There were definitely groups meant for discussing politics, and loudmouths like me willingly participated in those - however, it was very uncivil. There was a majority view in the company, and if anyone didn't agree with the majority view, the majority engaged in heckling, ridicule, etc. It was already becoming an echo chamber, and as the majority grew, their tactics grew more petty and vicious. However, this was expected in the politics groups, and you knowingly entered that fray.
What seems to be happening a lot lately is that politics are spilling over into large, global mailing lists which target a whole geographic region, so many people get involved, and when a company has 200k employees and contractors, you will find some outliers in there who will pick nasty fights.
It only makes sense that they're cutting down on something that has turned toxic. It's a bit disappointing to hear, since I personally enjoyed the occasional, honest discussion with smart people of other viewpoints - these good discussions made the much larger number of ridiculous ones, bearable.
On the whole, it felt like it pushed the company in a positive direction --- internal discussions mirroring #metoo led to more visibility of sexual harassment and accountability for leadership. The discourse around the James Damore memo, as divisive as it was, felt like it still led to a broader understanding of the negative perspectives women in tech had to deal with constantly.
Most importantly (IMO), Google's product choices and politics are not inseparable --- Google is far too large and influential to pretend otherwise, and discussing these topics acted as a watchdog of sorts. Internal discussions about a potential censored search engine product in China resulted in pressure on leadership to change course, and pressure on Cloud bidding on the JEDI contract led to Google withdrawing from that bid.
Shutting off that political discourse feels like it'd be a huge blow to "oversight" from concerned Googlers --- particularly the ones who felt it was worth staying and using their influence internally to push Google toward creating a more just world.
Reading this comment just makes me feel baffled. How much arrogance does it take for a bunch of Googlers to assume the belief that they know what is "just" for the rest of the world?
An organization(in this case, a for-profit company) created to deliver products and services to consumers and advertisers playing politics on the world stage is laughable at best, and downright irresponsible at worst. There's no framework established within the confines of a corporation to deal with any of these sorts of social problems, and it shouldn't.
Play the right part, do the right job, and let others with the right skills and tools do the same.
Google is one of the largest technology corporations in existence, controlling the flow of information for huge swaths of the world's population.
They have no choice but to "play politics" as many of the decisions they make can have tremendous impact on global policy and society.
> Play the right part, do the right job, and let others with the right skills and tools do the same.
More and more, technology firms and the individuals within them are realizing their own responsibility to consider the ethical implications of the systems they are building.
A corporation doesn't have the same mechanisms - public rules (aka laws), processes, appeals, accountability, etc, etc - built in and there's limited recourse when their definition of "right" and others' conflicts.
Frankly, it's begging for regulation.. and that's not even considering the potential monopoly angle.
The last 'people' you want involved in politics are mega-corporations because they are one of the few groups that actually have the power to manipulate elections, corrupt politicians, and generally break democracies. In my opinion it's likely that the world will gradually 'progress' towards worldwide overt corporatocracy, but there's no reason we should embrace this in any way shape or form on the way there. If nothing else your post is a strong argument for why companies such as Google should be broken down. But, getting back to the original point, I think it's possible if not likely that that's already impossible -- thanks to their involvement in politics and the influence it has undoubtedly gained them.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Should people be allowed to speak out against things that other people do, but that disagree with their sense of justice?
I don't see how you can call it "arrogant" for people to act in accordance with their moral and ethical standards. We don't have the power to force the world do line up with our personal sense of justice. But we do have the power to make our lives and the lives of those around us more just, according to our own personal interpretation of that concept. Do you really think that striving for justice isn't OK?
- A non-decision by Google management to not place limits on its internal culture is a decision in itself, and has consequences that we are currently experiencing.
- "Justice" is not something for a profit-seeking company to have influence or power over. This is my personal belief. I believe there are other channels that are better designed to address those issues.
- My belief on this subject is limited to the above.
But since they do in reality, especially if they are profitable and thereby gain power, it seems like something that should be discussed.
It would be great if they actually didn't have influence or power over justice, definitely, but they do.
Civil justice concerns two private parties, typically adjudicated by a Judge and Jury when they cannot reach an agreement.
Criminal justice concerns the State, represented by the Attorney-General or someone who works for him, and someone found to be in criminal violation of the laws of the State. They murdered, raped and/or defrauded someone, or something like that. The State takes a special interest because they have a monopoly on violence to enforce, and no one wants people taking Justice into their own hands. It would violate the social contract.
Political justice is typically subjective, an example of political justice would be Congress impeaching and removing a President or other official from Office.
What form of Justice are corporations specifically found to have disproportionate influence over? Certainly they might influence some laws and regulations around the governing of their business practices, but not all laws are concerned with Justice.
Justice is the domain of legislatures, Attorneys-General, police officers, juries, lawyers, prosecutors, public defenders, and so on. Justice is the domain of people that have the power to detain, arrest, try, pass judgement, imprison and kill you.
You take it as a given that they have this power and influence, but let’s say they do. Why would we formalize that state of affairs implicitly or explicitly? Their job is to be profitable, it is not to act in any meaningful capacity on Justice.
We elected officials to administrate it only, these ideals are done by everyone.
That's mob rule / vigilantism.
Not to give Google corporate Sovereignty to replace it.
You aren't going to get the political concerns of rust-belt America, or the political concerns of black families down in Watts recognized, nor will you get the communitarianism of rural America in there either.
And so that sense of justice gets warped, even regarding national issues of the US today.
What happens when these things go world wide? Someone's sense of justice gets offended by economic orders where procreative/childrearing families hold businesses which are inherited and passed on to kids, and where there are solid gender roles associated (my kids' second culture for example)? I guess we better do what we can to make the world safe for American Capitalism to come in and liberate people from family expectations. But that means opening up such cultures to economic exploitation by foreign business and that harm is waved away as if it doesn't matter.
The arrogance does matter, because the arrogance can easily lead to outright economic colonialism ("for their own good" as much now as a century ago). The way to hold it in check is for other viewpoints to actually be entertained and discussed.
I would argue that these are the only ones allowed.
It would have been a good career move for me to suck up to them. Some of them were serial founders who hired their friends, and others could've given useful referrals.
But that'd come at the cost of being constantly insulted, hearing my family constantly insulted, and so on, and not being able to say anything in defense. I'm not interested in being around people who think everyone who isn't exactly like them is subhuman - even if cutting contact with them is a bad career move.
Then again, that might be why they do that.
I developed a very strong appreciation for how stratified California social class was on issues like public transportation.
Come to think of it I have been wondering why Sweden can have a really nice public transit system covering the entire country and California with less land, more people, and more tax dollars cannot. I bet that stratification is the answer.
I am not saying this is the situation everywhere. Not at all. But it is the situation in some places, and Google seems to be one of such places.
Centrist neoliberals, progressives, libertarians, and “I need active government support because private parties are not actively supporting me” anti-SJW meninists, among other political cliques, all seem to be vocally present in significant numbers among urban California developers.
