Tuesday, April 08, 2014

As an aside...

I've seen some pretty interesting rationalizations over the past few days from people nominally on my team for why it was okay for Metcalf and Zumbo to be shown the door for offending sponsors or being out of step with their subcultural zeitgeist, but Brendan Eich's ouster was just... zomg... FIRST AMENDMENT!

Didn't we just leave this ducking party?
.

85 comments:

Robb said...

Actually, I'll chime in and risk a spat.

Had Eich qua CEO started making rules about how the company ran that actively undermined the ability for Mozilla to produce a functioning product, then yes - this would have been similar.

Zumbo and Metcalf both actively went against the 2A and all that most of us gunnies stand for. In Zumbo's case, it was ignorance, which he corrected. In Metcalf, well, let's just say he doubled down on stupid.

Now, had Zumbo & Metcalf simply came out and said they supported Obamacare & the backlash was to have them removed, your point would be valid. However, Eich's personal beliefs had *NOTHING* to do with the company, internet browsing, etc. I mean, have you SEEN the CTO he had to work with? You can't GET any gayer than that without making the seediest gay dive in San Francisco uncomfortable.

And yet, he worked with this woman day in & day out an until the IRS documents were leaked she had no idea he supported prop 8.

So, his actions qua CEO did not damage Mozilla as a brand in regards to his paltry donation to a proposition that he probably supported on a superficial level (I, too, believe marriage is man + woman. Pearl clutching may commence. I also believe the gov't should butt the fuck out of defining marriage, but I'll probably be branded a H8r nonetheless).

I see these as two, very different situations.

Anonymous said...

Almost everyone's support for any kind of personal freedom is contingent on how that freedom is used.

So, companies have every right to fire someone for statements that offend ME, but no such right for offensive statements with which I agree.

There are a rare few people who really believe in the principle of personal freedom. But 99.9% of those who claim such belief really only believe in freedom within the confines of their own tastes and preferences.

Alath
Carmel IN

pdb said...

I think there's a fair amount of daylight between a culture demanding accountability from self appointed representatives of that culture, and concern trolls counting scalps from a private donation to a completely unrelated cause to the industry the guy was working in. I think the nature and wider effects of these actions are totally different.

.45ACP+P said...

I will draw a distinction: Metcalf and Zumbo had immediate reaction from their base. Eich was outed for a political contribution 7 years ago that may not demonstrate his current position or still be a position he advocates. "Stupid now" outranks "stupid then" and certainly outranks "that is where I was, not where I am now" with some years gap in between.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

THIS.

Thank you for clearly articulating what I've been struggling to put into words for the last ~week.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Okay, four comments popped up while I was writing mine. For clarification, my "THIS" was directed at Tam's original post.

Tam said...

Robb,

"Actually, I'll chime in and risk a spat."

Why is there going to be a spat? I've said my piece. You know what I think. We disagree. I think you're wrong, but I still love you, man. :)

staghounds said...



The distinction I see is that those who Zumboed Erich constantly refer to tolerance, inclusion, and diversity as their fundamental principles and guiding concepts.

Zumboing sometimes says more about the Zumboers than the Zumboed.

Robb said...

NO THERE WILL BE A SPAT!

Dammit, we disagree on something, that means one of us needs to work on getting the other fired from their job or something, right?

I'll let you do that. I've been 'on the bench' for too long, I should probably be looking for another job anyway ;)

Robb said...

Oh, and as a side note, any time I can use the word 'qua' outside of a Scrabble game, I do it.

Tam said...

staghounds,

"The distinction I see is that those who Zumboed Erich constantly refer to tolerance, inclusion, and diversity as their fundamental principles and guiding concepts."

I'm a pretty tolerant person, and yet I still find that I hate Illinois Nazis. It's something of a paradox. ;)

Robin said...

Mozilla's business isn't performing gay marriages.

Chris Gerrib said...

Tam:

We've disagreed on other issues but on this issue I agree with you completely.

Angus McThag said...

Robb: Don't forget to make an epic post on your blog decrying Tam's position and how much she abused your right to free speech on HER comment thread.

The nerve of her, letting you speak your mind without even so much as an expletive in reply just disagreement.

I think I'm kind of with Robb, the capacity in which you make your political speech matters with regards to continued employment.

But I'm not sure...

I need to see the debate unfold.

pdb said...

When Chris G agrees with you, it's definitely time to reexamine your position.

staghounds said...

And of course part of this is that he wasn't fired, he resigned.

That's why Mozilla had to issue an "explanation". So we would all understand.

The Raving Prophet said...

I'll admit to a bit of a split. You have no guarantee that what you do privately won't come back to bite you. If customers decide your employees represent you poorly and you will lose business, then you're going to be gone.

At the same time, I am worried that we're in an era where concern trolls are using political hot button issues to enforce an ideological purity on society. Not in favor of gay marriage? You have the right to your opinion, but we'll ostracize you every chance we get, make sure you're fired, and establish laws that say you can't run your own business in accordance with your beliefs. That pretty much leaves you with a life of crime as your only option if you dare ever step out of line with what the politically correct crowd maintains.

What bothers me most about the Mozilla flap is that his donation was YEARS ago. I never once heard anybody attempt to discover if his views have evolved, it just became an ideological lynching on someone whose work had zero to do with the views he supported.

Chas Clifton said...

I'm with Robb. Writing about a gun issue in a gun magazine read by gun owners and getting blowback is different than making a private political donation in the past, said donation then being leaked and ballyhooed by one side in that other, outside controversy.

