Have you been following this insane story out of Google? James Damore, a senior engineer at the company, unwisely sent out on an internal forum a detailed memo criticizing what he calls
the Party’s “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” If you follow that link, you can read the entire memo. Here is the memo’s summary:
- Google’s political bias has equated the freedom from offense with psychological safety, but shaming into silence is the antithesis of psychological safety.
- This silencing has created an ideological echo chamber where some ideas are too sacred to be honestly discussed.
- The lack of discussion fosters the most extreme and authoritarian elements of this ideology.
- Extreme: all disparities in representation are due to oppression
- Authoritarian: we should discriminate to correct for this oppression
- Differences in distributions of traits between men and women may in part explain why we don’t have 50% representation of women in tech and leadership.
- Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.
It’s a long memo, so read the whole thing if you have time. Here are some key passages:
Neither side [left or right] is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors.
Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I’ll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that’s required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.
We all have biases and use motivated reasoning to dismiss ideas that run counter to our internal values. Just as some on the Right deny science that runs counter to the “God > humans > environment” hierarchy (e.g., evolution and climate change) the Left tends to deny science concerning biological differences between people (e.g., IQ  and sex differences). Thankfully, climate scientists and evolutionary biologists generally aren’t on the right. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of humanities and social scientists learn left (about 95%), which creates enormous confirmation bias, changes what’s being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the gender wage gap . Google’s left leaning makes us blind to this bias and uncritical of its results, which we’re using to justify highly politicized programs.
In addition to the Left’s affinity for those it sees as weak, humans are generally biased towards protecting females. As mentioned before, this likely evolved because males are biologically disposable and because women are generally more cooperative and areeable than men. We have extensive government and Google programs, fields of study, and legal and social norms to protect women, but when a man complains about a gender issue issue affecting men, he’s labelled as a misogynist and whiner . Nearly every difference between men and women is interpreted as a form of women’s oppression. As with many things in life, gender differences are often a case of “grass being greener on the other side”; unfortunately, taxpayer and Google money is spent to water only one side of the lawn.
The same compassion for those seen as weak creates political correctness , which constrains discourse and is complacent to the extremely sensitive PC-authoritarians that use violence and shaming to advance their cause. While Google hasn’t harbored the violent leftists protests that we’re seeing at universities, the frequent shaming in TGIF and in our culture has created the same silence, psychologically unsafe environment.
Naturally Google’s CEO fired Damore, a senior software engineer, while at the same time saying that Google ought to be a place where people feel free to speak their mind. He writes:
At the same time, there are co-workers who are questioning whether they can safely express their views in the workplace (especially those with a minority viewpoint). They too feel under threat, and that is also not OK.
Remember that this guy, Sundar Pichai, fired Damore. Incredible. But this is how diversocrats do it. They deny that they do what they’re obviously doing.
The Social Justice Warriors within the company are thrilled with this:
— /pol/ News Forever (@polNewsForever) August 8, 2017
Note especially this tweet, since deleted:
Which just goes to validate a big chunk of James Damore’s complaint! Can you imagine working for a company whose managers comb through your e-mail traffic looking for signs of ideological crimethink, and blacklist you? Their word: “blacklist”. [UPDATE: Readers point out that Winter is not saying he goes through employee e-mails, but rather through public comments on Google’s internal communications platforms. Still, that’s cold comfort. — RD]
Who would want to work in a place where the management thinks its virtuous to empower commissars to denounce and punish those within who happen to say the “wrong” thing? Damore should consider himself lucky.
This person is not a Google employee, but it reveals a mindset on the Left:
Good job @sundarpichai!!
Now what about all the employees who said they agreed with the sexist stereotypes? https://t.co/8izvoRtMHa
— EricaJoy (@EricaJoy) August 8, 2017
It turns out that Damore is a really smart guy. Before joining Google, he was working on (or perhaps had completed; it’s unclear) a PhD in biology at Harvard. Clearly he must be sent to the rice paddies for re-education.
Earlier this year, when asked at the company’s shareholder meeting if Google was welcoming to conservatives in its employee ranks, Eric Schmidt, who heads Google’s parent company, Alphabet, said:
“The company was founded on the principles of freedom of expression, diversity, inclusiveness and science-based thinking. You will also find that all of the other companies in our industry agree with us.”
This is cant. If Google really believes in “science-based thinking,” it should take Damore’s argument seriously. Google’s own internal numbers, which it posts publicly, says that 80 percent of its tech staff is male (and by the way, 92 percent is either white or Asian, as is 91 percent of the overall workforce). Is this a matter of systematic discrimination against women? If so, eliminate it. But is this actually a matter of men gravitating to this kind of work, and, in general, being more interested in it, and capable of it? If so, then the assumption that any and every disproportion in gender balance of a particular is evidence of unjust discrimination is itself unjust, because science says so.
