Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Google Has the Memo

Google, memo, sexism, discrimination, James Damore, affirmative action

A Google employee, James Damore, internally distributed a memo, reprinted by Gizmodo* to widespread (if inch-deep) horror. The memo controversially takes apart Google’s efforts to increase its number of female employees.

Per the memo, it is surely unjust to discriminate against members of some groups in the cause of opposing alleged discrimination against members of other groups.**

But Damore (who has now been fired for his temerity) undermines this case. In the opening gambit we hear a note of appeasement: “I value diversity and inclusion. . . .”

Sounds harmless. Yet . . .

I don’t know about you, but when hiring somebody to do a job, I don’t rationally pursue “diversity and inclusion” in addition to the goal of hiring someone skillful, punctual, cooperative, bottom-line-enhancing. Not if I’m free to use my best judgment. I’d only also consider impacts on “diversity and inclusion” to avoid suffering politically-induced legal costs if I don’t.

The memo has other problems, but surely we can all agree: discriminating against members of particular groups is an unjust way to enhance workforce “diversity” . . . even if racial-sexual-age-height-width “diversity” were a legitimate goal for a company with the purpose of selling technology.

I’ve argued elsewhere against affirmative action in universities. Quotas based on group characteristics are always unjust when the qualifications for achieving a reasonable purpose have nothing to do with those group characteristics. That’s true whether we’re talking about students or workers, and whether the persons being sacrificed to serve “diversity” are white, black or Asian, male or female, gay or straight.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

 

* Conveniently, Gizmodo neglected to include Damore’s extensive links to research that backed up his points, or his killer graph — even in its update.

** It is also far from self-evident that the disproportionately high number of male technology workers finds its root cause in sexual discrimination.


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By: CS Admin

8 Comments

  1. —–
    I’d only also consider impacts on “diversity and inclusion” to avoid suffering politically-induced legal costs if I don’t.
    —–

    Peremptory rejection of diversity and inclusion is just as short-sighted and silly as prioritizing them above all other things insofar as they can be, as you put it, “bottom line enhancing.”

  2. Mike says:

    Diversity for its own sake seems an odd goal.  But it may be critical to the success of Google.  Too many times everyone drinking the same koolaid has led to the demise of corporations.  Kodak not pursuing digital cameras is one example.  The best way to get diversity is not to hire based on colors and genders.  Google could expand their search area, offer internships, etc.  The worst is hiring to meet quotas.  Then everyone assumes the minority is unskilled and was hired to meet quotas.

  3. John F Brennan says:

    I vote for a total and complete meritocracy. The goal of getting the job done most effectively and most economically leaves no room for discrimination. 
    All must, in the long run, be hired, fired, advance or decline on their own merits. This is a competitive world, like it or not.  All interventions and deviation from strict meritocracy are by definition counterproductive, foolish and determental, even potentially fatal to the enterprise. 
    This should not be news!
    However, In this instance, Google is a private company and if it chooses to punish its definition of thought crime it is free to do so, and suffer the consequences. 

    • “All interventions and deviation from strict meritocracy are by definition counterproductive, foolish and determental, even potentially fatal to the enterprise.”

      You’re hiring a sales associate.

      One candidate is perfect in terms of formal qualifications/resume and, in your estimation, in formal sales ability.

      Another candidate is pretty good on those criteria, but not quite perfect.

      Oh, by the way, the store is in a neighborhood that is 90% African-American, and sells lines of women’s clothing and shoes aimed at that demographic.

      The candidate who gets a job by strict meritorcracy standards is a white male.

      The less than perfect candidate is an African-American woman.

      Which one do you hire?

      • JFB says:

        Due to the circumstances you have artificially added, it may well be that the second employee could be anticipated by the private employer to be more effective in the position you describe, and thereby have greater profitability and therefore merit in the selection process. All factors have to be considered in employment and its continuation. The first goal of the enterprise should always be to meet the needs of its anticipated customers.
        I see no contradiction, in your case the first candidate might be better credentialized, but not a better fit to provide the service desired to be offered, and therefore anticipated to have lesser potential productivity in the position to be filled.
        The question of who should be ideally hired s answered not answered solely by the individual’s merit or credentials, but by their total merit (costs and benefits) as anticipated by the employer in comparison to the other available candidates.

        • “Due to the circumstances you have artificially added”

          Welcome to the real world.

          “The question of who should be ideally hired s answered not answered solely by the individual’s merit or credentials, but by their total merit (costs and benefits) as anticipated by the employer in comparison to the other available candidates.”

          Now you’re just trying to redefine merit. Being caucasian or African-American is not “character or conduct deserving reward, honor, or esteem.” It’s exactly the opposite, a characteristic which the person has no control over and which is therefore neither praiseworthy nor blameworthy.

          You’re right when you say “All factors have to be considered in employment and its continuation. The first goal of the enterprise should always be to meet the needs of its anticipated customers.” That’s meeting market demand, not “meritocracy.”

    • 11th Gen American says:

      I’m with you! Our Founding Fathers, including my cousin, Ben Franklin, and my cousin Andrew Jackson, another “Populist” president, intended for the United States to be a meritocracy! Whoever has the skills and abilities to rise to the top should be encouraged in every way possible. But when a nation concentrates it’s efforts on assuring that the least capable, least talented, least worthy of acclaim are boosted up artificially, and made cultural icons we’re conning ourselves into a totally avoidable societal decline. Couple that will having a society that his dying from the top, breeding like rats from the bottom, and “The Posterity” the Founding Fathers intended to be remain the political majority in this meritocracy is being deliberately replaced with Third World undesirable Socialists! That will spell doom not only to our civilized society but to our Constitutional Republic as well. Trump is trying to reverse the national suicidal trends but the forces of evil bucking and blocking him are so deeply seated and deeply embedded, I’m now doubting he’ll succeed..

  4. Pat says:

    You argue against affirmative action in universities but today, they are the LEAST diverse work environment, with the possible exception of government.   They may be filled to overflowing with people from diverse backgrounds but it seems they are required to lean to the left or keep their mouths shut.    How many professors, whether black or white, male or female, had to hide their beliefs until they attained tenure?

    “I’d only also consider impacts on “diversity and inclusion” to avoid suffering politically-induced legal costs if I don’t.”

    This means you’d give in to the diversity rules because doing otherwise might put you in financial or legal jeopardy.   You’ve already lost.

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