Without sociology

Without sociological examination, it’s impossible to understand why the Firefox (and other) developers are intent on removing customization options and thus harming their own users.

On the face of it, it doesn’t make sense — to remove the greatest (and perhaps only) strength of your primary product. It will not be a viable long-term strategy. It will result only in failure, and predictable failure at that.

So then why do it, when what will occur is so obvious?

That is because in the face of nearly-inexorable societal trends, hardly any person or organization can stand against these cultural headwinds. Right now, there is a trend towards authoritarianism and surveillance. The Firefox developers are not immune somehow to these now-overwhelmingly dominant cultural forces. In fact in many ways they are probably more susceptible because like most tech cognoscenti they either have no interest in the humanities or even actively hate them — giving them absolutely no immunity to culturally-pervasive propaganda.

The Firefox developers are able to spin a convincing yet completely falsified post-hoc rationalization about data analysis, about “protecting” users, about how removing customization is somehow making it more customizable, but this is just exemplary of the human talent for rationalization.

In reality, their actions are prompted through and compelled by social duress that they experience and respond to without realizing it.

Without sociology and resorting to some basic analysis, what the Firefox developers are doing to harm themselves and others just makes no sense. It seems completely anomalous.

But with a look at wider societal imperatives it can be made sense of, and some explanation can be found for why they are not able to extricate themselves from the trap everyone save them can see that they are in.