In 1957, Chairman Mao said the following during a speech in Peking:
Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land.
The speech was intended to encourage Chinese intellectuals to voice their criticism of the Chinese system, such that it could be improved. What ended up happening was that the outpouring of dissent against the Communist regime was used as evidence in the sentencing of those intellectuals to hard labor and prison for crimes against the regime.
The period was known as the Hundred Flowers Campaign. The recent case of Google engineer James Damore and his viral memo has parallels to what happened during that campaign. Google’s Vice President of Diversity, Integrity & Governance, Danielle Brown released a statement in response to the memo, part of which contained the following:
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.”
Like Mao, Brown was effusive in the praise for multiple viewpoints, openness, and inclusion, which she described as ‘critical to our success as a company.’
Yet, Damore’s views clearly were not acceptable, both internally and to the public as word of the memo started to spread. The following are some of the choice opinions shared by Google employees, political commentators and others on social media:
The mainstream media piled on as only it knows how, displaying term ‘anti-diversity screed’ prominently. It was too much for another mainstream outlet, The Atlantic, which took its fellow couch-fainters to task for it:
This week, headlines across a diverse array of media outlets proclaimed that at least one Google employee was so antagonistic to women that he circulated a 10-page “anti-diversity screed.”
That is how Gizmodo characterized the now infamous internal memo when publishing it Saturday. Similar language was used in headlines at Fox News, CNN, ABC News, the BBC, NBC News, Time, Slate, Engadget, The Huffington Post, PBS, Fast Company, and beyond (including a fleeting appearance in a headline here at The Atlantic).
Now you would think, based on those responses, that Damore had penned some sort of unironic explanation of why Stalin did nothing wrong, or a tome about why one should worship Satan. Of course had he actually written those, he may have come in for universal praise amongst the postmodernist un-intelligentsia .
Here, in full, is what he actually wrote. You should read the whole thing when you get a chance.
For now, here is Damore’s TL;DR summary of the document:
- 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.
In other words, Damore has written that Google has created a leftist ideological echo chamber with authoritarian tendencies with respect to discrimination. Furthermore, the fact that men and women are not represented at an equal 50/50 ratio is mostly down to biological differences between the sexes rather than discrimination, and as such a targeted drive to ‘correct’ this will prove unproductive, at best.
His point is obviously true, and it doesn’t really require an extensive scientific study to prove it. Just look at the distribution of men and women in multiple lines of work. No one really has a problem with massive female ‘over-representation’ in fields like elementary education, nursing and dental hygiene. Nor do you don’t see leftists clamoring for more female participation in carpentry and brickmasonry. The reasons for this will be apparent soon.
But all of the outrage, all of the (successful) calls for his firing, all of the pontificating over how much of an evil bigot he is, has come because of those rather benign statements. That disconnect between the outrage and the actual document is instructive because it serves as a clue to the uninitiated Normie that all is not right with the views the Postmodernists have been putting forth over the last 50 years or so.
The fact that this has happened at Google, the prototypical 21st century business and cultural behemoth, has thrust it into the field of vision of the common man. In 2017, the vast majority of people in developed nations have ‘Googled’ something, so when a story about supposed mass internal chaos is put forth, it will garner interest. The Average Joe who looks into the story will have seen comments and articles about the memo in the vein of what I posted above.
And then he will track down the memo to read it in full. Now, it is telling that the full memo wasn’t made readily available by most of the mainstream articles which covered it. The Gizmodo article, for example, posted a highly edited version, without the graphs and citations. One had to do some light digging to find the source material. That alone should have told you something.
And then having found it and read it, with all of its polite phrasing, qualifiers and reiterations of support for the diversity and inclusion mantra, crafted in a vain attempt to account for the fragility of the shitlib audience that would consume it, the sound-of-mind reader would have nothing to say but – this is what they’re complaining about?
And from there, it is only a short jump to realizing that ‘they’ – the postmodernists – are misguided, if not utterly insane. Otherwise, how could a recognition that men and women are different and therefore may lead to men and women ON AVERAGE being proficient at different things, lead to outrage, let alone one’s firing? In no way was Damore saying that women should be nowhere near a computer, to paraphrase a clueless CNN anchor discussing the topic. His point was that while an individual woman might be equally proficient as a man would be at coding for example, the fundamental nature of femininity will result in fewer overall numbers of female coders as compared with male coders.
That Damore even needed to include scientific evidence (some of which provided here, h/t Jordan Peterson) for his claims suggests a world gone mad. That men and women are different is one of the most intuitive things you can imagine. But in today’s age, those who wish to argue that up is down and that black is white have currency. So we actually do need PEER REVIEWED STUDIES to tell us that 1+1 does indeed equal 2.
Four scientists did as much with respect to Damore’s memo in this Quillette piece, and interestingly enough the most dismissive of the Outrage Mob was in fact a woman with a PhD in sexual neuroscience:
As a woman who’s worked in academia and within STEM, I didn’t find the memo offensive or sexist in the least. I found it to be a well thought out document, asking for greater tolerance for differences in opinion, and treating people as individuals instead of based on group membership.
