In far too many cases, the inmates seem to be trying to run the asylum. I’ve written about this quite a few times, of course, and it’s a popular topic. We’ve seen company after company bow down to the demands of the woke.
Yet, folks like me have argued that if you refuse to budge, not much of anything is going to happen.
At a tech company called Basecamp, they had cause to find out for sure.
About one-third of employees at software company Basecamp quit days after bosses told them to keep ideology out of the workplace and focus on the company’s actual business.
“We make project management, team communication, and email software,” CEO Jason Fried wrote April 26. We don’t have to solve deep social problems, chime in publicly whenever the world requests our opinion on the major issues of the day, or get behind one movement or another with time or treasure. These are all important topics, but they’re not our topics at work.”
Tech journalist Casey Newton said about one-third of the company’s roughly 60 employees took buyouts shortly after, with one fuming: “Basically the company has said, ‘well, your opinions don’t really matter — unless it’s directly related to business…’ A lot of people are gonna have a tough time living with that.”
Newton reported at Platformer that woke tensions boiled over after, in December, a new hire “volunteered to help the company work on diversity issues.”
This included criticizing the fact that for years, many employees had contributed to a list called “Best Names Ever” in which they placed funny customer names — of “the sorts of names Bart Simpson used to use when prank calling Moe the Bartender: Amanda Hugginkiss, Seymour Butz, Mike Rotch.”
Two of the people griping, however, contributed to the list.
In other words, they were fine with it when they were part of it, but the moment they may end up being accused of WrongThink, they collapse out of what was nothing but good, clean fun.
Now, to be fair, I'd always said that companies who refused to balk wouldn't see people leave. This suggests that I might be wrong, especially after the company banned political speech in the workplace entirely, and then a third of their workforce quit.
However, I'm still not sure it's really going to be a loss.
For one thing, a lot of people are going to be thrilled to work with them after this.
Of course, some are arguing that the only reason to implement a policy like this is to protect Nazis, but the truth is a lot of people don't want anything to do with political discussions, especially at work. I mean, I don't mind, but talking politics is my job. It's not most people's, though, and they're really not interested in it.
They're going to seek out companies like this and consider that as a fringe benefit, something that will offset a lower salary or lack of benefits they might command elsewhere.
I don't blame them, either.
Of course, some of those who left kind of never got the point. Note how one employee said that the company told them their opinions didn't matter unless it relates to work? Well, they don't. Not while you're at work, anyway.
When you're at work, your job is to do whatever your employer needs you to do to advance the organization's goals. Nothing in that gives you license to talk about anything else.
Now, sure, no one just talks about work at work. People talk about their plans, their families, their hobbies, etc. However, few things can cause problems in the workplace like political discussions. Nothing at all.
I don’t blame Basecamp for making its particular decision. They made the right call.
And, in short order, don’t be surprised to see productivity and morale go up. No one will feel like they need to walk on eggshells around the easily offended.
Plenty of people are criticizing the move, of course. As noted, some think this will create an environment that will foster Nazis. Others are encouraging those who left Basecamp to apply for work with their companies. One notable example is Mozilla.
Which is funny because Mozilla’s founder and one-time CEO was ousted because of his political speech outside of work. He backed a gay marriage ban that passed, which means he was far from alone. Years later, though, he was pushed out because of that speech.
And now the same people who pushed Brandon Eich out of his role with Mozilla are upset that someone else wasn’t allowed to talk about politics.
If these people were upset from a free speech perspective, I could respect it. They’d be wrong, but I could at least respect the argument. Instead, though, it’s just about which speech can be allowed.
They want the woke to be able to say whatever, to purge whoever, and to destroy whatever they want. They don’t want us to be able to do so, of course, but they want it. They need it.
And, more importantly, they can’t exist without it.
Basecamp gets based, and it’s glorious. The question is, will anyone be next?