UPDATED: Free Speech and Google

One more Googler

I was reading about the male Google engineer who released an offensive sexist screed (Update: he was fired):

Google has fired an employee who wrote an internal memo blasting the web company’s diversity policies, creating a firestorm across Silicon Valley. James Damore, the Google engineer who wrote the note, confirmed his dismissal in an email, saying that he had been fired for ‘perpetuating gender stereotypes.’ He said he’s ‘currently exploring all possible legal remedies.

I was wondering when the Conservatives were going to embrace the bro as a comrade in arms. The answer is NOW.

A few examples: Breitbart, the far-right news site, is currently leading with the story, writing that “witch hunts are a well-known cultural problem” at Google and that “psychologicsts claim [the] manifesto [is] scientifically accurate.”

Ben Shaprio, editor-in-chief of Daily Wire, tweeted: “‘Diversity is our strength’ is Orwellian claptrap coming from people who can’t handle a memo that says women and men are different.”

And some in Silicon Valley have also criticised Google. Eric Weinstein, managing director of Thiel Capital — a VC fund established by Trump-supporting entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel — tweeted:

The episode and the reaction to it has echoes of the “Gamergate” controversy. It was a culture war over the role of progressivism, feminism, and cultural criticism in video games and sexism within gaming culture, and led to mass harassment of multiple prominent women in the industry.

It is an interesting conundrum for Silicon Valley, which posits itself to be a Ayn Randian meritocracy, and while earnest employees (probably) lean to port, the management definitely veers starboard. So you can see that this story has a lot of interesting plot twists. In essence a conservative(ish) CEO of a libertarian tech company fired an engineer (libertarian? certainly a meritocracy enthusiast) for violating the company policies that are definitely anything but conservative.

Another reaction from that story:

“The radical Left has been whipping up hate mobs to get independents, libertarians, conservatives, and simple contrarians publicly shamed, bullied, and fired from their jobs for years,” it wrote. “Now they’re attacking a man for honestly, wisely, and politely expressing his opinions to his colleagues. And they have gotten him fired.”

I might remind whoever wrote this quote that a company has the right to fire an employee at will. No one forbade him from publishing his screed, but he owns the consequences for doing it. I don’t know what this is always so hard for the Right to understand.

Anyway, I’m sure that besides Breitbart, all the usual subjects will weigh in today. If you catch any good ones, please share in the comments.

UPDATE 1: Axios morning email thingie has a pretty comprehensive list going of what Silicon Valley is facing:

America’s largely romantic view of its tech giants — Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. —is turning abruptly into harsh scrutiny. Silicon Valley suddenly faces a much more intrusive hand from Washington, based on rapidly accumulating vulnerabilities in nine big areas:

  1. Content in a 50-50 nation: After the election, the left was furious about the spread of fake news online, which is sure to get worse. And a lot of conservatives worry about the tech giants injecting liberal bias into their handling of political comments and stories.
  2. Privacy controversies.
  3. Sexism, an issue freshly ignited with this week’s eruption at Google over an engineer’s manifesto blaming biology for the shortage of women engineers, and accusing the company of a “politically correct monoculture.” The engineer said last night that he’d ‘been fired for “”perpetuating gender stereotypes.”
  4. Job-killing robots, automation and artificial intelligence.
  5. Paranoia by the companies about a bill by Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to constrain human trafficking, because it gives victims and state attorneys general new tools against social networks and other online sources of exploitive content.
  6. Backlash over the mounting data trove about us: In many cases, we aren’t the customer — we’re the product.
  7. Contribution to income inequality.
  8. Tax avoidance by shifting revenue overseas.
  9. Astonishing concentration of wealth and power.

UPDATE 2: The LATimes has a good summary of the situation.

The memo also puts Google’s push to promote diversity in the spotlight, raising questions about its efficacy. How could a company whose purported raison d’etre is “do no evil” harbor an employee bold enough to deride empathy as irrational, equate more women in the workforce as “social engineering” and claim females are too agreeable to effectively lead?

…The tech industry has long held the view that it’s a meritocracy, where the best ideas and brightest people find success. The argument that Google’s lack of diversity is proof of a meritocracy in action has found support on corners of the Internet in which the alt-right has thrived, such as the “Politically Incorrect” forum on 4chan. 

UPDATE 3: The great Edroso at Alicublog weighs in with a similar post looking at The Brethren, specifically Ben Domenech (he’s still a thing?):

My devotion to capitalism has bitten me in the ass again! We have been around this mulberry bush before, so I’ll make it short: Show me, please, a conservative who has similarly spoken up for the rights of other at-will employees fired for speech who were not peddling modish rightwing bigotry, and maybe I’ll take this more seriously.

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4 Responses to UPDATED: Free Speech and Google

  1. Steve-O says:

    Pretty certain it is not a “witch hunt” when the brogrammer fires off this screed to the entire company. No hunting involved when douchebag is in plain sight with the sign reading “Douchebag” around his neck.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. roket says:

    If corporations are people too, then Comrade Preznint Stupid needs to your fired’ed Google.

    Like

  3. Infidel753 says:

    a company has the right to fire an employee at will…..I don’t know what this is always so hard for the Right to understand.

    Actually, what these ding-dongs fail to understand is that it’s bad for business for a company to be associated with attitudes like this. That’s why Randroid execs who go off on these rants about women or whatever get fired; that’s why states that pass anti-gay laws get hit with boycotts. Bigotry offends the customer base. A smart company won’t let it hang around.

    Like

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