Does Mozilla Dumping Its CEO Over Prop. 8/Anti-Gay-Marriage Stance = McCarthyism?

So last week, Mozilla, the mission-based makers of lagging web browser Firefox, fired its newly appointed CEO Brendan Eich after the dating site OK Cupid publicized Eich's donation to Prop. 8, a California ballot initiative that barred same-sex marriage in the Golden State.

As I wrote here and for Time:

Now that we’re well past a subsistence economy, we live in a world of largely symbolic exchange, where we don’t simply choose something because we’re hungry or naked but because we want to make a statement about what sort of person we are, what sort of taste we possess, and what sort of values we share.

That's especially true of an organization such as Mozilla, which has feet both in the nonprofit activism and for-profit business worlds.

Conservatives - including those who support gay marriage, such as Hot Air's Allahpundit - have been howling that Eich's ouster is an ominous new form of blacklisting that seeks to discredit and silence all opposition to the "hoMOsexual agenda" (as it's often pronounced by detractors). 

Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight has generated a table of Prop. 8 donations by top Silicon Valley firms from a Los Angeles Times database:

courtest FiveThirtyEightcourtest FiveThirtyEight

Opponents of Prop. 8 (that is, supporters of gay marriage) were far more common among tech firms, but the opponents ponied up much more dough.

Allahpundit writes that "what the Eich case is [really] about" is stopping or halting the progress of high-profile business people who oppose marriage equality:

His donation’s been a matter of public record for five years but only after he became the face of Mozilla by being named CEO was it deemed an unforgivable trespass. Prop 8 fans can continue to work in tech as long as they aren’t given positions of significant influence. That’s when the hammer comes down....

When do we get a list of Silicon Valley donors to Obama’s campaign circa 2008, when he was still formally against traditional marriage? True, he didn’t support Prop 8 or other attempts to legally ban SSM (a strong signal at the time that his stated view was a lie), but the whole point of the equal protection argument against traditional marriage laws is that you can’t reserve “marriage” for straights without implicitly slapping a second-class-citizen stigma on gays. Obama was willing to do that, at least rhetorically. Let’s have the names.

Regardless of the specifics of this case, I think the Eich story showcases how technology, symbolically-based economic activity, and access to information has really changed things (and generally for the better). At the same time, I share the ambivalence of many between blurring of lines between private and public activities. All businesses have things that I find objectionable from time to time. Many specific individual artists and creators have been accused of or acknowledged absolutely horrible and criminal behavior (such as Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and Arthur Koestler). It is no simple calculation for individuals to decide when learning about such things means boycotting a given company or person. Surely, the fact that Firefox has not really been a dominant browser for years makes it easier for many pro-gay-marriage people simply to say they will continue NOT using Firefox in the wake of the Eich affair. 

Here are some questions for Reason.com readers:

1. Do you think a business's personnel decisions or corporate actions should ever be a factor in deciding whether to patronize a firm? Don't we rally around banks such as BB&T when its leadership says it won't underwrite deals based on eminent domain abuse? Or Overstock.com when it fights against Internet sales tax plans?

2. Is the problem with Mozilla that it caved so quickly to OK Cupid's campaign? Many stories about Eich suggest that his Prop. 8 donation/stance was well-known within the organization and the subject of controversy. Having made the decision to promote Eich - a giant in tech innovation - is the real crime here that Mozilla didn't push back against a backlash?

3. How important is it that we're talking about the private sector rather than the public or political sector? We generally talk about how different rules can and should apply to private-sector actors than public-sector ones (quick example: Private universities are not bound by the same First Amendment legal principles as public ones are). Many critics of Eich's resignation talk about how Obama himself was against gay marriage back in 2008 and that many sitting Democratic senators still are. Is that in any way relevant?

4. Does the particular issue matter? If you found out, say, that a particular company or CEO was a massive supporter of, say, Venezuela's current strongman, or of any given cause about which you feel strongly? Is it worth mentioning that conservatives call for boycotts of Girl Scout cookies due to alleged ties of the parent org's ties to abortion?

Read Reason 24/7's deep dive on the issue.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    A joke that circulates around the office whenever you tell someone they owe tax with their filing (and they get pissed) is to ask them "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Democratic Party of the United States?"

    Unfortunately I think the joke is only told when they know the taxpayer is conservative.

