Conservatives who’ve rallied behind former Google engineer James Damore traditionally have undermined workers like him, contended The New Republic’s Josephine Livingstone on Wednesday.
Livingstone has no use for Damore’s now-famous, if little-read, memo, which allegedly “contained a bunch of ‘red-pill’ nonsense about biological differences between men and women…Arguments that cite innate biological differences between the minds of men and women are incorrect, and they’re not an acceptable part of a public discourse about gender. Misogynists feed each other this stuff online because it makes them feel like righteous victims of feminism instead of privileged people who have to make concessions if we are to make progress towards equality. Taking Damore’s claims seriously would have done nothing more than make [Google] look stupid.”
That said, Livingstone doesn’t think the memo constituted a clear firing offense: “He violated Google’s code of conduct pretty explicitly. But then again, people believe all kinds of poisonously crazy stuff, like vaccines causing autism, without being fired.” Her broader point is that conservatives typically object to certain protections for fired employees (bolding added):
The natural recourse for allegedly unfair dismissals would be to contact a union or draw upon another form of labor protection, and to insist that practices like at-will employment contracts, which allow employers to dismiss a worker for any reason, come to an end. It is very tempting for those of us on the left to say to Damore’s lamenting allies: Oh, now you want a union?
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American conservatives have worked tirelessly to provide companies like Google with the freedom to do whatever they like to their workers. In 28 American states, a worker can be fired for being gay or transgender. The notion that management’s political whims can allow them to discriminate against workers freely is at the core of the contemporary American conservative ideology.
Livingstone added that Google needs to shape up as well: “A company with true commitment to diversity and gender equality in its workforce is much less likely to produce employees ridden by (biased) views like James Damore. Damore and his memo are products of a workplace ideology that doesn’t correct for prejudice.”