Ben Shapiro has published a post that perfectly articulates everything I want to say about the Mozilla thought-crime purge. I therefore hope that Ben will forgive me for quoting him at some length. After detailing the way in which Brendan Eich’s outing and subsequent destruction began with OKCupid, and then spilled over to Mozilla, Shapiro says:
Was OKCupid’s action legal? Sure.
Was Mozilla’s action in forcing his resignation legal? Of course.
Were both of them not only wrong, but morally disgusting?
This is not about the issue of same-sex marriage. I have personally taken the position that the government should get completely out of the business of marriage. If two men or women want to live together and get married through any private institution of their choosing, I’m fine with that; I hold the same position with regard to one man and one woman. And TruthRevolt is obviously not attempting to crack down on pro-same-sex marriage companies – Google is pro-same-sex marriage, and yet we recommend them as an alternative browser to Firefox.
This issue is far larger than the small and parochial same-sex marriage issue. It is about the chilling of political freedom by small sects of motivated political players. It is the same issue as A&E’s suspension of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson over his comments paraphrasing the Book of Corinthians. It is the issue of McCarthyistic blacklisting and voter intimidation and ultimately, the issue of utilizing power to silence dissent. In America, we typically prize freedom of speech. And while OKCupid and company may be exercising their market power in fully legal fashion, they’re certainly advocates for quashing freedom of speech.
Imagine a world in which all gay people in America were at risk of firing thanks to religious bigots mobilizing against their perceived sins. Imagine a world in which market power wasn’t just utilized to get gay people fired, but government became a tool of the anti-gay mob. Would that be wrong? Now switch the parties. That’s reality.
This is a fight for freedom, whether or not you agree with Eich’s political perspective. Privately-held political beliefs are no excuse for wheeling out the stocks and demanding public canings. To stop such activity, we will have to fight fire with fire.
We are not powerless in this fight. TruthRevolt will not stand idly by. Neither should you.
Sign our petition, and uninstall Firefox today.
By way of comparison and contrast, let me introduce you to the New York Times‘ take on the subject, which is that, because Mozilla wants to market itself far and wide, its best business tactic is to engage in blacklisting:
Mozilla is not a normal company. It is an activist organization. Mozilla’s primary mission isn’t to make money but to spread open-source code across the globe in the eventual hope ofpromoting “the development of the Internet as a public resource.”
As such, Mozilla operates according to a different calculus from most of the rest of corporate America.
Like all software companies, Mozilla competes in two markets. First, obviously, it wants people to use its products instead of its rivals’ stuff. But its second market is arguably more challenging — the tight labor pool of engineers, designers, and other tech workers who make software.
When you consider the importance of that market, Mr. Eich’s position on gay marriage wasn’t some outré personal stance unrelated to his job; it was a potentially hazardous bit of negative branding in the labor pool, one that was making life difficult for current employees and plausibly reducing Mozilla’s draw to prospective workers.
The post expands on that topic, but it boils down to this: Because Mozilla employees are activists, they cannot be expected to cope in an environment that tolerates diversity of thought.