  • Irish||

    I think there's a difference between saying I don't want to patronize a business with a particular belief and actively attacking an individual for that belief.

    By the logic of the left, no business should ever be allowed to hire Eich. After all, if having Eich on staff was enough to boycott Mozilla, shouldn't any business that gives him a job be subject to a boycott?

    This is also only possible because of campaign disclosure requirements. This therefore is a libertarian issue because Eich was targeted as a direct result of current campaign finance law. It's fairly obvious that the chance of being targeted by thugs due to who you donate money to can have a freezing effect on speech, and as such this provides great evidence of why disclosure requirements should be eliminated.

  • Sevo||

    "It's fairly obvious that the chance of being targeted by thugs due to who you donate money to can have a freezing effect on speech, and as such this provides great evidence of why disclosure requirements should be eliminated."

    Put another way, forced speech is as repugnant as forbidden speech.

  • SusanM||

    "logic of the left"? Surely you jest.

    I've asked alot of LGBT leftie activists if they're now going to try to fire all 7 million Prop 8 supporters (or just kick CA out of the US). I never get a response.

  • AlmightyJB||

    "This is also only possible because of campaign disclosure requirements"

    Which brings up another question. Does the recent campaign finance rulings which overturned rules based on free speech make it more likely that we could see these disclosure requirements overturned on the same grounds? Or will there be more of a push for transparency regarding from whom a candidate receives funds since the donation limits are less restrictive?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...opposition to the "hoMOsexual agenda" (as it's often pronounced by detractors).

    Do anyone but detractors put those two words together?

    Obviously, people should be free to advocate for whatever they want or don't want, but they shouldn't necessarily be free from the consequences meted out by their peers. If you're in a high profile position in the business world (or aspire to be), you probably want to weigh carefully into what controversies you wade.

  • Irish||

    Except he didn't wade into any controversy. He gave his own money to a political cause, and it is only through the government's forced disclosure laws that we even know he did so.

  • Square||

    He did wade into the controversy - he donated to a campaign opposing the measure, thereby exercising his free speech rights via campaign finance. People got mad at his public advocacy of a position that they strongly disagreed with. They were not attacking him for unexpressed privately held views.

    Since these sorts of donations are protected as public speech, they need to be regarded as public speech. I don't agree that the privacy of the money donated to publically support a cause or candidate is to be protected in the same way as the silent vote itself. If you're going to put yourself out there publically, brace for the public backlash.

  • Irish||

    He didn't publicly advocate any position. He privately gave money to an organization.

    The only reason it was public is because the government made it public. I'm sorry, I thought libertarians were opposed to government coercion. Apparently when the government forces someone to make their private donations public, that's okay though. Then, when people use those forced public disclosures to ruin someone's life, we should just claim that conservatives are turning themselves into false victims.

  • Hydra||

    He didn't publicly advocate any position. He privately gave money to an organization.

    Either "money is speech" or it isn't. Pick one or the other.

  • ||

    It's not necessary to pick a side in a false dichotomy. It's fully possible for private donations to political groups or campaigns to be speech and also for them not to be public. Using yours and Square's peculiar brand of illogic, my entire purchasing history at Amazon should be a matter of public record.

  • Jerryskids||

    How much money has this guy donated to the American Red Cross? That's public information that has to be disclosed, right? I don't think it would be right if political speech were somehow treated differently than non-political speech.

    (Despite what some Supreme Court justice may say about the First Amendment really not being about an individuals right to speak his mind but really about furthering the States interest in promoting democracy. Anybody who thinks the laws and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are there to serve the interests of the State should be treated as an announced imminent threat to your liberty and security. Because if the over-arching consideration is 'the interests of the State' than all your legal rights are merely privileges subject to revocation in the name of the national interest.)

  • rogerfgay||

    The Mozilla Firefox Boycott – More to the Story

    http://www.libertarian-examine.....re-to.html

  • SlV||

    You have a sp-AM agenda, mr fgay.

  • R C Dean||

    As ever, the root of this particular kerfuffle is, of course, a government mandate that led to his donation being publicized. Let's not lose track of that, por favor.

    Do you think a business's personnel decisions or corporate actions should ever be a factor in deciding whether to patronize a firm?

    Of course. Where those decisions or actions impact on the actual good or service they are trying to sell me, why not?

