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Free Minds & Free Markets

Silicon Valley's Dangerous Political Blind Spots

Will the lack of ideological diversity doom big tech companies?

When it comes to software, Silicon Valley understands the threat of monocultures. If 100 percent of computers run the same code and malware authors discover an exploit, 100 percent of computers will be vulnerable to the same attack. Fortunately, the way to reduce such risks is straightforward: Increase diversity.

Alas, this insight seems limited to software. Technology executives have yet to fully recognize the risks posed by the potent political monocultures forming inside their own companies.

We've reached the point where many tech employees in the San Francisco Bay Area who happen to be libertarian or conservative feel compelled to keep their views secret. Others, open about their opinions, report that they've suffered career setbacks for being insufficiently progressive, even as their outspoken left-of-center colleagues who spent 2016 sporting "I'm With Her" hats have not.

Even some self-identified liberals are dismayed at what they view as a toxic monoculture. Tim Ferriss, a startup advisor and investor, moved to Austin after living for 17 years in San Francisco. "Silicon Valley also has an insidious infection that is spreading—a peculiar form of McCarthyism masquerading as liberal open-mindedness," he posted on Reddit in November. "I'm as socially liberal as you get, and I find it nauseating."

This climate is unhealthy for employers as well. Companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Apple are increasingly likely to miss opportunities to develop products that can appeal to the half of the nation that cares little for left-of-center politics.

That's created market opportunities for substitute services, from Gab.ai (a Twitter alternative) to Brave (a web browser), from InfoGalactic (akin to Wikipedia) to Voat.co (a chat board site much like Reddit)—each of which advertises itself as committed to protecting free speech, privacy, and a diversity of viewpoints. D.tube, a decentralized video sharing site, boasts that, unlike YouTube, it is "not able to censor videos" due to built-in technological constraints.

For CEOs of billion-dollar companies who are famously paranoid about competition from upstarts, this is a remarkable unforced error. (Google employees are well aware that they occupy a campus owned by Silicon Graphics before its bankruptcy, while Facebook's headquarters used to be Sun Microsystems'. Mark Zuckerberg kept the old Sun sign around to remind employees of what their fate could be.)

The current climate means that tech companies are likely to miss out on good workers who don't quite fit in. The brilliant nonconformists who helped to create the computing and internet industries—and launched the Burning Man festival along the way—would likely fail an initial human resources résumé screen today. Yet Silicon Valley has thrived in part because its history is populated by figures like Whole Earth Catalog editor Stewart Brand, novelist Ken Kesey and his LSD-fueled "Merry Pranksters," phone hacker Cap'n Crunch, inventor Douglas Engelbart, and the late Electronic Frontier Foundation co-founder John Perry Barlow. Time was, the counterculture co-existed and even overlapped with conservatives and libertarians. Barlow, for example, was chairman of Wyoming's Sublette County Republican Party and a coordinator for Dick Cheney's 1978 congressional campaign. He also was a lyricist for the Grateful Dead.

The Bay Area could transform itself from fruit orchards to a trillion-dollar economy precisely because it lacked a political monoculture. Take David Packard and Bill Hewlett, who founded what would become Silicon Valley's largest employer and first great corporation. The two were avid outdoorsmen who together bought a 28,539-acre ranch east of San Jose for hunting deer and wild pigs.

Packard in particular was a prominent supporter of conservative causes: He became a trustee of the American Enterprise Institute and Stanford University's Hoover Institution and served as Richard Nixon's deputy defense secretary. He was also unapologetic about his politics, warning in 1992 that "the Democratic Party has been the party of socialism since President Roosevelt's term."

William Shockley, creator of the transistor, ran for the California GOP's Senate nomination in 1982. Ron Conway, an early investor in Google and PayPal, is a self-described conservative who worked on Nixon's 1968 campaign. According to one of his longtime friends, Steve Jobs voted for Ronald Reagan; according to Steve Wozniak, he was influenced by Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. T.J. Rodgers, the now-retired CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, assigned Rand's writings to his management team, and DoubleClick's Kevin O'Connor gave his son "Rand" as a middle name. As recently as 2008, then–presidential candidate Ron Paul could show up at Google and find a standing-room-only employee audience.

Today's Silicon Valley, on the other hand, seems to repel smart people who are insufficiently progressive. Billionaire investor Peter Thiel, arguably the region's most prominent conservative, is moving to Los Angeles because of the Bay Area's "intolerant, left-leaning politics," according to The Wall Street Journal. Andrew Torba, founder of Gab.ai, explained to The Guardian why he too had left: "As a conservative, a Christian, and a Trump supporter I felt like I couldn't speak freely without being shunned or attacked for having a different opinion."

