The Final Word: By Buck Sexton
It’s a sad day in America when you can lose your job for expressing the opinion that men and women are different.
Earlier this month, tech giant Google (GOOGL) fired software engineer James Damore for writing a memorandum titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” His ouster was the most recent reminder that in corporate America today, identity politics are a strictly enforced orthodoxy. Dissenters are pink-slipped and shamed.
This particular Silicon Valley diversity debacle started because Google’s engineering department is 80% male. This gender imbalance has led to hand-wringing across the mega-tech company’s executive suite. Little changed, despite a commitment of $265 million dollars to diversity efforts starting in 2014 and a slew of programs and initiatives to get more women and minorities into leadership and engineering positions. But Google continues on its quest for more underrepresented minorities of all kinds, particularly female software engineers.
Read James Damore’s manifesto challenging the diversity mantra, and you’ll find a well-reasoned, 10-page memo with headings such as “non-discriminatory ways to reduce the gender gap.”
Damore agreed that women face specific obstacles and that sexism exists, but suggested that maybe women are also different from men and therefore make different career choices, too. Perhaps accurately assessing the problem at Google would bring about better solutions for all?
In response, the Left went nuts. The media analyzed the memo with all the respect and nuance a Neanderthal’s cave paintings would receive in a Smith College sociology class.
Damore had done the unthinkable by challenging a central tenet of contemporary American human resources wisdom – namely that women are oppressed in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields where they are a minority. Even worse, he did so in a measured tone, using logic, reason, and making frequent concessions to the other side of the argument.
Google fired him anyway.
Damore posited a theory rooted in science and a few decades of research, but it ran into the buzz saw of progressive ideology… And while many scientists have come out to support some of Damore’s core premises, that didn’t stop the social-justice mob from labeling him an “alt-right hero” or smearing him as sexist.
As is often the case with corporate-speech police, the ensuing liberal outrage brigade collapsed into self-parody.
Some liberal publications decided to go the “science is flawed” route to undermine Damore’s argument. A few female employees at Google were so upset about a memo that claimed women were on average more emotional than men, they had to stay home from work because they felt unsafe. You can’t make this stuff up.
Before we can move past this as another case of progressive overreach at a corporation headquartered in a bastion of undiluted liberalism, it’s worth noting that Google is different. It’s a big deal, not just in Silicon Valley, but around the world.
First off, Google is one of the most valuable public companies on Earth. Technically, Google is a subsidiary of its parent company Alphabet, which now oversees a host of projects, including self-driving cars (a project called “X”) and Google Fiber (the super-fast Internet of the future). Bottom line: it’s a company with vast ambitions, and the bankroll to make almost anything seem like a realistic goal.
It’s also arguably the most influential platform on the planet in the marketplace of ideas. To “google” has been a verb for many years now, indicating its dominance in the search-engine category, but Google also serves as the internet’s primary gatekeeper. Its front-page search results can make or break a company… or an individual. When you google a person’s name, the first results are essentially that person’s online reputation.
Google is a company with the power to shape and disseminate ideas. It exceeds anything since Gutenberg finally mastered that movable type in his printing press in the mid-15th century.
That’s why Google’s suppression of ideas is so troubling. Google makes global perception. It determines what news sites you are most likely to see, what products most suit your needs, and what information is the easiest to access.
As this digital behemoth embraces the cult of political correctness, there will be ramifications well beyond Mountain View, California. The hypersensitive office culture that began in the 1990s has morphed into something much more malicious.
The titans of Silicon Valley are not seeking converts, they’re hunting political heretics.
And unless there is a counter-movement, based on facts and free inquiry, the problem will keep spreading… from boardrooms to mom-and-pop stores on Main Street. There will be a culture of forced groupthink and pressure on government to pass even more federal regulations and laws to make the workplace a “safe space.”
The Damore firing has sparked this debate, and it’s high time we all had it. Silicon Valley and its unique culture of progressivism is incredibly influential, and the public should be aware how left wing that enclave overwhelmingly is.
Americans tend to think of Google, Facebook (FB), and Amazon (AMZN) as apolitical utilities, but they are corporations run by people with their own views and agendas.
George Orwell famously wrote, “In times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” James Damore told the truth and got fired for it. Whether he is a victim, martyr, or hero will be up to the rest of the country… as will whether we can finally have an adult conversation about politics and free inquiry in the workplace.
Buck Sexton is host of the nationally syndicated talk radio program, “Buck Sexton with America Now,” heard on over 100 stations across the country.
A former CIA and NYC Police Department Intelligence Officer, Buck is also the cohost of Stansberry Investor Hour, a weekly radio show that you can subscribe to for free right here: http://investorhour.com/