    I find it fascinating that you failed to distinguish these kinds of business decisions, and business decisions that are politically driven. Again, we see the insidious power of the Total State mindset ("Nothing outside the State").

    My rule is: If you politicize your company (by, say, firing somebody solely because of their political views), then your company is now a political football, and I will feel free to kick it as hard and often as I want.

    How important is it that we're talking about the private sector rather than the public or political sector?

    If you drag your company into the political sector by doing things for purely political reasons, then I think you are no longer a purely private sector firm.

  • SusanM||

    So, if a company funds a libertarian think tank and magazine, they're not purely private anymore? Does lobbying count?

    Maybe I'm missing your point but from what you're saying the line between private and political can get pretty blurry.

  • R C Dean||

    So, if a company funds a libertarian think tank and magazine, they're not purely private anymore?

    That's right, they are not. That company has made a decision to use corporate resources for political purposes.

    Now, if individuals employed by the company, on its board, whatever, give their own personal money, then I would say the company has not politicized itself.

    Does lobbying count?

    Defensive lobbying? I would say no, no more than a defendant in a lawsuit should be blamed for going to court. Rent-seeking? You bet your ass.

    It gets a little blurry, sure.

  • Hydra||

    If you drag your company into the political sector by doing things for purely political reasons, then I think you are no longer a purely private sector firm.

    Does this apply to people too? If a person does something for political reasons, does that make them a public figure (with the relaxation of restrictions on libel against them, for example).

  • AlmightyJB||

    Couple thoughts. First is that I have long believed that one of the reasons we can't find anyone decent to run for public office is that no one in their right mind would put themselves or their family through the crucible of public scrutiny the media puts people through. Obviously this is only getting magnified with social media. So it appears that we may be taking this sort of thing to a new level where we are adding business owners and CEOs and who ever is next into the mix. Seems like certain (not all) entertainers, sports figures, etc. do get somewhat of a pass at least for now. I don't really think there is any stopping this but not sure how far and to what end this sort of thing will be taken.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Second, interesting that not too long ago a public figure or polititian may get othered for being gay, or being an atheist, being a communist or more to the point the attack would come more from a "religous right" and this seems to be getting flipped on it's head. Or maybe that just is a reflection of how much media attention certain "transgressions" receive. Also, turning Christians into Martyrs seems like flogging a masocist.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    not too long ago a public figure or polititian may get othered for being gay, or being an atheist, being a communist or more to the point the attack would come more from a "religous right" and this seems to be getting flipped on it's head.


    Eh, I dunno how true that is. There have been mass boycotts from a variety of products from the left for some time; the Old Left was very good at systemizing such things and organizing e.g. labor interests to boycott this or that business. Hell, a much more severe backlist of Nazis and Nazi sympathizers preceded the 'Red Scare' of the 50s, but who gives a shit since Commies were merely pure-as-the-driven-snow misguided ideologues who must always be treated with kid gloves, regardless of the consequences of their ideology.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, I'm not really talking about anything formal or official. I'm talking more about changes in public opinions and perceptions. I certainly think there was a time nationally and certainly still in some localities where being outed as gay or atheist is pretty much the end of your political campaign. That's more of what I was trying to say although probably not that well.

  • SlV||

    the attack would come more from a "religous right"

    Like when Bill Moyers was LBJ's anti-homo hatchet man.

    Public (and not so public) figures were usually "outed" by left-leaning gays in order to force a public "identity" on their private behavior. The "religious right" isn't known for having homo-police.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, as I just replied I probably shouldn't have stated it as an attack so much as a change in what it is that gets you "othered" which was really the main point I was trying to make.

  • SlV||

    Nick jokes about the "hoMOsexual agenda" but forcing a public identity on others' private behavior is a clear example of one.

  • Hydra||

    we can't find anyone decent to run for public office

    That's not the problem. Ballot access laws and campaign finance restrictions exist to keep decent people from challenging the duopoly.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    f you drag your company into the political sector by doing things for purely political reasons, then I think you are no longer a purely private sector firm.

    See Hobby Lobby.

  • Cytotoxic||

    No, retard, Hobby Lobby is an example of a company getting dragged into the political sector.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Bullshit.

    Hobby Lobby filed the lawsuit when they could have just let their insurer supply the contraceptives that they hypocritically object to.

