Google on Monday fired a software engineer who wrote an internal memo that questioned the company’s diversity efforts and argued that the low number of women in technical positions was a result of biological differences instead of discrimination.
The memo, called “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,” angered many in Silicon Valley because it relied on certain gender stereotypes — like the notion that women are less interested in high-stress jobs because they are more anxious — to rationalize the gender gap in the tech industry. The memo quickly spread outside the company, as other Google employees railed against many of its assumptions.
James Damore, author of the now-infamous memo, identifies himself as a “classical liberal”. It begins with the following paragraphs (with adjusted formatting):
I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes. When addressing the gap in representation in the population, we need to look at
population level differences in distributions. If we can’t have an honest discussion about this, then we can never truly solve the problem.
Psychological safety is built on mutual respect and acceptance, but unfortunately our culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo
Despite what the public response seems to have been, I’ve gotten many personal messages from fellow Googlers expressing their gratitude for bringing up these very important issues which they agree with but would never have the courage to say or defend because of our shaming culture and the possibility of being fired. This needs to change.
Damore’s memo focuses on supporting the following arguments:
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.
Because Damore holds these views, Google fired him.
To explain Google’s action against Damore, memo Danielle Brown, Google’s Vice President of Diversity, Integrity, and Governance, wrote the following memo to employees:
I’m Danielle, Google’s brand new VP of Diversity, Integrity & Governance. I started just a couple of weeks ago, and I had hoped to take another week or so to get the lay of the land before introducing myself to you all. But given the heated debate we’ve seen over the past few days, I feel compelled to say a few words.
Many of you have read an internal document shared by someone in our engineering organization, expressing views on the natural abilities and characteristics of different genders, as well as whether one can speak freely of these things at Google. And like many of you, I found that it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.
Diversity and inclusion are a fundamental part of our values and the culture we continue to cultivate. We are unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as a company, and we’ll continue to stand for that and be committed to it for the long haul. As Ari Balogh said in his internal G+ post, “Building an open, inclusive environment is core to who we are, and the right thing to do. ‘Nuff said. “
Google has taken a strong stand on this issue, by releasing its demographic data and creating a company wide OKR on diversity and inclusion. Strong stands elicit strong reactions. Changing a culture is hard, and it’s often uncomfortable. But I firmly believe Google is doing the right thing, and that’s why I took this job.
Part of building an open, inclusive environment means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.
I’ve been in the industry for a long time, and I can tell you that I’ve never worked at a company that has so many platforms for employees to express themselves—TGIF, Memegen, internal G+, thousands of discussion groups. I know this conversation doesn’t end with my email today. I look forward to continuing to hear your thoughts as I settle in and meet with Googlers across the company.
Because nothing says “we love diversity” more than firing someone who holds a perspective outside of the corporate zeitgeist.
The liberal media has already lined its talking points over the firing. This isn’t surprising, given that they are based on political dogma rather than actually understanding the facts behind this particular case.
As can be seen in the NYT article above, rather than focus on Damore’s concern about an ideological echo chamber in Google’s Mountain View campus, SJWs are defending the firing on the premise that the memo “sought to rationalize the gender gap in the tech industry”. Newsweek‘s article on the firing, in addition to focusing on the gender gap, is bringing in the alt-right’s supposed reaction to it:
Google has fired the employee that wrote a widely criticized memo suggesting that “biological differences” are the reason why there are so few women leaders in the tech industry. The tech giant’s decision sparked outrage on social media, with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and alt-right media outlets claiming the company was censoring James Damore, the sofware engineer behind the leaked memo.
Bringing in the alt-right into the story is an obvious attempt to obfuscate the simple fact that Damore was fired for pointing out that Google lives in an ideological echo chamber.
Which is, you know, censorship.
And a social justice campaign can’t be complete without its dutiful priests reciting their creed to the heathens via Twitter.
Brief reminder that racism, sexism, ableism, etc. are prejudice plus power. That's why "reverse sexism" isn't real: men hold systemic power.