Tam said...

pdb,

"When Chris G agrees with you, it's definitely time to reexamine your position."

Yeager likes Glocks.

pdb said...

Yeager likes Glocks.

And I've been shopping around...

(Not that there's anything wrong with Glocks but I gotta fill pages and whenever I agree with Yeager I feel dirty.)

Anonymous said...

I think the two situations were identical. If you are employed by an organization or business where a certain political or social issue is important to the advertisers or employers, then you have to accept the reality that there will be blowback if you stray from the company norm. In the business world frankly stating your opinion or staking a political position has consequences. Ask the Dixie Chicks about this.

SED

Joel said...

I'm split.

I don't entirely agree with Tam that the situations are parallel. For Eich to do what Zumbo and Metcalf did, he'd have had to publicly say something horrible about common-sense restrictions on Firefox. Which he didn't.

On the other hand I was appalled at some of the reactions to Zumbo, even among close friends. Demands for public recantations of a position he clearly held no matter what he later said were 'way too old-school Soviet for me to stomach. That's not the way people ought to behave when they love freedom.

AM said...

Tam, I think the mechanisms were different here despite the similarity of consequences for free speech. Metcalf and Zumbo offended their base, basically poisoning their own brand. Eich was harrassed and eventually forced to step down with nothing to do with his brand or product.

I mean if Metcalf and Zumbo donated money to PETA I couldn't say that people wouldn't be as outraged as they were about their comments, but I doubt it. We generally don't discriminate too badly on people for donating to political causes.

I'm not saying it is right, and I'm not saying that free speech should be free from consequences. I am saying that Eich's case is particularly heinous because it came from outside his base, outside his business, and reeks of the "McCarthyism" if you could call it that.

Saying Zumbo and Metcalf words were in opposition to the 2nd Amendment culture is appropriate and understandable in those cases because it is a very specific subset or our society who cares deeply about that issue. Saying Eich is unfit to lead Mozilla because he is unfit as a human being is entirely different, and that is how it played out.

We thought that Zumbo and Metcalf were wrong, but Eich is being painted as a bigot. That is a substantial difference.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"If you are employed by an organization or business where a certain political or social issue is important to the advertisers or employers, then you have to accept the reality that there will be blowback if you stray from the company norm. In the business world frankly stating your opinion or staking a political position has consequences."

This is yet another point I've struggled to find the words for.

Additionally, while Mozilla has not been politically active on the issue in question, they do have a history and policy of supporting and recognizing gay marriage internally, by offering health coverage for same-sex spouses and otherwise treating them the same as straight married couples. Eich's donation was one that stands in active opposition to such recognition. I'm not terribly familiar with Prop 8, but if it was anything like Virginia's anti-gay-marriage amendment it might also have interfered with their existing spousal benefits and other arrangements.

As an aside: To those saying his donation was leaked, apparently that's not true. California law makes such donations a matter of public record and subject to FOIA requests.

John Balog said...

"I'm a pretty tolerant person, and yet I still find that I hate Illinois Nazis. It's something of a paradox. ;)"

So in this analogy, anyone who doesn't support gay marriage is equivalent to a neo-Nazi? Interesting.

I think that's why so many folks are upset about this. The belief that homosexuality is sinful is a pretty basic part of the religions that most people in America subscribe to. And yet the dominant cultural forces are trying to make that basic and non-controversial religious tenet into something abhorrent and worthy of ostracism. Can't blame folks for being unhappy when they're being told "Publicly professing your religion makes you no different than a Nazi and we're going to make sure you can't hold a good job."

Michael said...

1. Zumbo's comments were on the job, Eich's were off the job.

2. Zumbo's comments were directly inimical to the function and health of the business he was working for. Erich's comments are wholly unrelated to Mozilla's core function.

A better analogy would be if Eich advocated implementing functionality in Firefox to help gov't censor the internet. If he did that, he should be fired.

Tam said...

John Balog,

"So in this analogy, anyone who doesn't support gay marriage is equivalent to a neo-Nazi? Interesting"

Did I say that? No, I did not.

I thought it was those PC libruls that interpreted everything in the way that would allow maximum offense to be taken?

Kristophr said...

I don't think they really understand that this jobs-for-PC thing cuts both ways.

I wonder how loud the howling would be if employers used the local voter's reg list to quietly remove Democrats from their payrolls?

( Pushes Illinois Nazis' subcompact off an unfinished off ramp - cue Wagner soundtrack )

Motor-T said...

Zumbo and Metcalf were (are?) in the gun business and spoke out against gun rights.

Eich isn't in the gay business. He made a donation to a campaign (which BTW got a majority of the votes that election) that had nothing to do with web browsing or the software his company produces.

I would have a problem with Exxon (or pick your conservative bogeyman) firing somebody because they donated to planned parenthood.

However, I could see Exxon firing somebody that donated money to Greenpeace or Earth Liberation Front.

wolfwalker said...

Tam: lots of interesting rationalizations, but not a single convincing one. What happened to Zumbo disturbed me at the time, and for exactly the same reason.

Leatherwing said...

There's quite a bit of misinformation on both sides of the issue (especially those claiming the IRS leaked Eich's donation information). Here is a good timeline from a Mozilla employee's blog (it was posted prior to the backlash from the right after the resignation).

https://medium.com/p/7645a4bf8a2

Anonymous said...

Did Eich do anything to change HR policy at Mozilla?

Yes, Mozilla is a privately held foundation and can manage it's employees as it sees fit with in the law.