  • R C Dean||

    That's defensive, Putin's SexToy. Doesn't count, in my book.

    let their insurer supply the contraceptives that they hypocritically object to.

    Although, I actually believe you are stupid enough to believe that there is no moral problem with paying a third party to do something you believe is immoral.

    The fact that you believe that refusing to pay a third party to do something that you refuse to do yourself is hypocritical, when in fact it is just the opposite, shows that you are far along in your adoption of doublespeak.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Wrong dipshit their insurer is being forced to supply the contraceptives that they don't want to.

  • Gekkobear||

    Hobby Lobby approved 16 of the 20 birth control methods required, and only objected tot eh abortifascients.

    Many religions find abortifascients to be "abortion" not birth control.

    You have two positions that I find questionable.

    Only the anti-abortion side of the discussion is "political" for you?

    Religious objection to abortion is "hypocritical"?

    Liberal doesn't mean apolitical and you disagreeing with something doesn't make it hypocritical.

  • Vincent Milburn||

    People like PB often think the Catholic Church just recently made up their opposition to contraception because they are anti-Obama.

  • Vampire||

    Aside from the government forcing the release of this information which was wrong to begin with... What if the board required any office holder, or member of the company that they would need to publicize who they donate to? Other investors within the company could even be required to reveal such information.

    It should be up to free individuals in the market, as to where they spend their media of exchange and who they choose to do business with so long as no ones liberty is violated.

    When someone donates to a particular political organization, they are subjecting themselves to scrutiny. If the organization supports freedom and liberty, and their cause is to advance it, even those who hate those natural rights have no leg to stand on but can boycott if they wish (doubt they'll get much support). However, if they donate to an organization that has a goal to violate someone's liberty, like kkk supporters, or what have you, they are fair game for individuals to boycott the business they run, or are a part of.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Putting aside the government's role here, no, this is not McCarthyism. That is so much 'on the cross' victim-play by conservatives.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It may not the strict definition of "McCarthyism", but it is a blacklist.

    Me today, you tomorrow.

  • Irish||

    Putting aside the government's role here, no, this is not McCarthyism. That is so much 'on the cross' victim-play by conservatives.

    Guess what I just found out? It turns out that Eich's donation wasn't even supposed to be released. Giving money to prop 8 was confidential. The only reason it's known about is because the IRS leaked the names of supporters of prop 8 to a gay rights group who posted it online.

    When this fact first came to light in 2012, after the Internal Revenue Service leaked a copy of the National Organization for Marriage’s 2008 tax return to a gay-advocacy group, Eich, who was then CTO of Mozilla, published a post on his personal blog stating that his donation was not motivated by any sort of animosity towards gays or lesbians, and challenging those who did not believe this to cite any “incident where I displayed hatred, or ever treated someone less than respectfully because of group affinity or individual identity.”

    Yeah, clearly conservatives have no reason to feel victimized. Clearly having confidential donation information leaked to your political opponents by a government agency is nothing to be worried about.

    Get off the cross, conservatives!

  • Cytotoxic||

    The IRS leak was discussed earlier and it was not related to Eich's incident. It however is a serious problem.

  • Calidissident||

    Shackford covered this on Friday. This isn't true. This section basically contains all the relevant details

    "But it's not accurate. The names of donors in the Proposition 8 battle, for and against, have always been public information, even before the election. The Los Angeles Times has a searchable database here. Eich's name is on it (as is mine—I gave $100 in opposition and ultimately regretted it after seeing the horrible, useless ads they put together to fight Prop. 8). The information came from the California secretary of state's office, not some IRS leak. This database is not dated, but they were available and were online at some media outlets prior to the 2008 vote.

    The possible IRS leak is a real thing, though. First Things didn't invent it, just misunderstood it. The IRS is accused of leaking the National Organization for Marriage's (NOM) tax records from 2008 to the Human Rights Campaign. The IRS has claimed the release of the records was 'inadvertent.' The records included names of donors to NOM, but while NOM was responsible for organizing and pushing forward Proposition 8, it's not the same list. Eich donated to Prop. 8, not to NOM. Eich's name and donation to Proposition 8 was always a public record and searchable even before the election."

    The fact that it has become a common refrain among conservatives that this whole thing is due to the IRS kind backs up Cyto's assertion of a victim-complex (not that the left has no such complex, by any means).