If men really hold systemic power, I’m sure Damore would like a little bit more of that right about now.
Speaking for myself, Google’s firing of Damore really hits home.
It has become increasingly clear that the social justice movement has infiltrated corporate human resources departments. All Damore’s firing did was merely put an exclamation point on the matter.
As someone who works in a corporation, yet also identifies himself as a libertarian, the Google firing is among the scenarios about which I am most concerned.
After all, there is a reason why I am writing anonymously.
Social justice warriors, otherwise known as American Maoists, would like nothing more than for non-leftists, within and outside of companies, to shut their piehole so that their fairy tale sense of reality may take hold. (Of course it never will, primarily because they don’t understand human nature, but that’s another matter.)
What Google, if not SJWs, will discover, however, is there is a consequence to every action.
In the end, regardless of how the liberal media spins this particular incident, American corporations who react poorly to well-reasoned arguments will be hurting no one but themselves. And their bottom line. The sooner businesses realize this, the better.
Meantime, I’ve got some more blog posts to write before the American Maoists get to me.
Since Roe v. Wade, Democrats have used abortion as a wedge issue against Republicans. Liberals demonized pro-life conservatives for the grave crime of preventing a woman’s “right to choose” what to do with their bodies. Apparently, such liberties are far more than important than killing a human being that has no way to defend him- or herself.
However, it now appears that abortion has become a wedge issue within the party.
Breitbart recently reported that California Governor Jerry Brown made the sensible comment that Democrats should be open to pro-life candidates, for no other than practical reasons.
California Governor Jerry Brown says the Democratic Party should be open to pro-life candidates as it seeks to regain control of the House in 2018.
On NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, Brown, a Democrat, rejected the notion that his party needs to embrace “ideological purity,” and said the Democratic base is “shifting.”
“I’d say, look, even on the abortion issue, it wasn’t very long ago that a number of Catholic Democrats were opposed to abortion,” Brown said. “So the fact that somebody believes today what most people believed 50 years ago should not be the basis for their exclusion.”
“In America, we’re not ideological, we’re not like a Marxist party in 1910,” Brown added. “We are a big tent by the very definition.”
As one who has repeatedly criticized Brown on this blog for several reasons, it is encouraging to see him defend Democrats who hold traditional, and dare I say, logical positions.
It is also encouraging to see both Democratic leaders and up-and-comers with the same position. While Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, or Kamala Harris can not be categorized as pro-life in any way, at the very least they reject the notion that there should be a litmus test relating to abortion.
However, the same can’t be said about the feminists and abortion advocates within the Democratic party.
Twitter has been flooded by threats by liberals threatening to hurt the Democratic party in some way if it supports pro-life candidates.
For example, “comedian” Rosie O’Donnell had some … interesting reactions to a lack of an abortion litmus test.
I have three reactions to this. First, no thank you. Second, if you become pregnant, then what? Isn’t this what this is all about? Lastly, since when is it men who are the only ones concerned about the welfare of an unborn child? The premise behind the supposed patriarchy preventing women from doing something to their bodies is simply astounding.
Then there’s former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who says he’ll refuse supporting Democratic Congressional campaigns if pro-life candidates are allowed to run.
In short, it appears that the riff abortion has caused within the Democratic party won’t be healed anytime soon.
With respect to my own position, while Murray Rothbard famously believed that abortion was acceptable, primarily on the grounds that women have to do whatever with their bodies as they wish, Father Jim Sadowsky, a friend of Rothbard’s, disagreed strongly:
But is the infant a trespasser the moment his presence in the womb is no longer desired? Does he have no right to be there? Murray [Rothbard] and Walter [Block] simply assume that the infant has no right to be in the womb. Yet it is by no means evident that their answer is the correct one. To say that x is trespassing is to say that he is somewhere where he ought not to be. But where should a foetus be if not in its mother’s womb? This is its natural habitat. Surely people have a right to the means of life that nature gives them? If the home in which the infant grew were outside the mother’s body, we should all see that to expel him from that home would be to deprive him of the nature-given means of life. Why should the fact that his nature-given home lies within a woman’s body change the situation? What is a woman’s womb for except to house the infant’s body? It is nature that gives the child this home, this means of life. When we cast him out, we are depriving him of that which nature gave him. To do this is to violate his rights.
