By Michael Short/Bloomberg/Getty Images.
After being fired from Google for writing and disseminating a 10-page disquisition raising questions about the company’s efforts to increase gender diversity, software engineer James Damore has been embraced by conservatives, who are all too happy to claim a defector from Silicon Valley as the latest martyr in the country’s culture war. Within 24 hours of being fired, Damore was being hailed as a brave truth-teller in the pages of National Review, had a potential job offer from Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, and, on Tuesday, gave his first major interview to alt-right YouTube personality Stefan Molyneux.
In a sprawling, 45-minute interview with Molyneux, whose other videos include titles like “Why Feminists Hate Men: What They Won’t Tell You!”, Damore accused the tech industry of “groupthink” and shaming conservatives. “I went to a diversity program at Google, it was . . . not recorded, totally secretive,” he said. “I heard things that I definitely disagreed with in some of our programs. I had some discussions there, there was lots of just shaming and ‘No you can’t say that, that’s sexist’ and ‘You can’t do this.’” Damore revealed he’d written the memo on a 12-hour plane ride after feeling prompted to do so by other “isolated” Google employees “not in this groupthink,” who had supposedly felt so uncomfortable with Google’s so-called progressive bias that they had thought about leaving the company.
Silicon Valley, for all its ostensible liberalism, has always been tinged by a strong strain of libertarianism. And in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, some in tech have grown more comfortable pushing back on what they see as a stifling, even discriminatory approach to increasing diversity in a mostly white, overwhelmingly male industry. Palmer Luckey, the 24-year-old founder of Oculus, also became a pariah in Silicon Valley when it was discovered last year that he had donated to…