Will the company publish an approved list so employees know what is acceptable and what is not?

PETA yes, NRA no?
Green Party yes, Tea Party no?
Sierra Club yes, SCI no?
Cancer yes, MDA no?

Get out there and grease up that slope people.

Gerry

James Sullivan said...

I find both instances distasteful. And yet, all "First Amendment" positions/arguments aside, I can't get in the way of any private organization/corporation being able to terminate anyone at any time for whatever reasons they damn well please.

I mean, whose "First Amendment Rights" trump whose? Or whatever...

Isn't it just as bad to say that you must keep this person employed and pay them and associate with them, even though you find their opinions deplorable?

The Almighty State, and the First Amendment had nothing to do with this.

Marc Pisco said...

If Eich's gay colleagues had found him to be anything but supportive over the last couple decades, or if gay marriage had any connection at all to writing web browsers (like the 2A has to do with Zumbo's job), or if Eich had even publicly expressed views somebody didn't like, I could see your point. If a gun writer wants to ban guns, or a gay activist opposes gay marriage, he's not just not doing his job, he's giving the opposition a sound bite and a news hook.

But that's not the case. This is like if J. M. Browning got fired for favoring gay marriage: irrelevant and vicious and deeply counterproductive in terms of the organizations mission.

They allegedly feared he'd pick on somebody for his private life. Well, the only people at Mozilla who picked on an employee for his private life are still working there, and they just got their victim fired.

Lastly: was Saburo Sakai a hypocrite for wanting his side to win every battle? I write code, I have a job, and I support political causes progressives hate. On all those axes, I want guys like me to win. Or at least not get witch-hunted and blacklisted for stuff utterly unrelated to our professional contributions.

mikee said...

There are 10 foot poles that aren't long enough for me to use in this "arguing with swine" issue or others like it.

I'll end up dirty and the swine will enjoy themselves, and nothing more will come of it.

staghounds said...

"Not in favor of independence from England? You have the right to your opinion, but we'll ostracize you every chance we get, make sure you're fired, and establish laws that say you can't run your own business in accordance with your beliefs."

"Not in favor of racial segregation? You have the right to your opinion, but we'll ostracize you every chance we get, make sure you're fired, and establish laws that say you can't run your own business in accordance with your beliefs."

That's the way social change works, and probably always has been.

We are all in the Gay Business now.

Tam said...

What I do find interesting is that I make a post saying that I've "seen some pretty interesting rationalizations" and then the comment section immediately fills up with those very same rationalizations, as though they might be different rationalizations than the ones to which I referred in the initial post.

Maybe if I hear them again I'll change my mind?

Maybe if people repeat them in front of the in-group they'll feel more accepted?

Since I was accused of analogizing before for something that was in no way an analogy, allow me to resort to one now.

Let's say there was a company in Jackson, MS some time ago. This company was well-known for its lack of discrimination in its hiring process and corporate culture, and was recognized in the industry as someplace where the color of one's skin was no bar to advancement.

Let's say they hired me in as senior management and I wound up getting named CEO, the leader of the company... and then someone found out that some years back I'd been writing checks to the Decent Citizens' Anti-Miscegenation League.

Would I then be able to continue as an effective leader in that company?

I'm done with this particular comment thread; if y'all want to discuss protected employment for special subgroups, have at it, but I'm all about the "At-Will", and sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

AM said...

Staghounds,

What you are advocating is tyranny of the majority. Or tyranny of a tireless minority who define what "goodthink" is.

Real social change doesn't punish people for wrongthink. Real social change simply makes unpopular opinions irrelevant from a legal standpoint. Which is why Zumbo and Metcalf were pilloried (metaphorically) for their very relevant opinions. Eich's opinion is no more relevant than any other Californian's on that issue.

No, Eich was targeted solely because of his position of success. You don't see people picketing Jose's Garage and Burrito Stand because Jose is a good Catholic who believes in traditional marriage.

Eich was targeted because he was a successful white heterosexual male. Make an example, the rest will fall in line!

og said...

There is no first amendment in the workplace- never has been, never will be. Oh, you might have a boss that agrees with you 100% but if he changes his opinion or yours begins to drift, watch your back.

I don't know this Eich guy from Adam, but I know that the folks at Firefox, like Metcalf and Zumbo, acted in a way inconsistent with my values. As does the Klan, Margaret Sanger, Illinois Nazis, and most of the people who call themselves Catholic (or, well, for that matter, any) Clergy. I don't want them to die, I don't want them to lose their jobs just because I say they should, I don't want them to burn in hell, I just don't want to support them. Simple as that.

Of course the list of people who do share my values is growing ever smaller. No surprise there, really.

Tam said...

...and that bit about "repeating them in front of the in-group" was excessively snarky and un-constructive. I apologize.

Tam said...

AM,

You don't think the battalion commander's opinions and attitudes have more effect on unit cohesion than the guy in the motor pool? I'm asking sincerely.

AM said...

Tam,

On the subject of gay marriage, the guy in the motorpool. The Army as an organization requires officers to be apolitical in uniform (and punishes them when they are not). We do not mix politics and business. We implement policy dictated by civilians, and set organizational policy within those guidelines.

The enlisted guy or gal in the motorpool turning wrenches has more freedom to say what they think about social issues than the BN Commander. Article 88 of the UCMJ is effectively a gag order for commissioned officers when it comes to disagreeing with an elected politician.