I'm not sure which “one or two” viewpoints you were referring to.
If we understand Liberalism to be a social philosophy tradition starting with Hobbes, being further developed in various forms through Locke, Rousseau, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, John Rawls, etc. and seeking the liberation of the individual from culture, community, and family then for various the social Liberalism of the democrats (which seeks particularly to liberate people sexually from community judgments and rules) is closely connected to the efforts by the GOP to do the same for people in the business area. They are based on a common view of what it means to be human, a particular view of what freedom is, and so forth.
These assumptions are not really so fundamentally shared outside North America. So in both Sweden and Denmark, society looks a lot more like it did structurally to Aristotle than to Hobbes -- strong family households joining together in local communities to address common issues. Those local communities joining together into larger and larger units to address common needs until you have the overall kingdom. These places are less individualist and more localist.
Growing up in small towns in the US, I can also tell you that this Business Liberalism is most heavily a force politically in the urban centers of the GOP. Rural politicians don't tend to push it in the same way.
2) I think the discourse in the USA has been heavily tilted in favour of libertarianism (maybe what you call "Business Liberalism") by concerted subversive effort sponsored by Koch, Mercer, etc., as outlined eg in the book Dark Money by Jane Mayer.
Your second point is I think correct on part of the problem but I think there is a second deeper issue which goes beyond dark money per se and implicates everyone. That is the fact that family and community are support structures which each of us rely on during hard times. If you come from a wealthy family and you really screw up repeatedly you will still probably do better than if you come from a poor family and do everything perfectly. But the family support structures have been under constant and sustained attacks on a number of means on the idea that if we undermine the family we will, for example, liberate women from inequality (in truth, it only increases gender inequality because motherhood has heavier burdens as single motherhood). Undermining the family, however, creates larger markets for a lot of things. A larger number of smaller households consume more. So business steps in to fill the role, as does the state. Moreover if you liberate business from the state and from community, then the first thing it will attack is the family and the reproductive order because it isn't very efficient for employees to have and raise kids (better to import kids after they grow up).
So I actually see the sexual liberalism of the progressive left and the business liberalism of the Koch brothers as mutually reinforcing, as politically heretical as that might be in the context of US political discussions.
I'm not super familiar with the nuances of their worldview, but it's definitely more business / enterprise-centric than non-Koch libertarianism.
The problem is that one person's justice is another person's genocide. I'm exaggerating, but not by much.
Consider the typical political discussion around Israel and Palestine. Both sides feel they are on the verge of being wiped out, with or without merit. Both sides feel they can do anything and everything to avoid that presumed outcome.
"Striving for justice" means very different things to both sides. To a Palestinian mother who has seen, say, two toddlers shot to death, justice might mean killing the offender, a soldier. To an Israeli mother of the soldier, justice might mean killing the Palestinian mother before she kills the soldier (her son.)
Details will vary, but suffice it to say, no view of this is pretty.
You dont want to talk about that stuff in the office, because there is not going to be any just solution.
There are going to be asshats in the office that can't handle being wrong or the fact that not everyone is sharing their views. Political discussions aren't toxic - immature people who can't handle disagreement are.
It is not great that we are letting those people ruin the workplace for the rest of us. I'm pretty sure that's one of the main drivers behind the alt-right movement. People aren't discussing and sharing views because doing so is taboo and they risk losing their jobs. Instead, people just sit at home and read wildly spun news stories which they soak up because their critical thinking ability has been impaired due to lack of training.
I fear you’re making a grave mistake by thinking the volume level is correlated with actual humans.
Politics at work has long been a no no at most companies and there's no evidence to show this has caused the rise of any extremism.
Work is where you get your work done. There is no room for you opinions on Trump etc, whether positive or negative. Your political views can very easily marginalise others especially when you hold a majority view.
You're asking why people that can't handle politics at work are 'ruining it for the rest of us'. May I turn the question around and why people that want to discuss politics at work are ruining it for the rest of us that don't?
It should be possible to talk (and disagree) about politics without it affecting work cooperation.
I'm not sure whether the fact that it's not, is a cause or a symptom of the current political climate.
I very very rarely engage in any politics talk at work unless I'm totally cornered. I couldn't care less what you think about anything beyond the scope of our work. Chances are, your opinions are nauseating. I will be polite but I won't engage.
I rarely see any political type at work that doesn't somehow create drama. Your politics and your religion are of no interest to me. No I won't join your womens march, no I don't believe in equal pay (regardless of gender etc) and yes I'm a liberal / labour voter that favours unions. These are all distractions to what I am here to do though.
Maybe it's a cultural thing, me and my work friends never discussed politics, maybe that's just the apathy of my generation?
Don't know, don't care. Politics is not for work. It's divise and the people pushing their political opinions are usally toxic and they don't even know it.
Work is where we spend a major part of our lives 8-9 hours per day five days per week. The idea that freedom of speech should be suspended for the duration is dumb. People aren't automatons and shouldn't be treated as such. It leads to the bizarre situation that you neither care for nor have anything in common with the people you spend the majority of your time with. The most interesting conversations you have is "I see it is raining outside." "Yes, it is raining." because people are so afraid of breaking the workplace decorum.
Being respectful of other people not being interested in your BS opinions is not stopping your freedom of speech. You're at work to get work done, not to espouse your opinions on the middle east.
Politics isn't the only way to keep your critical thining sharp. We're knowledge workers after all.
Yes absolutely; because that is a what a True professional does when their job requires it.
That's incredibly problematic
That of a regular human being with rationalized opinions through the lens available to them? For some reason only because Google has a lot of power to control the dialogue you ask them to bury their head in the sand? Or are we going to pretend that there hasn't been an arms race of sorts to game search results across nearly every topic and as such one might consider removal of what one considers to either be harmful, false, or manipulative to be a part of doing the "right" job?
What's the quote again, " The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing " -- Edmund Burke
And as far as Google goes, I think it would be easy to rationalize that (if I was a Google member) I have access to better tools than most to make a decision (more information).
Are you asking Google to be a voice of reason in the debate over global labor markets and liberalization of SE Asian economies for example?
Doesn't that give you a wolf-and-lamb problem, to reference Aesop?
That does Not mean that Your Opinion would be a correct one--actually the opposite could just as easily be true.
In the US, we have government to take these things on. We have rule of law. And rights. Both government and individuals are subject to these.
With Google, there is no rule of law or rights. Goggle does not have a constitution. If you have a problem with them, what can you do? Nothing.
There is no right to question your accuser. There is no right to protect agains unreasonable search/seizure. There is no right to free speech. No right to privacy. And so on. There is only what Google arbitrarily decides to do. And if you're not in the majority as Google defines it, then it just sucks to be you.
This is why unregulated monopolies are intolerable. The US is founded on the principle that powers are separated to keep any one entity from getting too much and being able to infringe on the rights of citizens.
Google is way over that line, with monopolies in many areas. Add the partisan activism, and this is a very toxic brew.