Entrepreneur Marc Andreessen has said he knows of exactly two people in Silicon Valley who voted for Donald Trump. "I guarantee there are Trump supporters in Silicon Valley who feel like they can't say so," he added. "What does it do to someone who feels literally like they cannot express themselves? That is such an unhealthy place to get to."

The atmosphere inside Google has become especially toxic, according to a lawsuit filed by James Damore against his former employer. The software engineer has buttressed his case with nearly 100 pages of posts shared openly among employees, including one in which a manager announced that he maintains a blacklist of workers who hold differing views on religion. "'Legitimate world views' 'Conservative Christianity,'" read another. "I admire your tolerance, but pairing those two phrases still sounds like an oxymoron to me."

Those posts appeared before Damore circulated his controversial memo within the company. Afterward, he says, the tone darkened. One colleague predicted that "a good number of the people you might have to work with may simply punch you in the face." Others likened conservative coworkers to "this cancer within our culture."

Google will have a chance to defend itself, and the courts may well decide there was no unlawful discrimination involved in Damore's firing. But management's decision to tolerate (encourage?) such extreme single-mindedness aligns Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., even more hermetically with one side of the culture wars. (Twitter wasn't helped, either, by Project Veritas' release of undercover videos in which current and former employees appear to disparage Christians and discuss "shadow banning," or preventing other users from seeing someone's public posts.)

All this comes during a time of unfortunate regulatory overreach targeting technology companies. Even before Damore's lawsuit, conservatives had begun to propose treating social media platforms as public utilities. Missouri's Republican attorney general is investigating Google, a move that should worry any CEO who remembers how states helped to kick off the antitrust case against Microsoft from two decades ago. Congress is considering a bill to weaken the federal law that shields internet companies from liability for their users' crimes, while Facebook is on the defensive over allegations of social media addiction and its role in spreading "fake news." President Trump claims Amazon has been ducking its taxes. And the head of the Federal Communications Commission calls Silicon Valley "a much bigger actual threat to an open internet than broadband providers."

A wave of populist anger may never crest against the technology industry, but for the first time in recent memory, such a scenario looks possible. If 100 percent of major technology companies share the same monoculture, 100 percent of them become vulnerable to the same threats: lost market opportunities, alienated employees, and newfound regulatory enthusiasm. If only there were another option.

Photo Credit: donald_gruener/iStockPhoto

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  • Earth Skeptic||

    So big tech companies have become more "corporate", with HR policies that take priority over technical and business results. Good.

  • Brandybuck||

    Yeah. I suspect some of these companies are on very thin ice, and will plummet into the icy depths at the whim of a shift in consumer desires. Apple exists only as a boutique producer of overpriced tech. Facebook has built it's own advertising buggle that will pop when viewership drifts off to the next big social posting site. Google has simply grown way too fast, and it's going to implode when it can't sustain its growth.

    The eyeballs for advertising model itself is going to collapse as well. We're rapidly reaching the point where we won't need huge giant gatekeepers anymore, and everyone will be connected directly to everyone else via whatever service they choose.

  • CE||

    I thought true AI was getting closer, but when the phrase "cash from home" doesn't even get stopped by a spam filter, it makes you wonder.

  • El Oso||

    Don't worry, be happy - it will all work out, or not...

  • Libertarian||

    "The True Revolution - Guided By Feelings"

    Nice bumpersticker in the pic. And if you deleted the word "true" it would be unironic AND 100% true.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    All human action is guided by feelings, including your comment.

  • JesseAz||

    No it isn't.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Thanks for helping to prove my point.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I feel like this is the worst chatroom ever.

  • MSimon||

    People without feelings can't make decisions. Look it up.

  • TJJ2000||

    lmao.. Part true - That's a liberal specific symptom in that they can't make decisions without "feelings"
    - that is indeed public knowledge ( "look it up" ).

  • Pat001||

    "Even some self-identified liberals are dismayed at what they view as a toxic monoculture."

    Some, but not enough. And not just Silicon Valley companies.

  • Jim Logajan||

    If you dig into their philosophy, I bet the dismayed "liberals" are probably classical liberals, not socialists.

  • Brandybuck||

    Most liberals at their core are classical liberals who just don't understand socialism. It's the progressives that are toxic.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Progressives are neo marxists. Liberals are typically poorly informed people who are emotionally driven.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Nerds want to be part of the cool crowd, but don't know how to be cool.

  • Echospinner||

    Nor should they because nerds are already cool. Look at popular culture now.

    Spent the better part of an hour yesterday reading an article about the economic theories of Rothbard and another about neuroscience and AI. How nerdy is that?

    What a shame that these companies are creating a culture suppressing creativity and open exchange of ideas when it is the very thing they depend on.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Proves my point.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Lol

  • JesseAz||

    hot girls wearing glasses isn't "nerd culture."