  • Calidissident||

    Here's the link to the full article

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/04.....ex-ceos-do

  • Irish||

    I stand corrected. It's still wrong that the government requires public disclosure.

    I would argue this is an obvious chilling effect on speech. You are required to publicly disclose donations, people can then look you up and drive you from your job or victimize you in any number of ways.

    This all starts from public disclosure requirements. That's why I have a problem with this. It isn't 'just' an instance of a legitimate boycott due to a company's policy. It's a chilling effect brought about by government disclosure requirements.

  • Mickey Rat||

    What happened to Eich is part and parcel of the left's ad hominem attacks on people and organizations of the nominal right. The continued demonization of the Koch brothers is another manifestation of this tactic. Libertarians are a relatively small minority, can they afford political and cultural beliefs to become firing offenses even if it is only through private influences? Even if, they kind of sympathize with the left on the issue people are being blacklisted over?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Soros was demonized by the right years before the Kochs were by the left.

  • neener neener||

    Great point, who is worse, Soros for being a Nazi or Eich for donating to prop 8?

  • ||

    Soros is one of those not-too-rare Jew that sells out to the Nazi. But he's on the correct side of the political spectrum, so all is fine. Eich is against all that's sacred, of course he needs to be crucified.

  • SlV||

    The Kochs weren't funding activism and campaigns back then. Their political efforts were confined to education and policy research.

  • Hydra||

    Soros also isn't a US citizen.

  • PapayaSF||

    Soros was demonized by the left years before anyone ever heard of the Kochs. A lefty friend of mine ranted against him circa 1990. He was not a figure of hatred for the right back then.

  • Damien||

    Corporations and the individuals populating their higher echelons, like individuals, should be judged on the totality of their corporate morality. And given that we have seen social media lynch mob mentality rear its ugly face time and time again (you can take the mob out of the stone age, but you can't take out their propensity to do evil).

    What we see is the new Roman mob demanding a, "thumbs down" on the outrage of the day.

  • Cytotoxic||

    OT: Kansas legislature passed a law nullifying local gun restrictions. Unfortunately, it's still Kansas.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    It's too bad Eich isn't a cop. Then he could rely on due process.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    What the fuck is OK Cupid, some kind of gay dating site?

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

  • AlmightyJB||

    The fact that she would do this with that picture proves she knows nothing about men. of course they're going to ignore everything she says.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    That, and she was so over the top most men would think she was kidding. And they would have been right.

    Want to scare me? Talk about your 4 kids from two different men, not your 8 kids from 9 different men.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Corrosive Conformity
    ...This is not a matter of law but one of culture, and not a question of means but of ends. Mozilla, to say nothing of its partners and customers, is free under the law to hire and fire executives for almost any reason it sees fit (with exceptions; it surely would have faced civil-rights litigation if it had fired him for advocating gay marriage), and OKCupid, which boycotted Mozilla in protest of Mr. Eich’s views, is perfectly within its rights to do so, as were the protesting employees.

    Or are they? The courts have held that bakers and photographers cannot withhold their services from gay nuptials, and California law forbids both discrimination and the creation of a hostile work environment on religious or political grounds. But, no, that way madness lies, and we are positive that the American legal imagination will come up with a rationale under which an evangelical’s declining to do business with a homosexual is illegal but the reverse is perfectly legal, if not mandatory....

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    Thank God John isn't here. I felt stupider for having read his arguing with Tony and Sloopy the other day.

    Three points here:

    1. The people making a fuss over this aren't "thugs", as I've heard them be called. They were peacefully exercising their right to vocalize their opinion. I think it's an overreaction to accuse them of being fascist.

    2. Having said that, I do think Eich was unfairly targeted and there was no coherent reason to go after him other then to attract attention. After all, the same people attacking him voted for Obama in droves in 2008, despite Obama unambiguously opposing gay marriage at the time

    3 I think it's funny that he's being accused if bigotry for a monetary donation when, as we heard a lot last week from liberals, money is not speech.

    So if money isn't speech why are people acting like Eich called every queer in California a faggot to their face?

  • Irish||

    The people making a fuss over this aren't "thugs", as I've heard them be called. They were peacefully exercising their right to vocalize their opinion. I think it's an overreaction to accuse them of being fascist.

