Culture Wars in Silicon Valley

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In the past few months, we have witnessed how culture wars can consume the US politics. This is now spreading to Silicon Valley according to an article by the New York Times. This can be justified through the actions of major entities in the Valley such as Google. For instance, the tech giant decided to fire a software engineer known as James Damore. Mr. Damore was given marching orders after he wrote a memo that was deemed to have gone against the diversity efforts of the company. The firing led to the creation of a group that opposed the move and another that supported the company. Those who opposed Google accused the company of silencing an engineer who was just expressing his thoughts. On the other hand, the people who supported the move especially women in technology recommended Google for the bold move sending a message that there is no place for gender discrimination in Silicon Valley. However, regardless of the side that each of us supports, the message was clear, ideological diversity will not be tolerated in the technology industry. Since time immemorial, Silicon Valley politics have divided people into two groups. There are those who opt for libertarianism while the rest fall for free market philosophy.

While the technology field had been seen as a field that is independent of these politics, the recent turn of events only proves that it is just like the other industries. These divisions began last year during the presidential campaigns. People who supported Donald Trump were criticized for their political affiliations. For instance, the case for Peter Thiel of Facebook is a good example. Thiel was threatened with a negative performance review by Reed Hastings. Hastings is the chief executive officer of Netflix while Peter Thiel is an investor in Facebook. Oculus founder Palmer Luckey is another executive who has suffered for his political affiliation. For instance, when information came to light that he had funded an organization connected to Trump’s campaign, he was pressured to resign. A New York University expert known as Scott Galloway says that Mr. Damore was fired because he worked with Google. Together with other companies in Silicon Valley such as Apple, Amazon, and Facebook, employees of these companies are expected to uphold the highest code of ethics and discipline. Scott Galloway says that these companies are seen as pillars of the 21st century. He further emphasizes that controversial comments from such organizations will always be under scrutiny.

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