Porter and Buck welcome James Damore, the ex-Google engineer and author of the viral internal company memo Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber. Why did Damore get fired for questioning progressive workplace diversity practices applied to hiring and promotion? Hear Porter tell you what really caught his attention while reading Damore’s memo, and what he thinks led us to the current lose-lose state of gender and race politics in business. Has discrimination become the new office inclusion policy in America?
Porter and Buck discuss the storm of deep state media sexual harassment scandals from Hollywood to Capitol Hill. Al Franken, John Lasseter, Charlie Rose, Harvey Weinstein, and Roy Moore are just a few examples of the latest business and political figures to fall. Buck has an explanation as to why this behavior has been allowed to go on for so long, and how this is just the beginning of these kind of salacious revelations.
Porter and Buck answer listener feedback about US state debt levels, Saint Gaudens rare coins, and whether-or-not the US will take a page from Japan’s economic playbook to deal with the trillions in debt piling up in America.
Announcer: Broadcasting from Baltimore, Maryland and New York City, you're listening to the Stansberry Investor Hour. Tune in each Thursday on iTunes for the latest episode of the Stansberry Investor Hour. Sign up for the free show archive at InvestorHour.com. Here are the hosts of your show, Buck Sexton and Porter Stansberry.
Buck Sexton: Hey everybody, welcome to the Stansberry Investor Hour. I'm Buck Sexton, and with us as always, our fearless leader, Porter Stansberry. Joining us this week on the Investor Hour is James Damore. He's the ex-Google engineer and author of the viral internal memo entitled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber." In the memo, Damore argues that psychological gender differences explain why the tech industry is so dominated by males. James is here today to tell us what led him to write the memo in the first place, and his views on workplace diversity in the business culture of Silicon Valley.
Porter Stansberry: How do you fire a guy like that?
Buck Sexton: Has a background in social biology, a PhD[laughs]. So Google now actually fires social biologists for talking about social biology.
Porter Stansberry: No, not social biology. He was a computational biology student at Princeton. Computational biology.
Buck Sexton: I don't even know what that is. I'm not gonna lie.
Porter Stansberry: That's super-smart stuff. That's like understanding how proteins fold and all kinds of crazy stuff.
Buck Sexton: Yeah. And they fired him for making a very honest and forthright argument, which, by the way – what's amazing, Porter, is that the other side can never win the argument on that. When you actually force them to look at data on males and females and the workplace and how everything happens, they don't have facts to back up their side. All they have is: "There's disparity; disparity equals inequality; inequality equals the need for affirmative action or whatever programs and policies they want to put in place."
Porter Stansberry: You're just mansplaining again.
Buck Sexton: I better watch out. I might Portersplain.
Porter Stansberry: You know what we really need in this show? We need a woman. Like Seinfeld wasn't right until they got Elaine. We need a woman who can look at these views and give a sensible intelligent view, but from the angle of being a woman. Maybe, to women, manspreading is a really big issue.
Buck Sexton: There was a fight. It went viral. There was a manspreading fight on the New York City subway recently, by the way. A woman told a guy to stop manspreading and he attacked her. So manspreading is real.
Porter Stansberry: I do not support men ever attacking women in any capacity. Charlie Rose.
Buck Sexton: Oh. The Charlie Rose thing. Can we get into this for a second?
Porter Stansberry: Jesus.
Buck Sexton: Porter, I have known about Charlie Rose – and I've never worked with him or met him, right? So there're some people in the media business that I know very well personally that are household names. I don't know him at all. But I have known for years – I knew that there was somebody on his staff – now, when I say "knew," I was told, right? So before this stuff comes out, you can't say anything, because you don't want to be hit with a defamation suit – but this person would go over to his house and the nakedness and all this stuff. I heard about some of this. But people want to prop him up. By the way, why did this guy have his own show on CBS and these other places? It's like he's the creepy grabbing crypt keeper. It's ridiculous.
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs] I always liked his show. I always thought he was a good interviewer and thoughtful. But I did think he was very pretentious. But anyways –
Buck Sexton: Yeah.
Porter Stansberry: That's just style.
Buck Sexton: But you say "good interviewer" and "thoughtful" – I could sit there too and say, [imitating Charlie Rose's voice] "So tell me, what do you" –
Porter Stansberry: [Makes groaning sound imitating Charlie Rose]
Buck Sexton: Give me a break [laughs]. It's ridiculous. But he's in trouble. Al Franken's in trouble. A lot of people. Congressman Conyers. He is now allegedly in the hot seat – or he's in the hot seat for allegedly firing a woman who turned down his sexual advance. That is not only grotesque; it is very actionable in a legal sense. So Congress is next – I've been saying this for a while. And Al Franken – I've been saying it before that even happened. But Congress is next. You're gonna see these guys – they are grabbing ladies and doing gross, gross stuff left and right down on Capitol Hill.
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs] I just remember all the congressmen who would sleep with the pages. You know? And that was fine as long as it wasn't of the same sex. If you slept with the same sex page, now you're in trouble.
Buck Sexton: Did you read the Charlie Rose statement by the way?
Porter Stansberry: It was bizarre.
Buck Sexton: My favorite part of it, and my favorite meaning the most jaw-dropping, oh-my-God part, was when he said that he thought he was pursuing "shared feelings."
Porter Stansberry: Shared feelings, yeah.