Now as far as personal attitudes and opinions, yes. I've watched leaders destroy unit cohesion by creating an "in club" and an "everyone else" club by handpicking a staff of yes men who all have the same background as him. Obviously he wanted people he could trust advising and assisting him, but it ended up creating a unity of groupthink which denied creative problem solving because "if it was a good idea SOCOM would have thought of it first."

But that is an organizational issue brought about by one leader wanting everyone around him to be "elite veterans of SOCOM/Paratrooper" organizations.

So I apologize for the long winded answer, but a good leader builds unit cohesion by embracing the quirks of an organization. A not so good leader comes in, decides the organization needs to be just like some other organization, then tries to change it into something it is not. But that doesn't have to do anything with the political preferrences of the leader, just whether or not they can build a team up or not.

I was once a team leader for a Catholic, Satanist, and Atheist. Fun leadership challenge to make the team work together, and work well.

John Balog said...

Tam,

I'm sorry, you weren't analogizing opponents of gay marriage as nazis. You just liken them to vilely racist segregationists. Git it, obviously I was just trying to be offended.

As for the allegations of rationalization and hypocrisy, the situations are different. That isn't a rationalization, it is a simple overview of the facts. Someone being fired for something they do on the job is different than someone being fired simply for holding to the wrong beliefs.

John Balog said...

I'll also note the deep and abiding difference between saying "Mozilla is a bunch of censorious dicks" and "Mozilla should not legally be able to be a bunch of censorious dicks."

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Oh, and for all the people cursing Mozilla for firing Eich (or pressuring him to resign, or whatever), I would like to point out that all indications are that he not only resigned on his own initiative (because the controversy, valid or not, was hurting the company), but that Mozilla's board tried to convince him not to resign.

While I am well aware that people in high level positions like this have a tendency to involuntarily "voluntarily" resign, what I have seen in this case makes me think the public story is the true one.

Tam said...

John Balog,

"I'm sorry, you weren't analogizing opponents of gay marriage as nazis. You just liken them to vilely racist segregationists. Git it, obviously I was just trying to be offended."

I am trying to be civil, but you are making it hard.

Are you hard of reading, or something?

I was analogizing the situations, not the participants. Otherwise I'd be likening myself to Eich, which wouldn't make any sense.

You really ARE determined to be offended. If I dropped a few F-bombs at you, would it help?

Robert said...

What I find more interesting is that some of the people publicly calling for a boycott of Mozilla have no problem in continuing to use javascipt (invented by Eich) on their own websites.

John Balog said...

Posting this in a couple parts as apparently I'm over the character limit.

Tam,

I realize that the base assumption of all internet conversations is that the other person is a troll with bad motivations, but I think you may want to take another gander at what’s been written. Even reading it with as close to neutral an assumption of intention as I can, it certainly seems like you are comparing the different beliefs and not the general situation. Perhaps it’s coming across wrong simply because so many folks do make the comparison (I live in Seattle after all). But, just to clarify, I am not offended nor trying to be. Like I said, I live in Seattle so I get to hear folks who want to throw people in jail for opposing SSM (hate speech, dontcha know) on a daily basis. I like you and respect what you do on this blog. I just think you're being kind of tone deaf as to how what you say is coming across.

Here’s what was said.

Staghounds: "The distinction I see is that those who Zumboed Erich constantly refer to tolerance, inclusion, and diversity as their fundamental principles and guiding concepts."

Tam: “I'm a pretty tolerant person, and yet I still find that I hate Illinois Nazis. It's something of a paradox. ;)"

First guy points out the hypocrisy of wanting to discriminate against people who oppose SSM in the name of tolerance, you reply by saying that even though you are tolerant you still discriminate against neo-Nazis. The entire point of that statement seems to be that it’s ok to discriminate against beliefs that are abhorrent, and thus that it’s not a problem to discriminate against SSM opponents because their beliefs are morally equivalent to Illinois Nazis.

Next comes this...

John Balog said...

Tam: “Since I was accused of analogizing before for something that was in no way an analogy, allow me to resort to one now.

Let's say there was a company in Jackson, MS some time ago. This company was well-known for its lack of discrimination in its hiring process and corporate culture, and was recognized in the industry as someplace where the color of one's skin was no bar to advancement.

Let's say they hired me in as senior management and I wound up getting named CEO, the leader of the company... and then someone found out that some years back I'd been writing checks to the Decent Citizens' Anti-Miscegenation League.

Would I then be able to continue as an effective leader in that company?”

This is very specifically called out as an analogy, and it compares a CEO who used to support segregation to one who used to oppose SSM. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that you’re analogizing the two things, given that you just said you are. Even though you intended this merely as an analog of the situations, surely you understand how that comes across. It is certainly a valid analogy if someone said "The USMC has some damn sharp looking dress uniforms" to then reply "They sure do. So did the Nazis." While it's true that this is a mere statement of fact that is not directly comparing the two groups, the obvious implication is that there is some other likeness. Those are such loaded comparisons that there is inevitable bleed through regardless of a strict literalist reading of the post.

And finally, speaking in terms of reading things into the text that isn’t there, you say: “if y'all want to discuss protected employment for special subgroups, have at it, but I'm all about the "At-Will", and sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.”

I haven’t seen anyone say that Mozilla has committed a crime and should be legally punished. I’m sure someone somewhere on the internet has said it, but that’s true of pretty much every stupid thing. What I see people saying is that Eich’s beliefs are not radical and offensive (like the Nazis and segregationists), that privately held beliefs are not the same as public statements made in one’s official capacity on the job, and that Mozilla is a bunch of censorious assholes. When/if it gets to the point that people are getting fired for belonging to the wrong church (and tithing to a church that militates against SSM is no functionally different than donating to Prop 8) then EEOC and discrimination laws apply. But that’s not really relevant to our discussion so far.