I'm often stuck in the elevator with Googlers (our office is on the same floor as one of theirs). Some of the stuff that I end up overhearing is particularly jarring. It's not really the opinions but the self entitlement that makes me wish we had faster elevators.
Ideals aside, I think there’s a clear business reality that the radical left employee base is giving google a lot of headaches. Many might argue this is for the better, but that’s mostly because they have similar political sentiments. It seems like woke culture has made google a very tense place and is gobbling them up.
Most large companies have lobbyists. That's much more "playing politics" than simply deciding not to bid on a military contract.
Not at all because acting according to your morality is a basic part of being a human or member of society.
There's no reason that changes because you take your fun hat off and put your work hat on.
Not very much? Doesn’t everybody think like this in one way or another? I certainly know what is better for the world than the majority of the US.
People who look at someone else and think "you should just.." are normal. We all do that.
People who look at the world and say "everyone should just.." are the height of arrogance and epitomize the phrase "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
Probably. But lots of people realize they've been wrong before, might be wrong on this occasion, and therefore don't just put their ideas over everybody else's. That's the non-arrogant way to handle that, I guess.
Damore was fired for his contributions to this "conversation". Hardly just.
> particularly the ones who felt it was worth staying and using their influence internally to push Google toward creating a more just world.
How about just returning what I'm actually looking for when I search for something? Or not killing products off when they get traction? Google users don't care at all about the politics of Google employees, they just want the product to actually work which seems to be less important that ever internally at Google.
But I also care a lot about the politics of Google employees insofar as they exercise a tremendous amount of influence over both elections and people's ability to broadcast their messages to the world.
Since Googlers tend to veer decidedly towards one end of the political spectrum, I would like to see their ability to censor speech restricted as much as is technologically possible.
Personally I disagree with that claim, but if you feel that search is a wholly technical problem, I'd expect you to agree.
And that doesn't even deal with the obviously political: laws like the right to be forgotten, or other forms of censorship like removals of content due to copyright. How to engage with those is inherently political.
As a user I want back the documents I’m looking for. If the engine has to adhere to local laws, fine but I want zero editorializing of results.
Of course! But converting from a search query to an ordered list of documents requires choices about ranking and filtering to be made.
If I search for "irs" do you include spam phone numbers attempting to steal my identity? There's distinct value to not returning garbage results, but how you do that is going to be called political by some people. And choosing not to do anything is going to be called political by others. There is no non-political choice, despite what you keep implying. Like, given a search query, you can't tell me the objectively correct set of results to return. If you could, you'd be very, very, very rich.
In the absence of that objective, perfect, "true" result, any choice is political in some way or another. Pick an algorithm and I'll happily explain to you a failure mode that is "political".
Your employer probably has more effect on your day to day life than your government does. Why would you be allowed to debate what the latter should do but not the former?
It's common sense. Anything that revolves around government, elections, laws, etc.
> Your employer probably has more effect on your day to day life than your government does. Why would you be allowed to debate what the latter should do but not the former?
I meant the exact opposite (I forgot that politics could be taken to mean "office politics" or "company politics"). Getting involved in government politics or activism is your role as a private citizen, not as a company employee. Regarding "company politics" (work hours, office arrangement, project management methodology, managerial decisions, coffee machine model, etc.), I guess it's up to your employer to decide what is up for debate.
Go ahead and google 'Taiwan' and then 'Canada' or 'Japan'. Taiwan (in the right sidebar thing) is listed differently compared to the others. They're listed as "Country in $X" - Taiwan is not.
That's political. Or is it not? It's "just search", sort of.
Taiwan being a country or not, and what shows up in a google search about it, isn't political for you, or for me, or for many people around the world. It may be very political for the people who live in Taiwan (or China).
Nearly everything is political to someone. So it's not very easy to draw a hard line between political or not. A "no politics" rule is very difficult to enforce in a meaningful way for that reason.
> Nearly everything is political to someone.
Saying that something is political to only a few people is an oxymoron. For example, there are some people who do not recognize Donald Trump as the US president. Is it political to state that the US president is Donald Trump? Absolutely not.
HN is an example of a community where a large majority of the content is apolitical. Drawing the line is really not that hard.
Search is one example, as is jury selection.
According to what you said in this post, It was completely just as Damore basically wrote a dissertation about things that were completely unrelated to any work done for any Google product. All that work would've been tantamount to a complete waste of company time and could be grounds for a firing.
Google users don't care at all about the politics of Google employees
I care a great deal about how Google employees or any employee at any company are treated. You should too since most people spend their lives at companies and policies and laws surrounding them impact people directly.
It was a completely inconsistent.
Damore was not fired for debating politically-sensitive HR proposals. Many people were involved in the same conversation, with the same degree of relevance to Google's products.
Damore was fired because his proposal was contrary to the majority.
It's possible to maintain both that widespread workplace political discussion is a poor idea, and that Damore was unfairly treated relative to his peers.
I think people took notice that saying “women earn less money because their genes make them less good at stuff” is a fireable offense. I actually don’t believe conservatism has anything to do with it.
I guess those few of us who actually read his memo will have to keep repeating this over and over against the wall of lying about it, but one more time - Damore argued women were less interested in computing, and that's why they are "underrepresented". He explained why they might be less interested and showed that this isn't controversial at all, neither with scientists nor anyone who ever tried to interest a pretty girl in the merits of AVX512.
He explicitly didn't argue women were worse at computing though. He said that very clearly.
You ask what liberal opinions get you fired at Google. I'd also like to know that. Here is a petition by nearly 1500 of them which claims border control is comparable to the Holocaust. That's unbelievably extreme, but apparently nobody was fired for it.
In working with CBP, ICE, or ORR, Google would be trading its integrity for a bit of profit, and joining a shameful lineage. We have only to look to IBM’s role working with the Nazis during the Holocaust to understand the role that technology can play in automating mass atrocity.
That's pretty direct. Working with ICE would be a "mass atrocity" and "we have only to look at IBM's role working with the Nazis during the Holocaust to understand".
You say, "It doesn't compare CBP to the Holocaust" but I'm going to have to disagree. Why bring up the Nazis at all if they aren't making that comparison, which a plain reading of their words absolutely seems to do?
They're held enmasse in cages in warehouses which fits the textbook definition of a concentration camp
Huh, and now you seem to be doing it too.
No, it fits the definition of a prison, which is where you'd expect them to be given that they're breaking the law. Are all prisons concentration camps now? No, concentration camps are defined by the fact that they imprison identity-based groups of people who haven't committed any normal crime - e.g. political prisoners, disfavoured ethnic groups and so on.
It's surely not as bad as the Holocaust (which this petition doesn't claim what you claim it does), but it's not any better.
This last part is a puzzle to figure out. It's not as bad, but also not better - those two things are in contradiction.
I don't think comparing immigration laws of any country to the Holocaust is helpful at all, as that would make literally every country basically the same as the Third Reich, which they clearly are not. And not only those Googlers are doing it but now you are too!
