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Like Peter Thiel, Tech Workers Feel Alienated by Silicon Valley ‘Echo Chamber’ (wsj.com)
370 points by sillypuddy on Feb 18, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 819 comments

I don't get it. I grew up in Silicon Valley and I work in tech, and so do many other people I know. They run the gamut from far-left socialists to libertarians to own a bunch of guns. They have all kinds of ethnic backgrounds and religious views.

Some of my most libertarian/pro-gun friends have not been shy about their political views and it hasn't hurt their tech careers at all. They are far more welcome here than liberals are in other parts of the country.

It seems to me, from personal experience, that the people who feel alienated are the ones who bring politics to work in an overbearing contrarian way, seeking to cause offense under the guise of "debate," and then pretend to be shocked when people don't want to put up with their shit. Work is for working; it's not a debating society, and especially not when the debating is done in bad faith.

Peter Thiel has been more politically vocal than most, and he is vocal about things he knows to be unpopular. He can't be surprised that people who disagree with him are also vocal. If he can't take the heat he should stay out of the kitchen.

I work in the Bay Area and I have personally worked with (as in, on the same team with and working directly in cooperation. CEOs, founders, etc. are not included in this count), exactly one person who discussed their conservative views. This is in comparison to hundreds of liberals. Sure, you may be able to identify at least one person on variety of ends of the political spectrum, but I don't think anyone can sanely deny a vast under representation of conservatives in Silicon Valley. Granted, Silicon Valley itself is politically imbalanced. But even in San Francisco 9% [1] of voters voted Republican in 2016.Despite that, I haven't witnessed anything close to that share of conservatives in my tech jobs - even in my jobs lower in the Peninsula and in South Bay.

Adding this as an edit: Also, do you work in the Bay Area currently (you mentioned you grew up there)? There is a pretty substantial discrepancy between voicing political views in high school and college vs. when people actually start working. I have met more than an order of magnitude more conservatives and non-liberals in 4 years of university in the Bay Area as compared working in tech there - 25 to 30 in unviersity vs. exactly 1 in industry. Also edited in the fact that I work in the Bay Area in the first sentence, so I realized I didn't mention it until the last.

Just to counter this anecdata, the startup I used to work at was founded by 4 conservatives, 2 of whom met working in the George W Bush White House. We used to discuss and debate all sorts of politic topics, and in fact I was quite often in the minority (a position that didn't bother me... it was a good way to learn different perspective on some key issues). They were then and I'm sure still now are quite openly conservative and happy to debate politics (in appropriate settings). They didn't hide it publicly either, for example in the early days of the 2016 presidential election they had Jeb Bush come over and give a talk. Jeb was made fun of quite a bit for the manner in which he put on the company swag [1].

The company has raised hundreds of millions of dollars and has hundreds of employees. In my experience I didn't notice a single situation in which their conservative views had negative impacts on the company. In fact I think their conservative background helped the company raise money from VCs, who I'd wager are more conservative than average.

1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBg6hU5zXDA

There are different types of people that call themselves conservative. The Bush's were both pro-business conservatives, but never really expoused the type of populism that Trump does. You could admit in polite company that you supported the Bushes, or Romney. You really can't admit that you support Trump in polite company without being judged harshly.

Your memory of that time is significantly different to mine.

I recall Bush being constantly vilified by the left for having a tiny intellect, for constantly making gaffes like "is our children learning", for the Iraq war (he's a war criminal etc), for drone strikes, for supporting torture, for not caring about the environment at all - especially the shock when a simple minded Texan oilman won out over intellectual climate change activist Al Gore.

There were many people not just in the USA but around the world who felt they could not speak up in support of Bush, outside of rural America.

Seems like time is erasing or distorting these memories. I remember him being just as hated as Trump is today.

It's a partisan thing. We can see from their treatment of Presidents that the "mainstream" media is solidly Democrat.

For the most part, they ignored Obama's many gaffes (RSPCT, 51 states, "corpse"-man, bring inefficiencies to our health care system, etc...) while endlessly mocking Republicans for similar gaffes.

Similar to the demonization of Obama by the right.

Maybe it’s worth reflecting on just why that might be.

I agree, it's worth reflecting on.

I see Trump's rise as a response to people on the left who celebrate "the end of men", expel men without giving them an opportunity to defend themselves, unapologetically depict men and white people (and white men most of all) as evil, demand white people "absent themselves", and offer jobs for which white people need not apply. Not "far-left crazies", but major media outlets and universities.

When the media and academic culture is so toxic to any white men who speak up for their own interests, only someone who has no filter, like Trump, dares to speak at all.

>When the media and academic culture is so toxic to any white men who speak up for their own interests, only someone who has no filter, like Trump, dares to speak at all.

Do you live anywhere near a University? Get your butt there and count how many white men there are in Professor's chairs. Then count how many of the tenured Professors are white men. Then count how many of the head administrators are white men.

Absolute delusion.

And how many of them are in those positions because their professorship was advertised as being exclusively for white men only?

How many of them were unqualified, but given the job over a more qualified woman, just because they were a man?

I'm sure there are cases of that happening, somewhere. But I can point to multiple examples in the past year alone of jobs being advertised explicitly and in writing as not being open to white men. I do not recall ever seeing jobs being advertised as not open to women.

As it is, you're pointing at a disparity and implying - but not even outright stating - that it must be due to bias, or that white men can't possibly be being attacked or can't possibly fear for their careers, merely because there are a lot of them.

Would you have made the same sorts of arguments about black slaves, on the grounds that there were loads of non-enslaved blacks in Africa at the time of the slave ships, so clearly they couldn't be that oppressed. I mean just look at the quantities. Clearly you would not have made that argument because it'd be bogus. Merely having a common attribute doesn't imply you can't be oppressed.

You can speak anecdotally all day long. But can you show studies where controlling for all other variables, white men are less likely to get jobs, promotions, raises, leases mortgages, accepted into college, etc.?

Men are only about 40% of college students. Male unemployment is higher. I have no data on the others.

That’s not what I asked. Can you find studies where equally qualified white men were denied opportunities, controlling for all other variables suffered harm because of their color or gender? I can post studies where the opposite has happened in housing, hiring, and the criminal justice system.

Yes, such studies do occur and they do show bias against white men.

Typically these are studies that are trying to find bias against women, by anonymising hiring processes. Replacing names on CVs, even voice masking. What they discover instead is that anonymising hiring makes outcomes better for men not women, and then the studies and the anonymisation is canned.

Like here:


But there are others. There were some studies in Australia on this. You can search for them quite easily.

The link you posted explicitly says Though these trends weren’t statistically significant, I am mentioning them because they were unexpected and definitely something to watch for as we collect more data.

Who would do or fund such a study?

Women outnumber men in college by 50%, and almost nobody sees a problem with that. Men vastly outnumber women among the homeless, prisoners, accidental deaths, etc, and nobody cares about that either.

Nobody in power cares enough about less fortunate men to support any studies that might show what obstacles they face.

> Women outnumber men in college by 50%

56% to 44% as of this past fall, and projected to reach 57% to 43% by 2026. [0] That's a little over 25%, not 50%.

> almost nobody sees a problem with that.

Lots of people see it as a symptom of a major problem.[0, again]

> Men vastly outnumber women among the homeless

This is, IIRC, basically entirely because virtually the entire set of homeless veterans is male, and homeless veterans are a full third of the homeless. Again, homeless among veterans (which, again, is basically the entire source of the overrepresentation of men among the homeless) is widely perceived as a serious problem.

> prisoners

Well, white people might not care about this; but the imprisonment of black men and what it has done to the black community has been an intense concern of that community.

[0] https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/08/why-me...

True, I exaggerate a bit when I say "nobody" cares; I mean:

Do these questions come up in Presidential campaigns? Are they debated in Congress? Is there any funding to address these issues? Are there massive organized protests calling for change?

The wage gap is smaller than the education gap, and in that case the answer to all these questions is "Yes".

There are some people working to bring attention to these issues, but they've had limited success and face quite a bit of opposition.

White males hold most positions in power in both government, industry, and religion - I'm not making a value judgement, just stating facts - the three most influential parts of society. Who are these powerful forces that are keeping them from rising up?

So now without any studies showing a casualty between less men being in the workforce or fewer going to college being caused by some sort of societal discrimination, we are suppose to believe you? None of the conservative think tanks are willing to do a study?

I see it around a fraction of 1%?


That's because of the Baby Boomers. Among people in college now, nearly 60% of students/graduates are women.

If nothing is done to increase male enrollment, the statistic you quoted (% of population with college degrees) will change to match this inequality fairly quickly.

Again what is suppose to "be done"? Government intervention? Affirmative Action for the oppressed male? Whatever happened to the Reaganesque "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps" and "rugged individuslism"? Conservatives have been telling minority and women that for years.

Apparently I've been censored and rate-limited, so I can't continue this discussion.

Why not? Leftists want equality of outcome, right? Why does that exclude college enrollment, unemployment, dangerous work, etc?

Response to below: Would people on HN really be all over these studies? Or would they be censored as I have been?

And I just posted a study for you in our other comment chain, since you demand it so persistently. I hope you're reading these edits...

> Leftists want equality of outcome, right?

Not really, no.

Leftists are, however, less inclined than those on the opposite side of the political spectrum to dismiss wide discrepancies in outcome as being results of differences in free uncoerced choices rather than inequality of opportunity (which the right didn't even accept as a value until the left made it popular enough that they invented the "opportunity vs. outcome" argument to adopt in name while dismissing it in substance).

I can't tell, are you now arguing that the "liberal agenda" was right all along? If so, why are you posting the opposite?

We've been going back and forth for days but you still haven't posted any latitudinal studies to back your claims of the oppression of the White Male. There are plenty of conservative think tanks that would have been all over studies that showed such data if it existed.

I would think that HN being full of engineers and other left brain types would actually take the time to read such studies and give them a fair shot.

Now count how many are willing to speak up in favor of bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US or in favor of race-blind admissions. Count how many have done so and kept their jobs.

If all you care about is skin color you're missing my point.

Are they also willing to speak up against "legacy admissions"?

I doubt very seriously that people are opposed to bringing back jobs to America. What politician has a platform of "we want to send jobs overseas"?

Bringing jobs back to America does seem reasonable, right? But as far as I've seen, very few leaders in academia, business, government, or the media have spoken against globalization.

Of course, I might be wrong, so please feel free to show me the many leaders who've opposed globalization and the receptive responses of the institutions they work for.

There is a difference between “speaking against globalizarion” and increasing jobs in America. How do you propose we decrease globalization? Impose tariffs, cause a trade war, and increase prices for everyone?

There is a company called Softwear trying to brIng clothe manufacturing back to the US. But they plan to automate everything and hire a very few engineers. How does that help the “working class”?

The ship on globalization has sailed. Republicans use to believe in the free market that was back when manufacturing jobs were strong. But now that the “working class in middle America” is hurting, they like “big government” interfering with the free market. and more regulation because it helps them.

"RNC Republicans" still believe in globalization. Republican voters have been opposed to globalization for a long time but until Trump they had few voting choices that reflected that.

And the ship hasn't sailed on globalization. China is bringing protectionism back whatever we do.

Will protectionism raise prices? On manufactured goods, perhaps. But manufactured goods are a small portion of our expenses compared to rents, food, and energy, and if protectionism also raises wages it will mean more Americans can afford to live well.

So in other words we should all pay a subsidy to help the "working class"? That's exactly what a tariff is.

I thought conservatives were against forcing people to pay taxes and "big government" and we should let the free market decide - or do they just feel that way about health care?

All wages won't rise because of manufacturing jobs. Just those for manufacturing. It's basically "redistributing" money from those who aren't in the manufacturing industry to those who are. I also thought that conservatives were against "redistribution", or are they for it when it helps "working class Middle America"?

I'd love to continue this discussion but apparently I've been rate-limited for some reason, and suddenly I'm only allowed one post every 2 hours. I'll close with this:

We already pay subsidies for all kinds of things. Why not pay one to help the working class?


Response to below: I do think any injustice is immoral but subsidies aren't injustice. We pay lots of subsidies. I never said subsidies are immoral.

And don't confuse manufacturing with "rural America". There are lots of working class people in the cities who once found employment in manufacturing. Farm subsidies do nothing for them.

And if you only want to read a study (and will consider no other facts) here's a study showing men receive much longer prison sentences than women for the same crime:



> What should we "believe" other than studies?


Like the statistics on male victims of domestic violence vs the legal protections and shelters available to men.

Or the statistics on boys vs girls expelled from preschool, boys medicated, the number of male vs female teachers, etc.

And have you read that study yet? You seemed so insistent to read a study, I thought you might have some comments about it.

I'm not doubting your numbers - or your end results and I'm also not arguing about whether certain segments of the population get treated unfairly in the criminal justice system. I'm all for criminal justice reform as I've said repeatedly.

But you haven't just been talking about unfairness in the criminal justice system. You have also been arguing that the white male is being discriminated against in other parts of society - including the education system and the labor market.

But now you are claiming that there is discrimination against men because there are fewer male teachers? Most of the studies and surveys show women make less men partially because they choose professions that are more conducive to raising a family - like teachers. Most women I know who are teachers cite that as a reason that they became teachers - because their work schedules are aligned with their children's school schedules. Including having summers off.

Again, you are pointing to outcome without showing any links to a correlation between discrimination and the outcome. If you really want to change policy based on statistics and outcome, you would be arguing more in favor of wealth being redistributed to minorities and women - no I'm not arguing that.

I said there's a vocal segment of the population that is hostile to white men, not systematic discrimination. This segment includes people at powerful institutions, and they're actively seeking more power. If they take power then you'll see systematic discrimination against white men in employment. Right now, other groups experience discrimination more often, but that doesn't make discrimination against white people acceptable.

I'm also arguing that working class men of all races, not only white, are suffering because manufacturing jobs have left America. In fact, whole communities, men and women of all races suffering because of that. Meanwhile we see how much the presence of manufacturing jobs in China is fueling whole communities.

I think both of those factors contributed to Trump's success.

The conversation also strayed to systematic discrimination against men in education, the justice system, and social support, but I don't think this has much to do with Trump's success.

There is also a vocal segment of racists, homophobes, sexists and people who want to impose their religious beliefs on America that mostly lean Republican. But no one here is arguing about policy changes based on that.

Just to clarify: are you arguing that sexism against men and racism against whites is OK because these other people exist?

