Can you hear the piteous weeping? The wronged tears? Those poor bigots are under attack. Those who are prejudiced against gay people are having their constitutional right to say so trampled. It’s a terrible injustice: you can’t believe that gay people are lesser without some pesky homosexual objecting and “bullying” you into believing that equality under the law is a venerable aim…
While there is nothing to celebrate in somebody losing their job, we should be celebrating that we have reached a time where homophobia is being questioned and challenged. Instead—please laugh or cry at this point—people bitch about their right to be homophobic being constrained…
This conflation of the bully-turned-to-victim neatly clouds the admirable baseline mainstream America is edging towards: the “shame” axis around homosexuality has positively shifted from those who are gay to those who are anti-gay.
App developers Hampton and Michael Catlin, a gay couple, distanced themselves from Mozilla after Eich’s hiring, a move that helped bring Eich’s support of Prop. 8 to light.
“This really was a personal statement of boycott, and it seems to be getting carried as if we are organizing a boycott or that we think Mozilla is evil or that we think Brendan Eich is the devil. None of those things are true,” Hampton Catlin tells Beta News, which broke the story. “We just were hurt as developers who were committing our time and energy to their platform, that they would go pick someone with an unresolved anti-same-sex-marriage controversy. If he had apologized years ago, this would be a non-issue.”
The view that Eich was just expressing his opposition to marriage equality, a common stance at the time, strikes me as naive. Because Prop 8 is now dead, and because its passage was largely overshadowed by President Barack Obama’s election victory, it’s easy to forget the vicious tactics of the pro-Prop 8 campaign. Or, I should say, it’s easy to forget them if you’re not gay—because almost every gay person I know remembers the passage of Prop 8 as the most traumatic and degrading anti-gay event in recent American history…
This message of belittlement cut across pretty much every pro-Prop 8 ad—ads that ran incessantly in the state for months. The campaign’s strategy was to debase gay families as deviant and unhealthy while insinuating that gay people are engaged in a full-scale campaign to convert children to their cause. This strategy worked. And it worked because wealthy donors like Brendan Eich flooded the campaign with the money it needed to run ads like the ones above. Eich wasn’t just a casual opponent of marriage equality. He was a major contributor to the most vitriolic anti-gay campaign in American history, one that set the standard of homophobic propaganda that continues to this day. When we talk about Eich’s anti-gay stance, we aren’t just talking about abstract beliefs. We’re talking about concrete actions that harmed thousands of gay families and informed innumerable gay Americans that they were sinful, corrupted predators.
Oddly, however, I don’t see defenders of Eich also criticizing the Boy Scouts for excluding gay men because the organization disagrees with their conduct and beliefs. Nor do I even see conservatives taking Mozilla’s rights as a private corporation seriously—a predictable hypocrisy made especially obnoxious in light of last week’s widespread right-wing praise of the corporate plaintiff’s claim in Hobby Lobby. This is the conservative double standard in the realm of corporate rights: When the corporation supports a right-wing pet project—say, denying women reproductive care—conservatives pen encomia to the First Amendment’s corporate protections. But when a corporation dares to support a progressive cause like gay rights, conservatives cry foul at its alleged censorship of individual views.
It’s really no surprise, of course, that the right wing views Mozilla’s objections to Eich’s anti-gay activities as censorship and Hobby Lobby’s objection to birth control as religious liberty. We’ve known all along that conservatives’ quiver of defenses for corporate rights have only been employed to further its own agenda. The right wing’s backlash over Mozilla’s move only further proves that opportunism, rather than principled dissent, drives its frantic charge for full corporate personhood. Keep that in mind as the conservative outrage machine takes aim at Mozilla for daring to exclude a man whose values and conduct it finds unacceptable.
I get it. Brendan Eich is a bad man. So, don’t play golf with him, and don’t have a beer with him. You can even leave him off the invitation list for your birthday party. But, don’t hold all of Mozilla, and all of its employees, and the entire ecosystem of third-party developers who rely on the Firefox Web browser accountable just because you disagree with the views of one person who works at the company—even if he is the CEO.
Better yet—do invite Brendan Eich for a round of golf and a beer. Sit down and get to know the man and try to understand his position and why he holds the beliefs he does.
Becker mentioned what she called a rebranding of the [gay-marriage] movement over the last five years, with two important components. First, gay marriage was framed in terms of family values. Second, advocates didn’t shame opponents and instead made sympathetic public acknowledgment of the journey that many Americans needed to complete in order to be comfortable with marriage equality.