But you can’t ask that question at Google, according to James Damore. Who was fired for asking that question. So much for “science-based thinking” and “freedom of expression” at Google.
Maybe Lena Dunham should apply for a job at Google. She tweeted to American Airlines that she overheard two of the company’s employees making “transphobic” comments in an airline terminal the other day. AA could not confirm the tattletale allegations, and it emerged that Dunham wasn’t even in the American Airlines terminal. Yet she continues to stick by “my truth.” But see, Donald Trump is the one guilty of living in a “post-truth” world.
What’s happening at Google is an example of the workplace environment many conservative and religious people face every day at the hands of progressive bigots. “Diversity” is an Orwellian term that means “uniformity of progressive thought” — or else. It is now crystal clear that if you are a conservative, or a male of any political belief, you will be discriminated against at Google. Google is a hostile workplace to people like you — even though it depends on your labor for its success.
In The Benedict Option, I wrote about the consequences of this for orthodox Christians, and how these trends within corporate America will make many workplaces miserable for believers. In his forthcoming book The Once And Future Liberal, the Columbia University professor Mark Lilla, a self-described liberal, writes critically of “identity liberals”:
It got liberals into the habit of treating every issue as one of inviolable right, leaving no room for negotiation, and inevitably cast opponents as immoral monsters, rather than simply as fellow citizens with different views. And it also relieved liberals of the patient work of finding out where people stand, trying to persuade them, and building a social consensus, which is the most secure foundation for any social policy. Liberals’ legalistic approach created a large opening for the Republicans to claim that they were the true representatives of the demos, which the Democrats represented a caste of high priests. And the image remains in the public mind.
Americans are a strange breed. we love to preach, and we hate being preached at. In one hemisphere of our brains the sermons of Cotton Mather run on an infinite loop; in the other we hear the echo of Mark Twain’s laughter. When the Twain side is napping the Mather side undergoes a Great Awakening. Surges of fevered fanaticism come over us, all sense of proportion is lost, and everything seems of an unbearable moral urgency. Repent, America, repent now! The country is undergoing such an Awakening at this very moment concerning race and gender, which is why the rhetoric being generated sounds evangelical rather than political. That one now hears the word woke everywhere is a giveaway that spiritual conversion, not political agreement, is the demand. Relentless speech surveillance, the protection of virgin ears, the inflation of venial sins into mortal ones, the banning of preachers of unclean ideas — all these campus identity follies have their precedents in American revivalist religion. Mr. Twain might have found it amusing but every opinion poll shows that the vast majority of Americans do not.
Lilla writes all this as part of an urgently felt need to shake his own side awake from what it’s doing to itself with identity politics. What Google did to James Damore, and why Google did it, no doubt made some new Trump voters, or at least Republicans. Why should men like Damore (and the women who are their wives, mothers, or siblings) vote for a party whose ideology justifies discrimination against people like them as virtue?
Look at what Google has done, and look at the reaction on social media from those who support Damore’s firing. It’s a heretic hunt. Consider what it must be like at Google this morning, knowing that managers can and do go through your e-mail and keep a blacklist blocking your advance within the company because they conclude that you hold the wrong opinions — and you never know about it. They make decisions affecting your career based on things they’ve read in your private e-mail, and never give you the opportunity to defend yourself. Anyone within the company who expressed sympathy for Damore on e-mail is now on notice that Collin Winter will not work with them. And anyone who wishes to curry favor with Collin Winter knows how to suck up now.
And a broader lesson here: if somebody within the company is blocking your advance within Google, you can get rid of them by denouncing them to Human Resources as “anti-diversity”.
Eventually reality will catch up with Google, as it caught up with the Soviet Union. An ideology based on a false view of the world, one that punishes capable people and rewards the ideologically pure, cannot succeed in the long run. But a lot of people’s careers will be ruined before this left-wing McCarthyism runs its course.
The reason I doubt that the political left will take Lilla’s commonsense advice is that identity politics is its religion. The left tells itself that it favors “science-minded thinking,” free speech, and fairness, but this debacle at Google shows what a sham that all is. But you know, it was right there in front of us all along. Google’s corporate slogan is, “Don’t be evil.” Just like a church. The James Damores of the world aren’t just wrong — they’re evil. You cannot reason with evil; you can only destroy it.
No one expected the Google Inquisition. The proles inside the company won’t make that mistake again.
UPDATE: Good grief!
He was commiting violence. People felt afraid. People had to take days off. People feared for their safety.
— Alex Hidalgo (@SometimesAlex) August 8, 2017
— Mark J. Perry (@Mark_J_Perry) August 7, 2017
Makes you wonder if gender differences matter after all. But you can’t say that at Google without risking your job.
transman: "i have a 'male' brain"
media: ahhh yes, very wise
googleman: "i have a 'male' brain"
media: blasphemy! guards, arrest this man
— Tech Kaczynski ? (@TechKaczynski) August 8, 2017