If not, what you just said is pure whataboutism.

It's also incorrect. People on this very page are arguing that conservative speech shouldn't be protected because of the existence of those extremists.

I'm not saying it's "okay". All speech should be protected from the government banning it. If conservatives don't like the policies on Internet forums, they are welcome to start their own.

If you can find studies showing - that controlling for all other variables - that white males are being discriminated against and that it is caused by discrimination, I'm all eyes.

Just like I said about the wage gap between men and women. Most of the studies I've seen reported even by places with a more liberal bent is that the wage gap can in large part be attributed to women choosing less demanding careers that allow them to spend more time taking care of kids. It's not being caused by disctimination.

Can you show from studies that the outcomes you described are being caused by discrimination?

You just argued the opposite side earlier basically implying any injustice is immoral. We pay subsidies to rural America in the form of farm subsidies already.

But all you have to do is post a study showing statistical evidence of discrimination against the White Male and I promise I'll read it with an open mind. I have somewhat of a background in statistics and economics and I enjoy reading about those subjects.

I am all for criminal justice reform - and I said as much in an earlier post.

But if "I only want to read a study and consider no other facts". What should we "believe" other than studies? A few anecdotes? If there are some systemic issues caused by government policies - and there are plenty with the criminal justice system - I'm all for reform. Reforming the criminal justice system is about less government not more.

Citation needed. Also, you are being downvoted because you are making baseless claims and accusations; you are not being "silenced" or "censored".

> The End of Men ... What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women?


> the rules intended to protect victims of sexual assault mean students have lost their right to due process


> professor Bret Weinstein refused to comply with students interested in 'social justice' that demanded a day without white people on campus


> The ad said the [University of Louisville] Department of Physics and Astronomy “announces a tenure-track assistant professor position that will be filled by an African-American, Hispanic American or a Native American Indian.”


Those are only examples to prove these claims aren't "baseless". If you're interested, I'm sure you can find more such incidents yourself.

Also, while it sounds like you downvoted me, I'm not being downvoted (net). Perhaps there are more people out there who are aware of these things than you think.

> > The End of Men ... What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women?

> https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/the-end....

It's a complete mischaracterization to call that celebrating the end of men. If anything it is worrying about it.

I'd call it descriptive. I cite it because I like The Atlantic and because I think it's one of the more balanced articles on the subject.

It covers both sides of the story, including people who seem to be celebrating.

You'll have to be more specific. I'm struggling to find even a single paragraph that I would consider celebratory.

> Hens rejoice; it’s the bachelor party that’s over.

> Postgenocide Rwanda elected to heal itself by becoming the first country with a majority of women in parliament.

(where female dominance is described as "healing")

> In fact, the more women dominate, the more they behave, fittingly, like the dominant sex.

> she and her girlfriend (played by Beyoncé) kill a bad boyfriend and random others in a homicidal spree and then escape in their yellow pickup truck, Gaga bragging, “We did it, Honey B.”

That's just a few quotes from the article. I agree, it's mostly neutral.

For true celebration, it's probably necessary to look elsewhere...like Beyoncé's song Run The World (Girls).

> The End of Men ... What if modern, postindustrial society is simply better suited to women?

TheCoelocanth already beat me to it, but this article doesn't do any celebrating about the "end of men". It's very sympathetic about how the changing US economy has gutted many traditionally-male fields. And in so far as support for Trump is driven by the economic uncertainty of men, it does a lot to explain that component. But your original claim is ridiculous. I don't have a lot of free time right now, do any of your links honestly support your argument?

It's a shame you don't have any free time. If you did, I'd recommend searching for "the future is female" and seeing how deep the rabbit hole goes.

But since you don't, what exactly do you expect me to say here that will convince you in 30 seconds?

If you search for any loaded term on Google it will lead to confirmation bias.

Can you find any stats showing that a White male has a harder time in America getting a job, getting a loan, getting a mortgage or lease, getting into college, etc than an equally qualified non White male?

Confirmation bias?

Hillary Clinton said that after the election.


If we agree that's a loaded term, perhaps we can also agree that in terms of dividing people by race and gender, Trump isn't so different from many leaders on the left. He's merely the first Republican who plays the game of identity politics that the left has played for so long.

I think it's a terrible shame that the dream of a race-blind, gender-blind society was abandoned...but the left, not Trump, is to blame for that.

“the first republican that plays identity politics”? Have you ever heard of the “Southern Strategy”?

I've heard of it. It's BS.

It was a Republican, Eisenhower, who sent the army to enforce school integration after the Brown v Board of Education decision. Nixon [often accused of this "Southern Strategy"] was Vice President at the time.

And a much higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats in Congress voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act.


But the Democrats are certainly good at rewriting history in their favor.

Yes and after Lyndon Johnson - a Democrat signed the civil rights act, the south turned against the Democratic Party. But here is the southern Strategy in Lee Atwater’s own words.


And you have heard of Strom Thurman haven’t you?

Yes, I've heard of Strom Thurman. One of three Southern Democrats who switched parties, I believe.

I've also heard of the many racist Southern Democrats who opposed civil rights and remained Democrats after 1964 (many much longer), including: John Stennis, Herman Talmadge, James Eastland, Allen Ellender, Russell Long, John Sparkman, John McClellan, Richard Russell, George Wallace, Lester Maddox, John Rarick, Robert Byrd, and Al Gore, Sr.

So why would Democrats switch parties if they didn’t think the other party was in line with their beliefs. Whike Zell Miller was purportedly a Democrat, he actively campaigned for Republican Presidential candidates.

But are you really going to defend the Party of Trump as being inclusive?

Are you really claiming that the Southern Strategy didn’t exist despite the words of Lee Atwater?

Rather than ask me to explain why three people switched parties, you should explain why so many Southern segregationists (all but 3) didn't switch parties if the Democrats were suddenly the party of civil rights.

And the claim that interview with Lee Atwater is talking about Republican strategy makes no sense. It starts with "in 1954 you start out saying n....r, n....r, n....r." But in 1954 the South was solidly Democratic and Republicans were sending troops there to force integration. The quote describes a supposed "southern strategy" beginning in 1954 that bears no relation to reality in 1954. Why should we believe the rest of it when it's wrong from the beginning?

He was talking about how you had to change your approach to appeal to racists over the years. In 1954, you could appeal to racists more overtly in the south to win them over. But over the years you had to be more careful.

But, parties change and they try to appeal to enough different coalitions to get elected. The Republican Party use to be about free trade, "pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and not blaming others for your plight in life" and at least give lip service to caring about the deficit. Now they are completely the opposite.

I don't like debating out of context quotes, but I suspect he was describing Strom Thurmond's campaign strategy. He worked for Strom Thurmond and that would fit in 1954 as well. But one politician's strategy is a far cry from a general Republican southern strategy.

I certainly agree that parties' political positions change. That doesn't mean any particular claim of change is true.

The Atlantic article was quite long and I read it in a good-faith effort to follow up on your citations, so you can drop the condescension. Elsewhere you concede that it's not the celebratory article you promised, so at least we agree about that.

And as for "how deep the rabbit hole goes", well, I'm shocked - shocked! - that it's possible to find extreme views online.

And we could find anecdotes of just as many conservative colleges. Instead of finding anecdotes can you find a survey across college campuses?

I could just as easily say that colleges don't support interracial marriage based on Bob Jones University but that would be intellectually dishonest.

That's why I've carefully limited my statements and examples to leftist extremism at publicly funded universities and major media outlets. I want to point out the bias in mainstream society, not highlight a few extremists from either side.

I'd be very interested if you could find examples of publicly-funded universities (as these universities are) telling black people not to come to campus or not to apply for a job.

Or a respected mainstream media publication (equivalent to The Atlantic) reviewing a book discussing The End of Women.

Yes, that’s because being conservative is socially okay. Being a Trump supporter is aligning with more than conservatism - it is signaling an acceptance of several divisive and socially toxic ideas. Society should and will continue to shun this openly.

> Society should and will continue

Does society not include all the people that voted for Trump?

There is also a difference between a Trump voter and a Trump “supporter”. I know plenty of Republicans who held their noses and voted for Trump but don’t agree with his populist rants. They are not going to be wearing MAGA shirts or making excuses for him.

No, if you voted for Trump you support him. You can't have it both ways.

You really only have two choices. There are a lot of things that I didn’t like about the Democratic platform and especially Clinton, but I held my nose and voted for her. It just depends on what your biggest issues are.

There is a third option which is that you could also not vote.

And by not voting, you don’t get to have your highest priorities addressed. If my highest priority were banning abortion, I would have definitely voted for Trump because he would appoint anti-abortion justices. If my highest priority was criminal justice reform - I would vote for Clinton. Yes, I know she and her husband were part of the problem in the 90s.

Your argument makes no sense and is predicated upon an unknown future. Logically, you support who you vote for.

Every politician breaks campaign promises and Trump is no exception. Now if you donate or otherwise contribute a lot of money to a candidate then they will support you. That much is clear and it does not take a lot of money. The only reason we don't have gun control is because the gun lobby has enough votes in Congress.

Define "gun control" with specifics? I'm not against gun control for the reason most people are. For me, it's more practical. The government has never been able to successful ban anything that people wanted - e.g. "The War on Drugs". When they do have a "War" on anything, it's usually not evenly applied.

Ronald Reagan was all for gun control in the 60s as was the NRA when the Black Panther Party started legally walking around with guns in California (the Muliford Act). You want to see gun control? Start encouraging as many minorities as possible to apply for open carry permits.

That just effectively hands your vote to some other idiot.

Can you share the name of the company? Jeb mentions something like "dub tag" but that's apparently not it.

Looks like Thumbtack(?)


When the topic of underrepresented groups comes up regarding women and minorities, the reason given a lot is that “they’re not interested” or something along those lines. Why would that not be the same reason here?

Is it? I've never witnessed a Bay Area tech company state that their under representation of women and minorities is due to a different distribution of preferences in these groups as compared to men and whites & Asians. On the contrary, in some tech companies doing this appears to be a fireable offense.

Also, the point is not that less conservatives are in tech companies is the issue. I am under no illusion that probably no more than 10-15% of SV tech workers are going to be conservative. This is well within my personal estimate judging from people I met in university (during which they were more open about their political leanings) who went on to go into tech. It's that the conservatives that are (and even centrists and less-extreme liberals) feel the need to put on a facade while at work and that the political environment has become isolated to the extent that even mainstream conservative and even centrist views are considered abjectly racist or wrong.

I'd consider an office with 5% conservatives where those conservatives feel empowered to share their opinion to be a better working environment, as compared to an office with 25% conservatives where all those conservatives put on a facade of liberalism out of fear of repercussion.

I don’t hear the tech companies saying it, but go into the comment section here on any story related to those things, and it will definitely come up as a very popular opinion.

And not too long ago, hell, even currently in some places, it was considered a mainstream conservative view that gays should not have the same rights to marry. If a person holding that view were to work at, say, Grindr, I would absolutely expect them to receive push back on it.

This isn't contradicting anything I claimed. If anything, it's reinforcing it. Pointing out the disparity between the prevalence of conservative views (or at least, views that go against the majority in big Bay Area tech companies) on HN vs. in real life reinforces the notion that many tech workers are having to censor themselves and lie to their co-workers to fit in at work.

Marc Andressen said something similar in an interview, I'm going to dig it up and post it here as an edit. Here it is, the relevant bits are around 28 minutes: https://a16z.com/2017/05/15/andreessen-primack-dc-tech-polic...

My point is, if your political stance is that certain groups should be denied fundamental rights, for instance, then yes, you will feel awkward around those people, and with good reason.

And who gets to decide what is and isn't a fundamental right? Remember, the majority of Californian voters voted to ban same sex marriage in 2008. That would make us (people who think same sex marriage should be a right) the minority. If your boss declared the right to firearms a fundamental right, should it empower him or her to fire anyone who donates to politicians that support gun control (in other words, almost all Democrats)?

The Declaration of Independence. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

What does conservatism mean to you? When you say 'conservative', what beliefs are you describing?

These terms are ambiguous and have fluid meaning. But in general, anything on the Republican party platform, or supported by a substantial portion of Republicans or self-identified conservatives, is something I would consider part of mainstream conservatism. Quick examples include:

* That affirmative action should be illegal or more heavily restricted.

* That unlawful residents should be removed from the country, even if previous administrations chose not to enforce immigration law.

* That welfare programs should be cut back.

* That taxes should be reduced, even if they're reduced in such a way that the wealthy receive a greater tax cut than the non-wealthy.

* That restrictions on firearms purchases and ownership should be kept permissive, and that restrictive local laws (e.g. California's) are unlawful.

* That the US should be more restrictive in allowing foreigners to work in the country (e.g. raising the minimum salary for H1B workers)

* That inequalities in education, employment, and achievement should not be presumed to be indications of bias.

These are just quick examples. Personally, I advise anyone to conceal their political leanings if they agree with any of these statements in my current workplace if they wish to preserve their career prospects, and I think that's a shame. All of these are things that half to 30% of the voting population believes in, and are on the core platform of one of the two major US parties. Any workplace that claims to tolerate conservative views should tolerate these statements.

"Conservative", "liberal", "centrist", etc. are by no means monolithic attributes. I think these labels are better described as broad generalizations of individual positions on issues. For example, I agree with 70-80% of "liberal" positions (maybe closer to 60% if you include San Francisco local issues, but there's arguments to be made that's more "far-left" vs. "left" than liberal vs. conservative). I still consider myself a liberal. That said, I still do censor myself on any non-anonymous forums for the remaining 20-30%.

How is meritocracy conservative exactly? I worked in a big tech company in Bay Area, and it is empathized in my hiring training session heavily that we are not afraid to miss good people but we are afraid to end up with bad ones. Not agree with far-left opinion != Being conservative.

A lot of my colleagues who happily brand themselves as liberal, all think unregulated illegal immigration will cause problem, I don't think there is any chance they will self identify as conservative.

As an individual I might agree with some of the points, but disagree with the rest, like I all for more restrictive gun control and think it is due to an outdated law. It is indeed a problem itself to force people into two buckets and create a us-vs-the-world mentality.

Interesting that you say that. "Meritocracy" has become a bit of a bad word in Bay Area tech companies. [1]

And in case I didn't make this clear, that was just a quick dump of views that I think are generally considered conservative. Real life is much more nuanced than a list of bullet points. I fully agree that there are, for example, people who want tougher immigration laws but otherwise don't consider themselves conservative.

