Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Earnest Terror of the Bio-Right (Google Firing)

In the aftermath of the Google Manifesto guy's firing (the guy wrote and, apparently, distributed a 10-page manifesto about the gender-differences and their impact on work at Google--and got fired for it) some voices on the right have, you may be astonished to learn, complained. There are several venues of complaint:

  1. The Manifesto Is Real: This complaint is straightforward--the guy spoke the Truth(TM) and was punished for it. This is the alt-right position (Human Bio-Diversity) when it comes to race (very iffy). It is more reasonable when applied to gender (where it looks like research shows distinct differences in populations as a whole--but not in relation to individual Google engineers). This position isn't of interest to The Omnivore for this post.
  2. The SJW-Inquisition Notched Another Win: This complaint is that the SJW-Left wants to get people fired for wrong-think and, so they did. Just like they got the CTO of FireFox and that football guy who sat through the National Anthem. This position isn't of interest to The Omnivore for this post.
  3. But The Guy Was So LEFTY About It: This is the interesting one. In this complaint the guy was fired even though he said he was pro-diversity. This is the position that The Omnivore is interested in for this post.

The Baying Of The Bio-Right

Here is Erick Ericson, who believes it is biological science that men should dominate in a family, complaining about just how, well, agreeable, the Manifesto-Googler was being:

The firing feels rather Orwellian. Damore agrees with diversity. Damore admits and acknowledges that there is a gender and race diversity problem, and he shared his employers’ desires to fix it. But he wanted to caution the company not to perpetuate sex or race-based programs that do not fix the problems. He likewise dared to suggest that intellectual diversity was as important as skin color and gender diversity.

In this telling the manifesto, which, no matter how nicely, suggested that women aren't as well suited to do jobs they in fact do every day at Google, should have been acceptable because it was "lefty enough"--it agreed with enough of the slogans--to be given a pass. Erickson also couches his fear that leftists at Google will silence the voices on the right with their powerful algorithms.

One is reminded of the conservative group that went to Facebook demanding what Glenn Beck called "Affirmative Action for Conservatives"--holding that Facebook should hire more (diverse) conservative voices and protect con-speech, and so on. In fact, it's almost like this is all just a tug-of-war over power and representation of one's cultural currency and the breathless claims of moral principle are window-dressing.

In fact, it's exactly like that--which is why #3 is interesting--it goes straight to the window dressing without worrying about what was actually being done.

What's REALLY Going On?

There are a few things you need to understand (and all these guys totally do) to put what happened in context. The First: Once Manifesto-guy distributed his payload he was a mega-liability bomb waiting to go off. He basically ensured that he would be fired. If you want to be metaphorical about it, intentionally or not, he martyred himself. The scientific or pro-diversity trappings of his action don't mitigate the HR threat at all--and Google, right now, is involved in diversity-centric lawsuits.

So that's the first thing.

The Second Thing: What's called HBD (Human Bio-Diversity) is a muddy and politically fraught discussion and has been for a long, long time (remember Eugenics?). Yes, you may feel you have a death grip on the Truth--that Men are really different from girls because [ Stats ]. Oh, and blacks are less intelligent than whites because [ stats ]. There's some super-predator genes in there too [ stats ]. And so the sexual revolution and contraception degraded and destroyed society.

Huh? Well, look--there's science and stats--and The Omnivore is not an expert in either--but there's also the way that these arguments are tied into rhetorical knots and bound together. In case you are pretending not to be aware of this, it goes (in simplified version) like this:

  1. Men and Women (and the races--white, black, and yellow) have different roles and attributes. Not just in major physical terms--but in subtle and important psychological ones (blacks are genetically typically less intelligent, women are more submissive, Asians are smarter).
  2. The implications of these inclinations are scientific justification for various policies that discriminate (more blacks in prison? Why, yes--they're more criminal! Fewer girls in science? Well, sure--they play with dolls while boys build with blocks!).
  3. The (complicated) science is then used as a defensive coating for various policies that, it turns out, were already in place! The magic-trick is that no one decides that women are better at some male-dominated job and so should be moved in to it. Usually the best that happens is "Women, okay, could be good at law--but not at mathematics!" 
  4. The interconnection between biological arguments using gender and biological arguments using race is nearly absolute from the racial perspective (almost no one believes that blacks are biologically less intelligent than whites--but that men and women are psychologically identical).

In other words, from a utility-of-the-argument perspective, Googler-Manifesto wades in to all kinds of highly questionable and super-charged waters. He may not have known it--but he did--and his coating of "pro-diversity" doesn't change that. Not one bit. 

The key to the Second Thing, in case it's not clear, is that the people above who are lamenting his treatment? They all do know about the connections. They're just choosing to ignore them. The fact that he doesn't say anything about race doesn't mean that the same argumentation--in the same sphere of thinking--is used relentlessly in racial discussions.  

So here's the Third Thing: the idea that he should be given a "pass" for his pro-diversity position is also based on the idea that the objections to what he was saying were, in fact, solely partisan. That is: "I can't disagree with your facts--but I don't like the side you're on--so I'm going to attack you."

In this view, the fact that he signaled he was "on their side" is distressing because he got attacked anyway. To the person who views the issue as purely my-side-your-side partisan this looks like LESS-THAN-ZERO-TOLERANCE. Coming from a Tumbr social-lefty-group, well we expect that.

Coming from Google, though? Well, The Omnivore sees how that could look disturbing.

But that's not what happened--at all (see Thing 1 and Thing 2!). Google had to do what it did, and a 10-page manifesto, distributed to co-workers, about gender-differences--no matter how well footnoted--is going directly into a space well inhabited by White Supremacists--on their side. 

So what this really shows, for the people complaining about how badly he was treated despite his defense of diversity--despite his not being alt-righty--for the people with the back of their hand being held to their forehead lamenting his being fired for asking people to be treated as individuals

That's how they see things--that if yous say you're on a given side--make the right noises around your policy description--then it doesn't matter what the policy is. You're on their side. That's good enough.

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