Buck Sexton: This dude is in his 70s, and he thinks that it's a good idea to get all naked in front of a bunch of 20-something-year-olds who work for him? And he thinks that is shared feelings. I'm sorry. He knew those feelings were not shared.
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs]
Buck Sexton: I think when a few of the women vomited on him when he came out of the shower, they were aware of the fact that it was not a shared feeling.
Porter Stansberry: But what about the Bill O'Reilly stuff? Remember: that's kind of what kicked this all off. Remember Bill O'Reilly said that he was going to come back, that all the facts weren't known yet, and that there would be a big reveal that would explain everything? What happened to that?
Buck Sexton: I don't know. I just love Fox News and everybody who works there, so – that's all I got, Porter.
Porter Stansberry: Buck's not going to criticize Fox News [laughing]? I'm putting him on the spot [laughs].
Buck Sexton: No. I just deeply respect and admire Fox News, all of its executives and talent, and have nothing to add beyond that.
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs] I don't even know – I can't even tell if that's sarcasm or if that's a "No comment."
Buck Sexton: Oh, no. That's for the record.
Porter Stansberry: For the record.
Buck Sexton: Deeply admire and respect. Yeah, there you go.
Porter Stansberry: Okay. I don't know what that means. Luckily, I'm not in the media business. I can say whatever I want.
Buck Sexton: If I owned my own business, by the way, I would be lighting up media people 10 times what I can right now. Because what people don't realize is that from my side of the fence, you can think, "Oh, so-and-so is done." You can go after Charlie Rose thinking this guy –
Porter Stansberry: You can't. They come back.
Buck Sexton: But guess what? They come back. And there are Deep State media elements. This is an important concept for everybody to understand. Meaning the former executive producer or the former manager or the so-and-so. Even if their client or the person they were supporting all these years was guilty, guilty, guilty, if you are one of the loud voices condemning them, they'll get payback. They'll get you later. It's a very small business. So that's why you have to be careful with this stuff.
Porter Stansberry: I've been dying to see what would eventually happen in the newsletter world. There was this guy named James Dines. And the Dines Letter was one of the old original newsletters. He had a big following in the '70s and the '80s and he kind of flamed out in the '90s. I don't even know if he's still publishing it. But he was famous for going to conferences with all of these young models. And, again, this is when he's in his 70s. And there were the Dinettes. And yeah. It was really creepy. And, by the way, I'm not saying that he did anything inappropriate. They were clearly models. He was paying them to represent his company at these trade shows and these investment conferences. But it was a really creepy thing.
We staff our table with people from our customer service department and some of our managers. But Jim Dines staffed his displays with these gorgeous models. And back when I was single – this was long before I was married – getting a Dinette to go out to dinner with you after the show was kind of like a badge of honor. And I'm proud to tell you that – it wasn't me, but one of our other analysts here at Stansberry Research dated one of those models. He swiped left or something. Do you swipe left? Is that –?
Buck Sexton: I think you swipe right if you're into it, swipe left if you're not.
Porter Stansberry: So he got the swipe-right. He got the callback. And there was some shenanigans that occurred with a Dinette girl and one member of our staff. He will remain nameless. He was single. But I don't think that kind of stuff goes on anymore. I think it would be very frowned upon.
Buck Sexton: Yeah. Well, the dynamic has changed a lot. And, look, I've been saying it for a while, as soon as some of the revelations about this Hollywood stuff came out with Harvey Weinstein: there's kind of a formula here, Porter, and it's generally an old, gross, powerful man wants to indulge his basest impulses and thinks he can get away with it, right? Whether it's Weinstein or others. And the reality is that it exists in Hollywood; in my business, in the news business, it's probably just as bad actually. Because you have a lotta people, young women particularly, who are desperate for jobs. It's an unfair, crappy business to be in. Talent is not rewarded as much as connections and other things. And a lot of guys try to use that leverage.
Do you know what they call Charlie Rose, by the way? This was the best part of the whole – actually, there were two amazing parts of the whole article. One is [laughs]: so one of the women is getting like a massage on her shoulder – so it wasn't one of the terrible cases. There are some really bad ones that they discuss in the article. But she's getting a massage she didn't want, and a guy producer who also worked for Charlie Rose comes over and says, "Oh, so you got the crusty paw." That's what they call it [laughs].
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs].
Buck Sexton: They call him the "crusty paw," which is so gross. And then the other one is that when he invited one of these women to come back to his house, he wanted her to watch a video of him on TV while he was making his move, which – I don't know. I don't know where that impulse comes from. I know where the other impulse comes from, but the watch yourself on TV while you're making your move – that's a weird one. So he's not just a predator. He's also a weirdo. You have to put the two of them together.
Porter Stansberry: Is he married?
Buck Sexton: Good question. I don't even know. I mean, I just assume probably, and has a wife who doesn't pay attention to this stuff. But I don't know.
Porter Stansberry: Oh God.
Buck Sexton: Maybe not.
Porter Stansberry: Jeez.
Buck Sexton: Yeah. He's a creepster.
Porter Stansberry: Well, look, this dynamic is as old as time. It's not gonna go away. And I'm sure that going forward, people are just gonna have to be a lot more discreet about the way that they use their money and power. And, by the way, come on, it's not new. Young, attractive women are using the resources that they have, and old, crusty-paw men [laughing] are using the resources that they have. And as long as it's consensual, it's fine. Where we have the problem – and I know you and I agree – is when people are using their power in the workplace to exploit people. And I don't think that anyone's going to put up with that anymore.