[1] https://readwrite.com/2014/01/24/github-meritocracy-rug/ I realize this is just one example, but people on my own company's forums have caught flak for using the word "meritocracy".

When you say conservatives support Meritocracy do you mean like how Ivanka and Jared got jobs with the White House? When people criticize the word "Meritocracy" they are not criticizing the concept but the usage.

>When people criticize the word "Meritocracy" they are not criticizing the concept but the usage.

I don't agree - there is a subset of people that criticize meritocracy as a concept because they believe the idea of 'merit' is inherently racist and classist - if you start at a different level, it becomes more difficult for you to accrue 'merit' and so that needs to be balanced and taken into account. Some people believe this is much more important than hiring or promoting on 'merit'

Do you have any examples where people are criticizing the concept inherently?

The people who write about these things always say they don't like when the word meritocracy is being used to hide bias.

Most of mine are from conversations with people, but this is what I immediately thought of (though I know the definition has changed a little since) https://books.google.com/books?id=QelNAQAAQBAJ

Here's another: https://practicaltheorist.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/the-myth-...

Here's a critique stating that the terms aren't defined enough to be said to be 'just'


The last one is the most fascinating, I really recommend you read it if you're interested in these things. Amartya Sen is brilliant.

The wordpress article says academic meritocracy doesn't exist because teachers are biased. The author is calling it a myth to say it exists in our society. Doesn't seem like they are against an actual meritocracy.

Though I suppose it's easier to dismiss complaints about bias when we pretend those complainers just hate our meritocracy.

The author is saying that a meritocracy is a dystopian nightmare. Literally, he coined the term meritocracy to describe his dystopian nightmare civilization.

I'm not sure how to parse your last sentence. Could you clarify what you mean?

Voicing such statements creates a hostile work environment for

1. your immigrant coworkers who entered the country on H1B or other visas;

2. coworkers who benefited from affirmative action to get into university;

3. friends/relatives of law-abiding-but-undocumented aliens.

You might think you are just making abstract policy statements. But to your listeners, you are making threats to destroy their livelihood and their families. Of course they react negatively!

How would you react if someone, in the name of abstract policy, argued that people belonging to your demographic group don't deserve jobs or should be kicked out of the country?

As a member of a representative democracy, I should be able to hold and express political opinions on things like immigration and affirmative action without risking career death. The fact that I can't do so is beyond just sad, it's dangerous to our democracy in general.

As a member of a representative democracy, you have the right to express whatever political opinion you please. But if you exercise that right in your workplace and announce to your coworkers that you want the government to destroy their lives and families - well, you ought to be prepared for an extremely negative reception.

Until Trump, you never heard the anti-immigration, anti-trade rhetoric from mainstream elected conservatives.

Well, “never” would be wrong, but it's been a while since that was the common (and, when I say a while, I mean since the Democrats were the southern conservative party and the KKK was a major and overt influence in their candidate selection.)


You can find similar clips from Hillary and Schumer, just not from this decade.

Last time I checked - they weren’t conservatives.....

What welfare? Welfare got repealed by Bill Clinton in the 90s. Can you point to this welfare you speak of?

> Welfare got repealed by Bill Clinton in the 90s.

AFDC got replaced with the more restrictive TANF as the primary federal-funded welfare program in the 1990s by the Republican Congress with Clinton’s support, but welfare was not repealed.

I'm going to quote from the TANF wikipedia page here:

"There is a maximum of 60 months of benefits within one's lifetime, but some states have instituted shorter periods."

Many Americans think you can collect welfare payments, which are about $300 per person, depending on the state, in perpetuity.

That's just not true.

I still wonder where this 'welfare' system is that people think exist.

It could be a reason, but it's a different issue - for women and ethnic minorities it's clear how many of them there are.

However, for conservatives it's an open question of whether they really are underrepresented or they seem underrepresented because they're hiding their viewpoint.

Perhaps a more useful parallel would be sexual orientation a couple decades ago, where there used to be all kinds of policies like "don't ask, don't tell" and you might have gotten an impression that your company or industry has very few gay people while in fact they're there just hiding in the closet.

Conservatives control the executive and legislative branches of government, and are therefore extremely well represented nationally. Meanwhile you’re comparing this to closeted gay people decades ago.

Maybe it’s not politics that gets you into trouble, it just seems that some people will never be dominant enough for their tastes.

It's not about who is dominant, it's about the fundamental right of the non-dominant minority (whatever that is in any particular place and time) to express themselves and not having to hide.

Equality of opportunities/rights for the particular individual wherever they may be, not attempting to get equality of outcomes for the aggregate by harming individual rights or justifying local oppression by some wider goal.

If a gay person has to hide their orientation, it's bad - not because gays need protection, but because that individual is restricted.

If someone has to hide their religion, it's bad - not because that religion needs protection, but because that person gets restricted.

If someone has to hide their political affiliation - same thing, no matter if it's support of some presidential candidate, legalization or criminalization of some drug, support for or against unions, etc, etc.


Sure, people have the right (and possibly a moral duty) to speak against those who they believe to be immoral advocates of the wrong belief.

"Feeling alienated" because others don't agree with you is a reasonable result; I mean, this is a zero sum game, all viewpoints can't be most popular everywhere. But it crosses the line when it comes to actual discrimination in the workplace, which is bad no matter whether it's done by or against the nationally dominant "tribe". If people have to shut up or face personal consequences (as opposed to getting ignored because the voice of others is considered more sane), then "You have every right to speak" has failed.

If I can say whatever I want but my political opponents (who want to implement evil policies for immoral reasons) can not, then we don't have free speech. Even if someone rabidly opposes free, inclusive, diverse society, says so, and gets punished for that - that's not a free, inclusive, diverse society; just as in that overused "Voltaire" (Evelyn Beatrice Hall) quote.

Political opponents will always consider and label each others policies and arguments as immoral and unacceptable, as you say, extreme and noxious; so unless we allow (in practice, by ensuring that people don't get punished for that by others) speech that seems immoral, unacceptable, extreme and noxious then we ensure that the political opposition doesn't get free speech. People should be able to talk in our workplace about why they like the noxious candidate and why the evil policy is needed (to achieve the immoral reason) without me or the workplace punishing them - otherwise I might not be able to talk in our workplace about why I like my candidate and why I want to have the opposite policy for incompatible moral reasons, which seem immoral and evil to them.

I wonder - how are these two things different:

It would be weird to feel offended, or more specifically, "discriminated" against, were you to discuss publicly, in the company of other co-workers, your specific actions in the bedroom or bathroom.

For example, I hope no one is arguing for ensuring "our free speech rights" to talk about the details of their bowl movements or bedroom proclivities in a sprint planning meeting.

> otherwise I might not be able to talk in our workplace about why I like my candidate and why I want to have the opposite policy for incompatible moral reasons, which seem immoral and evil to them.

Why do people expect a different response to, and treatment of, political opinions?

Even if what you would consider a "political opinion" is advertised, circulated or pushed by your employer, your coworkers, "general vibes" - why the expectation that any and all political opinions should be granted the utmost respect, neutrality and objectivity? And most specifically, why this expectation in the workplace? When has the workplace become a "safe space", where, if one political opinion is discussed, all must be allowed to?

Sexual orientation was deemed (ImNAL, my simple understanding) a protected class - in that, we (via our legal system) agreed discrimination against this class is illegal (like age, race).

Are you arguing for not only political affiliation, but political expression to be protected as well?

Should, say, an extremely conservatively run family business be allowed to deny employment to a candidate specifically because they have strong liberal views?

I personally think political opinions and affiliation are nowhere near as fundamentally universal as age and race. For one, opinions are a choice. Therefore, 100% yes, such a business would be well within its rights to deny the candidate employment.

Workplaces are dictatorships, not democracies. If part of that absolute command structure includes the discussion of only one side of a political opinion, it does not follow that all opinions should be given the opportunity to be heard (for fear that it _might_ discourage its existence and expression nonetheless!). I would even go so far as to say perhaps you are too eager to express your own opinions, and too quick to feel threatened by the sound of others. Since politics is an expression of values, are you not holding one set of values, while in the company of what seems to be scores of people who hold no such ones themselves?

Politics is an inherently divisive, generally un-or-misinformed and emotional topic. I have some political opinions not everyone, or even most, will agree with (find me an example of two people who share in common all political opinions!). If I have such an urge to also present those view points, I would then also rationally be prepared for the backlash. My opinions have not been censored, I can go to any street corner, website or pub to discuss any such opinion I might have.

My employment ramifications would be the same as discussing activities of the bedroom or bathroom in those environments; in taste, a private conversation of a sensitive topic. Loudly and publicly; a risk calculation incurred by my employer - one they are allowed to make with any prejudice they desire.

Has Thiel said white people should have more power in America or that it should be a white's country or that the white racee should be helped to survive? Has he promoted the idea of killing people of other races? If not, then how do you judge him as a new-nazi/white nationalist?

The low-hanging fruit reply to your question is that he supported Trump immensely. The more nuanced answer relies on his speaking to the Property and Freedom Society, founded by Hans Hermann-Hoppe, as well as what White Nationists have said about his views.

I like this line of argument. Conservatives have learnt to use the language of social justice as a strategic weapon against liberals. So the same strategy should work in reverse.

The endgame hopefully is that intellectually dishonest strategies from all sides become discredited.

It's silly that they never used this language before that. Social Justice is a prime teaching from Christianity (in fact in all the Abrahamic religions). Seeing how religious the conservatives are, you'd think they'd have been the ones starting this trend.

hahaha I can't wait for some Valley employee to write a paper on how biological differences between democrats and republicans...sorry, "average biological differences" causes different distributions.

I agree, this probably explains why there are fewer conservatives in software; they are less likely to want to work in software.

However, this isn’t actually the issue - the issue is that the (relatively small) population of conservative-leaning (or just not-entirely-liberal) people in SV and elsewhere cannot expect to speak their minds and also keep their careers. Even relatively milquetoast, vaguely conservative people like Brendan Eich are (evidently) at serious risk.

I think there is probably something to this explanation. One reason I've seen for why women prefer not to go into start ups, for example, is that it's more of a high risk, high reward, gamble - which is typically more interesting to men. Likewise, ideologically conservative people are likely disposed not to make such risks.

The question isn't, or shouldn't be, "Do we have representation of women/conservatives/whatever in proportion to demographics?" Instead, the question should be "Are we treating people unfairly?"

For example, I'd feel quite comfortable wearing a Burnie Sanders shirt or hat to work. I'd expect that wearing a MAGA hat would cause problems.

>For example, I'd feel quite comfortable wearing a Burnie Sanders shirt or hat to work. I'd expect that wearing a MAGA hat would cause problems.

They aren't equal things though. The latter is basically you promoting the idea that people of different backgrounds aren't as welcome in the workplace. Especially if your workplace hires anyone on an H1-B or on any other kind of visa, or anyone from Iran, Sudan, Iraq, or the other Muslim ban countries.

I get that in terms of an election they are both equally valid political candidates. But the actual substance of both pieces of clothing is different. One is easily going to divide any workplace where you have employees of foreign nationalities or minorities and the other isn't. There's a reason why what you expect from both scenarios makes sense.

I agree with you that the numbers are very skewed, but I agree with the parent in that, of the few outspoken conservatives I've worked with, I have not seen anyone's career suffer for their politics.

Nor have I. I think it’s similar to the “War on Christmas,” it’s not something that is actually happening, but people like to pretend it is.

I have never seen a woman being harassed or otherwise mistreated in the workplace. Should I conclude that women do not experience harassment or mistreatment in tech?

This is a very bad faith argument, which is quite disappointing considering the other good points you’ve brought up in this thread.

The treatment of women in tech is a very well documented issue, to the point where one would have to be willfully ignorant of the issue. The biggest “evidence” of the War on Christmas is a coffee cup, and companies simply acknowledging the fact that many other faiths and cultures have celebrations during that time of year.

I have witnessed women being sexually harassed by some definition of the term or put down in a sexist way at every tech job I've been at. That being said I am against affirmative action.

I should have been clearer. I actually don't doubt that conservatives are sometimes ostracized; I just don't think, based on my limited experience (and not being one of them), that it happens routinely.

Brendan Eich, James Damore?

OP is clearly talking about people he personally knows. I have to say I concur with OP, but that’s just anecdote.

Looking at 2016 voting habits in the Bay Area, Donald Trump got double digit election returns in every county. That’s not even factoring "never Trump" conservatives who voted 3rd party or stayed home. So there are a fair amount of conservatives here. For comparison there are more Trump voters in San Francisco than African Americans.

In case anyone was curious, Wikipedia says Trump received 37,688 votes in (the city and county of) San Francisco, which was 9.3% of the votes counted. The 2010 Census counted 48,870 African Americans in San Francisco, which was 6.1% of the population.

Did you include those who didn't vote, but would vote for Democrats? In other words, double digit election returns are from those who voted, or "votes for Trump as percent of eligible voters"?

The latter, "votes for Trump as percent of eligible voter." One of your sibling comments comes with more data.

Damore wasn't fired because he is a conservative. He was fired because he thinks women are inferior wrt tech and was very vocal about it.

You are spreading blatant lies and propaganda. Anyone who actually reads his memo knows he never said this, or anything close to it! He was trying to promote the use of scientific consensus on male-female personality differences to more effectively be inclusive of females in the tech world.

Does that sound unfamiliar? If so, it’s probably because you never read what he actually wrote, and instead just accepted unquestioning the media propaganda.

Many news sources also spread the same lie you are, so I assume you’re just parroting the headlines (like many of us are guilty of). The problem is, the dishonesty of this propaganda does real harm.

There was a detailed investigation into his firing by the NLRB that found that he was not fired for having conservative views, but rather for having the potential to cause a hostile workplace for his suggestion that the difference in employment might be due to inherent biological differences between sexes.

* Climate change isn’t a liberal fact vs some conservative alternate truth; climate change is a scientific fact.

* Evolution isn’t an atheist fact vs some religious alternate truth; evolution is a scientific fact.

* Personality differences (note: not to be confused with IQ or proficiency!) between male and female isn’t a conservative fact vs some liberal alternate; it’s a scientific fact.

Damore suggested we use these well established cross cultural personality differences to inspire positive improvements to the workplace that will allow women and men alike to more naturally be attracted to this line of work, and to thrive in it!