However many problems the Democrats may have, if pro-life candidates have an opportunity to get elected into office, at the very least the most vulnerable human beings may have a better chance of their injustices being addressed in Congress.
Breitbart posted a video in which ESPN’s Sarah Spain (who?? – Mr. Fool) blasts the Baltimore Ravens for gauging fans’ interest in signing Colin Kaepernick.
While Spain’s reaction can be seen here, this is how Breitbart described it:
Monday on “Around the Horn,” ESPN’s Sarah Spain ripped the Baltimore Ravens for their decision to gauge fans’ interest in bringing on free agent Colin Kaepernick to fill in for injured quarterback Joe Flacco, calling the move “disgusting” and “repulsive.”
“[T]he idea that they would think that this is a time they need to poll their fans and care about whether people want to see a player in the league is disgusting,” Spain argued.
“It’s repulsive to me that someone who hasn’t even committed a crime and did nothing more than speak out against something that is a serious issue in our society and is now donating millions of dollars and time to that issue is somebody that we need to ask the public if they are willing to watch play football,” she continued. “It’s gross.”
Sarah, it looks like I need to explain something to you as simply as possible.
After all, fools like to keep things simple.
Football, like all professional sports, is a business. A business that wants to stick around for a long time needs to make sure its customers are happy. If they aren’t happy, then they won’t be buying what the business is selling: tickets, beer, jerseys, ball caps, anything. If it doesn’t make any money, then it won’t be able to hire people to work in a concessions stand, let alone sign a quarterback to a multi-year contract.
In Kaepernick’s case, last season he was one of the first football players to protest police shootings of black men by taking a knew during the national anthem. Those protests were among the factors behind declining TV viewership that season. Therefore, if the Ravens are considering signing Kaepernick, it makes eminent sense for it to guage how its fans would react.
That’s good business. It helps everyone who has a job in the NFL keep it.
While I have followed Vox Day for several years, and respect him and his work, a recent post of his shows that he has an incomplete understanding of economics.
Putting together the post’s title and its beginning, he argues thusly:
The only way to raise wages [i]s to reduce the supply of labor. American workers can only benefit from the elimination of labor visas, increased limits on immigration, and stepped-up deportation, as evidenced by the response of Maine businesses to a “shortage” of H-2B visas.
Before addressing the article to which Day refers, I want to address the categorical manner in which he says wages can be raised.
Why do wages go up?
I agree that the methods Day cites will raise wages for American workers. For example, there has been increasingevidence that American companies have abused foreign worker visa processes to bring in lower-cost workers, at the expense of qualified yet higher-cost American workers.
However, I would like to think Day recognizes that this is not the only way to raise worker wages. In fact, through free markets, capital accumulation and higher wages go hand in hand. As Ludwig von Mises explains in Human Action:
In the capitalist society there prevails a tendency toward a steady increase in the per capita quota of capital invested. The accumulation of capital soars above the increase in population figures. Consequently the marginal productivity of labor, wage rates, and the wage earners’ standard of living tend to rise continually. But this improvement in well-being is not the manifestation of the operation of an inevitable law of human evolution; it is a tendency resulting from the interplay of forces that can freely produce their effects only under capitalism.
In other words, in the near term, it certainly makes sense that restricting the supply of labor will lead to its price going up. However, as time passes, there is a symbiotic relationship between capital accumulation, labor productivity, and wage rates. The less interference to that relationship, the better for everyone involved.
Now that I’ve discussed how wage rates go up, I turn to the article to which Day is referring.
Maine businesses scramble for seasonal workers
Day points to a Daily Caller report, indicating that Maine businesses are scrambling to find local workers because of a shortage in foreign guest workers.
Businesses in Bar Harbor, Maine are turning to locals to make up for a shortage of foreign guest workers that normally fill summer jobs in the bustling seaside resort town.