A prison is when you're incarcerated in your own cell and not a crowded cell. A prison provides adequate comfort that meets a minimum standard of care for inmates. A prison is not putting 30 people in one room, putting 30 people in a fenced in cage, providing lack of hygiene products and having 30 people to a single toilet. They're not provided space blankets and given no bed.
A concentration camp, by definition is deliberate incarceration of a minority group in inadequate facilities to sometimes perform labor or be exterminated. Going through this one by one:
1) They're being incarcerated even for claiming asylum (which is legal in the US) and crossing a port of entry is not illegal.
2) They're being incarcerated indefinitely which is also illegal.
3) They're an identity group (ie. of latin heritage). There are no detention centers for Canadian immigrants.
4) They're placed in warehouses in cages with little access to hygienic facilities. They're placed in mass groups with no beds or individual cells. This fits the inadequate facilities criteria.
So yes, that fits the definition of a concentration camp pretty clearly.
That's a poor paraphrase.
A more accurate one would be "Women earn less money on average because on average they are less interested in earning due to long-standing innate differences."
Damore was fired because his proposal was contrary to the majority and it became widespread knowledge.
Were Damore's part of the discussion never leaked, then I assume it would have been a slap on the wrist or just a shrug.
If I say "this thing is permitted" and then punish someone for doing that thing, it should be unjust in your eyes whether or not you would have said "this thing is permitted."
"According to what you said in this post, It was completely just as Damore basically wrote a dissertation about things that were completely unrelated to any work done for any Google product."
My comment was explaining why i disagree with the above. It has nothing to do with whether I agree or disagree with Google's policies, past or present.
So it wasn't an assignment, and sharing it with everyone wasn't the way to handle it.
1. Anything he did was optional, it was therefore not a work assignment.
2. If such a report was solicited (which I don't actually agree with in the way you're implying), the way to provide it wasn't to post it on public company mailing lists, but to give the report to the people in charge of the class.
Do you disagree with either of those claims?
I'll now add a third one:
3. A "report" of the form he provided wasn't solicited by Google. They solicited feedback on the class. Your claiming this wasn't feedback on the class. Therefore it wasn't solicited.
* No one was looking for feedback on the class as far as I remember.
* He went to an external session to learn how to improve their own processes, which is the report he wrote. I believe in one interview he said his did do it at some manager's suggestion, and so did use work time for the trip with their (figurative) blessing.
* He sent his report only to one or two internal groups, never a public internal mailing list (one was meant to privately poke holes so submitters could improve their arguments before submitting it to HR or whoever. I've heard conflicting stuff on the order of events, so he may or may not have sent it to HR).
* It was the internal quality group that leaked it to a public internal mailing list instead of maintaining privacy.
If an honest discussion cannot take place that yes women are discriminated against, but that yes men and women DO in fact differ, then affirmative action will inevitably stop being about stopping sexism and start being about forcing equity as time goes on. You would have to apply a LOT of oppressive systemic sexism and force a whole lot of people male and female into jobs they're bad at and unhappy with to fix inequity in tech. Currently the reaction to people pointing out the looming problem is to fire that autistic employee for sexism and for the CEO to make a public apology.
Damore was just ahead of his time. Affirmative action hasn't distorted tech enough to destroy itself yet.
Absolute conviction of righteousness leads to polarazation leads to extremism as nuanced opinions are projected onto the anti-pole. 'You are either with us or against us', 'You are part of the (our) solution or part of the problem', 'the end justifies the means', 'you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs' ...
The art of moderation seems completely lost as people are swept up in a never ending exaggerated and overexposed arena that requires pledges of allegiance and virtue signalling, demonization and sacrificing above and beyond all reason.
I'm not advocating everyone just shut the hell up, but the moment you when asked would not be able to switch sides in a debate and plead the opposite's case because you are so far down the path that you can not imagine anything but 'pure evil' as the motivations behind your opponent, you are no longer a valid contributor to the conversation, you are just part of a lynch mob out for blood.
In the few concrete examples you have, your wording implies a one sided take on various controversial topics.
People who think like that aren’t creating a “just world” by any definition I agree with. It’s more an example of the truism that the most dangerous people are the ones who are convinced they are acting from a place of moral correctness.
These people aren’t the solution, they are the problem.
And they can’t be reasoned with because they can’t see that, which is why they can’t stamp the problem out.
This is precisely why these discussions should be limited and isolated to groups who need to specifically work on them for products.
The above statement terrifies me. We didn't elect anyone at Google to do this for us.
It sounds like the work culture at Google has rediscovered the emergent factors which gave rise to the traditional cultural strictures against talking about money, politics, and religion.
Good science is repeatable. Given that Google is arguably an intellectually friendly environment, where more people than average understand how to talk in ways that get closer to truth, the inadvertent experiment conducted by Google over the past 15 years or so should hold a lot of weight.
It sounds like the overall cost-benefit tradeoff supports Google corporate's decision. (There were externalities beyond the discussions themselves.)
The other interesting takeaway for me is how long-term equilibria can leave holes that may be exploited by short-term-focused actors. When Google was young, it's say-anything culture was a big competitive advantage: it let them hire people who were nearly unhireable elsewhere because they were too free with their opinions or too difficult to work with, and it let people be more open about their emotions, which is a prerequisite for creativity. Many of these people were immensely productive, building key systems. But as Google grew, this same culture would've led to the destruction of the company, so eventually management is forced to clamp down on it. Not before making the founders and many employees fabulously wealthy and reshaping the industry, though.
Also I'm willing to be that a startup's lack of bureaucracy and momentum lets it experiment and move faster rather than just a carefree internal attitude. I've been in midsize companies on both sides of the free-culture spectrum and have never noticed any major difference in talent or capabilities.
Well let’s not go this far. Human civilization has existed for a tiny portion of time, modern civilization even less so. There’s PLENTY of time for better structures to be discovered.
Yes, it's certainly possible that thinking different (or being contrarian, or stubborn, or creative, or whatever you want to call it) will lead to something great! It is also extremely unlikely unless you are in a brand new field such as quantum physics 100 years ago that whatever idea you had has already been considered by countless people before you and you are not special.
The reason most startups fail is more than just bad execution. It's because most startups weren't meant to exist because they just don't solve a problem people are willing to pay enough to make the company a profit. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try it if you really think you're onto something - but you should be aware the odds are wildly against you.
Progress is possible. The thing is, that progress doesn't necessarily take the form that people wish it would take in their utopian fantasies. If we use history as a guide, we find that progress almost always takes a form with would have been unimaginable to past generations, if not at times even a little shocking to them. For example: The progress of agricultural technology, and its ability to feed people with unprecedented efficiency would have been considered wonderful and utopian by our forebears, until they started looking into some of the disturbing details.
A realistic, nuanced view of issues involving human factors and group psychology often incorporates elements of both the progressive and conservative mindsets. Both viewpoints are needed for effective, balanced government.