But because the scientifically uncontrovertial truths he quoted to formulate his argument are not currently considered “politically correct”, he was basically “crucified” and made an example of.

Scientific consensus is not conservative or liberal, religious or atheist, etc. Scientific consensus is the best unbiased reflection of reality we have.

Of course, any use of the words “fact” or “truth” must be qualified with the appropriate level of uncertainty — not even the best scientific establishments can reach fully 100% confidence — but may established scientific “facts” are called such because our uncertainty levels of them can become so incredibly low. The law of gravity, the claim that the world is not flat, and many others are clear examples of this.

We MUST stop politicizing the notion of “fact”, unless you really want to enter a post-truth world where unjustified opinions and feelings hold equal truth to scientific facts established with literal mountains of evidence and broad consensus.

If observing scientific fact creates a “hostile workplace” and is a fireable offense, then we have truly entered an Orwellian age of Wrongthink and Thoughtcrime, where we must all constantly police our own thoughts and utterance so as not to contradict the ideology of The Party.

He wasn’t even quoting scientific fact for hostile purposes; it appears entirely benevolently motivated, out of a desire to create an engineering culture more compatible with feminine personalities (which even many males have, as he points out!)

But because it touched a topic of political sensitivity and quotes a scientific fact that was “politically incorrect”, the truth of his argument, and even the well intentions of it, were made irrelevant. He was crucified, to make an example to all of what truths must never be spoken.

And this is why we can’t have nice things. Now we can’t even speak about making the workplace more suitable to women, because to discuss that would imply that there’s a difference in personality between women and men — and such a thing now can get you fired.

Please stop deleting and reposting comments.

Sorry about that. I had some typos I was trying to correct but the edit feature wasn’t working (it submitted with no error, but nothing changed).

This is false. Damore did not get fired "because he thinks women are inferior" which is a simplistic, uninformed, and cartoonish version of the controversy. Damore was fired by Google for writing about scientifically supported sex differences and the social ramifications of those differences:


Brushing all of this off as "scientifically supported sex differences" is quite simplistic, uninformed, and cartoonish by itself.

Brushing all of what off? The controversy itself? No, that's not what I did at all. I recognise that it's controversial; I simply don't think most people commenting on it have read Damore's memo, especially if "women are inferior to men" is the mangled message they managed to extract from his writings.

Sigh. As the sibling comment points out, what you are saying is not true. It is contradicted by the text of the memo itself. Moreover he wasn't "very vocal about it", he wrote a memo that was then deliberately leaked by his ideological opponents in order to destroy his career: successfully so.

Five years ago I felt my political views were pretty mainstream for the tech industry, for the Valley (although I did not live there). I'd have described myself as a centrist or maybe centre-left.

These days my views have shifted, I can feel myself getting more conservative with time. It's not an age thing. It's more that I've started to notice the sort of tactic you used above - faced with someone making conservative arguments you disagree with you didn't bother debating the points he made. Instead you just lied about what he said and then attacked a straw man.

This is consistently how Damore is treated. There are liberal arguments that can be made about what he wrote - people could point out methodological errors in his studies, or logic errors in his arguments. But they never seem to do that. Whether it's in the media (who love calling what he wrote an "anti diversity memo" even though it praises diversity and has ideas for how to increase the number of women in tech), or on Hacker News, the tactic is always the same - pretend he claimed women are worse than men and then viciously attack him on a personal level. And it's just totally false.

The same tactic crops up in other similar contexts. Jordan Peterson being interviewed on Channel 4 is a recent notorious example. The guy made debatable but essentially conservative arguments about how men and women are not the same, the gender pay gap has multiple causes and so on. And Cathy Newman (the interviewer), who clearly isn't really interviewing him at all but rather sees her job as destroying the ideological enemy, just constantly twists his words. The entire interview consists of her exclaiming, "So what you're saying is ..." followed by some absurd straw man that bore no resemblance to what the guy just said.

It got so insane that by the end of the interview, after Peterson made a long and complicated point about the biological roots of social hierarchies using the nervous system of lobsters as an example, she replied "So what you're saying is, we should organise our society along the lines of the lobsters" and the guy doesn't even blink or miss his stride. He just gets right on with correcting her, because by that point the lying and distorting of what he just said has become so predictable:


It's one of the most astonishing TV interviews I've ever seen and that sort of debating "tactic" is everywhere.

I keep seeing this argument, and wonder if we read the same memo. And to mirror your view, I'm getting pretty tired of people just brushing off criticism of the memo as "Strawman! Fake news!" when it's anything but. I guess it's a successful tactic though.

Perhaps you posted elsewhere in the thread, but do you have any substantial criticism? I mean, beyond "that's a cartoonish view", which isn't really helpful to informed debate?

I'm very sorry for not being helpful enough for you when I quoted the argument of another comment.

Right - that's a no, then.

I described the argument as a straw man because it is one. Damore verifiably did not say he thought women at Google were inferior. I'm not surprised you're tired of people saying "straw man!" in discussions about Damore: as I note, nobody seems to be able to argue that he's wrong, so they just attack things he didn't say, and then other people have to point that out. If you dislike that, then point out strawmen yourself. Perhaps eventually people who dislike Damore's perspective will then stop strawmanning him.

I think part of the problem with the memo is that it was written for an audience that was unbiased, not for a hostile audience. This means that when you read it after here how bad it was, you brain is primed to pick up on the phrases that are directly or indirectly offensive to women and you skip over all the qualifiers. If you pretty much agree with the basic premise you miss the offensive stuff and notice all of the qualifiers.

It reminds me of all of the issues in the Ferguson shooting. Instantly we had "Hands up, Don't shoot" and "Criminal" being called by both sides. The stuff that is divisive goes viral and people on both sides shout about it.

Alas, because it was imperfectly said by Damore, it is no longer safe to openly discuss if the gender gap in tech might be influenced by biology.

It is not a political view to support that women are inferior, wrt tech, at Google.

Whether he may be a conservative or liberal is irrelevant to me and to the discussion.

But he didn't argue that, did he? Can you give a quote from the memo that makes you think Damore argued or believes that?


I guess I'm too young to see how gay marriage is even controversial, but where's the frontier between bigotry and discrepant values?

Is being anti-abortion bigotry & hate?

For gay marriage, the part that made being against it bigotry is the part where you are denying other people fundamental rights, and all of the ancillary rights that go with that. You are, in essence, creating second class citizens. And for something that literally had zero effect whatsoever on those that were against it.

There are people who genuinely disagree with you and believe that same-sex marriage is not a fundamental right but a separate additional right requested by the LGBT community.

> I don't think anyone can sanely deny a vast under representation of conservatives in Silicon Valley.

There is no such thing. If you want to join and meet up with other conservatives, you totally can. There are Republican party offices all over. Hell, in the middle of Silicon Valley there is the huge conservative Hoover Institution think tank.

But if you want to come to work and say a bunch of obviously unpopular things and expect that it's all just going to be cool, it's not. Work is work, everyone thinks before they say things. No workplace is different in this regard. Like the previous commenter said, work is not a debating society, it's really common for people to put up with their coworkers, grin and take it, etc. because that's how teamwork happens. It's not something only conservatives have to deal with.

Aside: Voting Republican != Conservative, and vice-versa. Despite your voting record, you can still be conservative. See NIMBYism.

Realized I didn't actually post the end-note:

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/elections/results/california-preside...

Yeah I don't get it either, especially the "feeling alienated" part. Does that include being feted and having a respectful discussion with your liberal friend and old colleague, Reid Hoffman, on the Stanford campus on Jan. 31 of this year, moderated by a very sympathetic Niall Ferguson? With laudatory words and praise from the President and Provost? https://news.stanford.edu/2018/02/01/cardinal-conversation-r...

Look, if you're going to speak at the RNC and actively support Trump, you will be on the opposite side of a super-majority of college-educated people in this country at this point. And definitely a large super-majority of people under 35, women, Asian Americans, Latinos and African Americans. So if you're surrounded by such people, and are loudly promoting such views, don't expect your interlocutors to not criticize them, or necessarily want to hear them ad nauseum.

The evidence however suggests that Mr. Thiel is certainly being given PLENTY of platforms to continue expressing his viewpoints in a respectful manner in front of influential crowds of people, including students. Who is pushing this whole narrative?

This article isn't just about Peter Thiel, it's about tech workers in general. Not everyone has the luxury of being a billionaire, and knowing that they live comfortably for the rest of their lives even if they become unemployable. The sentiments expressed by quotes in this article:

> People in Silicon Valley “openly lie to one another out of fear of losing their jobs or being publicly crucified..."

> Sometimes Silicon Valley venture-capital investors and startup founders “have a certain way of thinking, and if you don’t fit into that way of thinking you’re not in the cool club”

are things that I can absolutely identify with. And I consider myself a moderate liberal, I can only imagine what mainstream conservatives are thinking.

Same, as another founder. And same, I would consider myself pretty liberal. Pro choice, anti military-industrial complex, anti prison complex, pro legalization, sex positive, pro gay marriage, pro universal healthcare, against church and state coupling, non-climate change denier, pro science, yada yada, you name it.

Admittedly, I don't even like the term "conservative", like Naval would say, pinning labels onto yourself only forces you into static positions that you end up having to defend, even if you don't 100% buy into them.

I simply happen to have certain stances and ideas that are in opposition to the mainstream thought of SV. As much as I'd love to discuss them, potentially learning more about them myself and (gasp!) even changing my mind in the process, I'm not comfortable doing it. There's a high chance I will be immediately labeled as "racist / sexist / bigot / white supremacist / [fill in the blank]" for even contemplating disagreement on these topics (let's take "diversity" or how we're handling it as a society as an example) without any supporting evidence.

Unfortunately, as of today, bigoteering has 0% burden on the person making the accusation and 100% of the weight put on the accused. It's always safe to call someone a witch, but proving them wrong in one's defense is nigh impossible.

Ironically, the most open minded and considerate conversations about diversity that I've ever had were with black coworkers. I've learned plenty from them, changed my stance several times, realized I didn't know that much before.

The worst were almost always with overrepresented majorities who were "stepping in to speak up for their less-advantaged brethren". I've never learned anything from them on the topics they were so zealous about. It's the diversity version of "white knighting".

It's hard not to become jaded and assume that most people in this latter category don't actually care, and just want to establish themselves at the top of the moral hierarchy through vacuous virtue signaling. It's disappointing.

>I simply happen to have certain stances and ideas that are in opposition to the mainstream thought of SV. As much as I'd love to discuss them, potentially learning more about them myself and (gasp!) even changing my mind in the process, I'm not comfortable doing it. There's a high chance I will be immediately labeled as "racist / sexist / bigot / white supremacist / [fill in the blank]" for even contemplating disagreement on these topics (let's take "diversity" or how we're handling it as a society as an example) without any supporting evidence.

Look man, welcome to being an underrepresented minority / woman in the US. This is our every day everywhere we go. We always have to watch our tongues make sure what we're saying doesn't get us labelled as "uppity" or "thuggish" or "bossy" etc etc etc.

You're coming to terms with the fact that in any society you have to consider how other people will react to what you do. Congrats.

Odd comparison. Nobody gets fired for being a woman or a minority. In fact, HR is terrified of doing it because of how bad that looks in the 2018 PC world. They have to think very hard and document performance of Fs or URMs very thoroughly to avoid problems when they get managed out for underperforming.

You can, however, get Damored though for expressing the wrongthink opinion.


Much I want to downvote you, I'd rather see how you try and answer why a "pro-choice" person who can't express that view in say, rural Kansas, without being called a "baby killer" shouldn't also consider that a "red flag about his beliefs".

So pro-choice activists are bigots if they're in deeply conservative parts of the US?

If it's implausible for someone to imagine expressing their beliefs without being labelled a bigot then it's just as much a statement about the environment they're in as it is about the beliefs in question.

this is an obviously disingenuous argument. bigot refers to prejudice. a person can be a pro-choice extremist, but not a pro-choice bigot. the phrase simply has no meaning.

Or how about a pro affirmative-action person in deeply conservative areas? Plenty of people would say that it's a bigoted view. Not to mention, affirmative action is explicitly treating people better or worse based on their race, sex, or other aspect of their identity which is the literal definition of prejudice. [1] Some may say that careful application of prejudice is acceptable to account for past injustices (and I do, for example), but that does not change the fact that it is an example of prejudice.

Again, the fact that the majority of people would call a given viewpoint bigoted is just as much a statement about the environment that calls the view bigoted as it is about the view itself. Plenty of mainstream liberal views would be considered bigoted in other developed democracies (e.g. a lot of European countries don't practice affirmative action). Conversely, plenty of mainstream conservative views would be considered bigoted by liberals (I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that I don't need to give an example).

[1] "Prejudice is an affective feeling towards a person or group member based solely on their group membership. The word is often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, feelings towards people or a person because of their sex, gender, beliefs, values, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, language, nationality, beauty, occupation, education, criminality, sport team affiliation or other personal characteristics. In this case, it refers to a positive or negative evaluation of another person based on their perceived group membership" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prejudice

I believe it's the definition of discrimination, not prejudice, that you're looking for.

Your attitude justifies Goldbloom's law.

> Sometimes Silicon Valley venture-capital investors and startup founders “have a certain way of thinking, and if you don’t fit into that way of thinking you’re not in the cool club”

This isn’t new; women have been telling us this for many years now.

Mrs. Clinton won college educated voters by 9 percentage points which is not exactly a super majority.


You're not wrong, but in an election at the national level, 9 points is normally considered a pretty big spread (for example, Obama's victory over McCain in 2008 was pretty solid, and that was by a 7 point margin).

It is a good sized spread. I do think there is more interesting things going on there if you really start pulling the data apart. Although there is no technical definition of super majority that applies to all cases I like the 66% number which would imply you are twice as likely to meet someone from group A as opposed to group B if everything was random. Others of course can have their own definition of what a super majority is.

Note that none of those that Pew's counts as "college educated" in its surveys is in any way verified to be a college graduate of any degree or discipline.


>definitely a large super-majority

Don't use phrases like this without defining them in concrete terms and providing stats. If 1/3 of the people supported Trump in those categories, opposition could easily be counted as a super majority but that would significantly weaken your case. Ignoring and belittling the views of 1/3 of your group is not really acceptable in other contexts.