  • Echospinner||

    I vote to include them.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Ummm My mom met my dad, because they were both math majors at the same college. Before that, her family would complain that dinner was always burnt when it was her turn to cook, because her head was in a book. You should see some of her pictures from her 20's. Attractive ladies can do math and read impressive books. They just have trouble getting the catty suburban bitches to like them.

  • FreeRadical||

    With those genes, there was no way you wouldn't become a libertarian.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Nor should they because nerds are already cool. Look at popular culture now.

    You mean the commoditized nostalgia and stunning lack of creativity?

  • Henry Buttal||

    This isn't new, it's just a different form of bullying and corporate cronyism within the Valley and Seattle. From Jobs, Schmidt, and Omidyar and others who formed a cabal to restrict movement and compensation and talent (and fired people who violated it ) to Page and Brin parking their private jets and getting cheap jet fuel at government facilities from their WH buddies, it's very Stalinist in its group think and has been going on for over a decade.

    Ironically, Zuckerberg is probably the LEAST of the problem. He didn't play the cabal game, and at least has gotten out of the commune to see how the rest of America (and the world) lives.

  • Cy||

    A bunch of stupid rich naive people who've never had to taste reality, being pompous, short sighted, self righteous and extremely liberal?

    /feign surprise

  • DajjaI||

    Actually the main reason SV is liberal is that they push minimum wage laws. Why? Because automation, baby.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Hmmmm... Might a similar robotic revolution be powering the War on Backpage and Revival of Comstock Laws? Robohooker plaçage could just maybe steepen the (now happily negative) slope of the population growth curve and save us from Malthusian Armageddon despite all strenuous efforts to the contrary on the part of Christiano- and Islamo-fascist birth-forcers and yerbooty shakers. What happens when obscurantists discover their Senior Antisex League is changing the product coming out of Rossum's Universal Robots so sex workers go the way of quadroon balls?

  • kinghiram91||

    Can someone please translate this word vomit into readable text?

  • Finrod||

    It's just Hank declaring himself to be a brain-dead prog.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Hank isn't a prog, but he is an insane gibbering maniac.

  • wagnert in atlanta||

    Hank makes a point, if you dig deep enough. At least, I think he does. I couldn't be bothered.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Human sex-workers in Spain shut down Europe's first cyberbrothel about a year ago by protesting, because they did not want robots to take there jobs. On a related note, I think Ted Cruz once defended a Texan law prohibiting vibrators.

  • Don't look at me.||

    BECAUSE HE IS A DICK!

  • EscherEnigma||

    On a related note, I think Ted Cruz once defended a Texan law prohibiting vibrators.


    While he was Solicotor General of Texas (or whatever the title is. Top lawyer for the state anyway) his department defended the state's sodomy law (Lawrence v. Texas (2003)) and the state's vibrator ban in 2007/2008. He lost the dildo-ban at the appealte court, and asked for an en banc hearing but was turned down. He did not seek cert from the SCOTUS, though he did talk about it.

  • ace_m82||

    Christiano- and Islamo-fascist birth-forcers...

    Funny, I thought it was the RAPIST that forced birth? I just insist that no-one initiates force upon another non-brain dead human.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Hmmmm... Might a similar robotic revolution be powering the War on Backpage and Revival of Comstock Laws? Robohooker plaçage could just maybe steepen the (now happily negative) slope of the population growth curve and save us from Malthusian Armageddon despite all strenuous efforts to the contrary on the part of Christiano- and Islamo-fascist birth-forcers and yerbooty shakers. What happens when obscurantists discover their Senior Antisex League is changing the product coming out of Rossum's Universal Robots so sex workers go the way of quadroon balls?

  • wagnert in atlanta||

    We heard you the first time.

  • KevinP||

    It's interesting to read this:

    Class Action Complaint against Google for Workplace Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation


    Actual quotes from Google managers and employees:

    George Sadlier ("Sadlier"), a Director, sent out a mass email condemning James' essay as "repulsive and intellectually dishonest" and promising an HR investigation into Damore. Sadlier also promoted posts that advocated for physical violence against Damore. Damore received a late-night email from Alex Hidalgo, a Site Reliability Engineer at Google in Sadlier's organization: "You're a misogynist and a terrible person. I will keep hounding you until one of us is fired. F*** you."

    Adam Fletcher ("Fletcher"), L6 SRE Manager stated in reference to conservatives as "hostile voices," "I will never, ever hire/transfer you onto my team. Ever. I don't care if you are perfect fit or technically excellent or whatever. I will actively not work with you, even to the point where your team or product is impacted by this decision. I'll communicate why to your manager if it comes up."