Leatherwing said...

Jake, the Board was offering Eich another role (demotion). From their FAQ on the issue:
Q: Was Brendan asked to resign by the Board?

A: No. In fact, Board members tried to get Brendan to stay at Mozilla in another role

What confuses me is that the given reason for the outcry for his resignation is that Eich's donation made him sme kind of threat to the culture of Mozilla. But he was a co-founder and had been a C-level exec from pretty near the beginning, so he had a pretty good hand in crafting whatever culture they have and love.

I don't think this is a 1st Amendment issue. I do think the California law that requires donations over a $100 be public is a travesty.

Tam said...

John Balog,

"This is very specifically called out as an analogy, and it compares a CEO who used to support segregation to one who used to oppose SSM."

Again, it was AN ANALOGY OF THE SITUATION, not the participants. Are you fucking thick or something?

"What I see people saying is that Eich’s beliefs are not radical and offensive (like the Nazis and segregationists)"

Although, if you want to know the truth, gay people affected by Eich's views probably don't see much difference between the two.

Nazis and segregationists didn't think their beliefs were offensive, either. Further, the segregationists' beliefs were far from radical; they were the conservative supporters of the status quo. It was the meddling Civil Rights types who were the radicals.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

" the Board was offering Eich another role (demotion)"

It's not really clear whether that was a "we don't want you as CEO anymore, do you want this other position?" or "I think I should resign because of this controversy. Please stay with us in this other position, then." From what I've read, I'm inclined to think it was the latter.

John Balog said...

Tam,

I think it's disingenuous at best to not acknowledge the loaded nature of any Nazi comparison. It is never a neutral decision.

Especially since you go on to say:

"Although, if you want to know the truth, gay people affected by Eich's views probably don't see much difference between the two.

Nazis and segregationists didn't think their beliefs were offensive, either. Further, the segregationists' beliefs were far from radical; they were the conservative supporters of the status quo. It was the meddling Civil Rights types who were the radicals."

I can see why you wouldn't think comparing THE SITUATION of being a nazi to opposing SSM is offensive, when you apparently think the two are similar.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

Gay Cynic says it pretty well on his blog, too:

"Eich donated a $1,000 to the pro Prop 8 campaign - a campaign that in television, print media and radio strove to use every vile stereotype of LGBT folks as pedophiles, corrupters of children and neither capable nor worthy of meaningful relationships.

The proponents of Prop 8 gave us a campaign based in hatred, fear and bigotry. One that not only pushed through a constitutional amendment designed to ensure second class status for LGBT folks in California - and as a happy bonus push the cause of civil rights for LGBT folks back by decades.

And, to the best of my knowledge, he has never recanted or criticized the techniques of the Prop 8 promoters.

Dress it up in diplomacy if you want, but why yes - when somebody tries to marginalize an entire community (of which I am a member) and stimulate bigotry against said community - tolerance is no longer relevant to the discussion."


The Prop 8 supporters got pretty vicious during the campaign, and Eich has never apologized for or recanted his support of that nastiness, not even in the face of this controversy.

Oh, and it's not simply a "political opinion" like so many are claiming. He actively contributed to an attempt to return certain citizens to second-class status vis-a-vis recognition of their relationships.

Tam said...

John Balog,

"I think it's disingenuous at best to not acknowledge the loaded nature of any Nazi comparison. It is never a neutral decision. "

So you know: This is my final response on the topic. I'm hoping that by typing it while standing on my head it will get through this time.

My friend staghounds (who is not you) noted that the people who were being mean to Eich were also people who prided themselves on their tolerance.

I responded to my friend staghounds (who is not you) saying that I consider myself pretty tolerant, but "I hate Illinois Nazis".

Note that what I said to my friend staghounds (who is not you) was "I hate Illinois Nazis", which was a quote from the movie The Blues Brothers. I did not say "I hate Eich" or "I hate religious people" or "I hate opponents of Prop 8" or "I hate California Republicans".

All I was pointing out is that somebody can be tolerant and yet have limits to that tolerance. No doubt there are people who actually are rather tolerant and who still find Eich's views enormously distasteful; there's no necessary dichotomy in being intolerant of intolerance. (Lord knows you don't seem to have much good to say about Nazis and segregationists, for instance. Are you intolerant?)

If I say the word "Nazi" and the FIRST THOUGHT THAT POPS INTO YOUR MIND is "she must be talking about me!" then all I can say is that that's all on you, friend.

John Balog said...

I've never seen the Blues Brothers, so I admit I didn't catch the reference.

I live in Seattle. Comparing opponents of SSM to Nazis and segregationists is an every day reality here, so yeah when someone is talking about this subject and mentions Nazis or segregationists then that is where my mind goes. And of course it doesn't address this...

"Although, if you want to know the truth, gay people affected by Eich's views probably don't see much difference between the two.

Nazis and segregationists didn't think their beliefs were offensive, either. Further, the segregationists' beliefs were far from radical; they were the conservative supporters of the status quo. It was the meddling Civil Rights types who were the radicals.

Joel said...

Now I'm confused. Tam doesn't hate Nazis?

Geodkyt said...

Tam --

The only way there would be any rational equivalence between Metcalf, Zumbo, and what happened to Eich would have been if Eich had been CEO of some officially pro-gay-rights organization and he used his position to make official statements opposing gay rights.

