I keep thinking that left is just the direction water flows, and that cohesion, team-spirit, asabiya, you-name-it is what stops the water from flowing.
Until cohesion breaks down and the water starts to flow from the leaks.
The difference in the Google story is that people used to ignore the microagressions, but now they don’t. What changed, but team-spirit? They used to have enough not to rat on their colleagues; now they relish on the chance to kick scapegoats in the face. The accusation itself is immaterial.
Tactically, progressivism takes advantage of the white collar social contract, that one must be respectful of one’s coworkers. So progs say the most ridiculous things, and can’t be called on it, because hey we’re all one team here and how can you say Nancibald is on crack when xe says talking about the Super Bowl is an attack on the transgendered.
Strategically, if there are several ideologies of whom most take neutrality and courtesy seriously, and one proselytizes itself at every opportunity without shame, guess which one wins.
(This doesn’t quite answer Spandrell’s question. Maybe as Google grew in size, some crucial social bond dissolved, progressives grew less reluctant to let their inner Robespierre bloom. Perhaps it’s the general culture of educated America, sweeping Google onto a hazardous point in the rapids.)
Even though the progs seized control of the company’s internal social networks, they’re not a majority or even close to it. Approximate guess: 5% are true believers, another 10-15% are happy to score some cheap cheers by going with the dominant political flow. The rest? Keeping their heads down and staying out of trouble.
The progressives attained a dominant position by being loud and persistent. Any internal social media that advocates Universalist principles gets hundreds of upvotes. If you question, even tepidly, a point of Universalist doctrine (“weren’t we told that people accused of crimes should be accorded due process?”), expect stinging responses from dozens of progressives, all upvoting each other in solidarity.
Progressive discussion tactics: indistinguishable from bullying.