    Kim Burchett ("Burchett"), L7 SWE Manager, proposed creating an online companywide blacklist of political conservatives inside Google.

  • Mark22||

    Note that by the metrics of social justice, those are two privileged white males and an ultra-privileged white female.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Funny how what goes around, comes around. The bright side is that pulpit-thumping mystical bigots have successfully transferred part of their intolerant culture to progressive socialists. This will make it easier for libertarian candidates to soak votes away from both brands of violent looterdom.

  • kinghiram91||

    Libertarians are winning seats in local and state elections all over the country. Libertarian Moment when?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Next year... next year.

  • ace_m82||

    pulpit-thumping mystical bigots have successfully transferred part of their intolerant culture to progressive socialists.

    Some in the pulpit are "intolerant" (I think by that you mean "use government against those who do what they think is evil but harms no unwilling parties"). Some don't do any of that. Don't conflate the two.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Funny how what goes around, comes around. The bright side is that pulpit-thumping mystical bigots have successfully transferred part of their intolerant culture to progressive socialists. This will make it easier for libertarian candidates to soak votes away from both brands of violent looterdom.

  • wagnert in atlanta||

    Your observations are not so bright that everyone wants to read them twice. Or anyone. Or once.

  • Mark22||

    Google will have a chance to defend itself, and the courts may well decide there was no unlawful discrimination involved in Damore's firing. But management's decision to tolerate (encourage?) such extreme single-mindedness aligns Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., even more hermetically with one side of the culture wars.

    So what? If Google thinks that they can deliver the best product by putting people in charge because they are black lesbians, while telling their white male employees to shut up, good for them, let them try. It's a free country, or at least should be. One might note that Google's employee retention is one of the worst in the industry, at under 2 years. A side benefit is that if Google sops up and retains all the left wing bigots, those people infest the rest of the industry much less.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    In related news, we need to grant more tech visas, because ...

  • What's that smell?||

    I read about half of this complaint and can't see Google defending much of this especially the blacklisting. What will most likely happen is a settlement, gag order, Google admits no wrong doing and very little, if anything at all, changes.

  • Mark22||

    Google admits no wrong doing and very little, if anything at all, changes.

    And that's perfectly fine. If Google can't figure out that treating their employees this way is bad for business, they should go out of business.

  • Hank Phillips||

    The Whole Earth Catalog contained within its pages an entire Merry Prankster-style novel in which mystical force-initiation apologists were (SPOILER ALERT!) liberally dosed with food for thought.

  • VinniUSMC||

    I see English words, but no coherent point.

    How many monkeys did it take to type that?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Saying that Silicon Valley has a "blind spot" regarding political diversity is like saying the Allied Command had a "blind spot" regarding the Axis; They see it perfectly well, and identify it as a moral enemy.

  • Longtobefree||

    Silicon Valley knows exactly what it is doing, and why.
    Hint: it has nothing to do with blind spots, and everything to do with politics.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Please, tell me more. I live about as far from a coast as I can get, and don't really understand hints of any sort.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I find this absolutely fascinating. We will eventually get to the point where the left and the right are going to have such different views of reality that they will not be able to communicate with each other at all.

  • BikeRider||

    In some ways we're already there. I work in the academic community with people who essentially deny the existence of objective reality. They don't believe that biologists can contribute the transgender discussions because the scientific method is rooted in an invalid white, male, Euro-centric paradigm. Statistical results can't be used to discuss wage gaps because numbers and measurement are rooted in the same paradigm. I try to respect other's viewpoints, but I don't know how to communicate with someone who rejects logic, rejects data, and refuses to define terms.

    I'm not a Trump fan, but I loved it when his people came up with "alternate facts" because it's tossing post-modernism right back at the academic world. If there is no objective reality, then my "facts" are just as good as yours.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    I could have fun debating one of your coworkers.

    Me - I think there is an objective reality.

    Him - No, there isn't.

    Me - I am glad you agreed with me.

    Him - No, I didn't.

    Me - Prove it.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    and refuses to define terms.

    I actually had this debate with a young man a few times. I tried a different strategy on the last debate. I asked him to pass me the sea anemone while we were at a fast food restaurant. Then I kept repeating my request getting angrier and angrier each time he failed to fulfill it. Finally, I picked up the package of ketchup next to him and said, "This is a sea anemone." He got my point.

  • CE||

    I thought it was made out of tomatoes.

  • mtrueman||

    "If there is no objective reality"

    I don't think post modernism, like Derrida and others, reject objective reality. They are skeptics and deny absolute final truths. Derrida doesn't reject logic either. He's just open to other forms of knowledge, intuitions, for example.

