On Thursday, Mozilla, creator of Mozilla Firefox, forced the resignation of CEO Brendan Eich thanks to a $1,000 personal donation he made to a ballot initiative supporting traditional marriage in 2008.
The firing followed a vicious smear campaign against Eich by dating website OKCupid, in which OKCupid blocked Mozilla users from visiting their website, instead directing them to a message declaring that Eich was one of their “enemies.” He was an “enemy” because he held precisely the same position as Barack Obama in 2008, signed a private non-company check to that effect, had never discriminated against a gay person, and was now CEO of a company that had never discriminated against gay people. He was an enemy, in other words, because the thought police didn’t like what was going on in his head, and didn’t like the political activity in which he had engaged anonymously and on his own time.
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.
Andrew Sullivan, openly gay columnist, has written precisely the same thing:
The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.
Lesbian commentator Tammy Bruce was more succinct: Mozilla, she said, “caved to the Gay Gestapo.” She added, “Gay civil rights movement began to make sure people weren’t punished for who they were. Now look what you’ve become #gaygestapo @mozilla.”
This is precisely what TruthRevolt was designed to fight. While others may sit still as the left manipulates the market to achieve its ends of shutting up Americans, we will fight back using their own tactics. We, too, can use our market power. We encourage others to do so. We do this not because we want more boycotts, but because we want mutually assured destruction. Since the inception of TruthRevolt, we have stated openly that the moment the left stops engaging in these bully tactics, we will stop responding in kind. Otherwise, we will punch back twice as hard.
It is no coincidence that those backing Mozilla’s decision are the same folks who support the government’s attempts to force businessowners to violate their religious precepts. If anyone believes that the totalitarian left has qualms about using government to achieve their desired ends – that the left will stop at boycotts -- he or she should think about what it will be like when it’s not OKCupid, but the government, wielding the club.
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.