Background: Google recently announced that they have fired James Damore, author of the controversial Google Memo. Their explicit reason for doing so is that Damore was “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace.” This is in response to Damore’s memo which made careful, reasonable, nuanced, scientifically-backed arguments. If you doubt this, read Ph. D. Neuroscientist Debra Soh’s take on it.
The other word for what Google did is ” punishing thought crime.” Quite literally, Damore lost his job because he has beliefs that Google doesn’t like. Damore’s memo was an attempt to push back on the the “politically correct monoculture” at Google, and open up a conversation. Google’s response was to burn the proverbial heretic, and make it clear that there will be no conversation on what might as well be religious dogma.
- Damore’s views on sex differences are not fringe viewpoints. They are scientifically-backed, evidence-based conclusions from careful thinking and thorough research. Damore isn’t a provincial Neanderthal; he’s a well-studied rational thinker. If you read the Memo itself, this becomes clear immediately.
- The vast majority of Americans see at least some differences between the sexes (beyond just plumbing). More than half the country opposes forcing women to register for the draft, for instance. This doesn’t mean that Damore is right in his conclusions, but even people who disagree strongly with Damore’s conclusions should respect his being allowed to share them in a respectful manner. It does mean that Damore’s arguments aren’t crazy or unheard of. This is the kind of issue that we ought to be able to have a conversation about.
Get Involved: Go to your browser and change your default search engine. Here’s a guide on how to do that. You can use Bing, Duck Duck Go (doesn’t track you), or basically anything else. Use Yahoo if you have to! The point here is not to promote a particular alternative. The point is to start using any alternative.
The Goal: If we can cut down Google’s search traffic, perhaps they’ll come to their senses and stop being totalitarian. I will stress: the goal is not to put Google out of business. That likely won’t happen, no matter what. However, Google does benefit tremendously from being the default option for most people. They have a reputation of being a company that we all have in common. If they’re going to purge people who have almost the same views on sex differences as Pope Francis, then it’s time for Google to lose that default status.
We’re targeting Search because Google Search is what they are known for, and it’s our best hope to generate enough of an effect that Google will reconsider their totalitarian stance (frankly, it’s also much easier to change your search engine than your email provider or phone). The hope here is that Google will stop their ideological crusade and go back to being the good-natured, friendly company they used to be. And if not, at least we aren’t supporting our society’s slide into totalitarian culture.