We will need to wait for an evolution in human interaction before any new developments follow in corporate design.
1) large corporations that do exist are quite different,for example there are cooperative member-run organisations like John Lewis that have been very successful. Additionally, different countries, say compare Germany, US and Italy will have different corporate structure and culture.
2) There is a massive body of academically reviewed research that demonstrates that managers and executives are affected by fads that measurably reduce productivity (such as open plan offices) and often unwilling to change even when more efficient methods are presented
3) In corporate governance there is large mount of conflict of interest. Take Skyrocketing executive pay in the past 30 years, frequent bubles, tax evasion, large amount of fraud in financial sector. etc. Does that look like an optimal, balanced system?
"Hey there is a $20 bill."
"No it's not. If it was really $20, someone would have picked it up already."
If it was really ₹2000, someone would already have roughed it up already.
The problem is that you have to have some forms of effort in coordination and there aren't a while lot of models for that in actual practice. There are a few different topologies.
Where I work is becoming more of a traditional company in many ways. But I still look to Gore's insight that the real decisions are made around the water cooler and in the carpool van, and that is helpful.
So it assumes a very in-person culture for one thing.
Which is fine. But it basically excludes models based on people communicating in a more distributed way. And that probably strictly limits size and geographic diversity.
Nothing wrong with that. I can say I'm building a company in X location. I want everyone to come into the office and we're not looking to get big. That's fine. Among other things, you've described every local manufacturing, wtc. business.
I have ideas for how I would organize a company if I had a blank slate. However, usually if you start getting investment, the discussions get more restricted.
I don’t see this as just a play on word, there is a wide variety of existing models that worked, and I’d also totally see a new model emerge and become “traditonal” when adopted widely enough. The world changes, companies should to.
Pretty sure from day 1, they produced something and attempted to sell it for gains. Pretty traditional to me. Kind of the only way to do business.
So the question in my mind is, why did Google need to grow?
I had trouble parsing what you wrote but I think the question you're asking (growth with employees vs growth by contractors?) is answered by Coase's "The Nature of the Firm": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nature_of_the_Firm
EDIT to reply: I don't think it's about "diversity". OP specifically asked ", why did Google need to grow?"
Presumably, the question could be expanded as "why did Google need to grow to 100,000 _employees_?" instead of
"only have ~1000 core employees on Google payroll and augment with 99,000 _contractors_". (The reason given by Coase is that activities mediated by too many unnecessary external vendors with contracts is less efficient than hiring people into the firm.)
I left it open for OP to clarify what he was asking but I don't think it's about diversity.
(As for demographic diversity, the SJW population and to a lesser the MAGA population have that, empirically it doesn't inherently cause strife.)
As someone who had grown up in a part of the country, where my parents had to drive almost 50 miles to hang out with people vaguely of the same ethic group, let me posit that the real problem is:
People who don't think certain other people should get to simply exist.
On the other hand, a company full of people who genuinely believe in fundamental human rights, self determination, live and let live, and the equality of people (even of people they don't like or agree with) does just fine. My former company did just fine with that. Democrats interacted with republicans, with people of faith, with atheists, with people of all backgrounds and skin colors.
The problem is with people who go around "seeking" people with the wrong opinion. Frankly, this reminds me of the same kind of "seeking" that some people who turned out to be racist enacted with me as a young adult, questioning me to find out how "American" I was to justify mistreating me. (Even some of them know better than to attribute to genetics what should be attributed to culture.) The similarity with which some people (who claim to be about "love" and "justice") enact the same "seek, then persecute" pattern is eerie to me.
I'd rather have someone who would use a racial slur on me, then accord me some meritocratic respect later, than someone who assumes I should think, vote, and affiliate a certain way based on my skin color, then gets outraged if my compliance to their expectations isn't 100%. True liberals are live and let live. It's false to be "liberal" and then demand ideological compliance -- or else. Doubly so if that reaction is based on identity.
If you are happy just having the job done, and don’t need the ability to control details of execution then contractors are often more efficient. (Depends on the task and the market)
The danger is, you may find your contractors start selling to your competitors. Then you need to compete on your core product.
Most corporate strategies don’t boil down to “have a competitive core product” they boil down to “control as many aspects of your market as you can so the cost of entry is too high for others to follow”.
If we accept that culture influences politics, then cultural diversity means necessarily political diversity does it not?
It's the same way in every endeavor. People get used to doing things a certain way, and forget the reason why. Try a different way, and relearn the reason why :-)
It's a reason why hiring some older people is worthwhile. They can tell you why things are done in way X, so you can avoid costly mistakes.
This. Worked at HP for years. It was a pretty great company for the most part.
Until Carly Fiorina joined. Amazing how one person can so transform a company - in a bad way. It started almost immediately. But buying Compaq really accelerated it. Companies like Compaq that have been in a slow death spiral throw off good employees.
That leaves low performing politically focused who protect their own. When they get purchased and “integrated” and they start filtering throughout the parent - like an infection, spreading their poison and killing it from the inside out.
As the peer comment notes, there are also companies that remain private and mostly small and march to their own drummer. Of course, those can easily end up in family control spats and the like.
Nothing's perfect but I'm not sure the lesson is everything sucks or dies in the end.
W. L. Gore and Associates?
Rocky Mountain Institute?
That said, the change in policy (what is cited at least) reads a bit like "Let's create air cover for management actions to separate trouble makers from the company." Where trouble makers has enough vagueness in it to cover a wide swath of things. That allows for 'for cause' termination which is more financially advantageous to the company than simply laying someone off.
So to the extent that Google didn't want to be a 'traditional' company with all its rules and opaque policies and structures, it clearly is learning through experience the motivations that companies have for establishing those sorts of rules.
What I find disappointing is that after reproducing the experiment and getting the same results, they aren't able to come up with any other solution than the centuries old authoritarian one. I feel like they missed an opportunity here.
Humans are more or less the same as a few millennia ago. Our technology is more advanced, we’ve more or less covered every corner of the planet, we have birthed billions of humans and built millions of organizations of every stripe, and dealt with as many management issues as there were and are people.
We haven’t significantly advanced in our cognitive capabilities, we’ve just learned how to outsource more to experts and computers. If there’s one difference between us and us a few millennia ago, it would be that there are so many more humans on the planet that we probably don’t have a role in society for everyone. Under, e.g. a feudal System, every person had a functional role, and those that didn’t could at least point a spear in more or less the correct orientation. Vagrants of course were prosecuted and often pressed into service doing something somewhere for somebody.
In 2018, Google had ~99K full time employees. That’s larger than most cities, and historically, most countries. At that scale, you eventually need to tell most of them sit down, shut up and fall in line. Check their problems at the door, and if they really really need to fight about something, do it off premises on their off time without company resources, just to keep the peace.
IBM had at the time 400,000+ employees, so more than four times the employee base of Google. IBM is over a hundred years old at this point so have been doing this about five times longer than Google has.