From my perspective, it's the culture that develops around the "liberal politics" that is the issue. I don't think anyone is complaining about "getting heat for political views". I mean that's just politics. What I've experienced at various companies, though, is that the culture becomes infected with the politics to a point where it impacts the way companies operate and even individual employees' ability to perform their job at a capacity that can produce value. This is where I think it crosses the line. Effectively, companies or individuals end up handicapped by the political agenda. And that makes zero sense rationally for the business. It's literally not their business to be in politics.

I'm hesitant to share anecdotes so I'll keep them fuzzy, but a few things I've seen are along the lines of places removing a comedic joke item because it /might/ give a newcomer the impression that the place "normalizes fascism" (rationale was fear someone wouldn't understand it's a joke and thus let's err on the side of keeping the space sterile), and hiring/comp policies designed around explicitly not paying men more than woman for the same role (everyone's the same role when your company doesn't have roles...) regardless of experience, performance, market, etc. at the expense of acquiring or retaining outstanding talent. And look what happened at Google...

It all comes from good intentions, but IMO it really just misses the mark and reduces an otherwise complex and human landscape to arbitrary statistics and n=1 anecdotes. There is very little intellectual rigor, or proven methodology and a lot of pandering to the political atmosphere (and this happens at places juggling millions of dollars of investor capital). On top of that, I don't understand why the office needs to be the place to explore these issues. If there are objectively systemic issues and discrepancies between e.g. genders in the US today that need correction, then we need to solve those with government policy and social activism. And if our society and our system of government does not respond, perhaps you just have to grow up realize that despite your self-endowed intellectual infallibility, some other people disagree and you might be barking up the wrong tree. Or, don't concede and keep fighting for justice, but don't bring it to work because you're too impatient or lack the perseverance to see your issue through at local, state, and national levels.

So even if other areas might have (for the sake of the argument), on average, more jerks that just don't get it or have a few things to learn about being inclusive and respectful in the way they conduct their daily lives, people don't build operational business policies around solving the perceived problems or shortcomings (not saying HR departments can't lay ground rules, but I'm talking about operational strategies). And that's the difference between an office in SF and an office in NYC or Boston, or Austin, etc.

I would not be surprised if the fact that people find some of Thiel's politics to be unfavorable is impacting his ability to function professionally in the Bay Area. When people's professional livelihood is at steak, of course they will gravitate towards communities where they are not otherwise encumbered. In the case of Thiel, money seems less of an issue, so I suspect he's also making a social statement about the state of affairs down by the bay. Celebrate or listen, but I hope you choose to listen because talent and money are all SV has got going for it, and if those things leave you can kiss the glory days goodbye.


>I'm hesitant to share anecdotes so I'll keep them fuzzy, but a few things I've seen are along the lines of places removing a comedic joke item because it /might/ give a newcomer the impression that the place "normalizes fascism" (rationale was fear someone wouldn't understand it's a joke and thus let's err on the side of keeping the space sterile), and hiring/comp policies designed around explicitly not paying men more than woman for the same role (everyone's the same role when your company doesn't have roles...) regardless of experience, performance, market, etc. at the expense of acquiring or retaining outstanding talent. And look what happened at Google...

You know your situation better than I do, but based on your descriptions I'm with your company on these. You haven't painted a very sympathetic picture of whatever this joke item is, and as for comp, I mean, it seems pretty logical that men and women should be paid the same for the same role, no? That doesn't mean you can't hire/retain talent, you just implement a leveling system like every other company and promote high performers to higher levels.

As for Google, are we talking about the guy who was a dick and caused a massive PR problem and got fired for it? And if your claim is that companies are making bad business decisions and you're pointing at Google, doesn't their 750B market cap undermine the point?

You mean the guy who did what Google wanted him to do -- wrote a reasonably thoughtful essay on a subject that Google had company-wide training on and requested feedback about; had his essay leaked to the outside world, received theats of physical violence (those people are still employed, I believe), and then had himself fired over something that wasn't even in his memo? That guy?

As for Google having a huge market cap, isn't it a a rather common liberal/left-wing trope that uch great wealth comes from being evil?

If he can't take the heat he should stay out of the kitchen.

I think that's the whole point though. The article is saying that there is too much heat simply because they express their opposing viewpoints. "Stay out of the kitchen" means "close your mouth around Silicon Valley liberals" or you'll experience backlash.

While this may not be your personal experience, the article essentially says that the somewhat ironic message coming out of the Valley from people in the "party of tolerance" is that they tolerate everyone except those that have opposing viewpoints.

> "Stay out of the kitchen" means "close your mouth around Silicon Valley liberals" or you'll experience backlash.

No, it means don't expect to be able to say controversial stuff without people who disagree with you also having their say.

The problem is that among this crowd, simply saying "I voted for Trump" or "I hated Hillary so I just didn't vote" is considered "controversial" and worthy of personal and professional backlash.

How is "I voted for Trump" (and I don't regret it) not controversial?

I understand that there are many people who voted for Trump, but that does not mean that the opinion is something that should be considered being in line with the norms of the free society and far past conservative viewpoint.

(Not in the sense that you have no right to your opinion, in the sense that person having that opinion loses the respect of others.)

Again, this is a perfect example of the absurd overreaction that Valley liberals have to the idea that someone might have some conservative views. You sound like you voted for Hillary...do you endorse every single thing she has ever done and said? Did that "I'm with her" shirt you probably bought apply to the Clinton Foundation scandal and the use of an unsecured private email server for classified emails? Probably not.

It's the same with Trump. Some voters - many millions of them - overlooked his many flaws and voted for him, for any of a variety of reasons. That doesn't automatically make them racists, bigots, sexists, idiots, or any of the other labels that liberals like to put on Trump voters. I'm not even endorsing a specific viewpoint here - I'm just saying that instantly ostracizing someone from their workplace social scene (if not their job altogether) based on one data point that by itself means next to nothing is wrong.

I can understand why someone would vote for Romney, McCain, Bush, Dole, but for the life of me I assume that if you voted for Trump you were ok with everything that was known about him; e.g. you believe it is OK to talk about grabbing pussies in the locker room. Trump is special, never before have we had a candidate on either side like this, at least Bill Clinton appeared to be ashamed about his BJ in the whitehouse.

That really has nothing to do with Silicon Valley specifically, Trump supporter has become a bad word in many big cities that Bush supporter never was.

How old are you? I remember people crying when Bush won in 2004. I remember some girl refusing to date a friend of mine because he voted for Bush. Bush received plenty of vilification, which if you are young, is easy to forget given the left now views him like an adorable goofy grandpa. The hate was intense at the time. (Although yes, it’s worse for Trump).

Old enough to remember Bush’s popularity sky rocketing after 9/11. Bush received plenty of vilification from the extreme left, but the moderate left were willing to go along with him as long as everything worked out (which is why he won in 2004). Bush was incredibly likable and didn’t come off as profane even to those that hated his politics.

The thing about Trump is that the moderate left and even many from the moderate right (my uncle never voted for a democrat until 2016) are mostly disgusted with the guy. It isn’t really about politics as it is about human decency against sexism, racism, and so on.

> you believe it is OK to talk about grabbing pussies in the locker room

Talk is cheap. There's little reason Trump has sexually harassed anyone more than Bill Clinton - and Hillary still sticks by him.

I don't think even Trump has sexually harassed Bill Clinton.

> Clinton Foundation scandal and the use of an unsecured private email server for classified emails? Probably not.

This is false equivalence. People like Clinton might appear corrupt for republicans and Dick Cheney might be horrible for democrats, but Trump is in completely different plane.

>workplace social scene (if not their job altogether) based on one data point that by itself means next to nothing is wrong.

What you think is the threshold where political opinion can become personal? When your family is deported?

You missed my point. I was saying that all candidates have flaws, and people find reasons to vote for them anyway. Whether you voted for Trump or Hillary, you were voting for a flawed candidate. It is only your personal political bias that makes Trump in "completely different plane".

>your personal political bias that makes Trump in "completely different plane".

Of course. Everything does. It's just of general description of reality.

>What you think is the threshold where political opinion can become personal? When your family is deported?

Hilariously enough, Clinton and Obama deported far and away more people.

Trump deported more people already living in the US; Clinton and Obama deported more at the border, by enough that total deportations were higher.

Actually, Clinton deported more in both ways. We weren't counting people deported at the border as deportees at the time.

Turning away somebody at a border is not deportation.

It's part of the deportation stats and the only things that makes the “Trump deported more than Obama” thing even technically true.

Obviously, yes, there is a substantive difference between removing someone who has only entered so far as the border checkpoint is on the US side of the border and removing someone who has been living in the US. That's the whole point of pointing it out.

Well, it's been counted that way since the 2nd bush administration

Absurd overreaction? I haven't seen that, but I do see people complaining that their free speech causes others to also speak.

How can something half the US voters did be controversial?

The norms you mention are obviously not where you think they are. I think you may be out of touch.

Half the US? Citation needed.

Last I checked it was only slightly more than half the eligible voting population that actually voted in the presidential election.

Popularity is quite orthogonal to controversy regardless. Our current president is controversial, and it can be argued that controversy is the very thing responsible for the votes he received.

Voting for the candidate you prefer should always be considered in line with the norms of free society.

That is, you know. One of those norms. A rather important one, too.

Voting for an openly sexist person is extremely controversial. I don't find "I hated Hillary so I just didn't vote" controversial at all.

Your comment is a perfect example of the Valley's intense hatred of any remotely conservative viewpoint that the article is referring to. People have all kinds of reasons for voting for a particular candidate. It doesn't mean they endorse all of their actions or views. In this last election, I suspect that many Trump votes were made simply because they didn't like Hillary, and there were only two choices.

If that comment was an example of "intense hatred", I see that part of the problem is over-reaction.

Great. I'm sure they all had reasons to vote for a man who said "grab them by the pussy." That doesn't make it any less of an endorsement.

95% of liberals (myself included) would have re-voted for Bill Clinton in 2000, if he was allowed to re-run, over Bush. They would have overlooked all of the shit with Monica (a 22 yo intern!) and the other women, because they would have viewed Bush as a worse choice. And I think nearly all of them do not endorse what he did.

This is why I'm glad the D's are cleaning house. Sexual assault shouldn't be partisan. F Bill Clinton. Hilary was absolutely complicit too.


Or maybe those two things aren't everyone's top concerns, especially if they're struggling with the lower levels of Maslow's hierarchy, as many people in less prosperous parts of the country seem to be.

But even if you're well fed and feel secure in your future economic prospects, not caring very much about racism and sexism doesn't make you racist or sexist. It seems to me that most Republicans just don't care about those two things nearly as much as they care about other things. If you're surrounded by only white people, racism becomes a very abstract concept, vs if you live in a large multicultural city.

As a party, Democrats really need to start working on understanding the people who don't vote for them, rather than just assuming they're just insane bigots and insulting them as such in the process.

Or people need to understand that when you associate with bigots you'll be labeled as such and whatever granular point you're trying to make gets lost behind that larger point.

See, that's my point, someone doesn't have a job, or prospects, is desperate for some relief on that front, and you seem to be chastising them for not caring about the president's bigotry enough to vote for someone they're convinced won't help them economically. Do you see why they might not feel like their livelihood is a "granular point", but rather "a much larger point" than whatever you care about most?

Both of you are speaking of granular points that ultimately lose to immediate, local concerns. One side says some variant of bigots, the other some variant of coastal elites.

>When you vote for a sexist and racist, don't be surprised when you're thought to be a sexist and racist.

When you vote for someone who appears to be corrupt, don't be surprised when you're thought to be corrupt.

When you vote for someone who appears to be rich, don't be surprised when you're thought to be rich.

When you vote for someone who appears to take a lot of money from Saudi Arabia, don't be surprised when you're thought to take a lot of money from Saudi Arabia.

Are you starting to see how childish that logic is?

To claim that voting for the candidate who actually won the election is controversial is not rational. In my estimation this kind of intolerance is exactly WHY so many people voted for him despite his flaws.

I think it's highly controversial considering how split the country is on the issue. It wouldn't be controversial if say, 80% of the population voted for him. But they didn't. Half the country did, which is precisely why it is controversial.

Is saying I voted for Clinton also controversial?


This is sexist talk in Silicon Valley. Be careful.

It's not them just 'having their say'. It's also getting de-prioritized for promotions, left out of work outings, getting fired, etc.

I think the problem here is they are defining controversial as 'anything I don't agree with'.

On the other hand, I have seen a coworker strongly imply that someone is a white nationalist for suggesting that it’s possible to be a non-racist republican.

I noticed a similar view appearing more than once in the UK: "if you voted for Brexit you're probably a racist".

I think people like this were ironically and unwittingly recruiting people to the other side. Which is unfortunate.

Had a friend who mused (not sure if serious, but tone somewhat suggested it) that'd he'd travel in such a way to "avoid the racist counties" (i.e. majority brexit)...

>I think people like this were ironically and unwittingly recruiting people to the other side. Which is unfortunate.

If you're dumb enough to switch how you vote on something that is unquestionably going to change your personal economic, social, and political future because someone went a little overboard in calling people racists, then you deserve to have your country decline.

Thanks for the anecdote. Was a reminder of "let's be respectful, now!" good enough to solve the problem?

It took many more words, several days and a lot of listening from both sides for a more reasonable position to emerge.

nice, pointing out that he used an anecdote to respond to a person also basing their opinion on anecdotes

Oh, I'm fine with anecdotes responding to anecdotes. I was just wondering what happened next.

Lmao at people acting like people are insane for feeling right wing people are alienated and there being not one but two comments in this thread saying being a republican makes you a racist.

You really "LMAO"?

Because you should be "fearing your ass off" when people are afraid to express their legitimate political views. This has all happened before and it wasn't pretty.

update: come on downvoters. At least give me a clue.

It's funny in the fact that it's so obviously absurd but the people doing it don't see it. It's both funny and scary depending on how much I think about it.


Please keep standard political talking points off HN. If you repeat something stock, it will get stock responses. That makes it off-topic on a site dedicated to curiosity.


how is the entire topic of this discussion not a standard political talking point?

For one thing, many people are talking about their personal experiences, from many angles.

