A Harvard-Harris survey found a majority of Americans think Google was wrong to fire James Damore for writing a memo about the company’s diversity practices. From the Hill:
Fifty-five percent of those polled in the latest Harvard-Harris survey said Google was wrong to fire James Damore, including 61 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of independents and 50 percent of Democrats.
Fifty-six percent of voters overall also said it sets a bad precedent to fire people for expressing their honest views about gender dynamics in the workplace. Seventy-one percent said that even if a worker expresses views that reinforce gender stereotypes, it should still be illegal to fire that person.
Mark Penn and Stephen Ansolabehere, the co-directors of Harvard-Harris poll, wrote an opinion piece today arguing for the extension of First Amendment protections to workers. Based on their polling, an overwhelming percentage of Americans support this idea.
We polled some of these issues in this month’s Harvard Harris poll, and the public overwhelmingly believes that it should be illegal to fire people for expressing their views: 85 percent said people should be protected from being fired for their political views, and 70 percent agreed that the broader protections of the First Amendment should be extended to the workplace…
Because it’s not illegal to fire people over their views in most places, it’s simply easier to get rid of the problem. The First Amendment is being rendered meaningless by the same kinds of mobs it was implemented to hold at bay.
The First Amendment only protects people from censorship by the government. But most Americans believe their freedom to speak (and to hold their own opinions on controversial topics) are rights that should not be interfered with by corporations (Google) or mobs of social justice warriors on the internet.
Most people are on board with the concept of extending free speech protections to the workplace, but the polling does suggest that people’s certitude declines as the speech in question becomes more extreme. So 79% are against firing a CEO because he opposes gay marriage but only 60% oppose firing someone who shows up at a racist rally like the one in Charlottesville. And in the latter case, a majority of young people would support such a firing.
Still, the poll suggests there is less support for firing people for holding back opinions than the social justice warriors on the left want us to believe. Most Americans don’t like where this is heading.