    "They don't believe that biologists can contribute the transgender discussions because the scientific method is rooted in an invalid white, male, Euro-centric paradigm. "

    It was only 60 odd years ago that your biologists were dosing Alan Turing with female hormones to cure him of his sexual deviancy. It's probably a very good idea to give short shrift to biologists and other scientists on these issues and stick to torturing rats. They've already done enough damage.

  • Vernon Depner||

    And today, the "gender identity" faddists are cutting off cocks and balls for essentially the same reason. The hormones were much less harmful and more reversible. I'd say advantage biologists in that argument. It's probably a good idea give respect to biological facts on medical matters, and remember "first do no harm".

  • mtrueman||

    "The hormones were much less harmful and more reversible"

    I oppose the patriarchy - the lawmakers, courts, police, and medical profession - imposing these kinds of quack treatments on people like Turing.

  • Vernon Depner||

    And I oppose the quacks who are cutting the balls of off Gay boys because the "transgender" wackos have convinced them that Gay boys are actually girls. Can we agree that Gay kids are fine the way they are and don't require hormones or surgery to bring their bodies into alignment with their thoughts and feelings? Can we agree that sexual liberation means that all thoughts and feelings are equally acceptable for both sexes?

  • mtrueman||

    "And I oppose the quacks who are cutting the balls of off Gay boys because the "transgender" wackos have convinced them that Gay boys are actually girls. "

    I think you are misconstruing this. I note your emotional attachment to balls and I share it. It's just a part of the body in reality. I wasn't too keen on having a tooth extracted recently, but I soon got used to it. We adapt, we survive. Turing, however, wasn't given the choice. That's where I draw the line.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Biologists did not dose Alan Turing; doctors licensed by the state did. They did so, because psychiatrists determined that homosexuality is a mental illness. Until a few years ago, psychiatrists said that being transgender was a mental illness. Psychiatrists still say that cross dressing is a mental illness.

    In Iran, the leaders proclaim that they have no homosexuals, because they believe that a homosexual is really transgender. The Iranian government pays for a gay bottom to have gender reassignment surgery, whether he wants it or not. In the states, a cross dresser can face many problems thanks to the DSM, but those problems go away if he says he is a woman and undergoes gender reassignment surgery. Biologists discover information that help people understand and change their bodies. State licensed doctors often abuse their authority to force or pressure people to change their bodies.

  • Vernon Depner||

    "...they believe that a homosexual is really transgender."

    What do you mean, "they"? That is the prevailing view among "transgenderism" advocates in North America as well. Promotion of the "transgender" concept amounts to an attempted genocide against Gay boys.

  • Mark22||

    I don't think post modernism, like Derrida and others, reject objective reality. They are skeptics and deny absolute final truths. Derrida doesn't reject logic either. He's just open to other forms of knowledge, intuitions, for example.

    Translation: "we use science or intuition, depending on what serves the objectives of our neo-Marxist ideology best".

    It was only 60 odd years ago that your biologists were dosing Alan Turing with female hormones to cure him of his sexual deviancy. It's probably a very good idea to give short shrift to biologists and other scientists on these issues and stick to torturing rats. They've already done enough damage.

    "Biologists" weren't dosing Alan Turing. Biologists merely said (correctly) that homosexuality is abnormal. It was progressives that said "because it is abnormal, we need to violate his rights and pump him full of hormones". These days, progressives say, in effect, "scientific data shows that while males are racists and misogynists, so we need to take their stuff and oppress them".

    The problem isn't with science or its objectivity, the problem is that progressives and neo-Marxists misuse science in order to justify violating people's fundamental rights.

  • mtrueman||

    Post modernists reject Marxism. You must be thinking of modernists. Basically, the modernist project was a marriage of Freud and Marx. The post modernists abandoned the project and Marx.

    "abnormal."

    Big deal. Everyone is unique. Even your biologist should admit it.

    "Biologists" weren't dosing Alan Turing."

    Would you believe nurses?

    "These days, progressives say, in effect, "scientific data shows that while males are racists and misogynists, "

    That makes you the victim! How wonderful that can whine with conviction!

    "The problem isn't with science or its objectivity, the problem is that progressives and neo-Marxists misuse science in order to justify violating people's fundamental rights."

    Absolute nonsense. It wasn't progressives who drove the poor man to suicide. It was, in a word, the patriarchy. The police, courts, and medical profession. All to punish him, in your own words, for being abnormal. And you actually defend this kind of horrid treatment.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    The people upyou describable used to receive beatings and end up on blacklists. Now they receive tenure, and are granted committee chairmanships. The old ways worked far better.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    We're already starting to get that with this "dog whistle" nonsense, where ordinary words are purported to have nasty meanings if used by the other side. This isn't an honest attempt to understand what the other guy is saying, it's a way of policing your own side, by making sure that if they're listening to the other guys they won't actually understand what they're getting at.

