Suppressing intellectual debate on college campuses is bad enough. Doing the same in Silicon Valley, which has essentially become a finishing school for elite universities, compounds the problem. Its engineers build products that potentially shape our digital lives. At Google, they oversee a search algorithm that seeks to surface “authoritative” results and demote low-quality content. This algorithm is tuned by an internal team of evaluators. If the company silences dissent within its own ranks, why should we trust it to manage our access to information?
In a statement, Google’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, Danielle Brown, refused to link to Damore’s memo, saying that “it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.” Companies don’t have viewpoints. Humans do — diverse ones. The swiftness with which Google removed an outspoken engineer demonstrates that Damore is exactly right: Google could use some diversity of ideas.