I've been watching Agents of SHIELD -- I'm nearly at the end of the first season -- and the events of the season, plus a few conversations I've had about Google lately, have got me thinking. Note: this post will contain spoilers for Agents of SHIELD and Captain America: Winter Soldier. But only the really big one that you've probably already heard.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, SHIELD -- a massive, NSA-like spy organization -- had been infiltrated pretty much from the very beginning by HYDRA, the secret Nazi organization founded by Red Skull. This was an effective strategy for HYDRA because, though SHIELD stands against everything they stand for and vice versa, SHIELD has all the institutional equipment necessary to serve HYDRA's needs.
SHIELD is a secretive and highly compartmentalized organization, in which members are expected to routinely follow orders they don't understand. It deals in the acquisition and study of advanced weapons technology. Its members are basically trained in values dissonance. SHIELD has a morally solid, or at least defensible, purpose, but its structure is extremely vulnerable to exploitation by a targeted effort to undermine it from the ground up and turn it against its declared purpose.
Which brings me to Google.
To be clear, I'm not saying that I hope Google is secretly full of Nazis. That would be terrible. This is actually the opposite kind of conspiracy theory -- I hope that, from the ground up, Google has been building towards an eventual betrayal of certain aspects of their public identity: the corporate parts.
I hope there's a secret conspiracy in Google, into which important and powerful figures have been indoctrinated, that is ready to, all at once, at potentially great risk and personal cost, turn against the profit model for corporate structure and exercise their massive influence on the world in a radical deconstruction of short-term profiteering, income inequality, and government and business corruption.
I don't think it's likely, but it makes for a good daydream, anyway. Plus, somebody's got to be the good tech company, because Facebook probably is secretly HYDRA.