Prager U: What Happens When Google Disagrees With You?

Former Google software engineer James Damore shares his story.

Is Google open to a diverse array of viewpoints? Or is it an ideological echo chamber? Just ask former Google software engineer James Damore. He was fired for disagreeing with Google's (left-wing) orthodoxy. In this video, James shares his story.

Transcript below:

I used to be a senior software engineer at Google. Until they fired me.

For doing something unforgivable...

Something so controversial that it was the number one news story for days.

My crime: I wrote an internal document that, among other things, suggested that men and women, on average, are different.

Like I told you: Unforgivable.

The politically progressive viewpoint, which is dominant at Google and in the media, is that all disparities in society are due to injustices. Or, in this case, that the gender gap in tech is solely due to some form of sexism.

But is this true?

The politically correct answer is: yes. And Google acts accordingly. It treats men and women differently during hiring and promotion, holds official women-only events, and gives mandatory sensitivity training on how to combat alleged sexist bias.

Of course, all of this makes sense if sexism is indeed the sole cause of the imbalance.

But what if men and women are not exactly the same?

Then, sexism is just one of many possible causes of the imbalance, and exclusionary programs and differential treatment can be a counterproductive form of sexism. These practices actually increase tensions and make some feel like Google cares more about their gender than their programming ability.

As an engineer, when I’m faced with a problem, I want to solve it. So, I decided to research the premise: that men and women are exactly the same.

I wrote my findings in a 10-page document titled, “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber.” You can read it online.

What did I discover? That not all of the male-female disparity in tech may be the result of sexism.That at least some of it may be attributed to men and women having different goals for their careers and their lives.

To cite just two examples:

In the study, ”Women, Careers, and Work-Life Preferences,” published in the British Journal of Guidance and Counselling, the study’s authors conclude that women across populations tend to look for more work-life balance, while men tend to have a higher drive for status.

And according to a study by Cal State Fullerton psychologist Richard Lippa, men, on average, tend to be more interested in things, while women tend to be more interested in people.

These findings have been replicated many times. They’ve actually been cited by other researchers as a cause for the gender gap in tech.

In other words, I didn’t make this stuff up.

In fact, after my document came under attack, evolutionary psychologist Geoffrey Miller said its “empirical claims are scientifically accurate.”

But Google disagreed. Like…really disagreed.

First, the company’s newly appointed VP of Diversity, Integrity, and Governance, Danielle Brown, posted a memo that said my report “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender.”

Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, sent a memo to all employees saying that I “cross[ed] the line by advancing harmful gender stereotypes.” This was, he added, “not O.K.” 

Then, he fired me.

By that point, much to my shock, my document had gone viral. News outlets were branding it an “anti-diversity manifesto.”

But if they had read what I wrote, they could see for themselves that it was pro-diversity. I had suggested multiple ways that we could get more women into tech without resorting to counterproductive discrimination.

Ironic, isn’t it? The company that hires some of the smartest people in the world couldn’t handle a well-reasoned, scientific discussion.

But my firing pales in comparison to a larger issue: Will Google force upon its users the same politically correct views that it forces upon its employees?

The evidence is disturbing. Google already manipulates its products to fit a certain viewpoint.

Just one example: YouTube, Google’s video platform, restricts access to dozens of PragerU videos, along with videos made by other influential moderates and conservatives.

Yes—Google is a business and can set its own policies. But for its billions of users, Google is their main gateway to information, the lens through which they view the world.

This makes Google, in some ways, more powerful than even the government.

And that means Google has a special responsibility to, well…simply follow its own motto: “Don’t be evil.”

I’m James Damore for Prager University.

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