Google fires employee for controversial memo

Preface

Wow @Google’s decision to fire someone for expressing their opinion on the internet has backfired. The fallout has been mostly very negative. Journalists and Bloggers have accused @Google of breaking labor laws, anti-American behavior, and stifling free expression and free thought. I think this shows that whatever social idealogy @Google may once have had, it has been crushed under the weight of their corporate greed. They must have had board meetings where they weighed the financial risks of tolerating the employee’s behavior, or firing the employee. Ethical standards have nothing to do with decisions like these when a corporation of Google’s size is in the crosshairs, the only thing that matters to them is money and their continued stability in the marketplace.

My opinion

I happen to agree in a narrow sense that diversity of thought and diversity of culture is probably what we should all be striving for. I am of the opinion that people should be hired and promoted based on merit alone, and never gender, or race, or any other “book cover” trait. Some board room decision that “We need at least 40% to 60% women in our top roles” is not a good way to staff an organization of any size or role. It limits your options and opens the door for unexpected breakdowns in the team.

The human race is not divided into genetically isolated groups competing with each other for dominance. It’s not Women vs Men vs Latinos vs Blacks vs Gays. There are humans who choose to live that way or they think that’s how it works, but they are either ignorant or stupid. You can certainly organize your culture into that kind of competition, but it would not be best for the species and it would have no basis in science or knowledge or intellect. You might wish that the world could be divided up in such ways, but Planet Earth and The Human Race do not exist to grant your fucking wishes. Life is what it is, reality is what it is, regardless of whether any one person or persons chooses to accept it.

man with tape over his mouth which reads 'freedom'Some women would not make good engineers. That is true. That doesn’t mean all women make poor engineers. Some men would make terrible engineers too. People are individuals with unique experiences which define much of their capabilities and competencies, as well as genetic factors which are not group-based but individual-based. I would suggest that any genetic differences would be minor and have the least noticable effect on workplace capability, especially when placed against educational and cultural differences which have huge impacts.

So it’s not right to say one group of people is genetically inferior to another, it’s also not right to say they’re all equal to another. There is only one “Human Race” on Planet earth, and you humans need to stop trying to re-define yourself in various sub-groups. There is The Human Species, and then there are individual Humans, and that’s as good as it’s ever going to get. The whole reason we have anti-discrimination laws is because science has shown there are no correlations between biological capabilities including intelligence, and group categories like gender, skin color, religion, sexuality, and so on.

It’s not because anti-discrimination laws make us feel better. Seriously nobody in power cares how anything makes any of you feel. Anti-discrimination laws exist to efficiently provide guidance for hundreds of millions of people. It takes too long to sit every person down and ensure they’ve been properly educated on the subject, so we have laws instead which are basically the society saying to every hill billy in the nation “Listen, trust us, gender and skin color have nothing to do with competence. Don’t discriminate”. It’s definitely not to make anyone feel better. If there were scientific evidence showing that specific groups of people were less capable than other groups, discrimination would be legal, with complete disregard for your feelings. People who craft and lead nations are not interested in your feelings. They’re thinking on a larger scale and in longer terms than any one lifetime.

In summary

If I were Google I’m not sure I’d have made a different decision. To them it’s not about ethics, it’s about reducing fallout. They believed that firing the guy would have the least damaging effect on their business in the long term. Time will tell if they got it right or wrong. That said, they probably shouldn’t have fired him. Sure the guy said a lot of things that are wrong. So what? He also expressed some ideas that had a twinkle of inspiration behind them. It’s better to have a conversation about these subjects, than to freak the fuck out and hang the bastard. What did he actually do besides write his ideas down? If people can be fired for expressing ideas, they will become afraid to express themselves, and that future isn’t good for anyone.

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