Comments like "blood on the hands of $movement", by contrast, are battle fodder. Irrespective of your politics, that's the sort of thing that provokes worse from others and leads to all-out war, which we're trying to avoid on this site. So if you'd please not post like that here, we'd appreciate it.


ok, I'll try again. how is this notion that conservatives are not free to express their opinions not a standard political talking point? there's an entire genre of such articles in the mainstream media. it's a popular argument with white supremacists who are attempting to normalize fascism.

you're permitting a standard political talking point to be an entire topic of discussion, and then screening out some individual replies because they invoke additional standard political talking points.

you're allowing some standard political talking points and disallowing others. if you're doing that, it would be convenient for your users if you were to specify which standard political talking points are valid topics of discussion, and which other standard political talking points will get your comments banned.

I hear you, but it's more complicated than that. To judge by the reaction of HN users, not everyone expressing this point of view is doing so just as a political weapon. Some are struggling to articulate their experience with the intention of connecting with others. So it's both. From a moderation point of view, the goal is to encourage the one kind of discussion—sincerely articulating experience with the intention of connecting with others—while discouraging the other, i.e. repetition of weaponized rhetoric with the intention of defeating enemies.

You don't have to be racist to support the modern Republicans, but you do have to decide that racism really isn't a deal-breaker for you.

If racism isn't a deal-breaker for you...

In a multi-party system, I would agree with your implication. But when you have a system with only two realistic choices, it is possible to vote for a candidate because you think the other one is even worse, without endorsing the candidate you voted for.

"undeniably racist"? I'm curious. Do tell more.

And you sound like a populist. How one can have a meaningful debate when nothing you say is strictly true?

> It seems to me, from personal experience, that the people who feel alienated are the ones who bring politics to work in an overbearing contrarian way, seeking to cause offense under the guise of "debate," and then pretend to be shocked when people don't want to put up with their shit.

Like many other commenters in this thread, you choose a wording that would be more appropriate if the extent of the problem were obnoxious Republicans not getting invited to happy hour/their coworkers' birthday party/?. The type of situation that people complain about, whether it is accurate or not, seems to be more along the lines that if you are in the wrong half of Silicon Valley companies, being recognised as deviating from the obnoxious Democrat position on any issue of import may result in your colleagues organising to report you to HR and/or rile up a small city's worth of Twitter users to call for your company to terminate you or be boycotted itself, not to mention potential long-term consequences along the lines of easily googleable Medium articles with your name on them or entries in an unknown number of blacklists circulated to recruiters through activist backchannels. How accurate or common any of these are is completely up to discussion, but dismissing them as if any of what is alleged amounts to a normal and healthy free speech reaction just seems disingenuous.

> libertarian/pro-gun friends have not been shy about their political views and it hasn't hurt their tech careers at all

It's interesting that you specifically choose "libertarian". While maybe technically further to the right than Republican it truly seems supporting specifically Republican candidates is wholly furiously unacceptable in the bay area -- especially at tech companies. Try wearing a pin, t-shirt, hat, etc... "openly" supporting Trump to a tech company in the city -- actually for the safety of your career and physical self better not.

I know "normal" Republicans as well. I was using libertarianism as an example of an extreme on the political spectrum, as I used socialism as the opposite extreme.

At my last job, several employees openly supported Trump, and they didn't suffer any consequences.

Libertarian views are far less extreme in many ways than modern Republican views, and often align rather closely with progressive/democrat views. In fact, the libertarian ethos evolved from classic liberalism, including support of LGBT issues, racial and gender equality, and a largely non-interventionist global view.

Republican-voting libertarians are in some ways worse than normal Republicans. Unlike normal Republicans who simply don't believe that their policies are violating people's rights, Republican-voting libertarians freely admit that the policies they are supporting (their stated position is against the policies, but they still support them with their votes) violate people's right, but they go along with them so that they can get a tax break.

Tell that to the libertarians of Las Vegas.

This is my first time posting here just to say that I would literally do this as a dare while messed up on ketamine or a large quantity of vodka so I sound a little "off"

EDIT: Jokes aside, I simply do not talk about political affiliations with anyone, whatsoever. I have no problem having a little back and forth regarding an issue here or an issue there as well as discussing heavier subjects such as foreign policy. To be honest, I do find myself policing my language to not give away who I may or may not have voted for in the past every now and then.

I should probably note I live outside of the US and talking politics can really mess with everyday relationships. I made a decision to vote only on issues while trying to abstain from the whole "this is my sports team" mentality which sort of takes hold of people where I live.

Thiel's real problem is that he doesn't have "conservative" views as much as he has totalitarian and abusive views. He feels might makes right, and that wealth makes might. He's in a group that feel they should be free from restrictions of normal people, and that corporate oligarchy is fine as long as they're on top. He's openly elitist, and THAT is something SV doesn't look nicely upon.

The people I'm honest with about my politics are people I've sort of slowly sussed out as cool, we're all pretty afraid to state many of our actual opinions because we're not rich.

I don't care very much but there are a ton of people out there afraid of being damore'd.

> I don't care very much but there are a ton of people out there afraid of being damore'd.

Seriously, here is how it went down from what I remember:

Damore writes controversial internal only paper -> another googler takes the document meant for internal only viewing and shares it with the media -> someone removes most/all graphs and citations to make it look more like an opinion piece (most likely to flame up more media attention) -> journalist posts internal document without permission from company.

That is at least 2 people going out of there way (in a most likely illegal way too) essentially trying to start a witch hunt on this guy and ruin his life for writing 1 paper just because they do not agree with him.

The real problem is how much of a win that tactic was for Gizmodo and others who published the incomplete document in bad faith. Clickbait sensationalism in media, particularly around race and gender issues, created this environment.

And Gizmodo is the new incarnation of Gawker, sued for obnoxious journalism in the first place..

Just want to point out that this is life in America for most minorities / women. We all have conversations amongst each other we would never have in front of others precisely because we know that our white / male bosses will take it poorly and treat us differently if they hear it.

I notice you didn't include Alt-right in there which at the moment seem to be political ideology on a big rise and in my personal opinion, I think it's generally less radical than communism.

Consider though that one thing the alt-right will never accept is that racial diversity in the workplace is a net positive in itself. Whether it's true or false, it's just apart of the parcel.

Now how would someone like that feel comfortable in a workplace that tells you that being against racial diversity is racist? You don't even have to bring up your opinions, it's beamed to you on a regular basis through meetings, announcements and slack conversations.

I personally had a similar experience recently at my job in Australia in relation to the vote on gay marriage. Even though I am myself gay and have a boyfriend, I was in favour of a plebiscite.

This was in complete opposition to rest of the company, who went so far as to joint write a letter with other companies demanding the government not allow a plebiscite and to instead just pass gay marriage without a public vote.

There was alot of implication around that anyone who disagreed wanted the vote for a chance to vote no and more importantly, to allow for an advertising campaign against gays to intimidate the community as a whole.

People made the claim around myself that obvious the reason people want the plebecide is because they are homophobic racist rednecks.

I don't know maybe i'm just rambling at this point but It's just not nice to work in an environment where you have to listen to people trash your character based on your beliefs and you can't say anything otherwise your "discussing politics" and "rocking the boat".

> being against racial diversity is racist

That made me stop and think. I'm trying to imagine a picture of someone who is against racial diversity but isn't remotely racist and whilst I agree there's no logical contradiction inherent in that position I do struggle to think of a realistic portrait of such an individual.

I might be missing something here but can you spell out this position for me in a bit more detail? I'm genuinely interested as I wonder if my definition of "racist" or my definition of "against racial diversity" might be different to yours.

Consider that this is the majority consensus in Japan and China. Imagine going to japan and saying "guys, this workplace is far too asian, what we really need here is some more indians, africans and arabs to get this workplace into the 21st century".

I think most people here could see that not going over well. Would we then think of china and japan as mostly racist?

I don't really want to get into racist/racial debate on HN, other than to say it's not some tiny opinion only held by white supremacists and neo-nazis.

That and you will find if you look into the research on race differences (eg: genetic influences on IQ) that these topics are not even close to be declared settled and are still hotly contested.

> Would we then think of china and japan as mostly racist

Actually yes. I don't think that's far-fetched by our standards. And on the whole I'm quite proud of the distance we in the West have travelled on this issue.

However - the reason we're where we are is because slavery, colonialism and immigration have rather forced us to confront the issue in a way that other nations have not needed to.

Well I'm western too and from my personal experience I don't think they are racist.

People in China are in fact racist by Western definitions. See https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15745355 for details. As I said in that comment, it's not because they're _bad_ people; it's a natural outcome of the way humans stereotype.

They are both pretty openly xenophobic, no? I didnt think that was in any debate. If your point is that racism isnt the sole province of white people - yes, thats worth remembering. White American liberals (which I am) seem to struggle with allowing their world view to incorporate things like this.

No, I feel that the point is rather different, pointing towards a difference between xenophobia and racism.

In USA, the nation is mixed, heterogenous, and thus being anti-diversity unavoidably involves some discrimination of your fellow citizens, being an asshole to some groups of them; and justifying this discrimination tends to require some racist arguments.

In homogenous countries like Japan, the issue is different - you can easily consider other races/ethnicities as equally good/valid/etc while at the same time being anti-diversity, favoring near-zero permanent immigration; i.e. a simple status quo position "the other races are nice, let's visit, chat, trade, exchange experiences but let us stay here and let them stay there" is feasible, unlike USA.

In USA, acknowledging "there's us and there's them" race separation divides the country, in Japan the same thing can unite it. Treating members of another race as guests that are different/separate from your group is reasonable in homogeous nations and horrid in "melting pot" nations.

> In USA, the nation is mixed, heterogenous, and thus being anti-diversity unavoidably involves some discrimination of your fellow citizens, being an asshole to some groups of them; and justifying this discrimination tends to require some racist arguments.

I'm anti-diversity not because I don't believe races exist, I'm anti-diversity because I think hiring people for the color of the skin is itself racist. Affirmative action has made me skeptical of every woman or "diverse" person in high places, because when I see their authority, all I think about is how they had an edge just because of their biology.

I really don't care about natural racial diversity, it's inevitable in our country. However, I'm not really a fan of cultural diversity. A culture defines what is expected from one another socially, and without any set norms, people have no predictable way to interact, which is no good IMO. I understand that multinational corporations are required to allow for multiculturalism so they can behave globally, but I don't see why local areas can't have their own cultures.

I have reasoning behind my opinions, but because they are currently taboo, the only way I can discuss my opinions are on anonymous forums like this. That's sad to me. I may be wrong, there may be a flaw in my reasoning, but because I can't discuss them in public, the discovery of those flaws becomes delayed.

I think it is an unsettling reaction to have your predominant thought upon seeing a woman or non white male in a position of authority to assume it is because of their gender or race. I find it hard to believe you are not able to find other logical reasons for ot, so it sounds like a choice youve made to view the world through that lense.

There might be other logical reasons that they are in power, but even knowing that affirmative action made their sex or race a factor and that my biology would work against me if I were to apply for their position is enough to make me jealous and bitter about it. I think affirmative action sows divides because of it, and is probably counterproductive nowadays.

If discrimination based on race or sex is bad, then why is affirmative action good?

I can speak from my own experience only as I dont study the statistics, but in 20 years of work as a white male I can categorically say ate that my race and gender has never been a hindrance in my career progression. I dont doubt the possibility exists, but I do not based on my network feel its to any noticeable degree. As in, I havent ever observed it happen, as a hiring manager myself or by a hiring manager.

As to your second part, as to what its origin is, its clearly in response to a multigenerational systemic suppression of certain classes. That is not in debate, and frankly from my white male perch, I continue to see firsthand much more of the lingering slights and biases against certain classes and groups, that affect their career and their inclusion, than I ever have any anti white male sentiment or anti white male advancent credo.

So in summary - I really dont think much has changed, and that isnt a good thing.

> its clearly in response to a multigenerational systemic suppression of certain classes.... I continue to see firsthand much more of the lingering slights and biases against certain classes and groups, that affect their career and their inclusion, than I ever have any anti white male sentiment or anti white male advancent credo.

This statement shows a big divide between our worldviews. You believe that they fail to succeed in our country because they are part of a disadvantaged group, while I believe it's because they either 1) lack the money to earn social status signals required to start a career(degree, social network), or 2) their culture prevents success. There are plenty of disadvantaged white folk who are held back by those two issues too, yet mainstream media calls them "privileged" because they happen to be white, despite the fact that they grew up poor, live in an economically depressed area, work manual labor, and have a culture that doesn't strive for more.

Sure, historic racism would explain why the divides aren't symmetrical, but I think the whole nation would be better if our politicians would focus on economics instead of identity politics.

I dont think we have a divide, my view just includes racism and sexism as things black people and women have to deal with, in addition to what you list for white males. Its not either or. So I guess my question to you is, since you know racism and sexism exist...why are you so wed to subtracting it from their equation?

Otherwise we agree. I come from a very white, very depressed region. I understand the dynamics well.

As to the govt, I believe the vast majority of all social programs do deal with things on an economic basis. So I dont see the conflict. Once again, not an either or. Most things arent.

I'd like affirmative action removed because I believe it does more harm than good nowadays, and maintains racial and gender divides. I think it was necessary when implemented when rampant, blatant, extreme racism and sexism was the norm, but that just simply isn't the norm nowadays.

I know my negative emotional reaction to seeing a "diverse" leader is racist and sexist, but that's not going away while their advantage is codified in every single corporate handbook in the country.

I think you have a point, but I don't tend to think to consider the current state of all nation states and their dominant cultures as static. 1000 years from now, I imagine much will have changed. Which may or may not involve closed nations to address many of the same issues we in America face. I think we can see this in Europe now.

> They are both pretty openly xenophobic, no?

I mean if xenophobic is defined as preferring your own race compared to others then I guess pretty much the entire world is xenophobic except white liberals in western countries.

China or Japan doesn't (in recent decades at least) put nearly the same amount of effort into destabilizing other countries that they have no cultural affinity with compared to countries like the US.

To me, I would consider these actions more "racist" or "xenophobic" than restricting immigration to prevent excessive racial/cultural diversity. To me this is the rise and fall of nation states 101. More diversity in race and cultures leads to more conflict. You can't have a race riots between two races that don't live in the same nation.

To take this a bit away from race, just look at the middle east. Countries like iraq are doomed constant civil war because of the racial/cultural lines which are commonly expressed through religion sects. I think it would be pretty fair to say that without diversity, iraq as a nation would be much more stable and prosperous.

If it's xenophobic to understand race exists and the human condition is one that accepts race at a foundational level, then I guess we are all born Xenophobic. I personally don't believe in living by original sins.

