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This idea that all opinions are equal and need to be respected is ridiculous and needs to stop. Politics is real and political opinions and actions have real consequences. Not all political opinions should be respected. In fact, it's our duty as citizens to evaluate and mock / scorn the opinions of others that we see as toxic. No one is protected from this and people that think they are, are feeling entitled to something that they do not deserve.

Protections of free speech apply to government actions only. This isn't a free speech case. Google can do whatever it wants, including firing the poster of the manifesto. If Google, for whatever reason or no reason, doesn't want such thinking in its organization, it should have no qualms about firing the poster. There is no safe space, except from the government, for political opinions. The poster should know that by know. People have been fired for way less. Many companies would not want a toxic person like that in their midst and that's perfectly fine. It creates a toxic workplace and brings everyone else down. That's a great reason to fire someone.




I find pretty unconscionable this line of rhetoric, which I see a lot lately from people on the left: "this isn't a free speech issue, because it's not the government doing the censoring".

I want to live in a society that embraces liberal values like freedom of expression. Preventing the government from encroaching on those values is a good idea. But if we then go and clamp down on those freedoms everywhere else, then it won't matter that the government doesn't do it -- nobody will be able to express themselves freely anyway.

This seems to be the society that the 'progressives' want and it disturbs me enough to have completely alienated me from that movement, and I am far from the only one, so I don't know why they aren't stopping and questioning the efficacy of this philosophy right about now.

If we are really a society that embraces liberal values, then we want those values to be upheld throughout the society, not just in the part explicitly controlled by laws.


So then the government should step in and provide protections against his firing? Should they tell Google, no you can't fire this guy even though you don't like him and he's bringing down the morale of your whole workforce? Should that apply to someone who might actually be a neo-Nazi or become one during an employment term? Should Google be forced to hire / unable to fire people tattooed with swastikas or ones that verbally support ISIS or any other number of despicable positions?

And how is the government going to choose the right side of enforcement here? Company A wants to fire an employee for X and now we have government intervention to the utmost degree. Yeah, that's exactly the kind of society that "embraces liberal values like freedom of expression." No one has a right to a job or to not have their opinions trashed because they're stupid, cruel, or whatever they may be. If you're complaining that corporations have too much power, I agree, but that's a completely different point.


No, I didn't say anything of the kind.

I am saying that this kind of mob shaming-and-silencing mentality is deplorable. And if you choose to engage in that, then you will alienate a lot of people, including many of the best people.

I am not saying anything about government, and as I said in my previous posting, I find it weird that people keep jumping to this. We're talking about ethics, not law.


At least we agree that some acts of expression are deplorable, just not which ones.


Not implying that I agree with anything the author said, but could you give an example of a "toxic" quote from the original memo? I'm confused because your comment makes it sound like we're talking about some vitriolic diatribe, which isn't the case at all.

Honestly, this whole thread could use more quotes from the original text. It's disturbing to me how much meta-conversation is being had about the author and his email without real examples. One of the biggest failings of the memo was its lack of citation where it was most needed; can we not hold ourselves to a higher standard?


That's really up to Google to decide in this case. My personal opinion on whether his writings are toxic is irrelevant. It seems a lot of people are outraged by it, both in and out of Google. If Google does decide that this is toxic, even if just from a PR point of view, they should have no problem firing the guy. That's my point. Expressing opinions is not an action without consequences.


Silencing future opinion is not an action without consequences either. I predict that Google will let him stay. If they fired him, no one would speak out on any sensitive subject in the future even with careful moderation.

"When people are not comfortable with an oppressive regime they keep their moderate opinions to themselves. Voicing any opinion contrary to the Party line is dangerous no matter how extreme or moderate it is. So all dissenting opinions you are going to hear in public will be coming from extremists (e.g. 'Have a Nuremberg-type tribunal for the Party's chiefs, lustrate the rest and their progeny for 7 generations!') because only the people who hold these opinions will be fed up enough to disregard consequences of their dissent. And there won't be many of them, since it's the definition of extremism to be in small minority.

However, for every single dissident there were tens or hundreds of thousands of silent supporters who would openly express their disgust and outrage over such horrific person but, when talking with their buddies in private, repeat and spread these ideas thus radicalizing themselves. Eventually everybody but a minority of "true believers" shifted from 'well, life kinda sucks right now but at least there is no war' to 'burn it down and salt the earth!'. When this happened the whole mighty Communist empire collapsed within a year. A 'Preference cascade'. https://www.quora.com/What-is-a-preference-cascade "

I'm not sure what that would look like in Silicon Valley but I'm sure it would be described as a pendulum swinging far to the right.



I agree with you, but I would add to what you're saying by noting that this very thread and the opinions expressed in it, along with those expressed by the media, will influence Google's decision in a huge way. If a sufficient percentage of the general public considers this memo toxic and irredeemable, this guy could get fired (and I agree, that is absolutely Google's prerogative). On the other hand, if the pervasive opinion is that the views he expressed, wrong or right, were not expressed in an overly negative or aggressive way, Google is likely to keep their engineer.

This isn't unlike The Oatmeal vs. Funnyjunk, or the United Airlines thing. The Internet and the opinions expressed on it really do make decisions for people, companies, juries, and the like.


I agree that the opinions of the general public will influence that decision. To some extent, they should as they have always done. This is part of living in a society and sharing things electronically. One needs to be aware of this before sharing opinions, especially when they are specifically related to one's employment. This isn't a case of making a joke on Twitter and getting fired for it. His opinions also have an effect on his co workers and the whole company so I see no reason why this shouldn't be so. Imagine trying to work with this guy as a woman, knowing he thinks less of you simply because you're a woman. He really should have thought of this before sharing his rant or even putting it on a computer. He can't claim he doesn't know what happens to shared digital data (you can't control it) because he's a Google engineer.


Yeah, but here it is again: "rant." You're using your voice, which we have agreed will, in however small a way, influence an important decision, not to disagree with the content of the email, but to (IMO) misrepresent the tone of the author. Again, I would request an example from the text that supports the "rant" or "toxic" descriptors.


I called it a rant because it's long and unsubstantiated. You want an example why Google and others might think it's toxic? How about this whole list of points stereotyping women?

"Women, on average, have more:

Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing).

These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing and even within SWEs, comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics.

Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness.

This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there’s overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women’s issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.

Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs."


Alright, I'll accept that definition of rant. I certainly agree that the unsubstantiated biological statements were an awful rhetorical tactic. Thank you for sticking with me and providing the quote that most irked you. It irks me as well.


I agree as long as your ideas are equally mocked. Otherwise your position boils down to "No one should be able to disagree with me as long as I say the topic is sensitive"


It's up to others how much they mock my ideas. No one can guarantee equality in the mocking, but yes all people should be free to mock, disagree, or respond however they wish to my ideas.




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