Buck Sexton: Yeah. They're either exerting pressure professionally, or in some cases with these guys, exerting force, physical pressure, which is a crime.
Porter Stansberry: That's just crazy.
Buck Sexton: And that's been happening with some of these guys too. But, you know, Porter, I'm sure there's a lot of people who have watched Charlie Rose and everything else. Also, CBS was giving this guy a show too. His co-anchors were like: "Oh, I had no idea." Baloney, these people had no idea. If it got all the way to me – and it did, years ago – that this guy was a super-creepster gross-out weirdo, then other people who were with him all the time knew. So they are lying. They are lying to you. I just want everybody to know that.
Porter Stansberry: And I'm here thinking "Have I ever touched a female employee's shoulder, ever?" And I'm thinking, "No." And, "What would happen if I walked up behind a woman who works at our company and started rubbing her shoulders?" [laughing]. I'm sure she would turn around and think it was some kind of a gag, and be like, "What the hell are you doing?" [Laughs]
Buck Sexton: Porter, let's fast forward – to really get the scene set here, let's fast forward 30 years. You're chairman emeritus of Stansberry Research, and you have a 23-year-old who's just been hired by the company, and you're going to invite her to your home and step out of the shower – buck-naked at 70-something years old and be like, "Hey, here I am." I mean, it's crazy when you think about this guy was doing. And he was getting away with it for decades.
Porter Stansberry: I'm 45 and already the people that we're hiring out of college at 25 years old – they seem like children to me. And I'm like, "Oh, can they drive?" [Laughs] They seem so young. But the other thing is – I started my company from scratch at my kitchen table. And I've probably hired – out of 180 people that work here, I either hired them directly or I hired the people who hired them – at least half of the workforce. And what's funny is that I have a very paternal feeling about my staff. I love it when they get married and they have children. I love it when they're successful. I even love it when they go on and do something else for a competitor. As long as they're doing well, I'm very happy and proud of them. And I can't imagine feeling like I was working with people who I was in any way going to harm or exploit. And I can't even imagine working in that kind of environment. It would be so toxic.
So I'm very glad that all of this is coming out. And I'm really glad that people feel so empowered to take action against people who were oppressing them. I think that's really wonderful. And I'm also sort of secretly wondering who in the newsletter world is going to get outed. But I can't think of anyone – I told you the Jim Dines story. Like I said, I never saw Jim doing anything inappropriate with these models ever. I'm not suggesting that he did. But that's the only thing that I can think that had this kind of dynamic at all. But who knows? Maybe there's something more to come.
Buck Sexton: You know, I have a lotta peers, Porter – I'd say three quarters of my graduating college class that didn't go into grad school right away, but three quarters of those who got jobs were either in finance or consulting. And when they all came in, they were all being told – I remember this – "This is not the old days, guys. There's no entertaining clients at strip clubs and whatever." Because there was such a concern over lawsuits. So, institutionally, the big banks – the Goldmans and the Credit Suisse and all these places – they've stamped out a lot of that stuff for a long time.
So I would be surprised – and honestly, in the federal government side too. Because the pockets are so deep. People get harassed – they know they're going to get a seven-figure – in the federal government, if you get sexually harassed the way that some of these women in the media have been harassed, and in Hollywood, you're going to get a seven-figure settlement. No question. So there's a zero-tolerance policy there because everyone knows that the moment somebody steps out of line, it's a tremendous liability issue. And I just think there's a big cultural difference. I don't know what the case is at banks, because I haven't worked there. But I do know that, from my friends who are there, and people I know who are very close to me who've worked in banks for years, they say that you say the wrong thing to the secretary, you might get your walking papers.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. You have to be very careful. You know what, though? I've always found if you're just polite and genuine, you don't have trouble with people.
Buck Sexton: Yeah. Just don't be a jerk, right? I mean, it's pretty straightforward.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. It doesn't really seem that hard to get along. Although obviously there's been exceptions. Unfortunately, I've seen female employees who tried to make mountains out of molehills in order to get a check. And sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. But it's never good for your career.
Buck Sexton: Yeah. And it also comes from the top down. I mean, I knew a guy who was running a mutual fund, a big one in New York, and he was known for having a no-a-hole policy. That was like a known thing. Meaning everybody, from the top down – everyone has to treat everybody else with respect. And that was male-to-male too. So none of this macho Wall Street: "If you mess up, I'm gonna come and berate you and curse at you in front of everybody." And he would toss people. And it made it a much better place to work. I had friends who worked there.
Porter Stansberry: That's definitely the culture that we have as well. Life's too short to work with anyone who behaves that way. And we've had to show some people the door who couldn't treat their peers with respect. There was a famous bathroom incident that [laughs] we don't need to discuss.
Buck Sexton: Oh, man. I don't get to hear about the bathroom incident?
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs]
Buck Sexton: I'm going to get Country Club Guy three drinks in the hole, and I'm going to find out about the bathroom incident. That's what's going to happen.
Porter Stansberry: We had some male colleagues who had a hard time understanding etiquette surrounding waiting to use the restroom [laughs].
Buck Sexton: Wow. I don't even know where this goes.
Porter Stansberry: It was a crazy story.
Buck Sexton: I'm gonna have nightmares about this [laughs].
