The Google memo shows why the left always wins in tech
Last week’s Google hubbub traced a familiar pattern: Tech giant proclaims support for free speech, speech arises critical of progressive dogma, tech giant censors speech, tech giant again proclaims support for free speech.
The Left’s dominance of technology has social and political origins that, unless recognized and challenged, will continue leaving conservatives two steps behind. The issue is structural; they would exist even if Mark Zuckerberg’s supposed political ambitions or Twitter’s consistently dismal earnings forced a content-neutral speech epiphany on those platforms.
Whether it’s “low-quality tweets” (Twitter), “controversial” content (YouTube), “fake news” (Facebook) or data-driven objections to corporate double standards (Google), Silicon Valley’s ability to enforce its biases through corporate policies and nonprofit gatekeepers chills speech. Without appeal or even explanation, an HR manager, contract employee, or “safety council” can jettison a job or years of work building a following on a platform.
NEW: Conservatives rush to defend author of controversial Google diversity memo https://t.co/0Gndpts2xq pic.twitter.com/z7PwNDcT3M
— The Hill (@thehill) August 13, 2017
Silicon Valley’s growing role as megaphone or muzzle outfitter has dire consequences in our never-ending battle of ideas. The arbitrariness leaves conservatives nonplussed, but it should also force a look at root causes.
Unlike gender distribution, the topic Google fired engineer James Damore for discussing, no one seems miffed over Silicone Valley’s ideological disparity. Two reasons spring forth: One, intellectuals tend to be leftists and, two, leftists are collectivists.
The first part may seem odd given the misery leftist states have wrought over the past century — North Korea and Venezuela being two current examples. The late libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick opined intellectual leftism starts in education. Teacher’s pets excel in the controlled, authoritarian classroom but lose status in the “free market” playground.
F.A. Hayek, the Nobel-Prize winning economist and philosopher went further. He suggested smart people tend to favor intelligence over other aspects of advanced societies that cannot be deduced, like tradition and moral rules developed over time through trial and error.
Employee fired over anti-diversity memo: Google “almost like a cult” https://t.co/mJM9R8Y9y0 pic.twitter.com/UUbBTQdEVC
— The Hill (@thehill) August 11, 2017
The inability to control or even thoroughly understand spontaneous order leaves intellectuals uneasy and partial to command societies — Albert Einstein once bemoaned the “anarchy of capitalist society.”
The second reason comes from the different approaches to politics. Conservatives tend to view the individual as the primary political unit. Progressives emphasize groups, placing immutable characteristics on an oppression scale that only “organizing” can defeat. This is evident everywhere from the activist level — Black Lives Matter — to the Supreme Court where progressive justices have tried to collectivize the Bill of Rights, particularly freedom of speech and the right to bear arms.
The two factors give left-wingers an edge when technology begins to change society. And they are already commandeering the next wave.
Blockchain is the newest breakthrough that promises to transform society. We can’t know all its potential applications yet, but the Left has already started plotting to write the rules.
Blockchain is a digital ledger system that crowdsources transaction verifications. It is what enables cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and its more programmable next-generation cousin Ethereum.
Google cancels town hall about ex-employee’s anti-diversity memo amid safety concerns https://t.co/Vo91bFGnHT pic.twitter.com/sCyfih0B72
— The Hill (@thehill) August 11, 2017
Blockchain could potentially render superfluous centuries-old institutions and professions like banks, lawyers, accountants, logistics and supply-chain professionals, and even many duties of government. Soon land and car titles, birth certificates, taxes, bank accounts, and all manner of intellectual property and online identity could go directly on a blockchain.
While blockchain is just now receiving public notice, the Left saw its potential years ago. The “socially conscious” Blockchain Summit is already in its third year. Attendees recently met on Obama vacation-pal Richard Branson’s private island. Speakers included former Democrat officer holders, current candidates, Obama officials, Clinton operatives, and activists from every continent.
While ostensibly about the apolitical goal of “mak(ing) our world a more livable, functioning place for people,” social-justice buzzwords and thirst for control simmered just below. Panels focused on “privilege,” speakers discussed “upending the existing power structures,” and infusing corporations with “community- and socially focused set of goals(.)” It’s no stretch that discussions today lamenting that bitcoin miners are currently 97 percent male will tomorrow lead to censorship or firings to mollify these goals.
These conferences spawn the companies, associations, and networks that will write the rules for everyone else. One such organization, Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition, provides aid and resources to activist NGOs, investors, technologists, and foundations.
Conservatives should learn from progressives and get social and get organized or they will once again get left behind.
Paul H. Jossey is principal attorney at Jossey PLLC in Alexandria, Virginia. Please follow him on Twitter @PaulHJossey.
This article originally appeared in The Hill on August 14, 2017