Had Zumbo or Metcalf merely been donating money to causes I abhor, in their private life, I frankly couldn't care less.

Zumbo and Metcalf got hammered for using their official positions to undermine the very rights they are supposedly supporting (officially, if indirectly). Nor was it any major surprise to them -- they openly disdained and supported outlawing a particular gun, because it wasn't one they particularly wanted to buy, despite decades of experience of what "compromise" in the gun control discussion means.

Eich was hammered for having had Badthink and sending a check, in his private life, to support a cause that at the time was still supported by almost every single major politician who now calls for the opposite. he did not use Mozilla as his bully pulpet for that position. Hell, Obama publicly (and in his official capacity) opposed same sex marriage until four years ago!

wheelgun said...

The rule that "X was in the gun business, but Y was not in the gay business." I find that interesting.

How does this relate to the smack-down the Dixie Chicks got. They were NOT in the politics business. But that didn't stop people from silencing them.

And while I am bashing the country-music crowd, I could bring up Chely Wright. She had a promising singing career - as long as she stayed in the closet. When she came out, she couldn't get arrested let along booked for a gig. She was in the singing business (still is actually).

One group calls for a boycott. Another group doesn't. Some are effective. Some aren't. (Sara Lee hates gun rights. Do you buy their cold-cuts and pastries?) Welcome to the messy Real World. It just stings a little bit, when it is your point-of-view that is found to be unpopular.

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." Walt Whitman

wheelgun said...

And no that wasn't directed at you, Tam, but at some of the comments.

Yu-Ain Gonnano said...

I've seen some pretty interesting rationalizations over the past few days about how apples shouldn't be considered the same as oranges.

After all, they are both just fruit.

OldTexan said...

It is what it is. Sometimes we say and do things that have consequences beyond our control and we set things in motion. I know the discussion here is right vs. wrong about old gun guys and a tech. CEO and the bottom line is the consequences. I am old, I like old guns with mostly wood but I also like AR's, etc. I am old and I think marriage should be traditional but all our kids under 50 who are married with families don't think the gay marriage thing is a big deal and I also have gay friends in domestic relationships and I would never want to slight them in any way.

I am glad I am not a public figure and things I say to amount to much but I try to be careful with my words and actions and I don't want to pick word fights that I can never win.

For all practical purposes the gay marriage thing is over. We, conservatives, need to move on and if we can do that and accept conservative gays without judgement or recrimination then are living with reality and we might just win a few more elections.

And yes, there are conservative gays, I used to live by a real nice Republican couple in Dallas who put conservative signs in their front yard for every election and shared some with me.

Joe in PNG said...

An interesting exercise would be to flip the circumstances- a private company with an anti gay stance fires an employee that privately supports gay marriage. Does one's perspective change in this situation?

Mine doesn't- private companies should be allowed to get rid of exectutives who's opinions go against the stated official positions of that company.

Anonymous said...

Marc Pisco said...

". . . was Saburo Sakai a hypocrite . . .


Been a while since I've read "Samurai!" Saburo seems to have been a relatively decent man - he brought his young charges home when he wasn't supposed to.

His aircraft I.D. skills could have been a bit better though. :-)

BSR

Roberta X said...

Most people seem to want to believe the man got fired. he didn't. He was the grown-up here: an Internet dogpile about *him* was making trouble for *his* *employer,* and he stepped down before it got any worse. This is something neither Zumbo nor Metcalf had the grace or good sense to do.

Ignore, for a minute, what the fuss was about; it really doesn't matter anent his reaction: say you're a founder of $BIG CO, lately promoted to all-high muckety-muck and Head Geek In Charge. It comes out you supported some unpopular cause and a howling mob starts and e-mail and boycott campaign that bids fair to do significant harm to $BIG CO: Unless you are a total jerk, you're gonna fall on your sword. (Especially if you've got jillions in the bank, which he does.)

Now, maybe he's a loathsome bad man or maybe he's a hero for supporting Puppy-Stranglers International, Sodomists United, Ron Paul, RuPaul, Les Paul or The Patriarchy. Fine; you are now free to love him or hate him as your conscience dictates, without crapping all over the company he helped found.

He played the grownup. It's damned good thing, too, since nearly nobody else talking about the situation seems able to.

I gotta go scrub my screen with 10% bleach water now.

wheelgun said...

"Now, maybe he's a loathsome bad man or maybe he's a hero for supporting Puppy-Stranglers International, Sodomists United, Ron Paul, RuPaul, Les Paul or The Patriarchy"

Pure gold Roberta. There must be something special in the water in Broadripple. (Or maybe its the Brew Pub.)

AM said...

Robertax,

At one point someone told me that Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics were simply the code of conduct for Republicans.

1. I will never harm the Corporation or through inaction the Corporation to come to harm.
2. I will obey the orders of those appointed over me except where in conflict with rule #1.
3. I will never harm another Republican unless it is interfering with rule #1 or #2.

So far it seems to fit...

Marc Pisco said...

Wait, so if the dim but nice lady in the cube next to mine looks up from her stored procedures and fires off another check to the Brady Campaign (N.B. this is not hypothetical), then I'll be all like a caped crusader for Civil Rights and stuff if I go all out to make her life hell and get her fired? Really? I mean, after all, she never explicitly disavowed any of the crazy things the Bradys say about gun owners, did she? Wa-hoo, party time!

Wait, no, if I did that I'd be a frothing maniac.