Porter Stansberry: That's the only thing I can recall ever in our company where people were shouting at each other. Although me and one of my most talented analysts that I ever had that worked for me, Brian Hunt – we had this fantastic personality clash where we were close friends and we respected each other, and we would just argue with each other like siblings. We would just get into it. And then afterwards I'd always be like, "Are you okay?" He's like, "Yeah, I'm fine. Are you okay?" I'm like, "Yeah, I'm fine." So sometimes you can have those relationships with certain people in the workplace. But you don't ever of course want it to get to a level where it is personal or you dread working with them.
Buck Sexton: Yeah. And it's a cultural thing. It depends on the company. You can tell and you can get a sense of it. I should also note: Vice, which is a very hipster, well-manicured-facial-hair, Brooklyn-based media outlet – they have a sexual harassment problem. No surprise. A lotta the guys who walk around being like, "Oh, my cisgender privilege, and I just can't handle it, and I'm gonna go to the Women's March" – they make this big show of it, you know? And they wear the big pink hat and everything. Yeah. They make a big show of it? They're the ones that you find out actually are telling the intern, "You better do this for me or else," right? And they're not asking for Xeroxes. So they got that at Vice. There are other media companies too where I know this is gonna happen. It's a power imbalance thing and it's a cultural thing.
Porter Stansberry: That's just nuts.
Buck Sexton: And particularly it's terrible in the media. Speaking of media, by the way, did you see that – I know we have James Damore with us today. But did you see that Apple's diversity chief – African American female – shown the door. First ever to have the job, and shown the door because she thought that maybe diversity could be more than skin color and gender.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. We're gonna talk with James Damore about this idea. It's just so strange that the Left used to be about treating people as individuals and with dignity. That's what the Civil Rights Movement was really all about: "Don't treat a black person like he's a part of an alternative culture. Treat him like he's an American. Treat him with respect. Give him his civil rights." And now that whole idea has been transformed, where now the progressive Left is about certain people having more rights than others, and that the Left gets to choose who those people are. And if you contradict that view, then you're out of the club, and in this case, you're out of the company.
Buck Sexton: I have said to people before: the only place in law where you have racial discrimination is in fact affirmative action, which is positive discrimination on the basis of race. And it is enshrined in law. That is reality.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. And so, you know, one of the things I've liked about watching the Civil Rights Movement become from about fairness and equality to about something else, to about a political cause, political power, that kind of thing – that's really what it's about now – is the O.J. Simpson trial. Right? [Laughs] If you don't believe that O.J. Simpson killed his wife, then you probably are a member of a minority group and you're probably involved in left-wing politics. And I wondered if that same crazy get-outta-jail-free-card aspect of it would be applied to Bill Cosby. And, you know, we're talking about all these sexual problems, the – what'd you call it [laughing]? The creepy hand?
Buck Sexton: The crusty paw, Porter. The crusty paw.
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs] I mean, out of all these guys, I think that Bill Cosby is by far the most heinous. I mean, he was drugging women and assaulting them while they were passed out. What is that about?
Buck Sexton: Yeah. He's accused of being a serial rapist. Straight up.
Porter Stansberry: So I wonder if there is a progressive person out there, someone in that weird new political civil rights thing, that is actually defending Bill Cosby and saying that because of his race and the prejudice that he was subjected to, that his behavior should be excused or is pardoned.
Buck Sexton: Well, the Cosby example is interesting because, taking your point here, they, the Left, won't defend Cosby because in recent years, he is known for speaking to the black community in ways that are viewed as "un-woke," I guess you could say.
Porter Stansberry: Un-woke. Didn't they used to call that something else?
Buck Sexton: I don't know. "Woke" is what you are if you're social-justice-aware.
Porter Stansberry: Didn't they accuse him of being an Uncle Tom? Isn't that what they used to call that?
Buck Sexton: I actually didn't know they called him that. But that may be the case. Because he spoke to the black community, and I know he got a lot of backlash because he said –
Porter Stansberry: About telling the kids to pick their pants up.
Buck Sexton: Yes.
Porter Stansberry: About expecting young black men to act like they're part of society and to not take on the thug life.
Buck Sexton: Yeah. Cosby was cast out because of that. So, Porter, to your point, he doesn't qualify for the leftist defense.
Porter Stansberry: I see.
Buck Sexton: I mean, this is actually incredible for some of your listeners: you will hear people on the Left say that because of Condoleezza Rice's positions, for example, because of her politics, it would be wrong to celebrate her as a female Secretary of State, an African American female Secretary of State, because she doesn't represent that group, that movement properly.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah, exactly.
Buck Sexton: So it's like she doesn't count.
Porter Stansberry: Right. That's why this isn't about civil rights; it's about politics. And just last week there was a congressman from Texas I believe who's conservative, and they wouldn't let him into the Hispanic Caucus [laughs] because he's just not quite Hispanic enough.
Buck Sexton: Yeah. It really is identity politics. It's actually not about just identity, because then they'd have some problems. Then you would have Clarence Thomas receive a lot more applause from leftist groups than he gets. He gets none obviously. They hate Clarence Thomas.
Porter Stansberry: But, listen, behind all of this – because it's not about sexism; it's not about race. It's really about politics. And what's really behind it all is the idea that without the state, without the government, you're not going to get a fair shake at a job. Without the government, without politicians, your rights aren't going to be protected; you're going to be exploited. Behind all of this stuff is this basic idea that if you're not in favor of much bigger government and the power of the state, then you're not, as you said, "woke."
