by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Jonathan Anomaly uses a Martin Center column to place the Google controversy in context.
A day after an internal email by a Google employee was leaked to the press, a combination of ideological intolerance and scientific illiteracy led Google to fire James Damore for “perpetuating gender stereotypes.” On the day he was fired, Quillette.com published several brief essays by academics on the science of sex differences, mostly vindicating his characterization of the relevant data. That night, hackers shut down the website, presumably to prevent readers from learning the truth: that there are average differences between men and women, that these differences are partly rooted in biology, and that these differences have predictable social consequences.
How did we get here? Why would such a carefully worded dissenting opinion earn someone so much scorn from the public, misunderstanding by the media, and a pink slip by the company he works for? How could an employee who expresses skepticism about a company’s policy, but doesn’t violate the company’s policy in any obvious way, be fired? And why would activists think it’s okay to use force to shut out dissenting voices on a website like Quillette?
The problem begins in universities, where radical ideas are promoted and lauded as “progressive” and students are taught what to think instead of how to think.
Universities are populated by professors who are promoted based on increasingly specialized scholarship that is often inscrutable to outsiders. Few faculty are hired or recognized for their ability to bring insights from different fields together and help students see the big picture.
More importantly, while some universities nominally promote “critical thinking,” this phrase has come to mean the study of bizarre subjects like “critical theory” that use bombastic and abstruse language to criticize Western civilization.