Civilized people can disagree with each other. They don't go berserk and seek vengeance when somebody disagrees with their views. I think her views are unreasonable, emotional, uninformed, and retarded. But that's her perfect right. Unless she snaps and starts a campaign to get me Eiched over my guns (not her style at all), we'll get along just fine.

Yeah, yeah, you have to pay tribute to the mob. We're stuck with it, but we're allowed to pause for a moment while we write the check and reflect on how sad and preposterous it is. In fact, it's a pretty new thing for civilized people to regard the mob with the kind of sacred, deferential awe that's fashionable nowadays.

The key issue here really isn't who has the privilege of suing who for half the house.

Tam said...

"Wait, so if the dim but nice lady in the cube next to mine looks up from her stored procedures and fires off another check to the Brady Campaign (N.B. this is not hypothetical), then I'll be all like a caped crusader for Civil Rights and stuff if I go all out to make her life hell and get her fired? Really?"

Dunno. Is the lady in the next cubical the CEO? Were you recruited based on promises that the company was friendly and welcoming to your Second Amendment rigths? Because if so, that check would make me feel mighty squinky. Not so much so if she's just some yayhoo from Purchasing.

As the uncle of that great American role model tells us: "With great power comes great responsibility."

staghounds said...

"Real social change doesn't punish people for wrongthink. Real social change simply makes unpopular opinions irrelevant from a legal standpoint."

I'm sorry, but that's nonsense.

Of course it punishes for crimethink (and rewards for goodthink). That's why it's social- the change in the way the culture thinks means that the culture attaches costs to thinking the old way. Or dressing the old way, or using the old slang, or any sort of non conformity.

I would think that gun owners, in the middle of a fight over exactly this sort of normalisation/otherising, would understand that better than most.

I'm not "advocating tyranny of the majority", any more than I advocate gravity or photosynthesis or arithmetic.

"You have the right to your opinion, but we'll ostracize you every chance we get, make sure you're fired, and establish laws that say you can't run your own business in accordance with your beliefs" is the way people do a lot of our big social change.

AM said...

Staghounds,

The only part of your screed that makes sense is "change the laws so you can't run your business in accordance with your beliefs" which is yet more government interference with commerce, justified or not is beside the point. The point being that this is the tyranny of the majority.

Everything else doesn't apply on a society wide level. Look at all the support Chick Fil A received, or Hobby Lobby. The difference isn't the culture of the society, but the very vocal outcry of a minority which got an effect in the California tech culture.

I mean do you really think that the protestors in San Fancisco over the "tech buses" and "gentrification" are going to win? Nope. No matter how personal the attacks, no matter how much harassment they dish out, the underskilled and underemployed service workers will have to deal with economic reality.

Next time you get a chicken sandwich, think about the difference between the culture of Silicon Valley, Manhattan, and the rest of the nation. All politics is local, and Alinsky's "make it personal" doesn't always work. Sure hasn't for the Koch brothers.

wheelgun said...

Staghounds,

You are exactly right: "you can't run your own business in accordance with your beliefs" In the case of segregation, that is EXACTLY what we did.

Now maybe I slept through that day in High School History, but in the free market, I don't remember that segregation was mandated, only that is was allowed. Until it wasn't. (Schools were run by the .gov, and that was another matter.)

Then all those people who owned lunch counters/diners/hotels/whatever had to open their doors to blacks, even if it violated their own beliefs. Or, they could close their doors to everyone. What they couldn't do was continue as they had done, not even if they really believed it.

That didn't mean everyone held hands and sang a chorus of Kumbaya, But it did take us a step forward.

staghounds said...

Check your history, segregation was the law in most places down south in any sort of public place where it was practical, most notably restaurants and hotels in the private sector and transport in the public or quasi-public.

I didn't say this is how we do all social change, but it's how we do big social change. And it's a process.

It's taken 50 years from illegal sodomy to protected status for gays.

Here are some more national examples- child labor, drug use, driving while impaired, adult men having sex with girls under 14, restricted neighborhoods...

Alcohol went from widely used and legal, to a Federal felony, to widely used and legal in fifty years.

There is more than one culture in America. There are plenty of places in this country where admission that one owns a gun will result in legal problems, and more where the same admission will result in social ostracism.

All I'm saying is that like it or not, a high profile person can't expect to publicly oppose SSM without consequences. Nor can a big business- people who never went to a CFA, maybe never heard of it, now know the business only for its supposed anti-Gay stance. It is career death as much as saying "I'm glad there are no black people in my neighbourhood" would be.

And that standard is rapidly becoming a national one for everyone. The Zumbo lesson is quickly learned.

EgregiousCharles said...

The situations aren't even vaguely similar except the mob effect; it's like saying all shooting is the same and gunnies are just rationalizing the differences between attack and defense. Zumbo and Metcalfe were gun writers and it was their gun writing that got people upset. They were ousted because the customer base hated a part of their actual product. If Eich were a writer for a gay magazine, who normally touched only on fashion, and wrote in favor of Prop 8, he should have been hounded out by a mob just like he was or like Zumbo or Metcalfe were.

Mozilla infuriated a lot of people who oppose Prop 8, like myself, because we see Mozilla as having put their (correct) notions on equality above free speech, and a free speech tool is their product. Disagreement on what constitutes equality, for example equality of outcomes vs. equality of opportunity, is fundamental to all sorts of political disagreement. So now there's what seems to be an even bigger mob.

Eich did the right thing in stepping down; Mozilla's Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker did the wrong thing in the "we should have acted sooner" statement.

