Dissecting the Google Employee’s Anti-Diversity Manifesto, Piece-by-Piece
This weekend, the Google “Anti-Diversity” manifesto came into focus. If you’re unaware of the story, a Google employee wrote a manifesto chastising Google’s position on women in tech. This naturally created an outcry and later, Gizmodo obtained a copy of the manifesto, but left out charts and links, which annoyed the heck out of me, as that is tampering with the evidence for anyone to make an informed decision over.
Yet, there is enough in the manifesto to go on in the interim and I spent some time establishing what it was trying to say and the veracity of the claims within it.
This series of posts presents an analysis of the detail of the manifesto and crucially, where the author is either incomplete or inconsistent in their position.
People generally have good intentions, but we all have biases which are invisible to us. Thankfully, open and honest discussion with those who disagree can highlight our blind spots and help us grow, which is why I wrote this document. Google has several biases and honest discussion about these biases is being silenced by the dominant ideology. What follows is by no means the complete story, but it’s a perspective that desperately needs to be told at Google.
At Google, we talk so much about unconscious bias as it applies to race and gender, but we rarely discuss our moral biases. Political orientation is actually a result of deep moral preferences and thus biases. Considering that the overwhelming majority of the social sciences, media, and Google lean left, we should critically examine these prejudices.”
You read this a lot and this fundamentally misrepresents the relationship between social sciences or even hard sciences and left leaning prejudices.
The main factors in the lean are not actually educational in nature. They’re not even related to IQ. Stankov and Lee produced a paper in 2015 which assessed over 8,000 people across 33 countries and examined them for conservative or liberal biases. Education wasn’t found to be a factor on its own. Necessary, but not sufficient. Whether social science or hard science, this also wasn’t as strong an indicator. The real influence was found to be the position in the power hierarchy of the “middle-tier” (shown below in yellow. Blue is liberal, red is conservative. Note, these 33 countries were sampled against a world average).
This naturally triages on to the following bullets.
Compassion for the weak
Disparities are due to injustices
Humans are inherently cooperative
Change is good (unstable)
Respect for the strong/authority
Disparities are natural and just
Humans are inherently competitive
Change is dangerous (stable)
This is obviously an opinion of the engineer, since they appear limited in their ability to understand what the left of socialism, anarchy, marxism, communism and the like actually do. Not least that pragmatism is actually a centrist or left leaning activity, especially since non-profits have to work with very limited resources. Ideology has no place in a functioning charity board.
Furthermore, the very act of writing this manifesto, to claim an injustice exists, takes that person outside the conservative sphere. If they believed such a motion is unjust, then they could not claim a conservative position by their own logic.
The commentator then goes on to try to position the argument in a centrist light, consistent with the above position.
Neither side is 100% correct and both viewpoints are necessary for a functioning society or, in this case, company. A company too far to the right may be slow to react, overly hierarchical, and untrusting of others. In contrast, a company too far to the left will constantly be changing (deprecating much loved services), over diversify its interests (ignoring or being ashamed of its core business), and overly trust its employees and competitors.
Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases, but when it comes to diversity and inclusion, Google’s left bias has created a politically correct monoculture that maintains its hold by shaming dissenters into silence. This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies. For the rest of this document, I’ll concentrate on the extreme stance that all differences in outcome are due to differential treatment and the authoritarian element that’s required to actually discriminate to create equal representation.
These two paragraphs appear to provide an insight into the author’s state of mind. I’m going to ignore the speculation on that though, and concentrate on a few key points.
This silence removes any checks against encroaching extremist and authoritarian policies.
The issue here is that companies are not democracies. Even Google, as lean and product oriented as it is, is not a democracy.
In addition, the very fact of inferring a bias against conservationism, which this author would claim is caught and clamped down on by Google, infers that extremism can only go one way. To the extreme left, because shaming into silence or the threat of being fired (as described later in the manifesto), would silence right of centre voices. That by it’s very nature, renders the existence of such a bias impossible in the event that equality of extremism is true (which he argues it is not) and this portion of the argument is thus, non-sequitur and can only be subjectively true if they do not consider a far-right extreme to be an extreme.
Also, focus on the last bold point.
Only facts and reason can shed light on these biases
I absolutely agree! The author has already failed in the position of reason with the above. So in the next article, I’ll move on to the next point and apply this to that engineer’s position on “facts”.