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BARONE: Google’s ‘Tolerance’ Requires Repression

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Posted: August 11, 2017 at 7:00 am   /   by
Originally published on this site

Would a fair society have exactly the same percentage of men and women, of whites and blacks and Latinos and Asians, in every line of work and occupational category? If your answer is yes, and that any divergence from these percentages must necessarily result from oppression, then you qualify for a job at Google.

If not, forget about it.

In your own lives you may have observed that few occupational categories — certainly not Google engineers — have such gender and ethnic percentages. You probably guessed that this results in part from people with different characteristics having different interests, talents and goals.

But you’re not allowed to say that out loud, as Google engineer James Damore did last month in an internally circulated 10-page memorandum entitled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” He cited the conclusions of neuroscientists and psychologists that measurable differences between male and female brain structure result in different behavior and preferences.

“The memo was fair and factually accurate,” writes Canadian neuroscientist Debra Soh in the Toronto Globe & Mail. “Scientific studies have confirmed sex differences in the brain that lead to differences in our interests and behavior.” If you believe in evolution, it’s easy to see how it could make women more nurturing and interested in working with people and men more aggressive and interested in working with things.

Paradoxically, nondiscriminatory societies may see wider differences. “Research has shown that cultures with greater gender equity have larger sex differences when it comes to job preferences,” Soh writes, “because in these societies, people are free to choose their occupations based on what they enjoy.”

That’s apparent in today’s medical profession. Fifty percent of medical students are women: equity. But as psychiatrist/blogger Scott Alexander points out, male and female M.D.s tend to choose different specialties: 75 percent of pediatrics residents are women; 72 percent of radiology residents are men. Pediatricians work with people, radiologists with things.

Damore’s memorandum became public Aug. 6 when Gizmodo labeled it an “anti-diversity screed.” Similarly inaccurate and slanderous characterizations were published by The Washington Post, CNN, Time, The Atlantic, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Vanity Fair, ABC News, Fox News, BBC, NBC News, Fast Company and Slate. “I cannot remember the last time so many outlets and observers mischaracterized so many aspects of a text everyone possessed,” wrote The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf.

Far from lamenting diversity, Damore called for letting it flower. He criticized Google’s diversity programs as counterproductive and suggested alternatives. But he doubted that the trade-offs required to boost Google’s engineer employees from the current 20 percent women to 50 percent would be worth the cost to the business.

In other words, he embraced the heresy of disbelieving the dogma that a fair society must have gender equality and proportionate ethnic representation in every occupational group.

The punishment for heresy is, of coursem excommunication. Damore was fired Monday.

“Part of building an open, inclusive environment,” said Google’s vice president for diversity, integrity and governance, “means fostering a culture in which those with alternative views, including different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions. But” — key word — “that discourse needs to work alongside the principles of equal employment found in our Code of Conduct, policies, and anti-discrimination laws.”

Similarly, Google’s CEO said Tuesday: “We strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves. However” — key word — “portions of the memo violate our Code of Conduct and cross the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.”

George Orwell would recognize this doublespeak: We totally support free speech except when we call it heresy. Tolerance requires repression.

Ironically, for a company that makes money by transmitting information, Google’s position is intellectually incoherent. What its CEO dismisses as “harmful gender stereotypes” are the conclusions, after years of painstaking research, of serious neuroscientists.

And Google’s tacit endorsement of the quasi-religious dogma that a fair society must produce gender balance and proportionate ethnic representation is at war with both experience and logic.

Defenders of that dogma fear that rejecting it would justify gender and ethnic discrimination. But that’s wrong. Just follow James Damore’s advice: “Treat people as individuals, not just as another member of their group.”

The dogma is needed to justify the elaborate apparatus of gender and racial quotas and preferences and the lavish campus and corporate diversity bureaucracies to enforce them and stamp out heresy. As a reliable transmitter of free thought, Google seems headed down the path toward the Spanish Inquisition.

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner, resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and longtime co-author of “The Almanac of American Politics.”


Last Updated: Thursday, Aug 10, 2017 12:02:39 -0700

Michael Barone

Michael Barone is a senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner and a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

From 1974 to 1981, Barone was vice president of the polling firm of Peter D. Hart Research Associates. From 1981 to 1988, he was a member of the editorial page staff of The Washington Post. From 1989 to 1996 and again from 1998 to 2009, Barone was a senior writer for U.S. News & World Report. He was senior staff editor at Reader's Digest from 1996 to 1998.

Barone is the principal co-author of The Almanac of American Politics, published by National Journal every two years. The first edition appeared in 1971. He is also the author of Our Country: The Shaping of America from Roosevelt to Reagan (Free Press, 1990), The New Americans: How the Melting Pot Can Work Again (Regnery, 2001) and Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Competition for the Nation's Future (Crown Forum, 2004).

Over the years, Barone has written for many publications, including The Economist, The New York Times, The Detroit News, the Detroit Free Press, The Weekly Standard, The New Republic, National Review, The American Spectator, American Enterprise, The Times Literary Supplement and The Daily Telegraph of London. He has served as a political contributor to the Fox News Channel since 1998 and has appeared on many other television programs.

Barone graduated from Harvard College (1966) and Yale Law School (1969), and was an editor of the Harvard Crimson and the Yale Law Journal. He served as law clerk to Judge Wade H. McCree Jr. of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit from 1969 to 1971.

Barone lives in Washington, D.C. He has traveled to all 50 states and all 435 congressional districts. He has also traveled abroad extensively and has reported on elections in Russia, Mexico, Italy and Britain.

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BARONE: Google's 'Tolerance' Requires Repression