A reader ties together two of the big stories from the week:
As I was reading your nightly wrap-up before heading out to work, something struck me that infuriated me (and for the first time in, like, a week, it wasn’t you, so progress!). I still disagree vehemently on your views on the Eich affair, and I think I also disagree with you on Ayaan Hirsi Ali as well. Both were casualties of social norms, and while they have the freedom to say whatever they want, that right only affords them protection from government interference in their views – not public shaming. You have essentially said as much when criticizing the whiny way some of your (and my) favorite Christian conservative writers (Dreher, Douthat) have approached the sea change of marriage equality opinion throughout the country.
We’re obviously not going to agree much on the distinction here. But I think I’ve found a place where we can find some common ground: what the hell have the organizing bodies been thinking?
I mean, take the Mozilla board, for example.
They had to practically beg Eich to take the job as CEO. If you’re a board member responsible for hiring the next public face of your company, wouldn’t you try to learn absolutely everything you could about the person you were promoting or hiring before giving him or her the job? Same goes for Brandeis and the Ali speech. Are we to honestly believe that no one in the Brandeis leadership thought that having Ayaan Hirsi Ali deliver a commencement speech would be controversial?
What pisses me off the most about this is that while Eich and Ali are roundly criticized for saying and doing things that are without a doubt intolerant, the governing bodies that are apparently so averse to any semblance of controversy pay absolutely no price whatsoever for making what apparently were, at least in their eyes, hideous mistakes. Brendan Eich resigned, but he wasn’t the one who was given the job in the first place. Ayaan Hirsi Ali was disinvited from Brandeis’s commencement, but none of the people who asked her to speak – and then withdrew the invitation – will pay any price for this. To me, that’s gutless.
Lastly, I want to say thank you. I haven’t thought you were as wrong about something as you are about the Eich affair in years. But you have forced me to think critically about my own position, and to see some of the inherent contradictions therein. By making statements (some of them unfairly directed towards some mythical morass of “liberals”) that get my blood boiling, you’ve caused me to think over my opinions and really flesh them out more broadly. That alone is absolutely worth paying for a subscription. There is no other site on the web that challenges me the way The Dish does.