Social Update: Educate

People always have opinions on things. On Jimmy Kimmel the other day, I watched people on the street get asked what they thought about North Korea and the recent developments regarding their nuclear missile program. Everyone had an opinion about it. How could they not? It’s everywhere in the media, no matter where you look. All you hear about is North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and America’s Donald Trump going at each other from thousands of miles away. What’s interesting is that even though everyone had an opinion, almost nobody could point out where North Korea is on the map. Some people who were questioned pointed to Canada, Australia, even Antarctica! One huge problem that we have as a society today is that we take everything we see at face value. We don’t question. It’s the same thing that happened during the 2016 elections when all over social media, you’d find all these really outlandish stories that people were believing and then sharing. People today have a real problem with checking sources in order to determine if what they are reading is true or not, or if it is framed in a certain way in order to look one way or another.

This brings us to the latest trend that everyone is talking about, the infamous Google Manifesto. Today, I’m going to be playing devil’s advocate. Enjoy! If you go to the mainstream news sources, the point of view that you get is usually always the same or similar. According to them, the Google Manifesto, written by now-fired Google engineer, James Damore, is a misogynist text that says that women are not biologically fit to be engineers. While this is true to a certain extent, it does not paint the full picture or talk about what Damore’s requests actually are. Furthermore, the idea that this is a story about free speech is completely wrong, since Google has the right to fire any employee who they believe violates their code of ethics. Google is an at-will employer. This is not about free speech and it is not about feminism, at least not entirely.

The bigger story is that the 10-page manifesto is largely ignored as a misogynist text and reduced to a few quotes that are taken out of context. Don’t get me wrong; I am not denying that there are definitely certain ideas that Damore has that are misguided, or even flat out incorrect. However, one of Damore’s biggest points, that he stresses more than once in the manifesto, is the fact that the liberal left has to stop ignoring and alienating conservatives. It is precisely this, coupled with the false confidence that the left had, that got our President elected (whether you like him or not). The left blames the right constantly for being out of touch and impossible to work with, but being out of touch doesn’t give liberals permission to pretend that conservative ideas aren’t valid.

To quote Damore, “In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.” Even the fact that Damore has now been fired by Google means that Damore has won. Conservative or not, his firing shows that the left leaning Google really does not value the fact that people have different ideologies. Damore’s firing goes against everything that Google says that they stand for, inclusiveness, free thinking, and diversity.

To make matters worse, the problem isn’t just at Google. Damore also says that “Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of humanities and social scientists lean left (about 95%), which creates enormous confirmation bias, changes what’s being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the gender wage gap.” It is absolutely true that there is a serious ideological problem with almost all scientists being liberals. A person’s political leaning absolutely has a spot in determining which kinds of science will be pursued and which will be left in the dust. Additionally, Damore has gotten absolutely crucified for this comment, which is actually taken out of context. The mainstream media has framed it so that it reads as though Damore believes that there is no such thing as a gender gap at all. This isn’t true. Damore refers to the myth of the gender wage gap in the sense that he doesn’t believe that the gender wage gap is because of gender at all, but because of biological differences related to actually going about procuring the raise in pay.

I recommend that everyone that has an opinion about the Google Manifesto actually read the thing. It isn’t even very long. If you feel the same way after you read it, that’s fine, but at least you’re an informed person on the topic and not someone that has an opinion which doesn’t mean anything. Being informed about important topics before you formulate an opinion is challenging, even for me. My mind races to come to conclusions before I know all the details; it’s human nature. However, it’s a trap that will make you look uninformed, uneducated, and pretty stupid if someone starts asking you questions that you don’t know. Do yourself a favor, educate yourself; don’t let the media do it for you. At the very least, you won’t be on live TV pointing at a map and claiming that North Korea is somewhere in the Middle East.