James Damore, the software engineer fired by Google for circulating a 10-page manifesto inside the company that suggested women might be under-represented in tech generally and “leadership” inside the company because of their biology, has described the company as “almost like a cult” in an opinion column published the Wall Street Journal.
Damore is currently on tour of mostly conservative media outlets. In addition to the WSJ, he has given interviews to Bloomberg, spoken at length with two YouTube personalities popular with alt-right and right-wing audiences, Stefan Molyneux and Jordan B. Peterson, and he did a photoshoot with alt-right photographer Peter Duke.
For the WSJ he quoted the left-wing political scientist Noam Chomsky to make his point:
For many, including myself, working at Google is a major part of their identity, almost like a cult with its own leaders and saints, all believed to righteously uphold the sacred motto of “Don’t be evil.”
Echo chambers maintain themselves by creating a shared spirit and keeping discussion confined within certain limits. As Noam Chomsky once observed, “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.”
… In my document, I committed heresy against the Google creed by stating that not all disparities between men and women that we see in the world are the result of discriminatory treatment.
Much of the op-ed focuses on Damore’s claim that he was the victim of a corporate “shaming.” The word, used four times in the manifesto, is a new favourite among American conservatives. It signifies their belief that liberals stifle free speech by humiliating right-wing voices. “Whether it’s in our homes, online or in our workplaces, a consensus is maintained by shaming people into conformity or excommunicating them if they persist in violating taboos. Public shaming serves not only to display the virtue of those doing the shaming but also warns others that the same punishment awaits them if they don’t conform,” Damore wrote.
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