In IBM's case they came at it from the opposite direction. Fifty years ago there was practically zero horizontal communication in the ranks and they were interested in increasing that to get better dispersal of thoughts and ideas throughout the company. As a result they were deploying and encouraging a sort of internal social network to improve cross flow and get more things out.
However, I think taking an authoritarian stance on politics, religion and so on in the workplace, so long as it is done in a respectful manner and puts everyone on the same level, is completely appropriate.
When you are a group of ten, and that’s your entire company, you can get away with a lot. Everyone is going to know each other, maybe a little more intimately than some of them would prefer. Your CEO might also be your drinking buddy and a good wingman. That’s the nature of a small organization.
At 2K, things don’t have to be quite so intimate, you don’t have to know everyone by face and name, just get along with them well enough to do your jobs.
I’m not going to try and guess where the tipping point is, but at 99K or 400K, there isn’t a lot of difference between the organization ability you need. Everyone has their own ideas about Life, the Universe and Everything, some teams might get along better than others, but politics and religion and the like have led to actual wars between smaller masses of people. If you have 99K on your payroll, not all of them are going to like and respect each other. Not every team is going to have perfect cohesion with every other team.
You still want civility. Every one of those 99K or 400K people has their own ambitions and dreams and reasons for getting out of bed at whatever time of day they crawl out of bed. But there is a time and a place for it, a whole wide world and life outside that of your employer’s little world, where not everyone is necessarily on the same payroll.
Absolutely if you can build an internal social network for your workers, that’s great! If they want to debate politics outside of work, that’s great too! It is still entirely appropriate to moderate that network, and draw a few hard lines where you think it is appropriate.
Let’s put up Tibet. Some people will have strong opinions on one side and another set will have strong opinions on the other side. (Most people will be indifferent).
How can the company manage that tension among people who work for them when those people believe the company has given them the freedom to pick a side and express that side and perhaps vocalize and ultimately mobilize?
I don’t see an obvious solution to this beside the traditional course. The present alternatives are even more “authoritarian” (i.e. firing the adherents of the wrong opinion, etc.)
The 'hard' solution is to teach people to communicate about topics on which they disagree. An easier solution would be to have employee moderators. A combination of providing communication classes and moderators with a dose of involuntary enrollment might be a middle ground.
For a long time Google generated hundreds of thousands of dollars per employee in revenue which they have been banking for the most part, and occasionally spending on acquisitions. An alternative would be an employee communications support network that promoted good communication skills and facilitated improvements in employee discourse on all topics. Google could have funded an entire research institute and a few thousand employee 'coaches' without meaningfully digging into their cash pile. That would have been "non-traditional."
1) Top-down, it's hard to convince people of the value of this who don't already see the value. It's hard to attach a KPI to it, hard to attribute changes. Or at least, from some POVs.
2) It's hard to be sure there will be participation. It's easy to pop off via text when you're procrastinating or got (self-)baited into a conversation. Scheduling discussion time / debate club or whatever feels like a chore.
3) It takes work. Like, to actually have a good debate about something takes time to think, engage, research, reflect and iterate the conversation. Not to mention the willingness. As above, it's easier to engage in junk food discourse than it is to challenge yourself, patiently tune your message over time or advance a dialectic.
But that said, those all feel like workable problems. I'm not sure if I'm missing something or if this is one of those cases where nobody has mustered enough will and attention to give it a real shot.
Beside, you won’t get the Dalai Lama with all the tools at his avail to accept the mainstream Chinese point of view.
That said I wouldn’t mind if a company tried this approach out of curiosity to see how it works out.
That's the thing, Google banks multiple BILLION dollars in free cash every quarter. Lets say you build a 'company within the company' and give it a budget of $100M a YEAR. That is a pretty sizable enterprise for what is funded out of about 1% of the cash that would otherwise just sit around in 'cash and cash equivalents'.
One might think that an executive management team might say, "Hmm, if we spend 1% of our free cash flow on improving the communications of all of our employees, what effect will that have on their productivity?" Will they be "more productive" or "less productive" ? They already have the null hypothesis results to compare to.
To make a comparison, a more "traditional" company might consider starting up a private bus service to move their employees from their homes to work and back again was too resource intensive. And yet that is exactly what Google did.
The easy solution is to just do what has always been common sense: don’t talk politics at work. Because even the if there is healthy debate, at the end of the day people are petty about people on “the other team.” For example, I’ve gotta imagine being outed as a Trump voter at Google has to put a huge target on your back.
It's a workplace, not your buddy's couch.
I've studiously avoided talking to anybody at work about politics, as it usually only serves to anger people if you don't agree. I've had a successful career of doing that.
In my time at Google, there were tons of people who felt they had the right answer, and had to convince everyone else who was wrong to come around to their views.
Policy is the surface level of a deep tree of rational beliefs. No one will ever be convinced of policy because each sees their favored policy as rational due to the underpinning structure of beliefs.
Discussions that don't begin with the core beliefs are bound to lead nowhere, you're right.
Do a historical survey of people who tried to suffuse politics completely through the lives of their followers. For completeness, look also at the actions of religions in the same way.
Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Politics, movements of any kind which demand the entirety of the lives of their followers are often perpetrators of the worst things.
As a counterpoint, look to times and places where people are free to be open, to be themselves, and to choose how they live. There is also a power in the dispersal of power. Many call this freedom.
Like that quote "you may not be interested in war, but ..."
The way Robert Heinlein put it was something like this: "The end product of politics is like the result of peristalsis. It's not very pleasant, but it's no less vital to your health and well being." I think this is a good analogy. Imagine having a cocktail party conversation with someone singularly obsessed with their digestive tract.
- are you eating meat or are you vegetarian?
- do you take a car to work or ride a bike or take public transportation?
- do you drink tap water or bottled water?
- do you send your kids to private or public school?
Now try discussing any of these in depth "without politics".
If you seriously cannot have conversations at this level without them turning into political discussions, you really need to reflect on your conversational habits. It is absolutely not normal or healthy if you can't talk about drinking water without it turning political.
My SO is a vegetarian. It comes up a lot, both with my friends (who are all meat eaters) and newly met people alike, but I seriously cannot think of one single time it has turned into a political issue.
If these topics are frequently turning political for you, it's on you.
In places where there's more political diversity, people aren't so uptight. They know there are others who aren't like them, that's OK, and we all sort of get on with our lives. I grew up in Illinois and it feels this way.
Whereas in northern California, the "muscle" of respectful tolerance doesn't get as much exercise. People are a lot more alike and if you stand out, it seems weird. Which is kind of ironic for a place that's supposedly bought into "diversity" or "tolerance".
1. What are our obligations to organisms we eat?
2. What are our obligations to each other?
3. Is vegetarianism an obligation? Why or why not?
I showed my SO this thread and she laughed at the notion that she apparently can't discuss her lifestyle (she takes a car to work and drinks tap water, too) without it being political.