    I could easily see a future where 24/7 translation apps supposedly transparently translate across languages, but have the added feature that if you're saying something the app source doesn't agree with, it gets 'translated' into some kind of stereotypical rant or racist gibberish.

  • sharmota4zeb||

    Google translate is built by an AI that compares how the same word is used in different languages. This resulted in some derogatory translations for homosexual. Google eliminated derogatory translations of homosexual by hand after receiving complaints and a petition a few months ago. This annoyed me so much, because it affected my love life. Suddenly the cybersex I was having with Arab guys made much less sense. I mean, I appreciate the concern, but an accurate translation is better. Sometimes, a bitch wants a stud to talk dirty during sex.

  • mtrueman||

    " ordinary words"

    Dig it, man: There is no such thing as an 'ordinary word.'

  • mtrueman||

    " If 100 percent of major technology companies share the same monoculture, 100 percent of them become vulnerable to the same threats: lost market opportunities, alienated employees, and newfound regulatory enthusiasm. If only there were another option."

    Sure there's another option. Bankruptcy. It might be a tragedy to the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, but it would be a boon to the rest of us. Shouldn't have to explain this to Libertarians.

  • mtrueman||

    I guess I do have to explain this to Libertarians (and magazine editors.) Bigger and better bankruptcies was F. Hayek's prescription. Clear out the dead wood and make room for new growth, is the idea. No need for this handwringing over people who made poor career choices.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Ostensible libertarians complaining about private companies' conduct is this regard?

    Do these "libertarians" also call for Catholic hospitals to hire personnel who wish to provide abortions, or for religious schools to hire instructors who would prefer to teach science rather than superstitious nonsense, or for Hobby Lobby to provide modern health care insurance to employees?

    Or are these people just faux libertarians, sheepish right-wingers (the type who claim libertarians and conservatives share an affinity greater than libertarians and liberals, or libertarians and moderates) masquerading in shabby libertarian drag because they don't have the courage to acknowledge in modern society that they are conservatives?

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    "modern health care insurance"

  • mtrueman||

    "Modern" is the worst thing you can say to a conservative. They reject any form of insurance that doesn't cover blood letting sessions at the barber.

  • Necron 99||

    Keep your hocus pocus homeopathic witchcraft away from my blood letting. Just because fewer people die when treated homeopathically does not mean it is some sort of science.

  • Finrod||

    Fuck off, slaver.

  • Mark22||

    Ostensible libertarians complaining about private companies' conduct is this regard?

    Not me. I hope Google will lead the industry by having an all black lesbian workforce and insulting white males left and right. The more they do that, the sooner they'll go bankrupt.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Ostensible libertarians complaining about private companies' conduct is this regard?

    Do these "libertarians" also call for Catholic hospitals to hire personnel who wish to provide abortions, or for religious schools to hire instructors who would prefer to teach science rather than superstitious nonsense, or for Hobby Lobby to provide modern health care insurance to employees?

    Or are these people just faux libertarians, sheepish right-wingers (the type who claim libertarians and conservatives share an affinity greater than libertarians and liberals, or libertarians and moderates) masquerading in shabby libertarian drag because they don't have the courage to acknowledge in modern society that they are conservatives?

  • Eidde||

    From the post:

    "Even before Damore's lawsuit, conservatives had begun to propose treating social media platforms as public utilities. Missouri's Republican attorney general is investigating Google, a move that should worry any CEO who remembers how states helped to kick off the antitrust case against Microsoft from two decades ago."

    It's hard to sort out from your word salad, but do you think the author is *in favor* of these actions by conservatives?

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    Rev, if your sole reason for living is to arrange people into groups and label them (I gather from your comments that it is), there are lots of other sites that would better appreciate your "talents".

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Isn't he just a perfect fit for Vox? Or maybe Marcia Matters? Arty is a good little Leninist after all.

  • Robert||

    The Amish don't include Jews (they just sound that way), but still make great food. How about Hutterite furniture? Monk liquors? Moonies & Mormons seem great at everything, as do Jews. How about all the great all-white hockey teams?

    I just don't see diversity of thought, or of anything else, improving product.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    If you haven't tried Mormon coffee, I highly recommend it.

  • Eidde||

    Boil water and add nothing?

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Calling prayer and good intentions 'nothing' is not cool, dude.

  • mtrueman||

    "The Amish don't include Jews"

    I'm not so sure Jews are all that keen on including the Amish, to be fair.

    As for diversity of thought and other things, the key lies in the hands of management. How do you best put to use the various talents at your disposal. Good management means better performance all round.