    They were using illegally leaked government information to drive someone who disagrees with them out of his job.

    This is a step beyond 'vocalizing their opinions.'

  • Square||

  • Cytotoxic||

    So if the info is not legally leaked it is not okay to speak ideas based on it?

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    They were using illegally leaked government information to drive someone who disagrees with them out of his job.

    Two things.:

    1. As understand it the donations were required by California law to be made public.

    A stupid law, to be sure, but it wasn't illegally leaked

    2. All that NSA information was illegally leaked and we've been calling for heads to roll at the NSA for almost a year.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Illegal NSA activities vs. legal political donations.

  • Irish||

    Are you seriously comparing NSA spying activities to legal political contributions?

  • R C Dean||

    My definition of "thuggish" is broad enough to include demanding that any person who disagrees with you be driven out of public and economic life.

    And that's pretty much what the anti-Eichers were demanding: that Eich is so unclean that nobody should associate with him.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Your definition is silly.

  • neener neener||

    Yes, but you're an idiot.

  • grrizzly||

    Cyto,
    You seem to be firmly on the side of gay fascists. Interesting.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Broken windows - fight this smaller crime (demanding Eich no longer be able to work) to prevent the larger one of pitchfork wielding mobs.

    Obama to Bankers: I’m Standing ‘Between You and the Pitchforks’

    Torch-Carrying Environmentalists Protest at Oil Exec’s Home

  • Hydra||

    You can't just redefine words like that. "Thuggish" implies coercion.

  • PapayaSF||

    Hounding someone out of a job doesn't count as coercion?

  • Calidissident||

    Define "hounding." It has been public knowledge that Eich donated to Prop 8 (obviously one can debate whether that should be required to be disclosed, and I would agree with you, but that's beside the point here). After he was hired, people expressed their disapproval of this, and some publicly stated their intention to boycott. None of that qualifies as coercion.

    I've said here multiple times that I don't think personally opposing gay marriage merits getting fired, but I also don't get the mental gymnastics some here are doing to try to somehow qualify this as force/coercion. It's reminiscent of how leftists stretch those words.

  • PapayaSF||

    Define "hounding."

    "We are ganging up to boycott your company unless you fire this specific individual for his entirely legal and private support of a majority view" seems to fit.

  • Gekkobear||

    But they want "diversity" and "tolerance".

    IF we don't forcibly segregate and ostracize the "other" how can we have diversity?

    Diversity begins with segregation.

    And tolerance is always prompted by ostracizing anyone with differing views.

    Only through segregation and ostracism can we promote diversity and tolerance.

    Oddly this is NOT an Orwell novel, but a real viewpoint of some people.

  • amelia||

    I was thinking along those lines, but saw some comments that made me realize, they aren't acquiescing that money is speech. They think what he did was worse than if he had just expressed his opposition, because it involved money. They think supporting something financially is an entirely different behavior than supporting it vocally, with different consequences. Speaking is an act of expression, but spending is direct exertion of power.

  • R C Dean||

    California law forbids both discrimination and the creation of a hostile work environment on religious or political grounds.

    I'd love to see Eich sue Mozilla for violating his civil rights. The cognitive dissonance and butthurt would be epic.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    I'm positive they had to surreptitiously buy him out for his resignation to avoid that outcome.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Does civil rights apply to religious beliefs? Wasn't sure if it was just Blacks and women and I suppose now gays are also part of the protected class.

  • Gekkobear||

    Here's a fun couple of question.

    1) Is segregation or limiting someone's job based on religion ok?

    2) Is there any chance these groups would accept a Mormon, Catholic, or Muslim as the CEO of Mozilla, regardless of how they performed at the job?

    Squaring that circle seems impossible.

    I guess in the name of diversity and tolerance we need to support religious oppression. I'm not sure how that helps.

  • Christophe||

    Eich co-founded Mozilla. It's his baby, and he resigned only when it became obvious they couldn't deal with the heat his appointment was generating.

    I don't think he would want to do that.

  • Hydra||

    The true founder is the one who would rather have Mozilla given to another rather than be torn asunder.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    +King Solomon

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    Alpha Game: Delta face
    ...This is not to say that Brandon Eich is a bad man, an idiot, a failure, or a man to be despised. Quite to the contrary, he is a good man, a highly intelligent man, a massive success, and a man to be admired for his many good qualities. Which, therefore, make him an object lesson in how socio-sexuality is orthogonal to many of those qualities.