And so if you tell people, "No, you're an individual and we're going to treat you as an individual" – reminds me of the guy who threw the woman off the bus in Cleveland, one of our early radio show favorite moments of all time. The woman is hitting the bus driver – hitting him – and he finally stops the bus and says, "If you going to act like a man, I'm going to treat you like a man," and he stands up and he knocks her out cold and throws her out the door of the bus [laughs]. And I thought it was great. (I don't think that men should ever assault women under any circumstance.)
But I did like it because he was exactly right: "If you're going to act like a man, if you're going to punch me in the face while I'm driving a bus, well then I'm going to treat you like a man." And I liked that because individuals should be responsible for what they do. Whether that's a 17-year-old or an 18-year-old who's stealing in China, or whether it's a woman who doesn't know how to behave on a bus. But the Left says something different, which is that "You're not responsible for who you are, and we will take care of you to make sure that you're treated well or even beyond fairly as long as you support our dominance and our power."
And you know what? We should bring in James Damone now because nobody else has written more eloquently about what this culture does inside corporate America than James.
Buck Sexton: Guest interview this week on the Stansberry Investor Hour is with James Damore. James grew up in Chicago, and at 11 years old, he was already coding adventure games on his Texas Instruments calculator. A year later, he was competing in four games of chess at the same time while blindfolded. In his teens, James became the world's highest-ranking player in the computer strategy game, Rise of Nations. After completing studies and research in computational biology at Princeton and MIT, Damore started a PhD program at Harvard. His high level of performance in coding puzzles attracted Google recruiters, and he was offered an internship and eventual employment.
On August 7th of this year, James Damore was fired from his engineering position at Google for quote "advancing harmful gender stereotypes." Two days prior, a memo he wrote titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber" was leaked internally and soon became a viral story on the internet. The purpose of the memo was to question Google's approach to workplace diversity and to argue that the tech giant's left-leaning bias does not tolerate alternative views. We recently got in touch with James and invited him to be a guest on the Stansberry Investor Hour. Please welcome to the show James Damore.
Porter Stansberry: James, Porter Stansberry here. I just want you to know I read your memo and I thought it was brilliant. I thought it was the most thoughtful and well-researched piece I had ever seen taking on the current political tyranny of gender. When you wrote it, did you think that you would start a discussion inside Google? Or did you think you would start a discussion nationally?
James Damore: Yeah, I definitely never expected it to go outside of Google. I was really just targeting the diversity programs. I wanted an internal discussion within Google.
Porter Stansberry: And can you tell us more about the diversity programs inside Google? One of the things I wasn't aware of until I read your memo was that there were specific race and gender preconditions to certain programs and advancement at Google.
James Damore: Right. So they'll give preference to certain candidates if they are a female or an underrepresented minority. And that can happen in hiring and also in promotion, and some internal employment opportunities.
Porter Stansberry: I'm sure I'm very naïve about this, and perhaps you were too, but that seems like the kind of discrimination that there are laws against. You can't not hire someone, for example, because they're female. And it seems like you should also be forbidden from using race or sex as a condition for a merit-based opportunity or compensation.
James Damore: Right. And that's what I thought at least. And I set up multiple meetings with HR and Code of Conduct to ask them, "Is this even legal?" And they would always just pass the buck to someone else. And I've been hearing stories after stories of other companies that are doing the same thing.
Porter Stansberry: There's two things about it that are very interesting to me. First of all, I probably have an unpopular view about this. I think if you own a private business, you should be able to do what you please. The Constitution gives us the right to free assembly, which means we can hang out with the people that we choose. Now, listen, if you're a company that is bidding on a government contract or you're a company that's supported through any kind of taxpayer funding or subsidy, then I think you lose the right to determine the way your company is run.
But if it's your company – for example, James, you probably don't know this, but I have a private investment research business. It's called Stansberry Research because it's my company. And if I only want to hire men or I only want to hire women, seems like that should be my prerogative. It's my company. And then society has the choice of choosing whether or not to support that. Maybe they don't buy our products because they don't like that I only hire men or I only hire women. By the way, we don't run my company that way at all [laughs]. We're in a very competitive space. We hire anyone who can get the job done better than the next guy. I don't care whether they've got purple hair or three boobs. It doesn't matter. I just need the job done.
But I'm bringing this up in a more full context because although I would support someone's constitutional right to have hiring policies and advancement policies that suit them if it's a private company – because I do believe, in a civil society, you should have the right to constitutional protections and the right to your own discretion. But I will tell you: in a competitive business, behaving that way is just ignorant.
James Damore: Right.
Porter Stansberry: And it's going to make it much more difficult for you to be successful. But don't you think the opposite is also true? In other words, if I refuse to hire a woman or I refuse to hire a minority or I refuse to give people that were different than me – I happen to be a white man – people that were different than me a promotion just because they were different, I would have a very poorly-run business and I wouldn't be successful. But isn't the opposite true? Weren't you also worried that if Google was advancing people merely because of the color of their skin or the nature of their gender instead of their engineering skills, that the company itself would be weaker?
James Damore: Right. And that's part of why I wrote this. And I also felt like a lot of these programs would actually just increase tensions between workers. Because maybe the white men will feel resentful of the others, but then also the people that do get promoted just based on being a female, for example – they don't want to feel like they're just the minority candidate or diversity hire. So it's a lose-lose for everyone. And they don't seem to be realizing this.
