August 12th, 2017

James Damore explains his firing

Here’s what he writes:

I was fired by Google this past Monday for a document that I wrote and circulated internally raising questions about cultural taboos and how they cloud our thinking about gender diversity at the company and in the wider tech sector. I suggested that at least some of the male-female disparity in tech could be attributed to biological differences (and, yes, I said that bias against women was a factor too). Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai declared that portions of my statement violated the company’s code of conduct and “cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

My 10-page document set out what I considered a reasoned, well-researched, good-faith argument, but as I wrote, the viewpoint I was putting forward is generally suppressed at Google because of the company’s “ideological echo chamber.” My firing neatly confirms that point. How did Google, the company that hires the smartest people in the world, become so ideologically driven and intolerant of scientific debate and reasoned argument?

Damore’s answer has to do with Google as what used to be called a “total institution” back in my college days of sociology classes. (I was a soc major for a while before I switched to psych, and the total institution concept was one of the things that stuck in my brain as meaningful.) Damore doesn’t use the term, but I do. Workplaces such as Google now feed their employees and take up tons of their time, constituting little worlds unto themselves—so hey, why not tell their employees how to think? In fact, they hardly have to do the latter; it just happens naturally in a total institution:

For many, including myself, working at Google is a major part of their identity, almost like a cult with its own leaders and saints, all believed to righteously uphold the sacred motto of “Don’t be evil.”…

Public shaming serves not only to display the virtue of those doing the shaming but also warns others that the same punishment awaits them if they don’t conform.

In my document, I committed heresy against the Google creed by stating that not all disparities between men and women that we see in the world are the result of discriminatory treatment.

There’s much more, but the gist of it is that once the document was circulated more widely within Google and then online, the SJWs (he doesn’t call them that) raised a hue and cry and Google almost had no choice but to fire him, or “the mob would have set upon” the company itself.

Damore manages to write the entire thing without mentioning politics, left or right, conservatism or liberalism or libertarianism. It’s quite a feat, because of course what he’s talking about is the intolerance of diversity of opinion that is part and parcel of modern-day liberalism (which has become increasingly leftist). I applaud him, though. He’s a brave guy. And he might end up getting some money from Google as well—although whatever amount it is, it will be a mere drop in the bucket for the groupthinking giant.

[NOTE: Read this to get the flavor of the counter-reaction:

Getting rid of Damore thus might have been the right thing for Google. But the fact that he will now be a reactionary culture hero is bad for the rest of us. He is a familiar type—one who postures as a brave truth-teller passing around sexism like samizdat. These men draw power from being censored. We flatter them when we treat them as dangers rather than fools.

That’s the kind of thinking Damore’s up against. I suppose the rest of us are up against it, too.]

15 Responses to “James Damore explains his firing”

  1. Ray Says:

    The left is obsessed with sex, race and money. Not their own, but the sex, race and money of other people. They even have names for this obsession, sexism, racism, classism. They are always calling other people sexist or racist in what is obviously psychological projection. They just can’t help it, it’s obsessive compulsive behavior.

  2. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “for I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Thomas Jefferson to Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800

  3. Llwddythlw Says:

    When faced with a hint of adversity,
    The management said with perversity,
    “Your views aren’t in sync,
    With the Google groupthink,
    That’s not what we mean by diversity.”

    Ah, this is the excellent foppery of the world.

  4. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    I think I saw this clip at Ace of Spades HQ. It is from “The Lives of Others,” a must-see movie. Hard to believe that when I saw it eleven years ago, I only thought that it was about the past.

  5. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    Geoffrey Britain: I enlisted in the USAF in May, 1968, “encouraged” to do so by my draft status. I wasn’t exactly eager, but my country was calling, and so I went. After the physical, and paperwork, I was standing in a room with a bunch of other guys. An officer called us to attention, and we raised our right hands and said:

    “I, (my name here), do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me. So help me God.”

    As I repeated those words, my attention was drawn to a poster of Thomas Jefferson on the wall in front of me, with the words you quoted emblazoned on it.

    Under the circumstances, I found that to be quite ironic.

  6. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    Cap’n Rusty,

    I enlisted in the USN in Oct. of 69.

  7. Cap'n Rusty Says:

    Geez, ya’ll had cooler uniforms: bell-bottom whites and pea coats!

