Sunday, August 13, 2017

“Note to employees from [Google] CEO Sundar Pichai” - Insanity or Dishonesty?

The inclusive/diversity mind set is very difficult to decipher.  That is because it contains a logical inconsistency.  On the one hand is the desire to include all viewpoints and people.  On the hand is the fact that there are viewpoints that are not as “inclusive and diverse” as you would like them to be.  The advocates of (their version, at least) inclusivity and diversity could avoid falling into insanity by simply being inclusive enough to tolerate even those who don’t completely agree with their views of inclusion and diversity.  It seems that they cannot, but they are loath to admit this.

That is because they are almost always inclusion and diversity hypocrites.  This has been very obvious for a long time, but we see it again in the incident of the software engineer fired by Google after expressing his views about Google’s internal “culture.”

Of course, a private company should be able to hire and fire as desired, or at least I think so.  But it appears that the Google empire has for some time prided itself on being inclusive and diverse.  It just couldn’t “swallow” an employee who held and expressed ideas that did not comport with the views of Google.

The Google CEO could openly admit this.  He could just say, “You can’t express just any ideas here at Google.  We have certain standards and limits, and some ideas are off-limits.”  That would be very honest.  He could do that, but if he made it that clear, it would sound like their inclusion is not quite all that inclusive and their diversity is not really all that diverse.  That would appear to be a little insane at worst, or hypocritical at best.

So, instead, he has to say things that, taken together, make him, and his Google culture, sound a little bit nutty, to say the least, and perhaps a bit dishonest.  Now some examples.

Separated by just a few words the Google CEO says “we strongly support the right of Googlers to express themselves” and then says that the fired employee’s view is unacceptable because he “suggest[s] a group of our colleagues [females] have traits that make them less biologically suited to that work [software coding].”  So Google “strongly” supports the right of Googlers to express themselves unless Google doesn’t like the view that an employee expresses.  That borders on insanity, or if it is not insanity, it is dishonesty.

The memo goes on to say, “there are co-workers who are questioning whether they can safely express their views in the workplace (especially those with a minority viewpoint). They too feel under threat, and that is also not OK. People must feel free to express dissent.”  But wasn’t a Google employee just fired precisely because he expressed dissent?  Is this insanity, or is it dishonesty?

Near the end of the memo the Google CEO says, “The past few days have been very difficult for many at the company, and we need to find a way to debate issues on which we might disagree - while doing so in line with our Code of Conduct.”  But that is just another way of saying that Google employees are not allowed to debate and disagree with a set of ideas supposedly included in the Code of Conduct.  In fact, the section of the Code of Conduct quoted by the Google CEO did not directly prohibit raising the kinds of questions raised by the fired software engineer.  One of his key points was that there might be good reasons, other that some kind of discrimination, why there are fewer female coders than there are male coders.  Is that something that cannot even be discussed in a place where “people must be free to express dissent”?!?  Again, is this insanity or dishonesty?

In a previous memo the Google CEO said, “All your voices and opinions matter . . . and I want to hear them.”  Well Sundar Pichai, apparently you do not.  One software engineer expressed some opinions that you and your company did not like, and you fired him.  That has to mean that you did not want to hear his voice and his opinion, and you didn’t want anyone else at Google to hear his voice and his opinion.  If you continue to insist that you want to hear all opinions while firing those who express opinions you do not like, you are either nuts or a liar.

From this distance, I cannot quite tell which it is.  Could it be a bit of both?