Porter Stansberry: I think they're completely blinded to it. And it almost seems like a lotta people in our culture have been brainwashed into thinking that anything that is progressive is inherently good, and that's not necessarily the case, as I know you have figured out and I have too. There was one part of your essay in particular I want to highlight. And forgive me for reading it back to you, because you wrote it, so you already know what it says. But our readers don't. And that is a footnote that you had. Your seventh footnote. Your seventh footnote really is what grabbed me the most out of everything that you wrote.
And it says: "Communism promised to be both morally and economically superior to capitalism, but every attempt became morally corrupt and an economic failure." And by the way, if you need more proof of this, just visit Venezuela. Which you didn't write. That's an editorial note. You continue: "As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn't going to overthrow their 'capitalist oppressors,' the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the 'white, straight, and'" – I don't know what cis-gendered is, but I'm guessing that's normal-gendered – "'patriarchy.'"
In your mind, how did you make a leap from watching the progressive culture of today to communism? How did you make that connection?
James Damore: I think there's a lot of similarities between just the far left and a lot of these equal-outcome type policies where they assume that any disparity between the genders or ethnicities must be due to discrimination, therefore they need to discriminate in order to create the equal outcome – and that's really similar to communism, where you assume that anyone that makes a profit is actually exploiting people, and so you have to equalize everything.
Porter Stansberry: Yes. I can tell you as a business person that I know for a fact that profits are unnatural [laughs] and that without constant diligent effort, expenses will multiply and revenues will dwindle. So it hasn't been my experience that people are exploited for profit. But there's another point that you raised here, and it's about intolerance. And I want to talk about that for a second. You lost your job because you wrote a memo that explored the issues surrounding how men and women work together in the workplace, and how Google was organizing its employment and advancement systems. They were just words. As far as I know, James, you never threatened anyone at Google [laughs].
James Damore: Right.
Porter Stansberry: That doesn't seem to be part of your nature. You never fired anyone because they disagreed with you. I don't know if that's true or not, but I'm assuming.
James Damore: Right.
Porter Stansberry: You just used words. You wrote something. And I wonder if that strikes you as just being fundamentally – besides being mean-spirited and intolerant, but sort of also fundamentally un-American. Didn't we enshrine the First Amendment and the right to freedom of speech? And, by the way, I want to be very clear: there is nothing in this memo that was inflammatory. This was clearly an earnest exploration of these ideas. Like, I can imagine an employee being fired because he writes a screed on the bathroom wall or something. I don't want to pretend that all speech is equal. It's not. There's civil polite speech, and then there's something that's disruptive. And I can't imagine how the people at Google thought this was genuinely disruptive. Why do you think that you were fired?
James Damore: Yeah, I think anyone that's in power wants to maintain that power and restrict any speech that dissents. And the Founding Fathers knew this, and so they created the First Amendment. But I think we've sort of forgotten why freedom of speech is so important in maintaining bigger injustice within the society. And a lot of the current speech, or just discussion around freedom of speech talks about how freedom of speech actually hurts minorities, when really freedom of speech is what empowers the marginalized. And so I think we really need to re-educate people on why freedom of speech is so important and why it's not just the First Amendment; it's so much more. And we all really have a responsibility to try to empower everyone to speak their mind and really work towards a greater truth.
Porter Stansberry: You said something quite beautiful also at the end. You said, "I'm not saying that we should restrict people to certain gender roles; I'm advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group." And it's so fascinating to me that the Left and the progressives have such a hard time understanding that someone isn't necessarily black or white or Asian, that they're an individual.
And if you have someone for example with Asian genetics who appears to be Asian, but let's say they were adopted and they grew up in a Texas redneck family and they have a Southern accent and they go hunting all the time like I do, you might meet that person on the bus or something, and if you come into that meeting with a set of expectations that're typically stereotypical, like, "Oh, an Asian guy; he's probably good at math, probably can't drive," or whatever the common stereotypes are, you're going to be completely rocked when you discover: no, this guy plays baseball; he hunts; he fishes; he has certain bad habits that are common to rural Southern Americans.
What I'm saying is: if you live according to that progressive worldview, you're going to treat people in a way that is stereotypical. Whereas if you take the conservative view that people are individuals, you're actually going to have more respect for them and give them more opportunity and judge them as the unique people that they are.
How did that happen? How did the Left go from leading the Civil Rights Movement to treating people as individuals and with dignity to becoming this sort of almost fascist scary power group that in fact wants to promote something by treating people in a racist and sexist way? When did that switch happen? And why is it so profoundly powerful, particularly on the East and the West Coast? Any ideas in your mind about how that happened?
James Damore: That's definitely an important question. I think just people's innate sense of tribalism has helped fuel this. And also just their idea that all disparities are due to some sort of injustice, in this case maybe sexism or racism. And then they just treat everyone in the group as the same. It's really hard for me to fully understand this collectivist mindset. But I think that there's multiple things at play. And I think that being fully individualistic may not work in some cases. Because these stereotypes do exist, as much as we try to fight them. And so some level of collectivism may be called for. But not to the extent that they're currently doing it.
