Here we are – the latest blazing controversy (“Google Memo”) to consume the Internets, causing people to knee-jerk instinctively react on both sides, eagerly misconstrue the other-side’s viewpoints & demand ritualistic sacrifices (firings & scapegoating), and to drown each other out in escalating screaming-matches. Sigh. We’ve been here before (far too many times). One would’ve thought we would’ve learnt our lessons by now. But apparently not, and we likely never will … In this sorry saga, the Left/Libs (and Pichai/Google) have behaved in an abysmally vindictive short-sighted way – and once again shot themselves in the foot, scored an own-goal & handed the ball further to the Far-Right/Trump/Fascist crowd. Because by virtue of their massive instinctive overreaction (Damore’s firing & vindictive scapegoating), the Left/Libs have managed to underscore Damore’s arguments with special added emphasis, and in doing so, they have managed to infuriate the Right-Wing (who will rally & shift more solidly into Far-Right), and they have pushed otherwise Moderate/Centrist & otherwise reasonable people further into the arms of Trump-like Anti-PC forces – thereby further endangering & undermining the very social harmony that they claim they valiantly protect. Lol. #Facepalm.
I personally don’t fully agree with everything written in the Memo, but it makes some valid points & interesting observations about Human Nature, the intrinsic tendencies & biases of Liberals vs Conservatives, etc. Some of it could be factually wrong, or parts of it could be jumping to conclusions (to me, a fair bit of the memo made intuitive sense, but then, intuition ≠ definitive-proof). But that’s besides the point. The core point is (and this much is undeniable): it seems to have been written in an earnest & sincere way. One gets the impression that the guy was quite passionate on the topic, had given it a great deal of thought, took the pains to read quite a lot, and write a long academic-style mini-thesis memo. Clearly, it wasn’t some thoughtless “sexist screed” or “misogynistic diatribe” (like the Excessive-PC-Libs mischaracterize it), and neither was it a brain-dead intentional-trolling-polemic written out of a childish instinct to provoke responses (Milo of Breitbart fame). There didn’t appear to be any purposeful malice. I never got the impression that the author had some deep-seated intrinsic bone-deep hatred for women (“sexist shitbag” in PC-Lib parlance), or that he had vomited all of it out in some ill-formed senile/paranoid harangue. Nope. It appeared quite nuanced & well-constructed – it was evident he had put in quite a lot of effort into it (at one point, even admitting that everyone is susceptible to bias – including him).
Instead of engaging in constructive dialog, offering rebuttals & defeating the argument in the public-square in a dignified/scientific way (thereby earning street-cred & respect from everyone), Pichai/Google unceremoniously & immediately fire this guy on some vague nonsensical pretext (for which I hope Damore get successful legal reocourse) & the Left/Libs pounce mercilessly in a rabid feeding frenzy of mass-shaming … The Left/Libs take great pride in “tolerance’ & “diversity” – where the Right does chest-thumping on Patriotism, the Left loudly trumpets that it is super-peaceful & tolerant. Yet these same people flippantly fire people based on disagreements which they find “offensive” & viciously shame them on social media. Left/Libs seem to do everything to viciously reject the one crucial form of diversity that should count at least on-par (if not above) the rest – the diversity of thought/ideas. The comical levels of irony & cognitive dissonance is really breathtaking.
The other critical point is: these dissenting voices need to be given breathing time & space (in the media, in corporations/work-places, and in politics) – free from excessive policing or vindictive shaming or vitriolic persecution. If you blanket-shut-out these contrarian voices & deny them publishing-space in mainstream media or expression-space in mainstream politics, guess where they’ll go? They’ll go to “alternative” media/politics. It’s that simple! (thus leading to the inflammatory paranoia of Brietbart, the darkness of Far-Right & the idiocy of Trump) … And that’s exactly what happened in this case too: Damore’s first post-firing interview was with two “unconventional/non-mainstream” Right-Wing YouTube commentators – because naturally, he didn’t feel comfortable talking to a publication like NYTimes or Guardian which regularly features sanctimonious Lib-slanted lecturing (and rarely features counterviews on these & other “sensitive/off-limit” topics).
And thus, the Right feels even more persecuted & threatened, retreat into their echo-chambers and harden further, backing up into a corner & becoming even more reluctant to compromise. Moderates/Independents & otherwise reasonable/sane people will also be pushed to the Right (on these stupid cultural issues), and they’ll ignore a 1000 red-flags & elect idiots like Trump … So the Left/Libs are not doing themselves any favor by being so stubborn-headed (in fact quite the reverse; they’re sabotaging their own causes – to stunningly devastating effects). They are being utterly short-sighted; being penny wise pound foolish. Left/Libs might continue to own/operate “prestigious” & “mainstream” media/political institutions, and they might continue to pat themselves in the back for a job well done in getting someone fired, but they will likely continue to lose influence & power where it actually counts: in Parliaments & Presidencies.
The Libs have to decide what they want more: (1) irritating levels of nitpicking on words, naive visions of idealism & Utopian perfection, sanctimoniously lecturing people & making them feel as if even a small healthy measure of pride over one’s tribe is somehow intrinsically evil or that people’s achievements are banal and attributable to “privilege” … OR … (2) practical worldly matters of effecting small but real change in an unfair/imperfect world, and the practical mechanism by which to achieve such change: the imperfect & frustrating vessel of Politics – in which you must tone-down the stubborn confrontational calling-everyone-Sexist/Pianist/Cyclist approach, tolerate some crudeness/bravado, pander a bit to the baser/primal instincts of the masses & thereby appeal to a broader audience. It’s an either/or choice. Left/Libs can’t have their cake & eat it too. They have to choose. Are they willing to risk the rise of Far-Right in a deluded attempt to force-impose a mythical equal/perfect fantasy-land? Is it worth risking this flawed but precious world, to wait-out for some romanticized unrealistic utopia? Or are they willing to accept the world as-is & do what it takes (by not nitpicking on everything, backing-off with the obsession on cultural issues, letting some stuff slide, and allow the Right-Wing pressure-cooker some breathing-space to blow-off steam in their trademark crude/Politically-Incorrect ways) to achieve pragmatic victories (including/especially by Politics/Elections), and thus have some hope of effecting positive change that they clamor for?
From a rational/logical cost-benefit P.O.V., it’s a very simple choice … But when tribal team/sport mentality, heavy emotional investment in cultural/social issues & closely held belief-systems enter the picture, all bets are off.
[PS-1: I am myself a Left/Liberal (specifically, Center-Left on both Economic & Cultural issues). Everything I have written above is from the perspective of a concerned & exasperated Liberal who sees Libs missing the forest for the trees. It’s painful to watch your side score so many own-goals & still not learn one bit – especially when the stakes are so high, and when the Left/Libs simply cannot afford to lose more ground (given the rise of Far-Right forces around the world). It’s imperative they stem the bleednig, and start winning again: and to do that, they’ve gotta climb-down their high-horses, shed the perception of “elitism” (such perceptions are a bit unfair, but then to a good extent, Left/Libs have brought it upon themselves), and start reconnecting with regular people & appealing to the broader masses.]
[PS-2: This post isn’t as well-formed or grammar-perfect or linguistically ornate as my other stuff. More than anything else, I wanted to get blogging again (after a long gap). In my quest for inch-perfection, I would’ve procrastinated further & missed the boat on this trending issue, and I wanted to get the core of my arguments out there … In coming days, I’ll spruce this up a bit here or there, add some references/hyperlinks & make it linguistically elegant … It’s kinda sad I feel like giving an apologizing disclaimer like this, but then that’s the nitpicking perfectionism speaking. Sigh]