There was no such acknowledgment from Mozilla employees and others who took to Twitter to condemn Eich and call for his head. Writing about that wrath in his blog, The Dish, Andrew Sullivan said that it disgusted him, “as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society.” A leading supporter of gay marriage, Sullivan warned other supporters not to practice “a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else.”
I can’t get quite as worked up as he did. For one thing, prominent gay rights groups weren’t part of the Mozilla fray. For another, Mozilla isn’t the first company to make leadership decisions (or reconsiderations) with an eye toward the boss’s cultural mind-meld with the people below him or her. And if you believe that to deny a class of people the right to marry is to deem them less worthy, it’s indeed difficult to chalk up opposition to marriage equality as just another difference of opinion.
But it’s vital to remember how very recently so many of equality’s promoters, like Obama and Clinton, have come around and how relatively new this conversation remains. It’s crucial not to lose sight of how well the movement has been served by the less judgmental posture that Becker pointed out.
Some of the very same people who have jumped up and down with delight as Brandon Eich lost his job will doubtless be backing Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 if she runs. The “Ready for Hillary” ranks are crowded with gay men – and good for them. But it’s worth considering some consistency here. If it is unconscionable to support a company whose CEO once donated to the cause against marriage equality, why is it not unconscionable to support a candidate who opposed marriage equality as recently as 2008, and who was an integral part of an administration that embraced the Defense Of Marriage Act, signed into law by Bill Clinton? How do you weigh the relative impact of a president strongly backing DOMA – even running ads touting his support for it in the South – and an executive who spent $1000 for an anti-marriage equality Proposition?
Hillary Clinton only declared her support for marriage equality in 2013. Before that, she opposed it. In 2000, she said that marriage “has a historic, religious and moral context that goes back to the beginning of time. And I think a marriage has always been between a man and a woman.” Was she then a bigot? On what conceivable grounds can the Democratic party support a candidate who until only a year ago was, according to the latest orthodoxy, the equivalent of a segregationist, and whose administration enacted more anti-gay laws and measures than any in American history?
There is a difference, of course, between Brendan Eich and Hillary Clinton. Eich has truly spoken of the pain he once caused and owned up to it[.]
Yes, the culture war has been raging for a long time, except people didn’t notice it because it seemed to take place on the edges or in fringe settings. All the Eich affair did was make it obvious.
Ironically many people, even in the homosexual community, don’t want this culture war and are dismayed by the Eich witchunt. They don’t want it not only because … but I’ll get to that in a moment … especially since the Eich affair is not about gay marriage, except incidentally, any more than the Summers affair was about racism or feminism; or that Steyn’s suit has anything to do with warmism or denialism or the gunowners map was about school safety; or still less that the 2013 IRS persecution of Tea Party groups was to do with Citizen’s United.
The removal of Eich is about fascism. It’s about one group of people forcing everyone else to bow to their hat on a pole; it s about book burning, compelling obeisance to, as Jame Surowiecki put it, “a universal ideology” in a manner so bald that even those who might gain politically in the short term from it are horrified by its crudity.
Welcome to the Liberal Gulag.
That term may be perverse, but it is not an exaggeration. Mr. Weinstein specifically called for political activists, ranging from commentators to think-tank researchers, to be locked in cages as punishment for their political beliefs. “Those denialists should face jail,” he wrote. “You still can’t” — banality alert! — “yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. You shouldn’t be able to yell ‘balderdash’ at 10,883 scientific journal articles a year.” “Balderdash” — a felony. At the risk of being repetitious, let’s dwell on that for a minute: The Left is calling on people to be prosecuted for speaking their minds regarding their beliefs on an important public-policy question that is, as a political matter, the subject of hot dispute. That is the stuff of Soviet repression…
“They think that to be a Fascist you must have some sort of shirt uniform, must drill and goose-step, must have a demonstrative salute, must hate the Jews, and believe in dictatorship,” John T. Flynn wrote many years ago. Mr. Flynn was an America First founder who had a high-profile falling out with the editors of this magazine back in 1955, but he offered some fruitful insights: “Fascism is not the result of dictatorship. . . . Dictatorship is the product of Fascism.” Mr. Flynn probably would not be surprised to see the Left coming around — again — on hating Jews, even if Occupy rituals have replaced the traditional pseudo-Roman salute. Their shirts come in many colors, but their true colors never change: an ugly, ignorant, power-hungry mob utterly committed to crushing dissent by any means it can. Mr. Weinstein and his ilk want to put us in camps, and crass totalitarians of similar stripe may be found everywhere from the executive suites at Mozilla to the halls of power at the IRS. It’s a shameful spectacle, and an unworthy one.