I suspect, as another commenter said, that this is apparently a cultural aspect where I and those around me have always grown up talking to people about such topics without any of them becoming political, while apparently others have not had such 'training'.
Whether one sees a distinction between these two concepts may align with one's position on the spectrum between individualist and authoritarian. Or maybe not, I really don't know...
If so, then we would assume that people who see a distinction there would also see nothing wrong with different countries having different political orders, for example stronger gender roles, procreation being tied to marriage, and marriage being tied to household business? We might assume that authoritarians would want to stamp out such variations and individualists would assume that different cultures can organize things like marriage and business differently?
But that doesn't match our observations I think, so it has to be something different. Either that or everyone is secretly an authoritarian when it comes to disagreements regarding social order and ethics of relationships or when we decide to be because it is "really important."
Even so, I recognize that some authoritarian polities produce better lives for many of their subjects than some less authoritarian polities do. There's always room for improvement. A situation in which husbands don't beat wives because the people are educated in humane fashion is strictly superior, in my estimation, to one in which husbands don't beat wives because that would invite devastating punishment from the state. Even that latter situation is strictly superior to one in which husbands do beat wives and the state reserves its devastating punishments for other purposes.
However, that is not to say that the society blessed by humane education should make war on either of the other two, or on some society like our own in USA that is in some sense an average of all three. Humane culture is best spread by example, not by the sword.
For example how do you weigh the draining of capital by foreign companies agains the purported benefits of liberating people from family and family business expectations (which my wife by the way definitely does not want to be liberated from)?
That said, my SO and I travel frequently (and due to the nature of our work, our friend group is very varied in terms of where they come from, with several of them being ex-SFers/ex-NYCers, etc). I honestly can't think of any increased politicization when talking with non-Texan friends versus Texan friends.
Texas is a far more sane place than these cities.
There, now I know as much as I need to about my coworker's diet. We're here to work and if you're going to be a member of a _diverse_ community with a shared goal you're going to need to accept that other people live their lives differently than yours and that's ok. I don't need to know the reason my coworker is a vegetarian I just need to let them know if my cookies that I brought to work contain animal products.
If you refuse to get along the result will be internal strife and the shared goal, a successful company, a working community, etc. will fail.
Our culture has become a toxic stew caused by everyone forgetting to mind their own business; partially because people think that because politics does have a part of everything people do (hence the etymology of the term), that it gives them the right to control others. Fascism is the end result.
Completely agreed on that point. In fact that's how politics should be discussed.
But if we consider politics to be "what should we do as a society?" then you can't avoid political discussions in those topics still, right? You can only seek to discuss such topics tolerantly and maturely, I think.
The whole point is you don't have to discuss any of those in depth.
I guess we treat the avoiding taboo topics more like not driving on the lines, and less like driving over a minefield. We generally avoid for safety's sake, and don't expect things to blow up immediately if there is a bit of driving over the line.
(Hell, we even talk about guns and gun control!)
1. I was commuting between Sweden and Denmark when the refugee crisis (people fleeing our efforts at proxy civil war in Syria, and our efforts at direct war in Iraq and Afghanistan) caused the Swedes to have to close their borders. This was not controversial. Migrationverket could not house the number of refugees who showed up and so refugees were sleeping on the street in Sweden in November. This lead to hours of lost time every day and eventually the loss of a contract that lead to the commute, and eventually after that, to a stagnation in my work (I left Sweden for Germany in part for that reason). You would see whole families with nothing trying to get somewhere they would have some sort of chance.
2. My kids have been subject to some harassment due to the fact that they are mixed SE Asian/White, and therefore could probably pass for Afghan. This was true in both Sweden and Germany.
3. Now the lines to get things like work permits or blue cards renewed are getting longer and longer (because of capacity shortage in civil servants) which means that when I go to get this renewed, I need to plan six months to a year in advance. A large problem here is the fact that the refugees are impacting the immigration service departments. Its to the point I am considering giving up US citizenship for German citizenship just to get around that problem.
There are of course more. Not getting into the amusing problem Sweden has with hand grenades and plastic explosives (organized crime gangs scaring each other late at night by setting off bombs and grenades, though I suppose that's better than drive-by shootings).
For a long time my oldest hated Germany after that. I actually feel bad because both of being part of the Berlin tech boom that is causing rents to rise really fast (and price many Germans out of the city) and also for the fact that refugees are being used to undercut wages (I know of too many cases of refugees being paid under minimum wage to ignore that dynamic).
But that doesn't excuse ranting at my kids as they are walking down the street.
Oh wait. Nevermind.
I can understand that the company will not tolerate anyone publicly disagreeing with its political stance but it is a natural thing for their employees to discuss the politics of their employer between them.
Though given the little tolerance of large companies for disagreeing their politics (not just in the Silicon Valley), the said employees would be well advised to not do so in writing.
But what conclusion should be drawn from this experiment?
During those years, Google grew into a large and profitable company, with enormous impact on the world and technical community. One could argue that the lack of a traditional corporate culture was important for attracting the employees who made this possible.
Perhaps Google eventually grew to the point where this was no longer a positive factor -- but even knowing that, should they have done things differently in the early days?
One could interpret the overall trajectory of Google here as reaching the limits of disruption-capable organizational design. It's likely they hit that limit some years back, and have just reached the point where they've internalized it enough to drop the pretense.
It's not all bad -- there are many things at which large corporate structures excel. They're just not typically the ones that are sought in Silicon Valley.
That is not a particularly widespread tradition globally or historically. And I personally think everyone should be incredibly skeptical of it.
I've never met anyone with power who followed this tradition, and plenty who are kept powerless by the always-one-sided application of these traditions.
These subjects are difficult to discuss because they are important, I find it far easier to believe that this toxicity comes from default of not talking to your family/friends/community about some of most important aspects of your life.
Consider that other people might not want to talk about these things, and by bringing them up yourself, you're prompting others to share their own opinions, which they may not (for whatever reason) feel comfortable sharing.
There's also the reality that many of these conversations just aren't productive. Best-case scenario, one person talks, the other talks, maybe they learn a little about each other, or their mutual empathy is enhanced. But a lot of times, it seems like two otherwise civil people find out things about each other that actually degrades their relationship. "Too much information" is real and at 34, I've learned there are some questions that just aren't going to lead to a productive conversation, on balance.
"don't speak about these important things, we don't have the EQ to handle this conversation" is a strong pro-status quo political stance to take and couching it in apolitical terms is dishonest.
EDIT: for the sake of the completion of thought, I want to add that the opposite is also true: a young company in a fast growing innovative industry can afford to hire a different kind of talent without harming its growth, and as the industry matures, they simply can't afford to keep doing that.
It's like the old demotivational poster said: "it might be the case that your purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others".
Do you mean "internal political" as "Oh man Jimmy is in charge of gmail now!" (just a made up example of internal politics there) or "Can you belive what the POTUS did!?!?!"?
If the latter, I'm a bit surprised ... I can't imagine having that kind of conversation at work. That is absolutely a NO GO zone for me at work.
