How can Google use the rhetoric of “borderless” benefits to justify working with the country whose “Great Firewall” has imposed a border on the internet itself? This way of thinking works only inside Google’s cosseted Northern California campus, quite distinct from the world outside. The Silicon Valley attitude sometimes called “cosmopolitanism” is probably better understood as an extreme strain of parochialism, that of fortunate enclaves isolated from the problems of other places — and incurious about them.

A little curiosity about China would have gone a long way, since the Communist Party is not shy about declaring its commitment to domination in general and exploitation of technology in particular. Of course, any American who pays attention and questions the Communist line is accused by the party of having a “Cold War mentality” — but this very accusation relies on forgetfulness and incuriosity among its intended audience.