Because the H-2B visa program has already reached its annual quota, Bar Harbor’s hotels, restaurants and shops can’t bring in any more foreign workers for the rest of the busy summer tourist season. Like hundreds of similar coastal resort towns, Bar Harbor has for many years depended on the H-2B visas for temporary workers. The program allows non-agricultural companies to bring in foreign labor if they are unable to find suitable employees domestically.
Now they are coming up with creative ways to attract local labor, reports the Bangor Daily News.
The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce will hold a job fair Saturday in an effort to recruit significant numbers of workers from the region. Just about every kind of business in the town is looking for help, says chamber executive director Martha Searchfield.
“All types of businesses — retail, restaurants, the tour boats, all the trips, everything. All types of workers are needed,” she told the Daily News.
The shortage is so acute that companies are sweetening incentives for local workers. Searchfield says some businesses are offering flexible schedules that might appeal to older workers who might be interested in working only a day or two each week. And other companies have gone so far as to offer higher wages to entice locals.
Day, of course, applauds the situation.
That’s not a problem, that’s an indication of a solution. As long as tens of millions of Americans remain unemployed, there is absolutely zero net benefit to the economy or to American workers from immigration. All immigration accomplishes is to increase income inequality to the advantage of very large US corporations and the financial class that caters to them.
While I do not necessarily disagree with this, I also think that Day’s analysis is incomplete.
In addition to immigration, another key reason for high unemployment has been the disastrous drive across the country to raise the minimum wage.
Fortunately for Maine residents, its legislature developed some common sense and withdrew a previously-passed increase:
Last November, the Maine State Legislature voted to raise the minimum wage for restaurant servers. Then in mid-June, they voted to lower it back down.
And lots of Maine’s restaurant workers were thrilled.
The minimum wage for tipped workers in Maine is half that of the state’s regular minimum wage ($9). It’s called the “tip credit” rule, as it allows employers to take a credit of up to 50 percent from their employees’ wages, because servers will generally make that money back (and hopefully more) in tips. If tips and wages, together, don’t equal the state’s minimum wage, employers are required to make up the difference.
State Senator James Dill, a Democrat who initially voted to raise wages, told the Washington Post that after the Nov. referendum passed, he received “hundreds” of calls and emails from servers who were worried about their livelihood.
As a result, Dill threw his support behind a Republican measure to return the “tip credit” rule. After passing through the Senate on June 7, the bill was brought before the House on June 13, where it passed with a vote of 110-37.
Maine Governor Paul LePage signed the bill into law last week. It will go into effect 90 days after Legislature adjourned, reports the Bangor Daily News.
Restaurant workers wanted to retract the increase for two reasons.
[S]ervers were worried about the ramifications of the new laws for two reasons: first, that it would force employers to raise prices on their menu items, which could affect their current tips; and second, and perhaps more importantly, that employers might be forced to cut servers’ shifts as a result.
Preventing the minimum wage from rising encourages businesses to hire unskilled workers. Combined with competing with fewer foreign workers, lower-skilled Maine residents should have had a better shot at finding a job this summer:
Firms faced with minimum wage laws often substitute skilled for unskilled labor. In a report for the Show-Me Institute, labor economist David Neumark offers an illustrative example: Suppose that a job can be done by either three unskilled workers or two skilled workers. If the unskilled wage is $5 per hour and the skilled wage is $8 per hour, the firm will use unskilled labor and produce the output at a cost of $15. However, if we impose a minimum wage to $6 per hour, the firm will instead use two skilled workers and produce for $16 as opposed to the $18 cost of using unskilled workers. In the “official data” this shows up as a small job loss — in this case, only one job — but we see an increase in average wages to eight dollars per hour in spite of the fact that the least skilled workers are now unemployed.
This summer, it’s looking good for Maine residents who were otherwise prevented from working. Immigration abuse and a lower minimum wage is allowing them to find jobs.
In the long run, however, an unhampered free market allows capital accumulation and higher wages to coexist.