model was deeply flawed and thus not actually representative: In a truly representative democratic model Hillary Clinton won: more people voted for her. We all know this in our hearts. Truth exists, even if it’s difficult to arrive at.)