To me you conflate culture and religion with race. Which is often or at least usually the basis of racism. I dont think race is foundational, in really any way that matters.

China is less homogenous than you might think, and Japan has groups that face discrimination too even if the divisions are less obvious to Western eyes. And people do criticize Japan's relatively xenophobic attitudes.

More to the point, even if you were correct about their racial homogeneity that would not be a model that the United States can or should seek to emulate.

Everything I've experienced and read about China (I'm American and lived there for a year) leads me to believe that Han Chinese in China are extremely racist. Look at how they treat their own ethnic minorities, for example (Tibetans, Uighurs, etc.).

I know less about Japan, but everything I've read suggests that Japanese are also extremely racist.

Isn't Japan notorious for it's racism and xenophobia?

> someone who is against racial diversity but isn't remotely racist

One way I see this working is a person who believes in individualistic meritocracy with libertarian leanings. In this post I'll try to lay out the point of view of hypothetical person (so not everything I say here represents my own personal beliefs or something I personally agree with).

First, the meritocracy part: Such a person would say that all workplace decisions should be made on a totally race-blind basis: "I don't care what race the people at my startup are, what matters is if they can code (if that's what their job title entails)." If it so happens that our society has relatively few people of X race who can code at the required skill level, then as an inevitable consequence on average startups will employ few people of race X, because there simply aren't enough skilled programmers of race X to go around.

Second, the libertarian part: Sure, it's indisputable that there are a ton of social and economic issues that people of race X encounter at home, in their communities, in school, that end up causing fewer young adults of race X to be coders. But it's certainly not this startup's job to try to fix the upbringing of employees that has resulted in their inadequacy to supply the needed labor. This startup's job is more along the lines of, if a person can't do the work the company needs them to do, they shouldn't be working here.

It's not even the government's job to fix this. When it tries, it only succeeds at wasting resources, turning the people it's trying to help into permanent dependents of the taxpayers, and poisoning the reputation of the actual high achievers of race X because everyone who sees them now assumes "Oh, he/she can't possibly actually be able to do his/her job, the only reason he/she's in that position is there's a quota of minorities to fill so the company doesn't get called out / boycotted / sued for insufficient diversity..."

Third, the individualistic part: Do we really want a society based on the group identities of different races? That seems like a recipe for perpetuating our race problems, not fixing them. If you enshrine "racial diversity" into any kind of official or quasi-official policy, then by definition the policy is treating under-represented races favorably and over-represented races unfavorably.

I'm not racist and, as you would expect me to say, have over the years made several close friends of widely-varying races. (As an aside, isn't it part of the problem that I even have to open my comment on this topic by expressing my non-racist bonafides?)

In over two decades of work in corporate as well as entrepreneurial environments, I've not seen a difference in efficacy within groups that would be attributed to being either racially diverse or non-diverse.

For example, if there were three groups working on a given technical project, one composed of all white men, one composed of all Asian women, and one composed of a mix of race and gender, would the diverse group produce a superior result? My experience is that they would not. Sufficiently and equally incentivized and qualified, all groups would likely produce similar results.

So, I'd consider myself as somebody who's "against racial diversity" mainly because I haven't experienced it improving the core competencies of my company -- which is what I care about. Nor have I found compelling research supporting higher performance by more diverse groups. Thus, efforts to improve diversity, for diversity's sake, in my experience, feels like an effort to make a change that's not related, and might even be a distraction, to making my company more effective.

Why do you oppose racial diversity instead of taking no opinion on it? One would think a neutral observer, seeing no difference in efficacy between different types of workplaces, would not oppose one of those types of workplace anyway. The conclusion I make is that the observer is not neutral, but biased.

When you say you're "against racial diversity" you are saying you prefer racial homogeneity. If that's not what you mean, you should rethink how you state your preference. Many people would take that statement to mean that you're an avowed racist.

I oppose racial diversity and am not a racist.

The problem is that the word "diversity" doesn't actually mean merely having the presence of different races. Nobody who argues for "racial diversity" ceases to argue the moment the first black or Asian person is hired.

Rather, the phrase "racial diversity" has become code for its own kind of racism against white people. It doesn't mean the dictionary definition of diversity, consisting of multiple types. It means specifically eliminating and pushing out white people on the grounds that there are lots of them around in western countries, so harming them in some concrete, objective way isn't really harmful.

Moreover, the tactics normally used to obtain this so-called diversity are usually anti-meritocratic: literally the promotion and rewarding of people who do not deserve it on the basis of their work or skills alone, but just on the basis of skin colour. This is poisonous and demeaning to those people who do work hard, but don't benefit from being born "diverse".

It's really quite sad that this is actually a topic for debate, and that the ever more extreme elements in California have tried to make "meritocracy" a dirty word. But ultimately it'll be to the benefit of companies in other parts of the world who don't care about this strange and poisonous offshoot of political dialogue. I doubt there are many companies in Russia or China that force all employees to spend time on unconscious bias training, or who reliability promote unqualified people because of their DNA.

The argument for technical people is not that a more diverse group per se produces better results (although that argument is made for some other professions, such as marketing). The argument is rather that by restricting the candidate pool based on irrelevant attributes like ethnicity or gender, one is likely to overlook good candidates and thereby reduce the overall competence of the team.

I would expect you to agree with this since you say you haven't observed a systematic difference in performance between these groups. No?

My own thinking is that it's good to invite a diverse applicant pool, but final hiring decisions shouldn't use diversity except as a tie-breaker. At the same time one should try to be aware of one's own biases, and rigorously careful not to devalue candidates unlike oneself.

As people bring up Asian countries in other comments, I think they miss the point. For all I know Chinese could as well be racists as some comments say.

However, consider this: blood type is important in Asia yet most people in the USA do not even know their blood type so, we could conclude it's not important here. Now, imagine a movement to force blood type diversity took root in the American tech. Then, would it be still hard for you to picture someone who does not believe that the blood type diversity is a good in itself yet is not a "burahara"-type bigot who thinks the B-type people are inferior?

> I do struggle to think of a realistic portrait of such an individual

Maybe because those individuals know to keep their mouths shut?

Stop. There are better things to think about.

Isn't the rebuttal your post the heart of the whole current, I'm not even sure how to describe it, "listen" movement: your experience won't be the same as anyone else's? I wonder why that doesn't extend to a white, male, gay, conservative?

I also think it is odd that we can see the flaws in everyone everywhere else, but the flaws in our own environ seem so hard to spot. I'm reminded of this in these times: http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

> Diff present ideas against those of various past cultures, and see what you get. Some will be shocking by present standards. Ok, fine; but which might also be true?

Thiel has a larger platform for his views than most people, and his success in Silicon Valley is ironically the reason he gets such a platform. He gets blowback because people are listening, and don't like what he says. Everyone's right to free speech is maximized when he says what he thinks and people who disagree with him say what they think.

This article isn't mainly about Thiel. He's in the rare position in that he knows he can live comfortably for the rest of his life even if his employment opportunities are reduced to zero. This article is more about overall atmosphere and culture experienced by standard tech workers. The full excerpt from Tim Ferris (part of which OP's article quoted) really captures this:

> Now, more and more, I feel like it's a Russian nesting doll of facades -- Washington DC with fewer neck ties, where people openly lie to one another out of fear of losing their jobs or being publicly crucified. It's weird, unsettling, and, frankly, really dangerous. There's way too much power here for politeness to be sustainable. If no one feels they can say "Hey, I know it makes everyone uncomfortable, but I think there's a leak in the fuel rods in this nuclear submarine..." we're headed for big trouble.

I can definitely identify with this sentiment.

I wonder why that doesn't extend to a white, male, gay, conservative?

Thiel has been around for a long time and his views have been given extensive consideration - I'd say he's a well known public figure out here on the west coast. It seems to me that people have listened to him and that a significant fraction have subsequently arrived at a negative conclusion about him.

Thiel spoke on national television at the National Republican Convention. He made the choice to bring his private political beliefs into the public sphere, and has no grounds to complain for catching heat for them.

And when did Brendan Eich make public comments? When he privately donated to a cause?

You can be dismissed from leading a company today by privately supporting conservative causes. And there’s very little threat of a liberal CEO being dismissed independent of his private/public statements.

I have no desire to speak to any particular political subject in this forum; but it’s incredibly disingenuous to pretend this only happens to people who take public conservative positions.

Though even the charitable reading of your statement suggests that you believe that conservatives should stay in the closest. Which is a fascinating turn to say the least...

And, as a religious conservative guy in tech I’ll add my point of view: it’s okay to talk politics at work as long as you agree with everyone else. Those of us with dissenting world paradigms spend most of the day quietly wishing these conversations would end. Because there isn’t debate to be had at work; dissenting views are not welcome.

On this one point, without taking a position on the rest of your comment: everyone making political donations in CA knows (or should know) that donations over $200 go in the public record. If you want it to be private, keep it under $200. Eich's donation was much larger and he knew that it would be in the public record. It cannot be fairly characterized as a "private donation".

I am speaking specifically about Peter Thiel. You and I probably agree about Brendan Eich.

I also agree that tech companies can be a difficult place for constructive political debate (or even agree-to-disagree conversations), and I do not think this is a good thing.

>I also agree that tech companies can be a difficult place for constructive political debate (or even agree-to-disagree conversations), and I do not think this is a good thing.

I think it is because there are already places for constructive political debate. You can go there to do that. In the workplace, be civil, and if people are telling you they don't like you to do X and Y be reasonable and willing to compromise / apologize if you need to.

Right, but Mozilla can't attract/keep great LGBTQ employees if the CEO believes that it is okay to actively oppress LGBTQ employees. By extension, this also extends to heterosexual employees who have LGBTQ friends and family members, or to any potential employees who believe in LGBTQ equality.

( And before anyone thinks that 'oppress' is too strong a word, the inability to marry caused tax and inheritance implications for LGBTQ individuals in California, some of which were unrecoverable. To this point, consider that people who died during Prop 8 will never get justice; will never get equal representation. )

I am sorry you feel like your views are unwelcome/oppressed, but religious groups in the United States have a very long and extremely well-documented history of doing real, lasting, absolutely life-altering harm to LGBTQ individuals. This harm caused to LGBTQ Americans isn't the same as feeling like your views are unwelcome at your place of work, and I hope you can at least see the difference.

Brendan Eich may sincerely hold his religious beliefs, but he didn't stop at simply believing: he gave money to further an utterly poisonous cause that brought real, and in some case unrecoverable, harm to tens of thousands of Californians.

The same argument works in reverse though. Clearly conservatives feel discriminated against at Google, and with good reason to do so - look at all the screenshots in Damore's legal complaint. Many comments from managers flat out stating that Trump supporters should be fired, or even anyone speaking out against such punishments should also be fired.

So why does Pichai still have a job?

We know the reason - because CEO-firing moral outrage only works in one direction in California.

Those screenshots don't prove that anyone discriminated against Damore. Those screenshots only prove that people were angered by his memo.

In any case, conservatives at large are currently working on law that will allow people to discriminate at will against people if they feel like it infringes on their religious liberty. ( In fact, just such a law has already been passed in Indiana. Signed by Mike Pence. )

So while conservatives now complain bitterly about discrimination, they're the one's busily enshrining it in laws at various levels.

Imagine if a religious liberty bill passes. In fact, I can't wait. Then I can fire all my conservative employees en masse for offending my liberal Christian religious views.

Does that help you see why this madness must end? Why no one wants it?

Oppress is still too strong.

There is an a implications to everything. Have an opinion on healthcare, and someone might die according to you preferred version of it.

He participated within the political system, he did not "[believe] that it is okay to actively oppress LGBTQ employees", except, in your interpretation, by participating in the political system. This extends to "any potential employees who believe in LGBTQ equality" in the same way it extends to anyone with any political opinion; I could mirror the exact same sentiment wrt pro-choice - "believes it is ok to actively murder" etc.

<< Oppress is still too strong.

He funded nakedly oppressive political activity. Passing a law to deny consenting adults the right to marry solely on the basis of their sexual orientation is oppression by itself. That Prop 8 had significant financial and legal consequences for tens of thousands of Californians is the proof that the act was overtly oppressive.

[1] http://www.dictionary.com/browse/oppress

The real reason conservatives have so much trouble in liberal places is their outright refusal to acknowledge their political and social behavior is profoundly harmful to segments of society.

The solution is so, so, so easy: a conservative person should simply find somewhere else to live if they are unhappy in any geographic regions where a lot of liberals are busy using their constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of expression to build the kind of society they want.

> a conservative person should simply find somewhere else to live if they are unhappy in any geographic regions...

Somewhere they can create a Christian cake shop in peace, you mean?

Few if any CEOs employ any fetuses, so there is little chance that they could create a hostile work (which they are legally required not to do) for any employees by opposing fetal rights. The same can not be said for a CEO who opposes LGBTQ rights.

So if it becomes law you are automatically fine with it?

Law follows morality, not the other way around.

If abortion is murder, the crime of possibly creating a hostile workplace pales in comparison.

This has been downvoted, but this is an important distinction that our legal system even recognizes. There's a qualitative difference between a "public person" (like Thiel) and a "private person" like some random co-worker who doesn't tour around doing speeches and writing opinion pieces.

Agreed. Moreover, speaking at a nationally-televised political convention is an inherently public, political act.

> Work is for working; it's not a debating society, and especially not when the debating is done in bad faith.

If this were actually true of the current milieu of tech employment in the bay area, I'd likely still be a willing and active participant in that workforce.

Substantial energy is wasted discussing ideologies and arranging/having meetings on what are fundamentally social issues we're not realistically fixing in the short-term at the workplace from the bottom-up. The reasons appeared largely focused on satisfying the expectations of a vocal minority of SJW-types bringing this crap into the workplace with HR departments jumping at the opportunity to appear busy and influential.

Edit: Maybe my experiences were unique, though my social circles were complaining of similar things at their respective startups.


Ah the SJW boogyman. A quick way to get anybody with a functioning brain to dismiss everything you say.

It's just the counterpart of the "racist" boogyman.

Why is it terrible to dismiss people by calling them SJWs, but not calling them racist.

I guess for a few reasons:

1) SJW isn't a bad thing, like racism. social justice (the literal term) is what all people want in their society. It's preached by nearly every religion (the idea that the poor are equal to the rich, the black people equal to the white, etc).

