Why the Google Memo Brings Forward an Overdue Conversation – Part 2 (‘The Firing’)

by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:

Today’s piece was originally supposed to be the second and last part of a short series on the Google memo, but in light of the author’s rapid termination, I’ve decided to add at least one other installment on the topic. As such, my analysis on how Spiral Dynamics fits into the whole drama will have to wait till another day.  

As everyone knows by now, Google went ahead and fired James Damore, the author of the now infamous memo on Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber. In yesterday’s piece I remarked about how shocked I was by the extraordinarily charged and hyperbolic language being used by so many of those who disagreed with what Mr. Damore wrote. Indeed, the language and mischaracterizations of the memo itself were so completely unhinged in many instances, it’s hard for me to believe that many of these people even read it in the first place.

First off, while I happen to agree with a lot of what he wrote, that’s besides the point. If you read the memo it’s obvious that the author went out of his way to avoid triggering people who are easily triggered. Whether or not you agree with the conclusions, it was written in a respectful and measured way. He goes out of his way to clarify what he’s saying so as not to be misunderstood Here are just a couple examples of what I mean:

 

I’m not saying that all men differ from all women in the following ways or that these differences are “just.” I’m simply stating that 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. Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions.

I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn’t try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority. My larger point is that we have an intolerance for ideas and evidence that don’t fit a certain ideology. 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).

Incredibly, people are calling this guy (who has a masters degree in Systems Biology from Harvard) a Nazi because he has a different opinion than the dogmatic prevailing consensus within what clearly is a Google echo chamber culture. He was politely trying to have a discourse about a topic he feels passionately about and did so in a respectful way. For that unforgivable act, he’s been deemed a misogynist Nazi and fired. I’m not the first person to note that by firing him for writing this, Google essentially proved his point regarding the company’s closed cultural and ideological environment.

Indeed, what Google did to this employee is a textbook example of “ritual defamation,” as Yale professor Nicholas Christakis explained in a recent tweet.

Despite being fired, James Damore will be just fine. There are enough people completely sick and tired of the authoritarian left for him to have countless opportunities. I’m not so sure about Google. In fact, I’d expect many talented people at the company to start looking for new, less ideologically stifling jobs, and I think ten years from now the brain drain from Google will likely be obvious. Google has publicly demonstrated itself as a drab and intellectually dishonest place to work, and such a place cannot and will not attract the best and brightest in tech.

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