The libertarian tech genius Peter Thiel recently announced that he was moving his base of operations from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles due to the oppressiveness and intolerance of social justice Silicon Valley. Everyone is hailing this as an augur of great meaning, trying to spin their particular interpretation and this article is part of the Guardian's effort.
The article is pretty thin gruel compared to other interpretative pieces out there: not much insight or literary flare.
Solon gives the last paragraph to Joelle Emerson.
For Joelle Emerson, the CEO of Paradigm, a company that helps tech companies diversity [sic] their workforces, Thiel’s departure highlights the broader issue of people “claiming they are being silenced based on their conservative views”.So Emerson dismisses Thiel's move as much ado about nothing, reflecting poorly on Thiel. He is just not enlightened like all the other Silicon Valley execs.
“It’s really important to distinguish being silenced and being challenged,” she said. “Leaders in Silicon Valley who believe in building a diverse, equitable industry have not only a right, but an obligation to challenge others in positions of influence who undermine those goals.”
Step back from the verbal spewing.
Let's look at this from a class or group perspective.
Olivia Solon is classic Ben Rhodes journalist ("The average reporter we talk to is 27 years old, and their only reporting experience consists of being around political campaigns. That’s a sea change. They literally know nothing.”) Highly credentialed (Oxford) but with a thin twelve year career pushing words for hire. One of the camp hangers-on.
Likewise, Joelle Emerson, highly credentialed with her Stanford Law degree, but another regulatory capture rent seeker whose business depends on the purveyance of exactly the intolerant social justice bromides under discussion. Her well being does not depend on creating businesses and services which improve the world. Her well-being depends on continuing the social justice scam. And that is the capstone source for Solon?
The journalistic lack of rigor and integrity is striking.
So a Ben Rhodes Journalist and a regulatory capture rent seeker are the basis for analysis of a child chess prodigy, elite law clerk, lawyer for a blue-chip law firm, Credit Suisse derivatives trader, speech-writer for the political elite, serial entrepreneur, serially successful venture capitalist, who has been at the center of many of the most significant technology companies (PayPal, Palantir, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)? Kind of shocking that this passed the Guardian's quality control.
What caught my eye, though, was the chilling (though toothless) menace in Emerson's closing comments.
“It’s really important to distinguish being silenced and being challenged,” she said.Fair enough. We are all of us wrong with some frequency and varying consequence. But in typical SJW motte-and-bailey argument, Emerson transits from this anodyne observation to something much more sinister. The easily defensible, indeed trite, argument is that we should distinguish between being contradicted versus being oppressed. That's the motte.
The indefensible and chilling bailey is:
“Leaders in Silicon Valley who believe in building a diverse, equitable industry have not only a right, but an obligation to challenge others in positions of influence who undermine those goals.”So casual. So uncontroversial. Such the Stalin in a cloth coat.
Her soft-pedaled argument is that of the authoritarian and totalitarian. Everyone has an obligation to attack those who disagree with the racism (focusing on groups rather than individuals) and socialism (equality of outcome rather than equality of process) of the postmodernist.
I imagine Emerson was just spouting words to an ideological fellow traveller to help her fill the word count for an undistinguished article in the common cause they have for their own self-interest (rent seeking rewards for low quality work).
But what a mindset was revealed. Their position is that people must fight those who object to racism and socialism.
Can't imagine why Thiel had the impression that Silicon Valley was intolerant and riddled with blind bigotry.