Many fools on the liberal side of the aisle have been offering some ill-advised critiques
of Andrew Sullivan. As you will recall, Sullivan (a gay writer) voiced his outrage over the firing of Brendan Eich from Mozilla -- all because Eich, six years ago, donated $1000 to an anti-gay marriage initiative in California.
The entire argument against Sullivan comes down to three sentences from a piece of hate mail
published on his blog. Sullivan's critic wrote the following about Eich:
He’s not going to prison; he just has to find a new job. For someone with his abilities, that should not be difficult. I just imagine it will be done more quietly this time.
The exact same words -- and I mean the exact
same words -- could have been used to justify the blackballing of Dalton Trumbo and other victims of the Hollywood witch hunts of the 1950s. Trumbo didn't have to go to prison; he just had to find a new job. No prob, right?
As Sullivan says:
When people’s lives and careers are subject to litmus tests, and fired if they do not publicly renounce what may well be their sincere conviction, we have crossed a line. This is McCarthyism applied by civil actors. This is the definition of intolerance. If a socially conservative private entity fired someone because they discovered he had donated against Prop 8, how would you feel? It’s staggering to me that a minority long persecuted for holding unpopular views can now turn around and persecute others for the exact same reason.
This is why I'm so infuriated by the kind of foolishness we have heard from such liberal stalwarts as BooMan
Are we protected under the First Amendment from people (not Congress) voicing their displeasure? Are we protected from people demanding that we be fired? Are we protected against people boycotting our company?
Not under the First Amendment, we're not.
Again, the exact
same argument was used when Hollywood studio moguls capitulated to the redbaiters and fired all creatives who had donated to socialist or quasi-socialist organizations. Of course, those donations had occurred years earlier, in a different political environment -- but such considerations simply don't matter when you've got a good witch hunt going on.
Can someone like BooMan mount a pro-Mozilla argument that cannot also be used to justify the firing of Dalton Trumbo? No. The circle is unsquarable. Such an argument simply cannot be made.
didn't vote in favor of Prop 8. In fact, I got a little sick to my stomach every time I saw a "Prop 8" sign on someone's front lawn. But it is insane to treat those who favored Prop 8 as if they are war criminals or serial killers. The measure passed. It probably would not pass now -- public opinion has shifted -- but we cannot argue that the majority of Californians deserve to be kicked out of any desirable jobs they might happen to hold simply because they once favored a ban on gay marriage.
(I can imagine a gay spokesperson offering a very amusing argument along those lines: "But...I'm not saying that 52% of Californians should go to jail. They just have to find new jobs!"
In that year, 2008, neither presidential candidate favored gay marriage. The same was true in 2004 and all previous years. Should we hound from office both Barack Obama and John McCain (on that
basis, and that basis alone)?
Such is the ludicrous logic being offered by those who have lambasted Andrew Sullivan.
As for the First Amendment argument -- well, here's a thought experiment: If a black family moves into a predominantly white neighborhood, the white neighbors have a First Amendment right to stand on the sidewalk outside that home and shout racist insults. That's free speech. It's protected. But is it right
? Is it decent? Is it thinkable? Is it in any sense socially permissible?
Young bullies have a First Amendment right to make the lives of your kids miserable by taunting them as they walk home from school each day. That kind of mindless mob behavior may be legal -- but is it right
Suppose there is an effort to remove a CEO simply because he is gay. ("Hey, the guy's not going to prison; he just has to find a new job."
) Wouldn't that effort be protected by the First Amendment?
Weren't the professional red-baiters of the 1950s simply exercising their rights to free speech? Wasn't Ann Coulter within her free speech rights when she issued her infamous and odious call for liberals to be "physically intimidated"?
Indeed she was. But the law is not everything. Our society will fall apart if we justify every abominable action with the words: "Yeah, but that action was technically legal
." It used to be understood widely that civilization depends on the majority of citizens observing rules of behavior that can never be legislated.
A gay reader (well, presumably gay, and presumably now a former
reader) sent in the following hysterical response to my own post:
It's abundantly clear to me, having been a long-time reader of this blog, despite promises to leave it after some very ridiculous posts, this one included, that Joseph pretty much hates (or fatally misunderstands) anyone who is not gender-normative AND hetero-normative.
Actually, I recommend dating women with bisexual experience. They don't get all insecure and judgmental when a guy makes a lascivious remark about an actress' cleavage. Hell, they make the same remarks. It's great!
Exterminate homosexuals and all non-heterosexuals, go ahead. It's the only way you will shut the fuck up about folks you know nothing about.
Yes, you read that correctly. This hyper-emotional ninny actually thinks that a writer who voted against
Prop 8 nevertheless wants to kill all gays. If you're a narcissist, be sure to work up a good persecution complex. I'm sure it feels yummy.
"Exterminate"...? Are you fucking KIDDING me?
The plan of action.
Sure. Right. And anyone who dares to criticize Israel must be an anti-Semite who wants to kill all Jews. And anyone who voted against Barack Obama in 2008 must be a racist who wants to kill all blacks.
Folks, the time for that kind of manipulative horseshit is PAST. We just ain't gonna fall for it any more.
I think we should make Mozilla pay by dumping their flagship product. In fact, I am on record
as saying before
Eich's firing that we should consider moving on to other browsers -- and I say that as someone who was a fan of Firefox for years.
Forget the Prop 8 business for a moment. Eich, I have learned, was a desktop guy. Some members of the board were angry at his elevation because they wanted Mozilla to concentrate on mobile development.
For too long (I argued), Mozilla has devalued desktop users like me. The company refused to fix some massive glitches which have, during the past year or two, rendered Firefox nearly unusable on traditional computers. To repeat my earlier words:
For example, if you have two browser windows loaded up, the window you don't want to look at will often scoot in front of the one you do want to look at -- for no reason. Worst of all are the high-CPU flare-ups, which have become intractable and frequent. Forget multitasking, even on a reasonably powerful system.
Also, Firefox is no longer fully compatible with Flash; see here
. (I've simply gotten used to calling up another browser when playing a non-YouTube video.)
The answer -- well, one
answer -- is clear: Pale Moon
. It's basically the familiar Firefox browser with better code, allowing you to keep your favorite add-ons and cosmetic improvements.
If you like the way Firefox used to be, reach for the Moon. And if you want to teach Mozilla a lesson, make use of your First Amendment right to contact the company. Tell 'em you made the switch because you didn't like what they did to Eich.
Even if you support what happened to Eich -- after all, he didn't go to jail; he just has to find a new job!
-- consider going Pale. As they say: It just works.