  • Dick Puller, Attorney at Law||

    I just don't see diversity of thought, or of anything else, improving product.

    Indeed. The subtext to calls for diversity is pretty much, "What follows is going to royally suck."

    The argument for tolerating alternate political viewpoints in the tech industry has nothing to do with diversity, the argument is that your political views have nothing to do with how competently you can do your job, and consequently, they're none of your employer's goddamn business.

    The last thing I want to see is an affirmative action program mandating quotas for incompetent libertarians and conservatives, justified by a pursuit of "diversity", a concept from which benefits never seem to materialize in anything close to the proportion of grief we have to tolerate having it shoved down our throats.

  • mtrueman||

    "the proportion of grief we have to tolerate having it shoved down our throats."

    Maybe instead of whining, you should man up and try to be a little more diverse, your own damn self, lazy no good bum.

    Libertarians believe the employer has the right to fire any employee for any reason, or no reason at all.

  • Lester224||

    If you are forming a team to solve problems, then it does help to have some diversity of thinking on the team. However, the kind of diversity that helps solve problems is not necessarily political diversity, it's more like the personality profile kind of diversity (some big-idea people, some detail-oriented people etc.). I agree that requiring political diversity of a private company seems very un-libertarian. If a tech company fails because they don't hire enough conservatives, another company will take their market share. Companies don't ask what political parties you support when they interview you for jobs.

  • Sevo||

    "The last thing I want to see is an affirmative action program mandating quotas for incompetent libertarians and conservatives, justified by a pursuit of "diversity", a concept from which benefits never seem to materialize in anything close to the proportion of grief we have to tolerate having it shoved down our throats."

    Not seeing any suggestion that 'we' need to do anything, more that SV is in danger of being out-competed by organizations which select for talent rather than political views.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    'Diversity' is just another groupthink weapon of the progressive Marxists.

  • creech||

    Does anyone else remember in the early libertarian movement days that half of us were computer nerds and it was thought libertarians would control the internet revolution, that reason and logic would combine with technology to swing America to the "libertarian moment?" "Wired" was started by a libertarian. So, what happened?

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    What happened was the same thing as any modern institution--the minute you let progressives in, they metastasize like a cancer.

  • Dick Puller, Attorney at Law||

    That actually sounds a lot like what happened to libertarianism itself.

  • ||

    the minute you let progressives in, they metastasize like a cancer.

    Robert Conquest knew what he was talking about.

  • JeremyR||

    Does it matter? They can import all the cheap workers they want from India

  • wagnert in atlanta||

    And if they have any divergent political views, they can discuss them in Hindi and management won't understand -- or care. It would probably behoove the bosses to know what "kill the bastards" sounds like, however.

  • Response||

    The actual environment at Google and the rest is more multiple personality. There is certainly a strong overtone of liberal bias in internal and external emails and company meetings. There is also a strong overtone of conservative bias in memes. During daily work, nobody talks politics - except at lunch and only with those you know really well. It's one of the least political water coolers that one can work at. Mainly because the workers, in general, don't want to offend anyone who's listening because, after all, most everyone simply wants to get work done.

    Google and such are very large companies - Google has over 70k employees. And much like the rest of America - if a small percentage - let's say 1% - are extremely outspoken then that's 700 employees. Enough to get heard, enough to change policy, but not exactly representative of the social working of the company. Sure the overall company is probably shifted to the left in the same way that libertarians are shifted to the left of conservatives - and then the graph curves out from there. But very few would give up their paycheck on the chance of a socialist revolution.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    There is also a strong overtone of conservative bias in memes.

    Today's leftists can't meme, because they don't have any sense of humor. Humor requires incongruity, things that don't belong together; leftist philosophy is such a straitjacket that anything out of the ordinary sends them crying to their safe spaces.

  • mtrueman||

    " But very few would give up their paycheck on the chance of a socialist revolution."

    You might be surprised. Much of the work on open source projects is done by people who work for google and other such companies. Work that goes unpaid by anyone and on time stolen from the company. Vive Che!

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    I'll pay attention to you!

  • mtrueman||

    I'll read your comments, too, as long as they are in response to mine.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    It's been a while since I looked at getting a job at Google, but back then there were two factors that selected for highly liberal employees.

    The first was they wanted people fresh out of college, and the second was that they wanted you to work at their original campus.

    They were selecting for people who were young and willing to live in an intensely liberal area. It's not surprising Google ended up where they ended up.

    Given the way things have turned out, I'm grateful I didn't get a job there.

  • Mark22||

    It's one of the least political water coolers that one can work at.

    Given the regular corporate political indoctrination and the clear corporate statements from senior management, people understand that voicing anything other than the progressive party line will get you into serious trouble. And the people who agree with the leftist shit Google management is peddling don't get much pushback. That's why there aren't a lot of discussions.