    Eich responded to his critics in a classic Delta manner. He attempted to assuage and to reason with them. And that is why he failed. He did not snipe back passive-aggressively and appeal to the crowd like a Gamma, he did not enlist superior allies like a Beta, and he did not wreak vengeance upon his challengers like an Alpha. Given his position as Mozilla CEO, the Alpha response was the correct one, indeed, it was the only one that would have ensured his status....

  • cavalier973||

  • cavalier973||

    I mean, is there any more "Gamma" attitude than being anti-Free Trade?

    *Waaaa!!! Those meanie furriners are stealing my job!!!! I need a strong man to protect me!!!!*

  • Graphite||

    Do people actually read this Greek-riddled bullshit as if there's some coherent meaning to it?

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    If Mozilla gets to have moral convictions as a corporation, why can't Hobby Lobby?

  • ||

    Surely, the fact that Firefox has not really been a dominant browser for years makes it easier for many pro-gay-marriage people simply to say they will continue NOT using Firefox in the wake of the Eich affair.

    It varies a lot by data source and country, but for Desktop browsers Firefox and IE have roughly 20% market share each with Chrome at about 40% and Safari around 10%. With that in mind I think it would be fair to call Firefox one of the dominant browsers.

    The again I personally am a bit fearful of WebKit/Blink-based browsers (Chrome, Safari, and Opera, mostly) becoming too dominant, so I am biased.

  • Neoconwatch||

    While I ordinarily point out that the workplace is and should be an ideology-free zone, and any attempt to break down that barrier must inevitably lead to civil war, I am not convinced in this particular case that all is as it seems. Phony martyrdom and persecution is one of the core tactics of the Straussians. I cannot help but believe that more meets the eye here and the Straussians are instructing the outlets and people they control, including HotAir and Allahpundit, to play this up. They are trying to revive religious/social conservatism by making Christians believe that they are under attack. There are so many unanswered questions here it amounts to a strange chasm in the historical record. When was the last time Fox News, the WSJ, HotAir, Townhall, the WaPo, or any other Straussian-controlled outlet came to the defense of a minarchist when they did not absolutely have to? How many famous minarchist martyrs can you name? Why are there apparently only religious/social conservative victims? This is not to excuse the Left. They are vicious parasites and I would not put anything past them. But why should I come to the defense of someone who is not an open minarchist, and may be a closet statist for all we know? How do we know that right-wing outlets did not basically tell him that it was awful what is happening to him, and nothing can be done about it? Where was their defense of him a month ago?

  • Irish||

    ^ I don't know what's going on here, but I'm wondering how WAPO ended up on a list of conservative news outlets.

  • Longtorso, Johnny||

    They were bought by Bezos and started giving online space to Volokh.

  • PapayaSF||

    Still, Volokh just makes the WaPo, on average, slightly less leftist.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    why should I come to the defense of someone who is not an open minarchist, and may be a closet statist for all we know


    Because you're not a hyper-political shithead? Seriously, believing that only people who agree with you are deserving of your help or sympathy makes you no different from any run of the mill conservative or progressive. Incidentally, there's a quote that is quite apropos for this line of thought.

    "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you[...] For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
  • CptNerd||

    I think if we're allowed to know what political donations the officers of the company made and to whom, we should be allowed to know what donations the board of directors who fired Eich made and to whom.

  • Carnival||

    People exercised their right to free speech.

    The corporation exercised it's right to choose it's board members.

    The market did what markets will do with no activity from The State.

    I see no problem here. Why are we still talking about this?

  • Ken Shultz||

    If libertarians want to replace most of the government with free choice and ethics, then the ways people use their freedom to enforce ethics on other people should be of great interest to libertarians.

    Incidentally, a society in which everything we do is politicized and everyone is expected to conform may not turn out to be an especially free society.

    Personally, I'm starting to resent seeing people force their opinions on others, this way, and I fully support gay marriage! I'm must leery of a world where people have become rigidly intolerant--in the name of tolerance.

    I'd hate to be in the cross hairs of this kind of thing in the future just because I oppose whomever's solution to global warming or because something I do or have done in the past becomes a litmus test issue tomorrow.

