Water Cooler 11/29/08; A Look Into Why Tech Is Crazy These Days

Just How Was Tech Flipped ?

We are all familiar the left tilt that has happened in much of the technology field. It’s particularly apparent with companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter where you can see the companies engaging in activities ranging from overwhelmingly donating to left leaning candidates, to going into full on advocacy for the policies and often outright censorship of conservatives. It’s a strange thing to write that technology has gone over to the left, because I remember all too well when it was a fortress of conservative and libertarian thought. Just what did happen to perpetrate this sea change and how did it happen ?


Well we may never know how everything happened but we can look at how it’s being done now and how those doing it plan on taking it further.

The Following is not parody, it’s not comedy, it’s the agenda being pushed by the left on the software community and it has a good chance of becoming the dominant governing framework for much of the software that powers our lives.

The Post-Meritocracy Manifesto

Meritocracy is a founding principle of the open source movement, and the ideal of meritocracy is perpetuated throughout our field in the way people are recruited, hired, retained, promoted, and valued.

But meritocracy has consistently shown itself to mainly benefit those with privilege, to the exclusion of underrepresented people in technology. The idea of merit is in fact never clearly defined; rather, it seems to be a form of recognition, an acknowledgement that “this person is valuable insofar as they are like me.”

(If you are not familiar with criticisms of meritocracy, please refer to the resources on this page.)

It is time that we as an industry abandon the notion that merit is something that can be measured, can be pursued on equal terms by every individual, and can ever be distributed fairly.

What does a post-meritocracy world look like? It is founded on a core set of values and principles, an affirmation of belonging that applies to everyone who engages in the practice of software development.



Read that “Meritocracy benefits those with privilege”. Yes the privilege of working insanely hard to get good at what is a rather difficult and constantly changing discipline. Naturally seeing as merit derives from unfair privilege it must be abandoned. It’s an amazing that this kind of idea could be promulgated, but there it is. You wouldn’t accept it for your doctor, your lawyer, your realtor, your contractor, or any other profession you might actually depend on. You want to see what post meritocracy organizations look like, look no further than Broward County and Palm Beach County departments of elections and just imagine the whole world run that way.

The above was just their manifesto lets look at some of their values. Keep in mind this is almost entirely an exercise in Newspeak/Doublespeak.

We believe that interpersonal skills are at least as important as technical skills

What an amazing statement for a profession that is overwhelmingly a solitary activity. It does fit the template in that interpersonal skills are hard to measure and essentially at the whim of the person evaluating them.

We must make room for people who are not like us to enter our field and succeed there. This means not only inviting them in, but making sure that they are supported and empowered.

This is from the woman that tried to have Linus Torvalds the creator of Linux, removed from running his own creation because he was harsh in his critiques of bad programming. So when they say “Not like us”, they don’t mean people with different values or modes of thought.


The negative impact of toxic people in the workplace or the larger community is not offset by their technical contribution

Once again what does “TOXIC” mean in this context. In the case of Brendan Eich the man who invented Javascript one of the technologies that lets you use this site and read this page, it meant donating $500 to California’s ballot proposition defining marriage as between a man and woman.

We acknowledge the value of non-technical contributors as equal to the value of technical contributors.

When you go to the doctor, who has the more valuable contribution to your health, the doctor or the person who schedules your appointment ?

We have an ethical responsibility to refuse to work on software that will negatively impact the well-being of other people.

There has never been an advance made, a product created, or a philosophical insight in human history that hasn’t hurt a group of people. Just look at google’s stance of not working on U.S. defense projects but being more than willing to provide the Chinese with a censored search engine.  The U.S. military has been one of the greatest forces for the common good of humanity in the post war world while if you are Tibetan, or an Uighur you would find yourself deeply impacted by the Red Chinese controlling your access to information. The difference is that to these people the U.S. is evil and the Chinese are hurting America. No reason for them to not to help the Chinese.


We are devoted to practicing compassion and not contempt. We refuse to belittle other people because of their choices of tools, techniques, or languages.

Sorry if someone chooses to dig a ditch with a spoon, not only am I going to belittle them, I will do everything I can to make certain they aren’t in that line of work anymore.

The common theme here is that all their values and goals can and have been interpreted to mean things exactly the opposite of their surface meaning. To see how these would work in any organization that would adopt them look no further than Twitter or Facebook, where similar rules and values aren’t enforced against leftys that call for the death of conservatives or congressmen that advocate for using nuclear weapons on U.S. Citizens, but war veterans, conservative reporters and people that just won’t say there are 5 lights when there are only 4 are silenced for “Reasons”

Unfortunately this isn’t just alarmism, it isn’t even an alarm because an alarm implies something can be done. It’s already too late for most of the software industry. Ms(?? maybe maybe not) Ehmke has promulgated codes of conduct into thousands of software organizations already. This is just where they are moving next.

Something to think about, when you hear a software company like Youtube is shoving conservatives off the platform, and you are tempted to think “Well it’s their business they have no obligation to honor the 1st Amendment”.


Drink up That’s it for the Watercooler today. As always it’s an open thread


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