Gay-Rights McCarthyism Takes Brendan Eich Scalp
Are you now or have you ever been against gay marriage? Shoot one Brendan Eich, teach 1,000:
Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.
We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.
Brendan Eich has chosen to step down from his role as CEO. He’s made this decision for Mozilla and our community.
Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.
Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.
No you don’t, you liars. You don’t want contributions from anyone who doesn’t subscribe to gay-rights orthodoxy. You don’t care how they behave, or how they treat others. All you care about is what they think — or how they once thought, even after they have long since ceased being a threat to you and your political goals. You don’t want them in your workplace. No traditional Christians, Jews, or Muslims need apply — or if they do, they had better stay deeply closeted.
Is this really the world you fought for?
Meanwhile, a Google board member of the poverty relief charity World Vision today resigned under pressure from gay rights activists. [UPDATE: That’s a badly written sentence. I meant to say that a Google director who is a board member of the poverty relief charity World Vision resigned under pressure from gay rights activists.]
This is the emerging face of gay-rights activism: hateful, intolerant, illiberal, persecutorial. They’re not going to stop at Brendan Eich. Because error has no rights, nor do people who hold to it.
Remember the Law of Merited Impossibility: What happened to Brendan Eich is not going to happen to you, and when it does, boy, will you deserve it.
UPDATE: Yeah, it’s personal for me. The same principle that made Brendan Eich unemployable at Mozilla, despite his incredible achievements in his field, and his public pledge to treat gay people fairly, makes me and many of my friends and colleagues unemployable. I do not want to live in a world in which gay people get fired for their sexuality, when their sexuality has nothing to do with their ability to do their job. But the kind of people who ousted Brendan Eich want to live in a world in which expressing the “wrong” opinion about same-sex marriage makes one unemployable, even if that opinion has nothing to do with their ability to execute their professional responsibilities. This is not going to end well.
UPDATE.2: Michelle Goldberg, writing at The Nation, slams the anti-liberal left:
Call it left-wing anti-liberalism: the idea, captured by Herbert Marcuse in his 1965 essay“Repressive Tolerance,” that social justice demands curbs on freedom of expression. “[I]t is possible to define the direction in which prevailing institutions, policies, opinions would have to be changed in order to improve the chance of a peace which is not identical with cold war and a little hot war, and a satisfaction of needs which does not feed on poverty, oppression, and exploitation,” he wrote. “Consequently, it is also possible to identify policies, opinions, movements which would promote this chance, and those which would do the opposite. Suppression of the regressive ones is a prerequisite for the strengthening of the progressive ones.”
Note here both the belief that correct opinions can be dispassionately identified, and the blithe confidence in the wisdom of those empowered to do the suppressing. This kind of thinking is only possible at certain moments: when liberalism seems to have failed but the right is not yet in charge. At such times, old-fashioned liberal values like free speech and robust, open debate seem like tainted adjuncts of an oppressive system, and it’s still possible for radicals to believe that the ideas suppressed as hateful won’t be their own.
UPDATE.3: Thank you, Andrew Sullivan, for this. Excerpt:
Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.