Skip to main content

Good is evil, war is peace, lies are truth- and at Google, homogeneity is diversity

One day in the Spring of 1977,  I decided on a whim to take the 'El' home to my home in Jefferson Park after a journalism class in Uptown.  Tied to a pillar on the platform by a red ribbon was an absolutely adorable Schnauzer puppy. Somebody had abandoned him there.

I couldn't just leave him there. I collected him, left the 'El' platform, and took a taxi home, the dog in tow.

We couldn't keep him. We already had a beloved Sheltie, Bonnie, and the apartment just wasn't big enough for two dogs. Mom- I was living at home at the time- made that clear immediately. "Don't give him a name," she warned, realizing that even after so short an acquaintance it was going to be emotionally wrenching to say goodbye to the little guy when we finally found a no-kill shelter that would take him or some friends willing to adopt him.

We found such a shelter, and he was adopted by a nice family from the suburbs almost immediately. But while I followed the letter of Mom's advice, I ignored its spirit. I've always been a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, and one of the Elder Gods of the so-called Cthulhu Mythos is Hastur, also known as "He Who Is Not To Be Named." Supposedly to utter Hastur's name aloud was to summon him, with all sorts of horrific and decidedly inconvenient consequences.

I called the puppy "Hastur." Yeah, parting with him was hard. But I really don't think that giving him a tongue-in-cheek name made it much harder, even though I acknowledge the wisdom of Mom's advice on general principles. Doing it just acknowledged and honored the relationship between us, however brief it had been. Even though I only knew little Hastur for a few days, I still think of him with fondness forty years later.

David Harsanyi of The Federalist writes that an engineer at Google has metaphorically named The Unnamable, and the retribution of the cosmos is crashing down on his head in a way Lovecraft would have appreciated.

Google fired James Damore for "perpetuating gender stereotypes," and he is being misquoted, misrepresented, and generally maligned all over the media on top of it. What was his crime? He dared to suggest, not that diversity itself was unimportant, but that some kinds of diversity are being over emphasized and that other equally important ones were being ignored.

He had the gall to point out that it's a matter of well-established scientific fact that men and women, as a function of their gender, tend to have specific characteristic, and differing strengths and weaknesses, and that differences in ability, rather than discrimination, might cause some of the gender imbalances in various jobs and professions. That the brains of men and women are wired differently is an accepted principle of neuroscience. There is no controversy about it.

Can you imagine? This guy actually suggested that actual ability has its virtues as a standard for hiring and promoting people, as opposed to rigid conformity to the various flavors of affirmative action! Worse, he dared argue that scientifically established fact trumps feminist ideology! Where science conflicted with political correctness, and he had the unmitigated gall to chose the side science!

Unforgivable!


He dared to suggest, secondly, that maybe ideological diversity was important, too, especially since the left tends to ignore science when it comes to the evidence that biological differences exist between the typical male and the typical female and to insist on the irrational, unscientific but rigidly dogmatic position that all kind of things which are empirically determined by nature are merely social constructs, and that this is every bit as troglodytic as the  denial of evolution or climate change by some elements on the right. The kind of objectivity to which Google aspires, he reasoned, would be better served by a workplace including people of various social and political viewpoints lest the parochial prejudices of only one become enshrined by the delusion that it represents objective truth.

And as Harsanyi observes, in firing him for saying that, Google did nothing more or less than to prove his point.

ADDENDUM: When the Brendon Eich travesty happened at Mozilla, I- who had been a Firefox and Thunderbird partisan for a decade- decided to stop using them or any other Mozilla product. I realized that this would have no financial consequences for Mozilla, but I could not stomach legitimizing Mozilla's intolerance and religious bigotry by ignoring it.

I have to give some thought as to whether I should still use Blogger and Gmail and YouTube and Chrome, which had replaced Firefox as my browser of choice, now that Google has demonstrated similar intolerance and a similar totalitarian mentality in firing Damore for nothing more or less than... well, calling Google out for its intolerance and totalitarian mentality.

Compulsory groupthink is not healthy for corporations, and it is even less healthy for the societies they function within. There is nothing that is ever healthy about a sterile echo chamber whose purity is maintained by intimidation and intellectual dishonesty.

ADDENDUM: This is amazing, Several hours after I posted this entry, the Christian satirical website "The Babylon Bee" posted this.


They also had an article about a new Google technology which autocorrects people's thoughts.

From the look of things, they probably will be using it quite vigorously on their employees.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Jan Chamberlain's rhetoric is too strong. But the stand she has taken is right.

I do not share the religion of Jan Chamberlain. I don't even pray to the same god. But I can't help but admire the integrity of the woman who quit the Mormon Tabernacle Choir rather than sing at Donald Trump's inauguration.

Ms. Chamberlain, like me, voted for Evan McMullin in November. Like me, she holds no brief for Hillary Clinton or her agenda. But she cannot, as she put it, "throw roses at Hitler."

As I've said before, comparing Trump to Hitler strikes me as harsh. I believe that Trump is a power-hungry narcissist who exhibits disturbing signs of psychopathy, like Hitler. Like Hitler, he has stigmatized  defenseless minorities- Muslims and undocumented aliens, rather than Jews- and made them scapegoats for the nation's troubles. Like Hitler, he has ridden a wave of irrational hatred and emotion to power. Like Hitler's, his agenda foreshadows disaster for the nation he has been chosen to lead.

But he's not going to set up death camps for Musli…

Neither Evan McMullin nor his movement are going away

Evan McMullin has devoted most of his post-college life- even to the point of foregoing marriage and a family- to fighting ISIS and al Qaeda and our nation's deadliest enemies as a clandestine officer for the CIA. He has done so at the risk of his life.

He has seen authoritarianism in action close-up. One of his main jobs overseas was to locate and facilitate the elimination of jihadist warlords. Evan McMullin knows authoritarians.

And when he looks at Donald Trump, what he sees is an authoritarian like the ones he fought overseas. He knows Donald Trump. After leaving the CIA he served as policy director for the Republican majority in the United States House of Representatives. He tells about his first encounter with The Donald in that role in this opinion piece he wrote for today's New York Times.

In fact, when Mitt Romney and Tom Coburn and all the others who were recruited to run as a conservative third-party candidate against Trump and Hillary Clinton backed out,  McMulli…

Huzzah! Once again, 45 does something majorly right!

First. he appointed Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and now 45 has- at long last- initiated a sensible space policy, with a plan to promote a "rapid and affordable" return to the moon carried out by private enterprise by 2020.  Afterward, it will be onward to Mars and beyond.

This is a great idea for three reasons. First, private enterprise is the future of space exploration, and as far as I know we will be the first spacefaring nation to put most of its eggs in that basket. Second, it's nice to have eggs! Since the Obama administration canceled the Constellation program to develop the Ares booster and the Orion crew vehicle (though it subsequently reinstated the Orion part of the program), the United States has been twiddling its thumbs while China has taken great leaps toward the moon and other countries- including Russia, India, and Japan- have to various degrees intensified their own space programs. It would be both tragic and foolhardy for the nation which first…