Within the field of neuroscience, sex differences between women and men—when it comes to brain structure and function and associated differences in personality and occupational preferences—are understood to be true, because the evidence for them (thousands of studies) is strong. This is not information that’s considered controversial or up for debate; if you tried to argue otherwise, or for purely social influences, you’d be laughed at.
Sex researchers recognize that these differences are not inherently supportive of sexism or stratifying opportunities based on sex. It is only because a group of individuals have chosen to interpret them that way, and to subsequently deny the science around them, that we have to have this conversation at a public level.
Furthering the disconnect with reality is the fact that while in the media Damore has been described as some sort of Ultimate Misogynist, with phrases such as ‘tech bro’ being bandied about, his actual demeanor is quite different. Damore gave two 45-plus minute interviews, one each with Stefan Molyneux and Jordan B Peterson, both of which are must watch.
In both interviews, Damore came off as the incredibly smart, but socially reserved and introverted sort of person you would expect a Harvard biology PhD to be. Far from the raging ball of testosterone foaming at the mouth that he was described as.
As an aside, it is interesting that, despite being one of the most in-demand interviews on the planet at the moment, Damore decided to first open up to Molyneux and Peterson, both of whom reach their audiences through YouTube. It is another damning indictment of the mainstream media, which noticed, and was clearly miffed.
As another aside, a similar disconnect between reality and the approved narrative was present during the 2016 campaign, particularly with respect to Trump. Namely, the press would constantly manufacture controversy after controversy by taking a 10 or 15 second slice of a 60 or 90 minute speech and turn it into the worst thing that had ever been uttered by a presidential candidate.
The problem for the media was that all of the source material existed, usually archived on YouTube. One could sit there and listen to the full scope of Trump’s statements, and whether one agreed with him or not, most would find that at worst his views were merely disagreeable. Definitely not the Civilization-ending Satanic mutterings the media made them out to be. And by mischaracterizing Trump as such, the media ruined its credibility among more and more people, as the gap between what they were reporting and what was continued to widen. More and more voters were driven to Trump as a result.
Damore has been similarly mischaracterized by the outrage mob, and as with Trump, the mob is making a massive mistake. Damore’s document is available for anyone to read in full, and thus anyone can read and come to the conclusion that the mob tried to drown reasonable views on gender and other topics in a sea of outrage, and thus highlighting a fundamental weakness in their position. Damore’s memo only scratches the surface when he remarks that:
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.
Indeed, this is what a lot of the postmodernists strive for, a world without gender roles. For this to happen universally would mean that men and women everywhere completely rejected their biology. It is an impossible, eternal uphill battle against nature, one not dissimilar to the uphill battle against human nature faced by communists in general. In both cases the fundamental bankruptcy of the communist/postmodernist position (functionally the same thing) has to be rationalized at all times, so the ideology can persist in the face of mounting losses.
On the flip side, all dissent must be swiftly and decisively purged, precisely because that fundamental bankruptcy means the communist/postmodernist position is always treading on shaky ground. This is why an obscure Google engineer has become a subject for a national Two Minutes Hate session. Damore’s Maoist China equivalent would have been subjected to a public struggle session, or worse.
What is perhaps more interesting about this saga is the light it has shone on the cultural battle being waged in Corproate America. Damore ultimately wrote the memo out of concern for his company as a corporate entity. Damore had probably seen hire after diversity hire saunter onto Google’s campus, seemingly hired for their ability to fit into the community rather than their ability to handle the rigorous technical work required of a tech leader such as Google.
Damore’s motives were rational, logical and long-term oriented; I daresay they were masculine. Google, like most tech giants, was built on the back of 24 and 36 hour marathon coding sessions in unkempt apartments smelling of week old Chinese food and BO. It didn’t get there by having nap pods, foosball tables and diversity training. Its rise to the top was duly earned, but its stay at the top must be continually earned and earned again.
This means that for Google (or any other top entity in any field) to go from strength to strength, it must continually get the fundamentals right. That means stocking its ranks with the same sort of hungry individuals who were there 20 years ago, backed with the unlimited resources that Google has accrued since.
Instead they have trod down the path of worshipping the god that is Equalism, and have sought to ostracize those who don’t. The following ‘Rebels of Google’ series from Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari has been quite eye opening in this regard.
The pieces show how Goolag culture is fiercely moderated internally through internal messages and interviews with current and former Goolag employees. Another article describes situations in which managers actively refuse to work with those who have been deemed to have committed wrongthink even if it materially affects output. One employee states that the Diversity god is worshipped by senior leadership to the extent that technology comes second. It describes how blacklists are being created both inside Goolag and in the outer tech world, so that the offender understands the social costs involved with wrongthink, and even how one employee was punched over wrongthink posted on an internal message board.
On one hand it isn’t a surprise that Goolag is a shitlib haven, and the institutionalization of shitlib canon is equally unsurprising. But it is always unnerving to see the vigor with which the useful idiot comrades police and enforce their views spelled out.