  8. miklos000rosza Says:

    The paragraph excerpted from the Slate article doesn’t do justice to the sheer ugliness of the sentiments expressed. The writer quotes someone saying that it would be impossible for Damore to continue working at Google because either no one would work with him or someone might “punch him in the face.”

    But I guess such violence would be a righteous response to wrongthink.

  9. Sean Says:

    Gotta love this leftist journalist trying to de-legitimize a guy that their own side screwed over. “He’s not a victim. Only people on our side can be victims.”

    And it’s appropriate that she mentions samizdat. I just finished Montefiore’s biography of Stalin and this story is more than a little reminiscent of what went on in the Politburo back in the day. Worker in an all-embracing bureaucracy deviates slightly from ideological correctness, co-workers denounce him to the Dear Leader who makes him disappear. Of course, the Dear Leader put his co-workers up to it in the first place.

    On the bright side, we can all look forward to this dynamic cannibalizing Damore’s erstwhile co-workers before long. Denouncers always get it in the end and everybody sees it coming except them.

  10. Tuvea Says:

    Businesses as “total institutions” have existed for a long while.

    The British East India Company.
    International Business Machines.

    Check out Whyte’s “The Organization Man” which is 60 years old.

  11. steve walsh Says:

    I have yet to see a counter argument from the Left that focuses on Damore’s assertions and questions. All of the Left’s responses are ad hominem efforts to delegitimize him.

  12. huxley Says:

    I have yet to see a counter argument from the Left that focuses on Damore’s assertions and questions. All of the Left’s responses are ad hominem efforts to delegitimize him.

    steve walsh: Bingo! That’s what I’m seeing everywhere too.

    Love the dismissive “GoogleBro” for any male so ignorant and bigoted to agree with anything Damore wrote.

  13. ErisGuy Says:

    How did Google, the company that hires the smartest people in the world, become so ideologically driven and intolerant of scientific debate and reasoned argument?

    Let’s see: founded by Leftists, hires Leftists, promotes Leftism, donates to Leftist causes,… how could such a place be pollulted with ideology?

  14. ConceptJunkie Says:

    Now, keep in mind this same organization has extremely wide-ranging control over information.

    While I find a lot of Google’s services to be well-made and very useful, that thought is never far from my mind.

    I’ve also seen articles talking about Damore that take for granted that his document was nothing but a sexist screed as a starting point, i.e., “There’s no reason to even discuss why everything he says is wrong, let’s just heap scorn upon this throwback.”

    What few people who are criticizing him are doing is bothering to read what he wrote (to be fair, I’ve only read excerpts myself), but the one thing the current level of discourse in leftist echo chambers never feels the need to take into account are any facts. The SOP is to Alinsky-ize the perp and move on.

    I’ve heard conjecture that someone as smart as Damore (with a PhD and chess championships under his belt, among other things) would have taken all this into account before publishing his document and may have already planned for the need to file a lawsuit, with the expectation that he either gets a generous settlement or a more than generous victory.

    It is devoutly to be wished, but in the long run, it will have no positive effect. You cannot influence a person who cannot conceive the possibility of ever being wrong.

    It’s clear that the leadership at Google is yet another example of people that we, the typical audience of blogs like Neo’s, can’t hope to have even a nominal meeting of minds.

    I still have memories of debating politics back in the 90s where I could usually find common ground with someone from the other end of the political spectrum. Now I usually cannot, because I usually cannot have enough of a conversation to try to get to that point. This kind of behavior is a microcosm of how our republic is rushing headlong to a dissolution of one form or another.

  15. AesopFan Says:

    I chanced upon a blog by an active tech writer and thought the comments therein had more relevance than most forums to the subject, because the writers are all computer junkies. One very-outnumbered Google supporter got severely trounced for not addressing the actual memo. I suspect this is typical for the population working at Google et al. and explains the covert majority support for Damore.

    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=7645#comments

    Please give generously to James Damore’s fundraiser
    Posted on 2017-08-09 by Eric Raymond
    I just gave $100 to James Damore’s official fundraiser.

    Damore, for any of you who have been hiding under a rock, is the guy who wrote a completely sane and reasonable memorandum, objecting on principled and scientific grounds to the assumptions behind “diversity”.

    He’s been fired and is, of course, the target of a full-blown SJW rage-mob.

    The full version of the memo is here. Note that much of the negative public discussion seems to have been based on redacted versions from which references and charts were omitted.

    Please give generously. Because the thought police must be stopped.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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