Sunday, November 4, 2018

Google Goes Hard Left

You know the story already. Last week, around the world, Google employees staged a walkout to demand social justice. Think about it, employees of one of the world’s largest corporations, a beacon of capitalist innovation, have been sucked up into the new quasi-socialist call for more diversity… and for less sexual harassment in the workplace.

We are all for reducing sexual harassment in the workplace, but the call for social activism rings slightly hollow in a company that excelled without diversity. Silicon Valley tech behemoths are not diverse. They are anything but diverse. They are largely run by white and Asian males.

So, the larger issue is not merely sexual harassment, but the radicalization of capitalist titans. Score one for indoctrination.

For the record, the Wall Street Journal reported:

Thousands of Google employees around the world staged a series of walkouts Thursday to protest a workplace culture that they say promotes and protects perpetrators of sexual harassment at the tech giant.

The organizers of the walkout published a letter demanding the company change its policies to make it safer for women to report instances of sexual harassment and to bolster the transparency of those reports.

“There are thousands of us, at every level of the company,” the letter said. “And we’ve had enough.”

The protests marked perhaps the largest display of employee activism concerning sexual harassment in a year in which the issue has come to the fore at companies world-wide. The events were also striking, given they occurred at a company that has long been considered at the leading edge of efforts to empower and support employees through generous perks and a permissive stance toward internal disagreements.

To provide some perspective, the larger problem is corporate groupthink. Employees at Google, Facebook and Amazon do not just slant left. They uniformly support the Democratic Party. Beyond the amount of money involved, this simply fact suggests that their software is going to be skewed toward a leftist viewpoint.

As Tyler O’Neil reports, Google employees manipulate search results to exercise mind control. And to undermine democratic deliberation.

The more crushing irony is that these tech companies are getting in bed with a political movement that will eventually either break them up or undermine them. The new Democratic Party, far more attuned to socialism than the old party, will surely find ways to tax these companies, and their hyperrich executives.

How to explain this? We can start with the fact that the people Google hires in America attended America’s best universities. Apparently, they have all been indoctrinated in the same politically correct thinking… because there seems to be no more diversity of thought at Google than there is in the Harvard faculty or the Stanford administration.

Thus, a bottoms-up approach has it that these employees, however good they are at statistics and engineering, must have been exposed to radical leftist thought on campus. And we also know that deviations from groupthink are severely punished. You cannot produce groupthink without creating a climate of fear. If everyone thinks the same way, that means that some people will need to be shunned or fired for thinking differently. Consider the case of James Damore.

It’s not news that America’s best and brightest students have been brainwashed by the educational establishment. The evidence is overwhelming. For the record, when it comes to computer engineers, the truth is that their work has very little to do with social justice or the culture wars. They are merely outsider observers, who are probably most concerned with keeping the government away from their business. If they could think rationally, they would obviously not be siding with Democrats, but then again, if they feel a need to pay protection, their money is better directed at Democrats than at Republicans.

Anyway, I want to consider a different angle here. The top-down approach. How much of the corporate groupthink at Google and Facebook derives from the simple fact that its leaders have openly expressed their political views. We recall that Google founder Sergei Brin held a meeting after the 2016 election to express his dismay at the results. And we recall that he spoke as though everyone shared his opinion. Don’t you think that this promotes corporate groupthink.

Did Brin’s public pronouncement trigger Google activism. Consider the irony: Brin declared that he and everyone else at Google was upset that America’s enabler in chief, the woman who did more than anyone else to make sexual harassment acceptable, a woman who had been rewarded with jobs and titles, a woman who was simply an incompetent fraud… had lost the election.

Were you to ask why so many of these activists seem hysterically irrational, the reason might be that protesting sexual harassment in the name of Hillary Clinton is intellectually incoherent.

And then we have Sheryl Sandberg, a woman who apparently had too much time on her hands, and who decided to become a feminist activist. If you were working at Facebook and you knew that your boss, the company’s No. 2, believed fervently in crackpot feminism, would you feel that you had the right to express a different opinion? Keep in mind, when Facebook executive Joel Kaplan, formerly of the Bush administration, took time off to attend the senate hearings for his longtime friend Brett Kavanaugh, Facebook almost had an insurrection. It was the fruit of Sandberg’s work.

One hastens to add that Facebook did hold a meeting with conservative media figures. After the meeting Glenn Beck declared that the executives engaged with them and showed respect for different opinions. So, the issue is not that the people who run these corporations are narrow minded groupthinkers. It’s that their employees take cues from their public statements. Considering that these staff members do not make a living trafficking in political opinions, they risk far too much by deviating from the corporate orthodoxy… orthodoxy established through public statements by senior executives.

If these companies are ultimately broken up, if they are taxed into oblivion, one cause will certainly be the error their leading executives made by wading into the culture wars. Corporate executives who want to foster free and open debate should keep their personal political views to themselves. They should not sound like activists, unless they want their entire company to be filled with activists. Keep in mind, these companies did not excel because of diversity. They are not in the social justice business. Perhaps they are afraid of antifa, or the leftist equivalent of peasants with pitchforks, but clearly they would be better to run their companies and to shut up about politics.

If anything ends up undermining these corporate behemoths it will be the same thing that brings down all tragic heroes: hybris. By that I mean that the people who own social media and who own the marketplace of information mistakenly think that they also own the marketplace of ideas. It’s a big mistake… hopefully, it will not be fatal.


Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: As Tyler O’Neil reports, Google employees manipulate search results to exercise mind control.

This is a high charge, or is it just an opinion? But if people believe it, it may encourage competing search engines to say they are "fair and balanced" when giving equal treatment to opinion blogs as fact-checked news sources.

But we do know Google is developing a search engine for China that will do exactly as charged, and worse, where the government will have access to your personal searches and surely can use that for "law enforcement", 1984 style.

Back to Google mind control, who is Robert Epstein? It sounds like he has an axe to grind at least. Epstein threatened legal action if the warning concerning his website was not removed, and denied that any problems with his website existed. Several weeks later, Epstein admitted his website had been hacked, but still criticized Google for tarnishing his name and not helping him find the infection. Epstein has since continued anti-Google advocacy, writing in TIME magazine that Google had "a fundamentally deceptive business model".

Sam L. said...

Well, I hope that it's fatal, or at least a near-death event that would wake them up.

David Spence said...

Hubris, not hybris.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Both are acceptable... look it up.

Anonymous said...

Say what you want about Trump, he certainly has the Left bamboozled and the poseurs left and right dropping their masks.
PS Yes I'm still around, I love this blog.

Sam L. said...

Well, it's not like this is NEWS. They've been this way for some time.