From a strict analysis of corporate profitability, this sort of thing doesn’t bode well. The Damore episode lends empirical evidence to support the argument made in Bokhari’s articles that the company has a Diversity first and Technology second mindset. If Goolag continues operating in that manner, over the long term its product will suffer. If you own GOOG you should probably sell, take your profits and never look back (the stock is trading at $912 as I write this). You’ve had a nice run. If you don’t own GOOG, well, don’t start. Rather, think about some tactical shorts.
The Damore episode as a wider societal concern is one of corporate dominance in America acting as a conduit for communism as opposed to the more familiar means of facilitation through government dictatorships. Whatever you think of the direction the government has trended in the last 50, or even 100 years, the US is still nominally a constitutional republic with a nominally free-ish market.
The Marxists failed in winning the economic argument, and thus they moved into the cultural sphere, pushing their brand of equalism, diversity and the demand that deviance be tolerated. In Corporate America, they found a source of power which could be infiltrated because of the fact that huge swaths of the population work for them, and thus rely upon them to feed their families.
Thus a dynamic has been created that sees average people having to sit through hours and hours of diversity training or face potential punishment, which translates to fewer dollars which translates to less money for the family.
To address a point I raised earlier, the reason no-one complains about a lack of female bricklayers but a dearth of female coders is a national emergency is because in the 21st century tech is far higher on the totem pole, in terms of status, prestige and societal power. To the postmodernist, this power source must be distributed equally among the genders, races, sexual orientations and any other group you could imagine, regardless of merit. And thus the fangs of Equalism and Diversity must bear down on Tech, but of course only after it became sufficiently powerful. Social Justice Warriors were nowhere to be seen in the mid 90s.
The power, at least superficially, is now in the hands of postmodernists. And what they’re doing with it (censoring and purging opposing views) renders the argument that everything boils down to power dynamics, and dominant power structures must be torn down so as to prevent oppression, to be utter nonsense. What they really crave is the power for themselves, and once they attain it they practice tolerance as put forth by the likes of Herbert Marcuse, which is the following:
Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance: it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word.
In truth, the adoption of the postmodernist frame put Goolag in a no win situation with regards to Damore. Fire him, and it provides Exhibit A to the memo’s claim that Goolag was devolving into an authoritarian echo chamber, while opening itself up to legal action to boot. Keep him on, and they face similar legal action from the sort of shitlibs highlighted in Bokhari’s work who might now find Damore’s presence at Goolag evidence of a ‘hostile environment.’ Indeed, there was talk of many of Goolag’s strong-minded, strong-willed female employees skipping work over the trauma of the memo, again confirming the validity of its claim that women are more neurotic than men.
I opened this piece with the Hundred Flowers anecdote for a reason. Because of Goolag’s status as a virtual monopoly when it comes to search and video (YouTube), it holds the same position as any communist regime has in history with respect to its ability to control and censor. And to date, it has been acting as any communist regime would.
The foot soldiers of the regime – the Colm Buckleys, Adam Fletchers, Danielle Browns of the world – are what Nassim Nicholas Taleb would refer to as Intellectuals Yet Idiots. He describes these ‘academico-bureaucrats who feel entitled to run our lives’ as not rigorous, ‘whether in medical statistics or policy making. They can’t tell science form scientism – in fact in their image-oriented minds scientism looks more scientific than real science.’
This is how you get a bunch of individuals with seemingly above average intelligence spouting nonsense like ‘diversity is our strength,’ yet universally denouncing a document on biology which was in fact introducing an opposing view, thereby in the context of discussion increasing the very diversity which is supposedly the highest virtue. And on top of this, the author is a man with a Biology PhD from Harvard. Despite having essentially peak credentials in a credential-obsessed world, Damore still found himself in trouble, for merely saying the wrong things.
The Damore saga is very potent, because it has made it clear that the Equalism-worshipping Emperor has no intellectual clothing. Being on the side of truth, the mass which backs James Damore, will force Goolag and other social media behemoths into an unfancied corner – either they democratize their platforms or face a bloody overthrow by upstarts. Given the history of communists, the voluntary cessation of power is never an option with them. When it comes to that old Goolag motto – Don’t Be Evil – communists always fail. But at least their evil is always in the name of goodness.
Addendum—Looks like Damore is going to stand up for himself. Good on him. Here is a pic he’s updated to social media:
Remember Gamergate from a couple years ago? That kicked off because a minor scrap between a female ‘video game developer’ and her jilted video game nerd lover went viral. The SJW Industrial Complex proceeded to rain down with the force of a thousand suns upon the stereotypical gamer, a class which before then had no issues with the SJW viewpoint.
When it was clear that SJWs would just as easily burn a sympathetic gamer to the stake as xe would the most ardent anti-feminist, for the crime of Not Agreeing With A Woman, the gamers mobilized and summarily destroyed the SJWs. I wrote about it at length here and even predicted that it was the first real turning point in the Culture War. This was before Trump even.
A similar thing could happen on a much, much larger scale if the legion of Damores that almost certainly exists in tech decide to stand up for themselves. The resistance could come in a number of ways, from mere standing tall in the face of public backlash, as Damore has, to them using their technical expertise in creating superior competitors unencumbered by the weight of shitlibbery, focused solely on creating a high quality product. The next few months to years will be interesting, for sure.