August 8, 2017
The  Federalist
 
 
_Google  Engineer Writes Common-Sense Memo About Workplace Diversity, PC 
Mob  Erupts_ 
(http://thefederalist.com/2017/08/07/google-engineer-writes-common-sense-memo-workplace-diversity-pc-mob-erupts/)
 
The histrionics over the memo not only misrepresent what it says  but also 
its purpose

 
 
By: David  Hasanyi
 
 
Gizmodo calls a Google engineer’s leaked  internal memo about the company’
s diversity initiatives an “_anti-diversity screed_ 
(http://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-1797564320)
 .” Recode 
calls it “_sexist._ 
(https://www.recode.net/2017/8/5/16102476/google-diversity-vp-employee-memo) ” 
Most major news organizations frame it  in _similar 
terms_ 
(http://money.cnn.com/2017/08/06/technology/culture/google-diversity/index.html?sr=twCNN080617culture0615PMStory)
 . The memo has gone viral. (Update: 
 Google has _fired_ 
(https://www.recode.net/2017/8/7/16110696/firing-google-ceo-employee-penned-controversial-memo-on-women-has-violated-its-code-of-con
duct)  the author for “perpetuating gender  stereotypes.”) 
In reality, the problem is that a senior  software engineer, perhaps 
unwittingly, admitted to pondering three of the most  scandalous thought-crimes 
of 
contemporary American society. 
The first was to propose that a meritocracy might  be heathier for a 
company than bean-counting race, ethnicity, and sex.  The second is pointing 
that  
ideological diversity matters. The third, and most grievous of all the  
wrongthinks, is suggesting that men and  women are, in general, physiologically 
and psychologically different from each  other, and thus they tend to excel 
at different things. 
“On average,” asserts the engineer, “men and  women biologically differ in 
many ways.” He then has the temerity to accuse  women of “generally” 
displaying a “stronger interest in people rather than  things” of having 
empathy 
and “openness” to “feelings and aesthetics” and  of being less pushy and 
having less interest in “status” than male colleagues.  Women, this guy 
says, are “more cooperative” than men and search out better  “work-life 
balance.” 
There’s much more, but I don’t want to further  upset any women readers 
One of the problems with this kerfuffle was  that the vast majority of the 
histrionic reactions on social media and elsewhere  have misrepresented not 
only what the memo says but also its purpose.  The memo was neither a screed 
nor  anti-diversity. It was the kind of unvarnished, dispassionate, and 
meticulous  case that I imagine many engineers offer. It’s difficult to believe 
anyone who read through it with an open mind  could interpret the author’s 
notions as an attempt to consolidate the patriarchy  or to make life less 
diverse in his field. 
The other, bigger problem is that the reaction  to it demonstrates that the 
author is completely right about the lack of  ideological diversity and its 
consequences. 
The unnamed engineer’s contentions about the  bias at Google is a 
near-perfect summation of the dangers manifest in all  close-minded 
institutions, 
including most of the news media and many  universities. He points out that 
conflating “freedom from offense with  psychological safety” shames people 
into silence. Further, he argues that these  monocultures foster unhealthy 
environments where people can no longer honestly  debate important topics. 
Finally, and most destructively, he says these bubbles  then promote “extreme 
and 
authoritarian elements.” 
Like so: 
Extreme: all disparities in  representation are due to oppression 
Authoritarian: we should discriminate to  correct for this oppression
We see incidents of this  close-mindedness _all the time_ 
(http://thefederalist.com/2017/07/20/worried-future-free-expression/) . In 
_schools_ 
(http://thefederalist.com/2017/08/02/government-out-college-admissions/) . In 
_government_ 
(http://thefederalist.com/2016/09/06/how-a-cakemaker-became-an-enemy-of-the-state/)
 . Just ask Brendan Eich, who was _hounded out as CEO of  
Mozilla_ 
(http://thefederalist.com/2014/04/04/mozilla-is-for-a-wide-diversity-of-views-but-not-that-wide/)
  in 2013 for having the wrong opinion on  gay 
marriage in 2008, despite zero evidence that he had ever discriminated  against 
anyone in his life. 
Or, better yet_, just ask Danielle Brown_ 
(https://www.wsj.com/articles/googles-new-diversity-chief-criticizes-employees-memo-1502037022)
 , Google’s 
new VP of diversity, integrity, and  governance, who wrote, in a response to 
the engineer’s memo, that “[d]iversity  and inclusion are a fundamental part 
of our values and the culture,” before  rebuking everything in it, telling 
employees that she won’t link to the letter  because everyone disagrees with 
its contents. Rather than showing appreciation  for diverse thinking among 
her ranks, Brown even goes on to insinuate that the  engineer’s suggestions 
in the memo might undermine “discrimination  laws.” 
Does Brown believe that dissenting Google  employees will now feel safer 
sharing their opinions when they see the company  won’t stand by those making 
unpopular ones? Because, after all, any old VP of  diversity, integrity, and 
governance can defend positions that confirm the  biases of the majority of 
their workforce. 
Of course, nothing in the letter states  women aren’t as good as men or 
that women deserve less money or that women  aren’t “_suited_ 
(https://twitter.com/CNN/status/894437162715926528) ” to be good at tech jobs 
or that they 
should be  victimized by the company. Mostly the author theorizes as to why 
self-selection  might account for some of the disparity at Google: 

Note, I’m not saying that all men differ  from women in the following ways 
or that these differences are ‘just.’ I’m  simply stating that the 
distribution of preferences and abilities of men and  women differ in part due 
to 
biological causes and that these differences may  explain why we don’t see 
equal representation of women in tech and  leadership.
Certainly this is well within the boundaries  of legitimate debate. Or it 
used to be. There are still people who believe human  beings are diverse and 
complicated, and judging them solely by sex or color is  just a ham-fisted 
social experiment. “Treat people as individuals, not as just  another member 
of their group,” says our engineer. His brand of American  egalitarianism 
and idealism, however, is now frowned upon in large segments of  society and 
at certain companies. 
Google can take any political positions it  likes. But its overwhelming 
power and reach into the everyday lives of so many  Americans makes it a 
perfectly legitimate target for criticism, as  well. 
“If we can’t have an honest discussion about  this, then we can never 
truly solve the problem,” writes the engineer. He must  be new there. 
Not long ago, an activist  shareholder _asked_ 
(https://twitter.com/CNN/status/894437162715926528)  Eric Schmidt if 
conservatives and  libertarians 
feel an “inclusive environment” working at Google. “I would start  with my 
answer, which is we start from the principles of science at Google…”  began 
Schmidt, who then began to argue that liberal positions are tantamount to  “
science.” 
The engineer author does an admirable job  in his memo explaining how the 
philosophical dispositions of both liberals and  conservatives can bring very 
different things to a company. “Neither side,” he  writes, “is 100% 
correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning  society or, in 
this 
case, company.” Whereas the Right can deny the science of  evolution or 
climate change, the Left tends to deny the science of biological  difference in 
IQ and sex, which leads to “enormous confirmation bias, changes  what’s 
being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the  gender 
wage gap.” 
This is exactly what Google has now  confirmed with its reaction. 

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