Buck Sexton: Hey, James, it's Buck. I wanted to ask you: to what degree – and this is just trying to gauge your opinion, because I know there's no data on this per se, but to what degree do you think that the colleagues that you had at Google believe that what you wrote was so problematic – they believe that speech equals violence, all these things now that have come to be progressive orthodoxies – versus they go along with it because they're afraid, because they don't want to be a James Damore; they don't want to get fired? Do you know what I mean? How would you gauge that?
James Damore: So there were a couple surveys. One was: "Do you agree with this document?" And about half the people agreed with it. And then they had a later one of: "Do you think I should've been fired?" And only about 40 percent of people thought that I should've been fired. And there are multiple reasons why someone might think that I should've been fired. So I think it is a minority of people that actually believe this: speech is violence. But it's a very vocal minority. And that's partly been amplified by social media and just the media in general amplifying extreme voices.
Buck Sexton: And were any of your former colleagues – either before you were let go from Google or afterwards – are they willing to engage in debate with you on these questions? Because I read through your memo – I read it when it came out, and read it again before we came on air today – and it's so tightly reasoned, but also very willing to see the other side, very willing to make concessions. It's not trying to be inflammatory. I'm just amazed that anybody could think that you were doing anything other try to open a very reasonable, fact-based conversation. So were any of your colleagues willing to come and speak to you about this face-to-face? Or was this just all voting in committee behind closed doors to fire you?
James Damore: I had actually written it about a month before it went viral. And I had sent it to just a couple people that I had personal conversations with. And we actually had constructive dialogues about it. And I modified it a little bit. But once it became viral, it just became this virtue signaling and just denouncing this as sexist. Because once it's viral and it's all in public, there's no room for nuance.
Buck Sexton: Porter, it sounds to me like what we've established is that even at Google, which is a left-leaning place – all these Silicon Valley institutions are – a majority or close to it of people didn't think James should be fired. There were people who were willing to discuss the memo. But there was a very noisy, activist, ideological minority even within the Left or within progressive circles that want there to be enforcement of this – they want there to be scalps.
James Damore: Right.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. It reminds me very much of fascism, where the guy who shouts the loudest wins. And I think it's a travesty. James, what's the future hold for you now? Where are you in your efforts to defend your rights via your employment with Google, and with other opportunities that you may have?
James Damore: There's currently a lawsuit against Google about this. Wrongful termination. And so I'm looking forward to the resolution of that. And I guess just discussing this with people and really encouraging open dialogue rather than this outrage culture that we currently have.
Porter Stansberry: I like that description of it: "outrage culture." Yeah. Well, James, thank you very much for being with us here today. We wish you the best. And we'll check in with you in the future.
James Damore: All right. Yeah. Thanks.
Buck Sexton: Thanks, James.
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All right everybody. Now is where we get into the mailbag on the show. So, with that, in the mailbag for this week, we start off with Howie, who writes in: "Hey Porter and Buck, thank you for your weekly banter and wisdom and for the engaging wonderful guests on your podcast. During the Jim Rogers interview, Porter, you speculated that Illinois may be the next calamity catalyst like Iceland. As a former resident of Illinois – Florida graciously granted us asylum from the People's Socialist Republic of Illinois – I watched the credit-worthiness erode most of my adult life. It got little attention, but last spring the Chicago Public Schools attempted to roll over significant chunks of bonds and the auction went no-bid. The bondholders of record got quite a surprise when they didn't get their capital back.
"The media isn't likely to report how this is resolved. The government can raise taxes to cover additional debt expense in any state until the people leave. In 2016, over 64,000 people left Cook County, Illinois, probably not those on the government dole or underemployed; more likely those who had the resources to pull it off. Moody's Illinois BBB bond rating is a gift. The dominos are already falling. Love your work. Enjoy the Vegas conference. All the best, Howie."
What say you, Porter?
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. He's exactly right. This is one of the things that people have forgotten about the nature of federalism. The idea was that the states would have different policies and would compete for citizens. And that's one of the great things that still can take place in our country: that you can leave places that are repressive and that are poorly managed. And there's no question that it's not just going to be Illinois that has this problem. You're going to see people fleeing New Jersey. You've seen lots of people fleeing from California and going to Texas. You're going to see more and more of that. And of course here in the fine state of Maryland, we also suffer from that. You might not remember, but back in 2008 I think it was, our illustrious governor – what was his name? Anybody remember that guy?
Buck Sexton: O'Malley?
Porter Stansberry: O'Malley. Yes. O'Malley thought it'd be a great idea to pass a millionaire's tax. So the state income tax here in Maryland I think is like five percent. Listen, don't write in angrily if I get that wrong. I'm not an accountant. But something like five percent. And so O'Malley said: for anything you make above a million dollars, you're going to pay twice that amount; you're going to pay ten percent. Listen, I might have the outlines a little bit skewed. But that was basically the bottom line: you're going to pay a hell of a lot more if you're successful in Maryland.
And, no surprise, the millionaires left. I was one of them. I bought a house in Miami and I moved. And I came back once the millionaire tax was rescinded. And the fun thing was that the amount of money that the state got in income tax the following year declined [laughs]. So when you raise marginal rates, you don't make more; you make less. Especially if people think the tax is unfair; they will move.
Buck Sexton: France had an experiment like that too, the whole country, under François Hollande, the socialist president. They had a millionaire's tax, and very famously Gérard Depardieu, who is the crown jewel of France, of course – he fled – or not fled [laughs]. He wasn't like a refugee. But he left and went – I think he took Russian citizenship and moved somewhere else. So he bounced. So that happens. That happened in France.
