Tolerance and Hypocrisy – The Brendan Eich Story

I had planned to make my next few posts about fundamental economics.  I also did not plan on addressing current issues until I had better laid the philosophical basis for my views more thoroughly.  Last night, however, I learned that Brendan Eich was forced to resign as CEO of Mozilla, the company that develops the FireFox browser and  a leading pioneer of the Internet.  Brendan Eich was the inventor of JavaScript.  Prior to Javascript, web sites count only be displayed and linked.  Almost all other user interaction with the website involves the programming language JavaScript.  Eich therefore is one of the most important people in the development of the Internet.

Eich was forced out because of the uproar about his views on gay marriage.  Eich did not discriminate against gays at Mozilla.  Eich was not an activist speaking out against gays.  Eich’s sin was that in 2008 he made a private $1000 donation in support of California Proposition 8 against gay marriage.  In 2008, this was also the stated position of then senator Barack Obama.

I posted previously that I do not think anything is immoral unless there is a victim.  Therefore, I see nothing immoral in homosexuality and I am personally a supporter of gay rights and gay marriage.  I do understand though that good people may have opposing views and that these views are often driven not by hatred but by sincere religious conviction and/or the belief that society is better off when marriage is defined as a union of a man and a woman.

Last night I participated in a discussion of a proposed law in Missouri supporting gay rights and marriage.   Everybody present supported this new law.   Key principles supporting this law were tolerance and inclusion.  In fact, a primary message of the gay rights agenda is the importance of tolerance.

I therefore find it incredibly hypocritical that in the supposed furtherance of tolerance, people can be so intolerant of people holding opposing views.  The dating website OKCupid went as far as blocking FireFox users from their site, saying that Eich was a hatemonger.

On Slate.com Will Oremus wrote:

The notion that your political views shouldn’t affect your employment is a persuasive one. Where would we be as a democracy if Republicans were barred from jobs at Democrat-led companies, or vice versa?  But this is different. Opposing gay marriage in America today is not akin to opposing tax hikes or even the war in Afghanistan. It’s more akin to opposing interracial marriage: It bespeaks a conviction that some people do not deserve the same basic rights as others. An organization like Mozilla might tolerate that in an underling, and it might even tolerate it in a CTO. But in a CEO—the ultimate decision-maker and public face of an organization—it sends an awful message. That’s doubly so for an organization devoted to openness and freedom on the Web—not to mention one with numerous gay employees.

Think for a second: If you knew your boss rated you undeserving of the same rights as everyone else based solely on your sexual orientation, would you feel good about going to work for him every day?

 

I am not gay so I tried to think of a comparable situation that would affect me and how I would react to it.  I am Jewish.  Let’s say that I learned that my CEO six years ago gave a $1000 contribution to a group that opposes Israel.  I know that often anti-Israel opinions are often a thinly disguised form of antisemitism.   I also know that there are good people who oppose the actions of Israel who aren’t antisemitic.  I would not call for the resignation of my CEO and I would not have problems working for him.

I stated in a previous post that the way to judge if your position is moral or hypocritical is whether it would be the same if the circumstances were reversed.  Would the people who condemned Eich  agree with someone who stated this, “The CEO gave to the ACLU.  I am a religious Christian and the ACLU opposes the rights of my children to pray silently while at school so he must be fired.”  I don’t think so.

The gay rights movements has made great progress by preaching tolerance.  It should not undermine itself by practicing intolerance.

Previous Relevant Posts on this blog:

https://ralphkoppel.com/2014/03/14/effectiveness-and-morality/

https://ralphkoppel.com/2014/03/20/a-litmus-test-for-your-principles/

References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brendan_Eich

http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/04/03/brendan_eich_why_mozilla_s_ceo_had_to_resign_over_gay_marriage_views.html

 

2 thoughts on “Tolerance and Hypocrisy – The Brendan Eich Story

  1. Hi Ralph, it appears you live in a very privileged and disconnected from reality bubble. Because when you say that homosexuality causes no victims you are actually denying all the harm and violence that LGBTs have done in society forever, but particularly at present. Problems include: destruction of marriage, trafficking, prostitution, promiscuity, sexual harassment, abuse,
    molestation, murder, assault, battering, bullying, fake hate crimes, porn, degradation of human sexuality, attack on social conservatives in all spheres of life (professional, political, personal, business), trampling on fundamental rights (speech, religion, conscience), character assassination, persecution, discrimination, spreading of STDs, S&M, violation of children’s rights to heterosexual parents, and censorship of research and debate.

    There are countless victims – you obviously either purposefully or because of your privileged and misinformed environment are not aware of them. That is a shame because you end up persecuting good people, while empowering countless LGBTs to constantly do harm and violence in society.

    • Yes there are homosexuals that have done horrible things. There are also heterosexual rapists and child molestors. The actions of a few do not condemn the majority.

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