Are Apple and Facebook the Grand Inquisitors of the Web?

Dostoevsky’sĀ Grand Inquisitor proclaims, “Anyone who can appease a man’s conscience can take his freedom away from him.” Apparently, Apple (AAPL) and Facebook are appeasing a lot of people.

There are some great high level debates about whether people are sacrificing their privacy at the alter of Facebook’s clean social graph, or whether Apple is the great fascist monolith controlling our every experience with the temptation of lustful design. While both these assertions are clearly true on some level, they fail to address the natural bargain inherent in all choices.

The HTC Hero is NOT My Hero

I bought the HTC Hero because I thought Google’s (GOOG) open Android OS would offer more software from across the spectrum. I now need to deal with Task Killers and Task Managers while wading through the full spectrum of app quality. My battery dies daily and my phone is often tethered to the tit of the electrical grid.

The Walled Gardens of Digital Eden

As an owner of Apple’s iPad and iMac, I would rather pay a little more and deal with Apple vetting my apps. I like well designed software with great security features and high functionality. Apple offers a ton of that in an easily procurable way.

As for Facebook, I am much more concerned with my privacy. However, I still use Facebook as my social network of choice. I am very interested to see if Diaspora or some other Silicon Valley player can be my social white knight, but to date no other platform connects me with my social graph as well as Facebook.

Kiss the Lips of the Grand Inquisitor

I started this post with a controversial quote. However, I don’t think all our bargains are binary: faustian or libertarian.

As with all the choices we make in life — our friends, where we live, existential beliefs, etc. — how we choose to use the Web is a bargain. In the end there will be many Firefox’s, but it will take a lot of iPods and Facebooks to lead the way.

How do you feel about these interesting decisions? Let us know in the comments below …