It turns out that Eich might have saved his job had he recanted, like all heretics must. But given the choice of recanting, he failed. Hence the lighting of the fires:
Throughout the interviews, it was not hard to get the sense that Eich really wanted to stick strongly by his views about gay marriage, which run counter to much of the tech industry and, increasingly, the general population in the U.S. For example, he repeatedly declined to answer when asked if he would donate to a similar initiative today.
Instead, he tried to unsuccessfully hedge those sentiments and, perhaps more importantly, did not seem to understand that he might have to pay the inevitable price for having them. Thus, something had to give — and it did.
He did not understand that in order to be a CEO of a company, you have to renounce your heresy! There is only one permissible opinion at Mozilla, and all dissidents must be purged! Yep, that’s left-liberal tolerance in a nut-shell. No, he wasn’t a victim of government censorship or intimidation. He was a victim of the free market in which people can choose to express their opinions by boycotts, free speech and the like. He still has his full First Amendment rights. But what we’re talking about is the obvious and ugly intolerance of parts of the gay movement, who have reacted to years of being subjected to social obloquy by returning the favor. Reihan notes the use of the word “integrity” about Mozilla:
Let me restate Swisher’s observation: had Brendan Eich decided to apologize — had he decided to say that he had come around on the issue, and had he added that his donation to the Proposition 8 campaign was a profound mistake that he would regret for the rest of his life, and which he will atone for by making a large donation to one of the organizations pressing the case for same-sex civil marriage — he could have spared himself all of this trouble. So while Mitchell Baker talks about protecting the integrity of Mozilla, she might spare a word or two for the integrity of Brendan Eich, or rather she and her colleagues might reflect on it.
This is a repugnantly illiberal sentiment. It is also unbelievably stupid for the gay rights movement. You want to squander the real gains we have made by argument and engagement by becoming just as intolerant of others’ views as the Christianists? You’ve just found a great way to do this. It’s a bad, self-inflicted blow. And all of us will come to regret it.
The in-tray is inundated with your dissents, which we will air in full tomorrow, since it will some time to find the strongest counterpoints. Only a small percentage of emailers are as disgusted as I am:
This really frightens me. Eich may well be wrong – very wrong, in fact – but he has a right to his opinion, and the fact that the Internet threw a hissy fit certainly doesn’t justify firing him. There’s no freedom of speech if you can’t be employed while holding your opinion. And he even made it clear that he wasn’t going to change any of Mozilla’s benefit policies or the like! This wasn’t going to affect anybody in any way. This is entirely about his right to hold his opinion.
This is particularly depressing to me because the tech industry has generally been fairly open-minded. I wouldn’t have expected this from them.
Thanks much for posting that. It makes me glad I popped 50 bucks for the subscription. For a brief time there, I thought I was the only one arguing the case against intimidation tactics. I was actually called a “Quisling” by one self-righteous ninny in another blog’s comments section for saying that the use of intimidation is a bad strategy in pursuing SSM and gay rights.
I’m sure you’ve been called much worse, as have I, but that really got to me. I’ve been fighting for SSM almost as long as you have. And now that we’ve got it, and I’m married, I find it deeply disturbing to see this sort of nonsense spewing out of the left. I used to think epistemic closure was mostly a problem for the right. I’m coming to know how deeply wrong I was.
I don’t spend my money at Chik-fil-A because I don’t like the idea of it being funneled into an anti-equality organizations. I don’t buy Barilla because their CEO explained that they don’t make their products for me, which I assume means they don’t need my money. I don’t watch Duck Dynasty because – well, I never did. But this is a horse of different color. I don’t want to be party to purges and I sure as hell don’t want to give the likes Sarah Palin the satisfaction of an “I told you so” moment. Snap out of it people! We’re winning! We don’t need to do this!