2) Racist is an adjective but SJW is a group affiliation often attributed to people who don't wish to be affiliated that way. A person can say a racist thing, but no one can do an SJW thing. We can qualify certain things and statements as racist or not. We cannot do the same with SJW. SJW will always be used to denigrate someone. Racist, however, can be used analytically and without malice.

Thanks for responding.

wrt point #1, SJW and Social-Justice Advocate are different terms. Justice is a subjective term, the word itself may have a positive implication, but the implication of "SJW" is that their brand of social justice is neither just nor good.

I disagree with point #2 though: the word "racist" is used to denigrate (label people who do not accept the label) more than otherwise. A person can absolutely say an "SJW thing" - the kind of thing an SJW would say. This may be ambiguous, but so is racist; it depends on a personal definition of what constitutes racism just as mush as SJW does.

In fact, willfully creeping the scope of words such as "racist" to include e.g. microaggressions is partly what differentiates SJWs.

To clarify:

Why is use of the term 'SJW' to dismiss viewpoints not ok - but use of the word 'racist' for the same purpose is rife.

I’ve had a colleague straight up say everyone who isn’t standing up to Trump or agrees with any of his policies is a Nazi apologist.

There might be element of "strategic manoeuvring" here. Some people stake a position further out than their genuine views because they are trying to influence people's behaviour. I find myself doing it occasionally albeit not consciously. It's essentially related to the negotiation strategy of starting with a low offer so you've got room to move towards your real price.

Related: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window

Forgive me, but I don't think that your comparison holds any water. I don't think anyone would begin a salary negotiation by comparing their co-workers to a group that committed the most horrific genocide in human history.

It's simply a cheap tactic that is used in an attempt to de-legitimize opposing viewpoints and end conversations.

Nazi symphathizer is what a few of my friends think.

And the third of Americans that support him... are just idiots.

My friends and colleagues are more mellow than yours I guess.

Well, that might be because, you know, Trump himself took an apologetic stance when it came to a large neo-Nazi rally that happened during his Presidency...


> Trump is very very different from a mainstream Republican.

The key part of merpnderp's quote is "or agrees with any of his policies". There are tons things that are perceived as "Trump's policies" (and some are in fact his policies) that are just mainstream Republican policies. Just don't confuse "policies" with rhetoric, because in the case of Trump he says one thing and does another all the time. Of course it's a bit odd to me that people who think he's a pathological liar (a viewpoint I can totally understand!) always act surprised when his words don't match his actions...

I think, contrary to what many people are saying, that what has really happened is that it has never been easier to hold an opinion about almost anything. Previously you had to at least partly subscribe to some sort of ideology that was somewhat reasoned. Which meant that you were prepared when you met someone who didn't agree with because most ideologies reason around the same things.

Today there are so many source of information that you are never really forced to dive deeper into something. If you see something repeated enough you get a very strong sense of it being true. Many fringe opinions spread without people realizing that they are just that. They aren't used to people disagreeing with them so when people do so strongly they feel alienated.

In regards to Thiel moving, and other VCs praising China, I think that has more to do with people in general becoming more skeptical about SV. Which is a bad thing if you are a VC and are selling "disruption", but probably a good thing for engineers.

>Peter Thiel has been more politically vocal than most, and he is vocal about things he knows to be unpopular. He can't be surprised that people who disagree with him are also vocal. If he can't take the heat he should stay out of the kitchen.

He has to put up with people thinking he is an asshole. We the proletariat have to put up with the people he can buy into power, which affects our livelihood, health, the future of our society. If I had the money to sue him out of existence, as he is wont to do to others, I would.

Fuck him.

Conservative propaganda has learned from the left how powerful victimology, feeling persecuted, is. White resentment is through the roof when I talk politics with a lot of my white friends.

I find this new conservative victimhood mentality absolutely fascinating. I know someone who is a self described conservative who thinks he's being persecuted by society because of, of all things, having children. Not a ton of children, mind you, and not ones he can't afford, and not out of wedlock.

Having children is literally the most socially acceptable thing you can do amongst almost all political ideologies. Its incredibly common and parents are held up on a pedestal just for existing.

But he thinks the liberal elites are somehow out to get him for being a parent and he's a persecuted minority. He's said "liking being a parent is such an unpopular opinion."

He has a million other benign things he thinks he's being persecuted for but the kids thing is just the most bizarre and totally detached from reality.

It's like, you'd have to totally ignore reality to have this viewpoint... At the same time it seems like a really sad life.

I wonder if they actually believe this shit or it's just a means to an end.

Why don't you ask him why he thinks that, instead of writing it off?

I agree it seems odd to believe that anyone could be against having children. But the world is full of large groups of people who hold odd and unsubstantiated opinions. Perhaps he's met people who really do look down on him for having kids. Perhaps he's stumbled across a group of old fashioned Malthusians who think children = population growth = destroying the environment and he's extrapolated that belief out incorrectly onto a much wider group.

To your wider point, conservatives are absolutely victimised in some parts of society. That's what the entire article in the WSJ is about. That's what happened to Damore. Note that Damore filed a complaint with the NLRB: they wrote a memo that put the word "scientific" in scare quotes, and stated that bringing up scientific studies of gender differences was sexual harassment. So literally attempting to argue conservative viewpoints by reference to scientific studies is now considered sexual harassment and the government will not defend it: if that isn't going to create a feeling of victimisation, what is?

There do exist some activists fighting against "natal" policies; for example, these guys: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Alliance_for_Optional...

However, such a position is very much unusual and marginal in the US or (IMHO) the Anglosphere in general. By contrast, I had encountered some rather aggressive childfree activists on the Russian-speaking segment of the Internet.

I'm not automatically dismissing him, none of that reflects the reality of his existence, he's seeing things that aren't there, presumably because he wants to feel like a victim. Not only that but he doesn't ever stop talking about it, literally every conversation ends up being how the liberal elites are out to get him for some really stupid reason.

White resentment becomes possible only when one ceases to care about facts. (Ex. http://www.mdcbowen.org/p2/rm/reports/cerd.pdf)

This is part of what makes it so pernicious - they feel persecuted, but everyone else can see that they're firmly in control of everything. So it gets pointed out that they're not actually persecuted, which makes the White Moderate feel more persecuted and ignored, pushing them further right. Frustrating, but I don't know what you can do about it.

"They" is a very dangerous word in this concept because despite the genuine advantages of being white - there are many white people who are powerless and have had shitty lives. Inter-group vs intra-group differences. Someone from a minority might well have had an better life with more opportunities than someone from a privileged class. Comparing groups does not translate into comparing individuals (interestingly this is the same intellectual shortcut that leads to racism)

> genuine advantages of being white

The folks I'm mostly talking about don't actually believe in that, so obviously my "they" was too broad, indeed.

> Someone from a minority might well have had an better life with more opportunities than someone from a privileged class.

I don't think this has anything to do with what I'm talking about, except maybe as an intentional deflection? We're talking about white resentment as a phenomenon, not Bill the blue collar veteran who was tricked into plundering loot for Halliburton in 2004 or something.

> Comparing groups does not translate into comparing individuals (interestingly this is the same intellectual shortcut that leads to racism)

Discussing race as a phenomenon doesn't make you racist, and this talking point is often used by alt-righters to make some sort of "actually, anti-racists are the REAL racists" narrative. I don't buy it.

edit: My views are failing in the marketplace of ideas! Feel free to leave a comment if you want to engage.

In addition to the people, the party, the Republicans is also being pushed towards the far-right.

While some of it may be correct, that's a pretty terrible paper to use as evidence of anything, not only because it's incredibly biased but also because almost all of it is based on explorations of case studies. I have read a lot of these and contributed to some: it does this because it's pushing policy objectives. It's also from 17 years ago.

> Work is for working; it's not a debating society, and especially not when the debating is done in bad faith.

If this were true the far left wouldn't be able to discuss social issues at work either, but they are.

Also! As Kim-Mai Cutler pointed out on Twitter, Silicon Valley's positions are not new!: "Andy Grove gave to reproductive rights, Gordon Moore to conservation, HP was one of the very first employers to offer healthcare coverage, to hire Asian & African Americans like Art Fong & Roy Clay."

Silicon Valley has always been different from the rest of the U.S. The "H.P. way" was in its time a radical and progressive thing.

If these people want to know what it is like to be "stifled" in the workplace, be an atheist or lefty in Texas.

Really? (warning anecdotes :), When I lived in the south east (Alabama / Georgia), I didn't notice any stifling because I was an atheist. Sure, you had to deal with people's super religious fundamentalist beliefs which got expressed all the time, but my barrage of dissenting opinions didn't get any backlash, except for the "prayer for my lost soul" which did happen on occasion.

To add my 2 cents, I was employed in Macon, Georgia by a small software firm around the time the Bush administrating was drumming up support to attack Iraq. I was opposed to it and let my feelings be known amongst my colleagues. My colleagues would agree with my POV, go home and then come back the next day and attack me. The cycle repeated itself a few times before I realized they were going home to Fox News everyday. Unfortunately for me, I discussed these opinions in the cafetaria. When they downsized a short while later, I was the first one to be let go. Since then I never discuss politics at work, even with folks I trust,

Do you live/work in Texas? The big cities (Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio) are overwhelmingly liberal.

They are also full of people who fled small Texas towns to get away from stifling religious upbringings.

I'm interested in hearing more about this. Is it common for religion to be discussed in the workplace in Texas?

You should come to work in Europe/the Uk then. Being a Christian/religious is most definitely to be the odd one out and invite "comments".

Is it that bad? I hope Austin is something different.

> Work is for working; it's not a debating society, and especially not when the debating is done in bad faith.

Maybe I'm biased because not being in the US most of my knowledge about it is from HN links and discussions along with a few other blog posts here and there but: if that were true, we wouldn't be seeing "but mah inclusion!" posts and discussions on/about American startups every single day around here.

It's not liberterianism or even standard Republicanism that seems to be an anathema to the tech crowd. It's populism and religious conservatism.

But sense I'm neither populist or a religious conservative, I'm just as much in the bubble as anyone.


Your coworkers just want you to leave your religion and xenophobia and or mild racism at home.

Why should anyone at work know my religious or political views? My views are mostly in line with the tech crowd - except I found I’m far more weary of government intervention into tech than many on HN. But I steer clear of political discussions at work.

Not surprising:

Nearly everyone from Silicon Valley that's progressive/liberal thinks there's no problem or that the problem is something else.

Nearly everyone not fitting the description above thinks there's a problem and that it alienates them.

> If he can't take the heat he should stay out of the kitchen

Exactly, that's why he moved away.

He will find out soon enough that people don't like him no matter how far away from them he lives.

Lol. Also, isn’t he leaving to find his own echo chamber?

He wanted a safe space.

My observation at a big-4 SV tech company is that people constantly bring up anti-Trump and basically anti-conservative viewpoints, but very rarely do conservatives bring up anti-liberal viewpoints.

Thankfully, most people there don't talk about politics. Maybe 5% of the population are constantly bringing it up though, rarely in direct work functions, but in any other message board or forum.

> Work is for working; it's not a debating society

Why does Google shove "diversity panels" down their employees throats, then?

Are they contrarians, or are they simply genuine racists or misogynists?

the conservative claim to being "silenced" is a reflection of privilege. for instance, the icon here is Peter Thiel, a billionaire who complains about being victimized because people tell him he's in the wrong.

you will and should face ostracism and other consequences for saying, believing, and doing things that people find abhorrent or evil. free speech means you're free to believe those things, and everybody else is free to call you evil, and coordinate accordingly.

conservatism in the United States has enabled the murder of countless children, both through the NRA's fanaticism re assault weapons, and through the weird effective impunity police have re criminal prosecution, even after killing children. conservatism in the US has enabled the destruction of the environment. the Trump campaign and presidency have seen a rapid escalation of hate crimes, and after Charlottesville the president explicitly defended the white supremacists in attendance.

there is so much blood on the hands of the conservative movement. so much racism. so much sexism. so much fear-mongering and rabble-rousing. how could you possibly expect to do that kind of thing without facing CRITICISM? how could you possibly be the victims here?

This is the exact type of commentary the article is talking. This conservative strawman you’ve built is far from average. In this absurd, inflammatory commentary replace the conservative boogeyman with a Muslim boogeyman or a gay boogeyman and realize you’re using the exact same type of rhetoric as the people you despise

Can you really call it a “boogeyman” when conservatives have supported and enacted things into law that have been actively harmful to the other groups? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a majority gay government try to deny straight couples fundamental rights, for instance.

is it absurd to claim that the NRA's refusal to compromise re assault weapons has led to the death of many kids in American schools? what is the absurd part here? how many kids can a gay person be alleged to have killed just by being gay? there is no conservative boogeyman in my post. I am referring to the practical effects of policy decisions.

> is it absurd to claim that the NRA's refusal to compromise re assault weapons has led to the death of many kids in American schools?

Honestly I think it is, although if I were having a discussion with a coworker I would couch it in slightly different terms, because many of my coworkers aren't very familiar with guns. e.g. defining assault weapons (varies depending on locale), asking why they are concerned about this like bayonet lugs, are they aware of anyone who has been killed by a bayonet charge in the US since the Civil War, what's wrong with barrel shrouds, etc

> is it absurd to claim that the NRA's refusal to compromise re assault weapons has led to the death of many kids in American schools?

Given that the definition of an "assault weapon" has nothing to do with the actual capabilities of a firearm, and everything to do with the shape of its grip, the presence of collapsing stocks, etc. I'd say yes it is pretty absurd. For example this [1] rifle is exactly the same in caliber, capability, and general functionality as the infamous AR-15 yet is not targeted by even the most restrictive States' definitions of assault weapons. Heck, even liberal publications are catching on to the fact that "assault weapons" are a red herring: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/sunday-review/the-assault...

> what is the absurd part here? how many kids can a gay person be alleged to have killed just by being gay?

Pick a more relevant liberal policy: How many people have been killed by prisoners on parole? Should all politicians who support reduced prison sentences and earlier parole, as well as individuals who support those policies, be held responsible for the crimes that parolees and released prisoners commit crimes? This number is much greater than the number of school shootings.

That fact should not be used as justification to ostracize, or otherwise take actions against people who believe in more lenient parole and less prison time - and people who support conservative policies should get the same respect.

[1] https://image.sportsmansguide.com/adimgs/e/6/637956_ts.jpg

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