    But very few would give up their paycheck on the chance of a socialist revolution.

    Actually, lots of people give up their paycheck at Google: after they join Google, they see how the wind is blowing, and they quickly look for another job.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Will the lack of ideological diversity doom big tech companies?

    Already is. The downward slide has begun.

  • Sevo||

    Diane Reynolds (Paul.)|4.15.18 @ 11:19PM|#
    """Will the lack of ideological diversity doom big tech companies?"""
    "Already is. The downward slide has begun."

    Are you short somewhere?
    Yes, there are competitors who are recognizing the marginal advantages, but none have yet shown their choices are yet better.
    Got a pro-tip?

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Google in search and marketing, KMart in retail, AT&T in PBX's, and IBM in desktop computers are never going to be successfully challenged. Diane Reynolds (Paul.) must be living in some dream alternate universe.

  • Brandybuck||

    Yup. I keep my libertarianism to myself when at work. Even when a libertarianism might be aligned with the hyper-progressivism of the left, I keep out of those issues, because in today's climate even the wrong nuance can get you ostracized.

    Example: Pot legalization. I'm all for it. Silicon Valley techie progressives seem to be for it. But the motivations and nuances of the legalization are strikingly different. NEVER mention that Oxycontin should be fully legalized as well. NEVER suggest that it be taxed at the same low rate as other products. NEVER suggest decriminalizing the sale of marijuana, only the production and consumption of it. Commerce is icky, and if it means blacks have to keep going to prison, well, that's better than icky commerce.

    Just keep your mouth shut and nod quietly in Silicon Valley.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Sounds like Silicon Valley culture should be destroyed.

  • EscherEnigma||

    ... and?

    Swap out "libertarian" and "conservative" for "gay" and "lesbian", and swap around names to make this about "conservative" businesses firing LGBT folks and the hostile work environments they suffer, y'all would largely respond with some variation of "play along or move along" or "suck it up snowflake".

    So commiserate over your misfortune I suppose, but this is the world you've said you want to live in: employers free to be petty tyrants, employees having no recourse.

    So unless you want to be mistaken for a liberal, trying to improve your workplace and fight for your employee rights, I suggest you do exactly what you tell fired LGBT folk to do: find an employer that's a better fit, or start your own. Trying to actually punish these tech companies for their wrong-think would be, according to John, "economic terrorism"†.
    ________
    †Note, I'm actually perfectly content with boycotts. I think they're an (often ineffective) way to influence companies that you feel are behaving poorly. But y'all frequently treat boycotts over liberal issues as dirty censorship, so here we are.

  • Mark22||

    Swap out "libertarian" and "conservative" for "gay" and "lesbian", and swap around names to make this about "conservative" businesses firing LGBT folks and the hostile work environments they suffer, y'all would largely respond with some variation of "play along or move along" or "suck it up snowflake".

    Absolutely.

    I suggest you do exactly what you tell fired LGBT folk to do: find an employer that's a better fit, or start your own.

    Exactly what I tell people to do.

  • leninsmummy||

    "Will the lack of ideological diversity doom big tech companies?"

    Hopefully.
    I don't think it's as much about ideological diversity as intolerance. Intolerance to certain ideas, being institutionalized like this is likely to really turn off anyone who is a true free thinker & wants to work in an atmosphere that encourages creative freedom and far out ideas.

  • pointsnfigures||

    Ron Conway is not a conservative, not a libertarian really. Far from it.

  • Empress Trudy||

    It's not dangerous. Everything will be controlled by 7 tech companies soon.and everyone to the right of Pol Pot will be exterminated. No worries

  • CE||

    At 77 bucks an hour, she's working 60 hour weeks. Sounds worse than full time to me.

  • vek||

    Personally I'm hoping that their stupidity eventually leads to companies like Gab.ai turning into massive businesses on the basis of supporting free speech, etc. I think the "the user is the product" model has perhaps had its time, and people will at some point become willing to pay for some services again to protect their privacy. Gab doesn't have ads, but in fact offers free accounts and subscriber accounts with bonus features. This type of thing could become a model again for lots of stuff, and indeed leave them even more profitable per user than advertising based stuff.

    Whatever the case I hope these big companies either stuff shilling for communism, or get crushed by companies that are more truly open and free.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Let's hope. I would gladly pay a few dollars a month for a service like YouTube or Facebook if it meant less marketing and less censorship.

  • mtrueman||

    Would it make any difference if these services paid in cash you for the information they gather from you? Isn't that the obvious solution?

  • kinghiram91||

    It's some new perverse form of McCarthyism...

  • prediksi sydney||

    kebanyakan orang politik itu sama saja

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