Brendan Eich Got What He Deserved
I am sure that most of you heard about how Brendan Eich had to resign as the CEO of Mozilla because of a thousand dollar donation to supporters of an anti-gay constitutional amendment aka Prop 8 in California. Some in the “mainstream” media and reactionary blogosphere see his forced resignation as a symptom of political correctness run amok. I see it very differently.
In my opinion, Brendan Eich got what he deserved.
First, let us be clear about what Proposition 8 (2008) was really about. It was about denying the right of adult persons to marry somebody of the same sex AND effectively nullifying all the gay marriages that had occurred in California since June 16, 2008. Prop 8 was about denying basic civil rights to a category of people in the 21st century based on one popular interpretation of a committee-approved compilation of a set of books allegedly written by some guys 2-3 centuries prior to that meeting and containing what some believe to be factually accurate accounts of the life and times of a reformist Rabbi who supposedly lived in 1st century Judea.
Prop 8 was about treating someone as a second- or third-class human based on one particular interpretation of an adult fairy tale.
Now some of you might say- but isn’t democracy about the opinions of the numerical majority. Well.. if we had used majority opinion to guide the creation and implementation of laws and rules, slavery would still be legal in the USA. Laws and rules in modern nation states are about keeping society functional and preventing tyranny of the majority or powerful minority. They are not supposed to stroke the egos of zealots who believe in their special connection to imaginary sky-dudes or the voices in their heads. Laws and rules are about maintaining a degree of fairness and rationality in society, or at least the illusion of their existence.
And there is one more little known, but important, fact about this particular case. People inside and outside Mozilla knew that Eich had donated money to support Prop 8 since 2012. So his resignation in 2014 was not the result of somebody leaking a closely guarded secret or a hatchet job by “gay activists”. His views on gay marriage and gays in general became relevant only after he became CEO and, therefore, the public face of Mozilla.
The combination of enhanced public visibility and additional administrative power made people take a second (and much longer) look at his personal views and convictions.
Some CONservatives say that his forced resignation is a sign of the decline of power of the 1st amendment to protect free speech. Oddly, these same people have no issues with corporations firing employees for publicly expressing their desire to form worker unions. CONservatives also believe that unlimited and secret financial contributions to political parties is an expression of free speech rather than open subversion of the democratic process. They also have no problems with the government violating the 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th amendments as long as those affected are either non-white or poor whites.
Brendan Eich, like all CONservatives, wanted to deny legal equality to a subgroup of people based on his personal religious beliefs. He just chose the wrong group and wrong time in history to get away with it and consequently got thrown under the metaphorical bus.
What do you think? Comments?