But let's get into the next question here in the mailbag. This is from Stansberry subscriber A.L. "Dear Porter and Buck, have to admit, regardless of the opinions being discussed, the signature line 'Love us or hate us; just don't ignore us' always ends up putting me in the love camp. I like the spirit. I'd like to see you guys invite coin guru Van Simmons to the podcast and get the newest insights on rare coins. I hear plenty of people talking about cryptos, but almost nobody talks about rare coins. My mind bifurcates feeling this is either a contrarian opportunity or a market left for dead. Most millennials don't know or care anything about rare coins, like a $20.00 Saint-Gauden. I can tell, since I'm in that generation. I fear that 20-plus years from now, people who have a passion owning them will all be dead, and that this market may die forever."
So he doesn't mean crypto coins. He means coin-coins, right?
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. He's talking about Saint-Gaudens, which is a beautiful American coin. And our old office building – the fountain in the parking lot was a Saint-Gaudens sculpture as well. Lots of Saint-Gaudens all around America. Beautiful stuff.
First of all, I'm sure Van would love to come on. And Van is the godfather of the rare coin world. He knows more about it than I ever will, and probably most people. And we'd love to have him on. And I actually just bought a whole bunch of coins from Van, Saint-Gaudens and Liberties. So, sure, we can have him on. And art goes in trends, but it rarely goes down. So impressionists aren't as popular as they were 50 years ago, but you don't see the prices on Van Goghs declining. Likewise, you don't see prices of gold coins declining.
Buck Sexton: And a da Vinci just went for $450 million. That seems like a lotta cash.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. I have a feeling you should hang onto those rare coins. But if you decide you just have to get rid of them, you can call us.
Buck Sexton: [Laughs]. There you go. All right. One more from the mailbag this week. "Dear P and B" – like PB&J. "I enjoy listening to the podcast and appreciate your timely, thought-provoking analysis and opinions. My question is: do you think the US will eventually try something along the lines of the Japanese model of buying equities to prop up its economy and then go back to buying debt to prop up the economy once again when the bottom in equities begins to fall out?" That's from Keith. Thank you very much. Porter, ball is yours.
Porter Stansberry: I really don't know, of course. But I suspect that we have not yet seen the limits of desperation. One of the things that James told us in our interview was that people in power want to hold on to their power. And they want to stifle dissent. And the same thing is true in finance. The central bankers that we have and the financial system that has developed over the last 50 years has made a lotta people a lotta money. And there's a lotta power involved in that. And they're going to try everything they can think of to sustain it.
But I will tell you: you guys should Google Lacy Hunt. Lacy is an economist out of Austin, Texas. And he's done a great job in explaining and quantifying what's called the negative multiplier. And, believe me, nobody wants to hear anything about econometrics and multipliers. I know that. But it's a real simple thing. The positive multiplier is an idea that has driven Keynesian economics for decades. And the idea is that when the government spends money in a way that leads to a deficit it's okay because it has a multiplier effect in the economy, and that the economy can grow faster than the deficit will cause losses. And so this is the underlying thesis of Keynesian economics.
Well, what Lacy Hunt hypothesized was that that's mostly true until debt reaches a level that subjects the entire system to risk. And so if people believe that the system itself has become unfair or is not stable or unsustainable, then further debts and further deficit spending actually has a negative multiplier impact. And the only way to understand the fact that we've added $20 trillion in debt over the last ten years and seeing government deficits go over a trillion dollars annually but have not yet seen GDP growth go over three percent for a sustainable period – that the only way you can understand that econometrically is if Lacy Hunt is right and there is a negative multiplier.
And the reason why I said all that was because if you know that's true and you understand the risks of that negative multiplier effect, then what you think is: "Woo, we're really in danger." Because the people in power are not going to stop trying to save the ship, but the harder they try, the more water is going to come on board. And so it may in fact be the desperation of their attempts that's causing us to have so many economic problems. And that's certainly been the case in Japan for the last 20 years. And I'm afraid that's more and more likely to be the outcome that we see here.
Buck Sexton: All right. That's it for the mailbag this week. If you've got a question for us, write to [email protected]. If we use your question on the show, we will send you some Stansberry Research swag. And, oh wait, Porter, what is the slogan of the show again?
Porter Stansberry: Love us or hate us. Just don't ignore us.
Buck Sexton: And remember: if you want to get access to transcripts from the show, all the show highlights, and receive the Stansberry Hour weekly update each Thursday, just go to InvestorHour.com and enter your e-mail. That's it for this week, everybody. Porter, thank you so much, sir, fearless leader. We will see you next week.
Porter Stansberry: It was great to be here with you guys. Everyone have a great holiday, and we'll see you next week.
Buck Sexton: All right. Happy Thanksgiving everybody.
Announcer: Thank you for listening to the Stansberry Investor Hour. To access today's notes and receive notice of upcoming episodes, go to InvestorHour.com and enter your e-mail. Have a question for Porter and Buck? Send them an e-mail at [email protected]. If we use your question on air, we'll send you one of our studio mugs. This broadcast is provided for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered personalized investment advice. Trading stocks and all other financial instruments involves risk. You should not make any investment decision based solely on what you hear. Stansberry Investor Hour is produced by Stansberry Research and is copyrighted by the Stansberry Radio Network.
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