“Death by HR” – Reactions

The first few days after publication inspired a few postings on well-known sites. Dr. Helen Smith read the copy I sent her husband, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit, and had these observations:

Kinnison says that if the culture of your business “…is founded on creating excellent products or services that will win in the marketplace, hiring people who have other goals — righting past wrongs, molding fellow employees’ thought processes to conform to their own, shielding everyone from harsh realities to make them (temporarily) feel good and important — will dilute your company’s culture, and networks of employees who support each other’s willingness to call in outside legal or political forces to win internal battles will form.”

The book is excellent and gives good advice on how to help your tech company avoid SJWs whose focus is on activism, rather than on getting the best employees who can grow your company.

One commenter (“screamingmimi”) added:

I work for a tech company where just this is starting to happen – it’s the old SJW toe in the door, dontcha know. Recently, a couple of ‘women of color’ have taken it upon themselves to reprimand our management on how lacking in women and other ethnicities our company is. Nevermind that we already pride ourselves on hiring THE BEST PEOPLE FOR THE JOB, regardless of race, creed, color, etc. Of course that’s never enough. So because of that, what’s happened?

Well, we now have mandatory ‘diversity courses’ and a ‘diversity team’ because we simply weren’t diverse enough, and of course, we have to kowtow to everyone’s feelings. And as ever, being ‘diverse’ once again trumps (and kills) skill, knowledge, and experience. Sure, we’ll have a diverse employee group, but this will undoubtedly lead to us losing current clients, and not gaining new ones because we’re hiring based on diversity, and not on capability (and top skillsets — something we require — are already extremely hard to come by in our particular technology field).

I thought our company was different. I thought our company was better than that. I thought our company was above all this petty SJW crap. I was wrong. And it’s made me look at our company — and its management — in a whole new (and quickly dimming) light. While it hasn’t affected our bottom line (yet?), if it starts to accelerate, it could spell trouble for our currently great company. Sad.

An increasingly common story, I’m afraid. Management goes along until it is too late. This is one of the reasons I wrote the book — to give people the historical background to understand why seemingly well-meaning activists can ultimately wreck your enterprise. Resisting them is not racist or misogynist, it’s pro-excellence.

Turning to the Ace of Spades Sunday Morning Bookthread:

Jeb Kinnison, moron author of the “Substrate Wars” series (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3) has written a new book, not a novel, but one that is probably pretty scary. The book is Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations and Jeb tells me, “The book’s thesis is that labor regulations (notably affirmative action, but also all the rest of it) has hurt effectiveness at many workplaces, especially those in government or heavily regulated organizations (education, hospitals, banks…) The Eurodisease is coming here, and the HR departments of large companies are the commissars of the regulators, extending political directives into the workplace and losing sight of the goal of excellence and profitable products. Technology is just the latest pressure point.”

Can anything be done to fight the fungal rot of progressivism in a corporate setting? Kinnison says yes:

“If you’re a manager at a tech company, we’ll suggest some ways to protect your people from HR and its emphasis on credentials and affirmative action (AA) over the best fit for a position. Corporate leaders need to be sure their HR departments are managed to prevent infiltration by staff more interested in correct politics than winning products. And we’ll show why appeasement of diversity activists is a dangerous strategy that may make your organization a target for further extortionate demands.”

Maybe we should send a bunch of copies of this book to the NFL front office.

Vox Day picked up on Dr. Helen’s post and added:

Of course, no one who has read SJWs Always Lie will be even remotely surprised by any of this. The good news is that all of this corporate convergence is creating a whole range of new opportunities as the converged corporations begin to pursue social justice objectives rather than serving their customers. It’s not a question of whether SJWs can ruin a company they converge.

Once they’ve entered, it’s only a question of when.

I have some fundamental differences with Vox Day, but on this subject he is entirely correct. One of the commenters pointed out how the system used to work to identify and train young people who already had good attitudes and aptitude:

32. Thucydides October 17, 2016 1:14 PM

I remember reading Jerry Pournell’s Chaos Manor describing how people could be hired on by companies like Boeing and be guided and trained throughout their careers, rising from the shop floor to become aeronautical engineers.

This was ended by a lawsuit back in the 70’s (going by memory here) where the company in question had an internal promotions and training policy where employees simply had to be high school grads or have a GED and pass a working knowledge test (or something like that) to be considered for promotion. A “diverse” employee who failed the test and was passed over sued, and despite the fact that the company policy was completely objective (the job knowledge was particular for that company, and many white employees also failed the test and were passed over as well), the court ruled in favour of the “diverse” employee because racism.

Since then, companies have devolved the training to the school and university system, and HR has grown explosively to deal with the mountain of paperwork demanded by various bureaucracies, and in better companies, to try and identify the wheat from the chaff (since they are no longer allowed to do so in any normal fashion). Of course, if your enemies are doing the “sorting” in the school system and the HR department, then you’re hooped (as they used to say).

This is a big problem in capital intensive industries, since it is hard to move, but IT should be effectively able to evade, a few coders working in the back of the garage have no overhead to hold them back, and a small enough group dynamic to not need much in the way of HR or Admin. Many companies are actually devolving to that point as an “unexpected” side effect of Obamacare (hire more than 50 people and you are entrapped by the bureaucracy), and we can hope that various techniques like 3D manufacturing will allow small companies to remain nimble and productive among the dinosaurs.

The 1970s did indeed end testing for cognitive skills as job screening. Courts ruled that every test that minority candidates disproportionately failed was discriminatory under the doctrine of “adverse impact.” Testing was replaced by credentials and certifications, removing career ladders for bright young people who did poorly in academic settings — most commonly, young men.


Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

[Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, available now for Kindle and in trade paperback.]

The first review is in: by Elmer T. Jones, author of The Employment Game. 

Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”

Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness and Death by HR is an important research tool…  All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.


  1. In France the ratio of companies with 49 employees vs 50 is thousands to one. So many French labor laws get extra teeth for companies with 50 or more employees that you are more or less forced to hire about 5 more HR/finance people once you hit the 50 employee mark.

Leave a Reply