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The Journal Gazette

Friday, August 11, 2017 1:00 am

Left mercilessly imposes vision

Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson is editor of TheResurgent.com, host of Atlanta's Evening News on WSB radio and former editor of RedState.com. He wrote this for the Washington Post.

“I strongly believe in gender and racial diversity, and I think we should strive for more,” the Google employee wrote. “Women on average show a higher interest in people and men in things . ... Women on average are more cooperative . ... Women on average look for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status on average,” he continued.

“The male gender role is currently inflexible. 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,” he wrote. These are all quotes from James Damore, who worked as a Google engineer until being fired for daring to suggest Google needs more diversity, but should rethink how to foster that diversity.

According to Gizmodo, Damore wrote an “anti-diversity screed.” Re/Code referred to it as “sexist.” The problem, chiefly, is that many critics claimed Damore said things he did not and painted the things he did say in the worst possible light.

It is, for example, true that Damore said women suffered from “neuroticism” more than men, but he made clear he was using the psychological, scientific terminology for suffering higher anxiety and having a lower stress tolerance in job and life situations. He did not pull his statements out of thin air or make them up. Damore based his statements on sociological and psychological studies.

Social conservatives are looking at what Google has done and, while acknowledging Google has every right to fire an employee, are concerned this outcome bodes poorly for anyone who thinks differently from the Left.

There are shadows of Brendan Eich's firing from Mozilla in this. Eich, Mozilla's then-CEO, was driven from his job by outrage for having the audacity to give money to a traditional marriage campaign. Silicon Valley has no place for social or intellectual conservatives.

In his memo, Damore made clear that he too wanted to increase diversity. But he also wanted Google to consider other ways to do it. For example, noting that “women generally ... have a stronger interest in people rather than things,” Damore suggested Google could “make software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration.” For daring to suggest Google not stereotype men and women, Damore stands accused of stereotyping people.

This is par for the course at Google. According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Damore had to be fired for daring to cross “the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” This is quite an ironic line to take considering Damore's memo pointed out repeated instances of Google engaging in stereotypes and generalizations that often apply to people regardless of gender.

Many in the left-leaning tech press were so outraged Damore would differ from their views they could not even fairly assess his views. He has been treated as a sexist, racist outcast who is anti-diversity. 

By daring to think differently, even by relying on studies and using defined words in the sociological and psychological lexicon, Damore was painted as an anti-diversity bigot. No matter how Damore had phrased his memo, it seems he would have offended someone and been fired.

Therein lies the problem for Google. No one can actually have diverse ideas at Google. Doing so might lead to offense and offense must lead to job termination. It creates a situation where one's views, no matter how reasonable or how commonly shared, can be out of bounds if they differ with prevailing groupthink.

Conservatives have every reason to be worried by Google's actions. Google has become the default search engine for the world. It does not take a rocket scientist to know how easy it would be for Google to change its search algorithms to devalue what its employees believe is wrongthink. With Google in a near monopoly position for web searches, it has the ability to alienate conservative thought, Christian values and others to internet silos and ghettos that most would be unable to find.

The most troubling part is that much of the political left would be OK with silencing because they see censorship of ideas they hate as a positive thing for the world. Many of the left seek to win culture wars not on the merits of arguments and ideas, but simply by punishing and silencing any who disagree.