I see OKCupid as the real villain in all this, having done the equivalent of a Hoover wannabe following Eich home to see who he sleeps with and then agitating to getting him fired for "community standards". I think the negative effect on gays this had can be seen in a lot of the comments on Mozilla's input page.

Jake (formerly Riposte3) said...

"Mozilla's Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker did the wrong thing in the "we should have acted sooner" statement."

If that was what she actually said, maybe. It would certainly cast doubt on the claims that he stepped down voluntarily. But it's just the media putting words in her mouth . What was actually said was "We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started." That is certainly true - AFAIK, Mozilla was very late in making any statements or engaging in any discussion at all on the matter - but it lacks the implications the media is imputing to it.

AM said...

Staghounds,

I must have missed that portion on the history of non-violetn protest. Not a lot of public shaming and personal attacks from sit-ins and marches. Then again, maybe Dr. King was just doing it wrong by not personally going after everyone who ever voted for or donated to a Democrat.

What happened to Eich isn't advancing the cause of civil rights in any manner, there is no political goal as Prop 8 was trounced. If there is no civil rights victory to be had here, this is purely for some other reason. The civil rights battle had already been won, gays get the right to messy divorces too, yay!

You win a culture by making the unpopular opinion irrelevant to society. Eich's opinion was clearly irrelevant to his job performance, so your position that this is a civil rights matter is ridiculous. As we've seen with Chick-Fil-A that the boycott can be countered with a buycott quite handily.

Right now even members of the LGBT community are having the conversation, "Hey now, do we really want to be the people conducting messy personal attacks for old politics after we've had our victory? It only makes us look petty." and that is more important than Eich standing down.

Clayton Cramer said...

"I'm a pretty tolerant person, and yet I still find that I hate Illinois Nazis. It's something of a paradox. ;)"

Are you really comparing support for the traditional definition of marriage to Nazis? (Who, after all, were brought to power by gay-led group, the Sturmabteilung?)

Clayton Cramer said...

"Now maybe I slept through that day in High School History, but in the free market, I don't remember that segregation was mandated, only that is was allowed. Until it wasn't. (Schools were run by the .gov, and that was another matter.)"

Actually, segregation in some sectors was mandated. Read Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) which mandated railroads discriminate based on race, or the various cases involving Greyhound, required by state law to segregate customers by race in waiting rooms. It was precisely because the greed of free markets tends to subvert irrational discrimination that the government had to intervene to force it in any many market segments.

Marc Pisco said...

@Tam,

The only descriptions I've heard of Eich's interactions with gays at Mozilla was that he was actively welcoming and supportive. "Ally" is one word that came up. Unless I missed one.

Do you think the folks in the next cube feel safe? Of course they don't. If that sits well with you, I hope you're equally comfortable with gays fearing for their jobs. Wait, no, they can sue if they get kicked around for silly reasons. Because it's wrong to do that. Sometimes. So that's all right then.

I swear, libertarians (and people who generally seem to resemble them quite a bit) sometimes seem to have gotten the wrong idea when they read "Lord of the Flies".

Clayton Cramer said...

"All I'm saying is that like it or not, a high profile person can't expect to publicly oppose SSM without consequences."

It's a good thing that in 1978 this same rule wasn't used to decide whether private companies could refuse to hire homosexuals. See Gay & Lesbian Law Students v. Pacific Telephone (1978).

I used to think of the homophobes as bizarre reactionaries. Maybe they were back then. But there is a strong homofascist movement in this country now that does not tolerate difference of opinion. In the case of Prop. 8, a majority opinion.

The tide may turn some day (perhaps when Muslims pass Christians as the majority religion). And I do not think most of you are going to be happy with the results.

Tam said...

When they jump into a 60+ comment thread, Clayton, smart people read all of the 60 comments ahead of theirs before they shoot off at the keyboard. It keeps them from sounding like a window-licking paste eater.

Geodkyt said...

I love it when people compare Eich, Zumbo, or Metcalf to the Dixie Chicks.

The Dixie Chicks didn't get fired. They weren't "encouraged" to resign. Their label didn't drop them.

The people who previously paid their own money to listen to them stopped being willing to pay. They also didn't want to hear them on the local radio stations they normally listened to, but they simply said, "We don't like this free product anymore, and will get our musical enjoyment elsewhere."

They were, quite vocal about it to the organizations that make THEIR money by selling advertising time by playing music that target demographics listen to. With significant percentages of their target demographics turning their station off, their product (ad time) was suddenly less valuable.

Keep in mind -- the Dixie Chick's ratings (and thus their value to advertisers and radio stations) dropped like a stone before there was any organized opposition, simply from individuals deciding not to listen to them.

What happened to the Dixie Chicks was analogous to gay rights activists choosing not to eat at Chik-Fil-A.

I'll note that the Dixie Chicks continued to have a reasonably successful musical career afterwards -- just with a turnover of some of their fan base, from mainstream country to pop and a geographical core of the coastal regions and Canada instead of Middle America.

John Balog said...

I personally cannot wait for the diverse and tolerant America where publicly expressing a basic tenant of all three major world monotheistic religions is grounds for losing your job and becoming a social pariah. When will we be officially changing the dictionary to reflect the new definition of "tolerance" as support and celebration of the approved list of goodthink?

staghounds said...

Maybe you have to wait out there in the wilderness, but Cali leads the way.

Or hadn't you heard about Mark Steyn and the OC Register?

John B said...

dayum, after this I'm gonna pop corn before I come over to Tam's place!