These are also people who are intelligent, educated, and quite arrogant, so the fireworks were pretty spectacular.
It must be US culture there: everywhere I've worked (in France) arguing about politics was always ok. Even fun when you get people of differing views who can explain how they came to those so you can debate. Things must be boring when you have to limit yourself to safe subjects.
Interesting. When your company is big enough, the intranet becomes a community that mirrors the Internet in general...
But also a bit shocked how many people feel that participating is a good idea.
Otherwise, yeah, that seems crazy.
So I responded.
1. I shouldn't have gotten the survey as I didn't work for the company who sent it, but nobody at either company was very smart or careful because it went to everyone.
2. I misread the email and didn't notice it wasn't my company asking for responses it was the company we did outsource work for.
I made some pretty tepid constructive criticism. So did a couple other people.
The next day we were in a conference room with people we never met before angry that we responded to the survey. They hadn't realized we were actually sent the email just like everyone at the company (like I said these were not smart people) ...
It also raised the question about how anonymous this survey was. Of course it wasn't, you could see in the URL when responding your name, email address, etc ;)
When it's conversation forums with thousands of people...critical mass is achieved, and it runs amok.
I suspect an important factor is that these happen in smaller groups that know each other better, beyond individual views.
I was appalled that one of my foreign born, non-Christian, non-Caucasian co-workers voted for Bush 43 and listened to Rush Limbaugh, but having known him for years, I did not reduce him to that single aspect of his life.
Q: You mention that you were 'appalled'. Did either of you take the time to explore your presumptions behind your reasons for coming to differing conclusions (while realizing the humans are 'rationalizing creatures', not 'rational creatures')?
I apologize upfront for not knowing who Mike Savage is, but it is my understanding that Limbaugh (who I don't listen to, so I could be wrong) is a guy that rudely declares that we should enforce border policies as written into regulations written by Congress?
That may not be true, but if it is, is that wrong-headed?
Edit: I have many loving/giving Muslim friends, and without their help I would not be alive today, but I am somewhat afraid of their "extremists" when I travel to Pakistan, or Qatar. I don't think I'm a hater, but maybe I am?
I'm somewhat conflicted in my thinking on border enforcement, and I do think it should, in general, exist, but that's far from the core and the tone of his argument, I think. He also declares that Mexicans in general are lazy (regardless of the legality of their status): https://www.huffpost.com/entry/rush-limbaugh-attacks-mexican...
and has a long history of racist comments:
> I am somewhat afraid of [Muslim] "extremists" when I travel to Pakistan, or Qatar.
My colleague did in fact come from a country where Muslim extremism was a thing. For your travels, I would certainly share your concern in Pakistan, but I don't really think there is an objective basis for it in the case of Qatar:
But, one size does not fit all. My anecdotes to that effect are surely not data.
But my friends of Mexican descent (Americans) don't like uncontrolled migration because of the (perceived?) downward pressure on wages for unskilled labor.
EDIT: That last point was also anecdotal. My gut feel (intuition) is largely driven by my experience. I do not claim that this experience is global or globally correct.
I'm not sure what you mean but generally in my life... I actually don't have a lot of "political" conversations every day. More often than not, none at all.
I wonder what the difference is, I mean beyond just painting someone who can't as a jerk.
I think it has to do with learned skills of emotional self-regulation... someone with those skills is better able to hold their perspective while allowing that of another. But how does one learn that?
It might have to do with safety. I suspect that the people that are better able to have those kind of civil discussions have had good behavior modeled to them in the past, that has increased their own sense of safety, like from someone else in a position of power that has demonstrably respected their opinion even when they held different values.
Could that be the krux of it, that most "uncivil behavior" in this realm is from people that are reacting from a sense of danger, like that if they meet a person with differing values they automatically believe they are being threatened? (Recognizing that sometimes that belief is correct.)
I also wonder if there's a universal central reason behind why it is important to understand someone else's argument if their conclusion differs than yours.
I totally agree that what it requires are those types of emotional skills, and getting them takes practice.
This tradition of avoiding ever getting practice seems absurd to me, and it also very much benefits those already in power (and they are not unaware of this fact).
In fact, if you can't argue for their side as well as they can, you haven't really understood it, so you shouldn't argue.
However, the person being toxic is often not criticized at all because they were spreading their hateful views "politely," if such a thing is possible. So while I believe there is nothing to be gained from getting angry in a political discussion, I do think we should give people a bit of a break if they understandably become frustrated when dealing with actual white nationalists/neo-Nazis/incels saying rape should be legal/etc.
I wonder though if there's a conflation here between dealing with the argument itself, and dealing with all the social realities of being subjected to the person making it - how threatening they appear, how connected their beliefs are to impending action, how confrontative the exchange is, etc. Like, it's totally fair to believe that the person making the argument is dangerous, and respond emotionally from that. It doesn't mean that it's the argument itself that is being responded to - the argument might instead be evidence of impending dangerous behavior, which is different. It also doesn't mean that the argument itself is dangerous - the danger might entirely come from the circumstances, like if the argument is being used as a physical threat.
Like, I don't know, imagine it's Joyce Brothers making the hateful argument, from her hospital bed with a cocktail in her hand. It might be easier to engage with the argument in that case - to determine if it's based off of incorrect facts, bad reasoning, or just hateful premises that can't be challenged.
Hell, believe it or not, I've heard people say that it should be illegal to be fascist for example. Of course these people should be ridiculed.
I'm sorry, but I don't think having to listen to co-workers ram their ill-thought-out opinion down my throat is "freedom."
“Food isn’t political” is only “not political” for someone who is well fed and not concerned about where their next meal is coming from.
Everything is political.
In that sense it’s not really about the politics, it’s just seeing the world outside of your own.
In almost every other case we’re okay with this. In a lot of contexts irrelevant discussion is called ‘taking it offline’.
Really good point here. One could argue the same for society as a whole - not just companies with global mailing lists.
That can still happen, maybe just not on a huge mailing list? :p
Interestingly there are people in this very thread claiming "everything is politics."
Limbaugh was just agreeing with the communists. Oops?
The fact that they are starting to crack down on this toxic environment is long overdue. My guess is that they are starting to see tangible attrition of top performers (who happen to be predominantly white & asian males) quoting this as a reason to leave, which threatens their existence. Hence the change.
There is no federal law that prevents employer discrimination based on political beliefs. There are some states, specifically California in this case, that prevent employers from discrimination based on political activities and/or affiliations. However, most states prevent employers from controlling political activities outside of work
The First Amendment does not apply to private institutions, only public ones. Private institutions can outright ban political discussion with no repercussions and cannot be liable for termination on the grounds of political beliefs expressed within the workplace sans some states.
So while it isn't "illegal", it can be restricted within private companies.
However, most private companies don't allow political discussion and it's not illegal to control this unless you live in certain states, California being one of them.
Explanation in detail here: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/can-employers-discri...