#Googlegate: The Latest Social Justice Outrage in Tech

By | 2017-08-10T15:00:43+00:00 August 8th, 2017|
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A new martyr for free speech has been born, and his name is James Damore. Damore’s offense is that recently he authored an internal memo at his workplace—Google—that appears, more or less, to have triggered the entire staff. His argument, essentially, is there might be more to “gender gaps” than pure sexist oppression, and he thinks it might be worthwhile to treat differences of opinion as a form of diversity worth protecting.

The horror! The horror! Google officials initially weighed in to say, while they obviously are in favor of the expression of “alternate viewpoints,” such expression “needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.

A few short days later, that bit of principle was flushed down the toilet, and Damore was fired, with no less an entity than Google’s CEO condemning his memo for “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

This decision appears to have come after an outcry led by Google’s top SJWs: a freakout we can now observe thanks to leaked excerpts from internal discussions by Google employees critical of the memo, including figures such as Site Reliability Manager Paul Cowan, Software Engineer Sitaram Iyer, Systems Engineering Manager Colm Buckley, and even Engineering Director Dave O’Connor. And as far as the content of this backlash, perhaps the most representative quote comes from Buckley, who writes, “You know, there are certain ‘alternative views, including different political views’ which I do not want people to feel safe to share here. My tolerance ends at my friends’ terror.[…] Yes, this is ‘silencing.’ I intend to silence these views; they are violently offensive.” (emphasis Buckley’s) O’Connor concurs, writing, “These are s—ty opinions. I say this with all my hats on; ally, director, manager, human. They are the antithesis of what we’re trying to do at Google; they are intellectually lazy, biased, and unkind. They have no place here.”

And that’s just within the company. The response from Leftists on the outside has been even more extreme. Take, for example, this reaction from Yonatan Zunger, a former senior engineer at Google, who accused the author of the piece of “creating a hostile work environment,” and of holding views that “are fundamentally corrosive to any organization they show up in,” and which openly fantasizes at the end about being able to fire the (thus far) anonymous author. Or, consider the infuriated response by former Gawker satellite Gizmodo, which calls the document a “screed” which “argues that women are underrepresented in tech not because they face bias and discrimination in the workplace, but because of inherent psychological differences between men and women.” Or, look at any one of thousands of Tweets accusing the author of the piece of being the beneficiary of “white privilege,” or of being a “boy” rather than a man, or of writing “entry-level Reddit MRA board intellectually vapid bulls—t.”

Of these, the Gizmodo attack is probably the most hilarious for a very simple reason: right after smearing the document, it prints it in full. I suppose Gizmodo expects its readers to be too dumb to actually read the thing and check whether the descriptions flying about it are accurate.

Spoiler alert: they are not. For example, here’s what the document says about innate gender differences (emphasis mine).

The distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.

Got that? “May explain.” In other words, the document simply calls for considering the possibility as a check against making faulty assumptions. In fact, later on, Damore says this is a major problem with gender roles:

Feminism has made great progress in freeing women from the female gender role, but men are still very much tied to the male gender role. If we, as a society, allow men to be more “feminine,” then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally feminine roles.

And even later, this:

I’m also not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

So let’s review. Damore argued that while biology may play a role in why women don’t seek certain positions, it is also true that sexist gender assumptions exist and, moreover, go both ways, since men are disallowed from being overly “feminine.” Furthermore, he cautions against using any of this as a metric to judge individuals, because that might lead to tribalism and bias.

And apparently, in the eyes of Google employees, both former and current, this was a reactionary document that created an irrevocably hostile work environment and violated Google’s in-house policies simply by existing. This is a document that is supposed to cause “terror” to women and minorities, and which deserves to be suppressed for being “violently offensive.” And, of course, the document is a firing offense. The lesson is obvious: this kind of public shaming and intimidation is what Google does to employees of their own company not for being extreme conservatives (the document openly applauds the fact that scientists don’t lean Right), but for being centrist individualists. That is how far Left the corporate culture at Google is.

The fact is that every day, Google looks more and more determined to subjugate all of us under the same rules used by its HR department and backbiting social justice-obsessed corporate culture. 

This is not just about one company’s insanity. Every conservative, libertarian, centrist, or even moderately liberal consumer should read this with the implicit understanding that this kind of Maoist attitude will be brought to bear on them. If expressing these views is enough to get you treated as a pariah at Google, imagine what ideas further to the Right will be treated like by people designing Google’s search algorithms. Or by their increasingly censorship-happy YouTube team. Unfortunately, we don’t have to ask. The answer also arrived last week, in the form of Google’s brief ban of Christian psychologist Jordan Peterson not only from YouTube, but from his own gmail account.  Public outcry on behalf of Peterson’s many fans saved him, but imagine what will happen to less famous people who have the audacity to share similar opinions. The fact is that every day, Google looks more and more determined to subjugate all of us under the same rules used by its HR department and backbiting social justice-obsessed corporate culture. So much for the company that once fought Chinese censorship of the internet: apparently the only problem there was that Google wasn’t making the rules about what to censor.

So in a sense, Mr. O’Connor is correct: these opinions are “the antithesis of what we’re trying to do at Google.” And what people like Mr. O’Connor are trying to do, is the very thing consumers must stop.

Fortunately, there are mechanisms by which it can be stopped. A similar airing of dirty laundry led to #Gamergate, arguably the most successful consumer revolt in recent memory. Something similar is already beginning to come down the pike toward Google, and it will likely only grow stronger . Speaking for myself, I can suggest a name for this new movement: #Googlegate.

 

About the Author:

Mytheos Holt
Mytheos Holt is a senior contributor to American Greatness and a senior fellow at the Institute for Liberty. He has held positions at the R Street Institute, Mair Strategies, TheBlaze, and National Review. He also worked as a speechwriter for U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, and reviews video games at Gamesided. He hails originally from Big Sur, California, but currently lives in Arlington, Virginia. Yes, Mytheos is his real name.