    I'm not so worried about that kind of behavior coming from my fellow libertarians, but I'm not sure your average American understands why it's okay to drive people from their jobs because of their personal opinions when it's the market doing it, but why it's not okay to use the government to achieve the same thing.

    Understanding that distinction and why it's important is probably the difference between libertarians and non-libertarians--and most of America out there is not libertarian.

  • Mike G||

    OK Cupid certainly can argue against supporting companies that oppose one of its missions.

    But a $1000 donation to the majority side by the CEO of a political fight several years ago is cutting it pretty fine. That does seem to be searching out pretty small things about a company to get all worked up about.

    The real stupidity was Mozilla's. They should have just said "We affirm all these rights, including the one to not be judged unacceptable for holding pretty mainstream political beliefs. Can't we all just get along?"

    And it only ratchets up suspicion of the gay marriage movement on the part of opponents. They're plainly (and, if you must know my opinion, quite rightly) winning, so why choose to win ugly at this point?

    In other words, if your message is "live and let live," maybe you want to visibly practice that...

  • ||

    In other words, if your message is "live and let live," maybe you want to visibly practice that...

    Kinda begs the question. Equating any form of civil marriage, regardless of sexuality, with "live and let live" strains credulity. Making the rest of society give you privileges based on the status of your sexual relationships is kind of exhibit A for the prosecution when your "live and let live" philosophy is on trial.

  • LDSG Jimbo||

    It is not very surprising that Mozilla is lagging behinds it competitors considering Mozilla is so concerned about their CEOs personal life and views.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    A thought experiment:

    Suppose that there were a revival, such that Christians in the US began to use their economic power to boycott businesses run by atheists or apostates. Any time they find out that a business they patronize is run by an atheist, they demand the conversion of this person to Christianity else they will refuse to deal with the business in question.

    Should such a thing be legal? Of course, but is it just or in keeping with the principles of a free society? Hell no. In a sense, it is similar to sexual harassment at the workplace (another area libertarians are ill-equipped to deal with). Compelling people to renounce their principles or else be hounded out of society is wrong, and creates fissures in society that a) are difficult to mend and b) tend to spill over into government action at some point. Making people obey your will in their private life as the cost of entry for being able to participate in public life is not as bad as using government force or violence, but it is still antithetical to a free society and to true tolerance.

    It is not an issue related to libertarian principle, but it should be an issue of importance to civilized people.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Have there been any large scale calls from any Christian groups to now boycott Mozzilla? I've seen a lot of grumbling but nothing like that. Although not sure how I would know.

  • Hydra||

    A boycott would be pretty silly. Mozilla doesn't make any money from Firefox usage.

    You could withhold donations, but it's unlikely that many donors are conservatives.

  • ||

    Mozilla doesn't make any money from Firefox usage.

    Not really true. A substantial part of Mozilla Corporation's revenue comes from licensing and revenue-sharing deals, particularly with Google in exchange for making Google the default search provider in the browser.

    it's unlikely that many donors are conservatives.

    Since money is speech and all speech is public, they should have to disclose their donors, and then we could find out!

  • Mickey Rat||

    Then OKCupid was being silly, yet they got the result they were looking for.

  • Drake||

    That's the stupid part of this thing. When the CEO of Bass Pro Shops or Cabela's gets outed as gay or even liberal - and the backlash gets him fired, the gay lefties set the precedent.

  • Vincent Milburn||

    Dare I say that gay folks already have the same rights as the rest of them. The law doesn't care who you're in love with. It only cares that you marry a member of the opposite sex. Gay people already have this right, but are predictably not interested in it, what with being gay and all. Thus "gay rights" are actually different rights.

  • cavalier973||

    According to Tony, if one cannot marry whomever one chooses, then one is suffering from oppression.

  • Austen||

    You really think that? Tell that to the gay families who are separated from their dying loved ones at hospitals "because they aren't family". Families who have kids, kids who don't get to see their parents before they die, horribly treated and isolated from the people they love.

    If you think that a civil union is the same thing as marriage you are so far off the bend.

    And I do think you could spend more time on "the law doesn't care who you're in love with." Really? You haven't looked very hard, but I'm guessing you don't really care to look in the first place.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Having had some experience with family being in hospitals, I call BS on this being a common occurrence, unless parents are asking the hospital for restrictions. There is not much limiting visitations in hospitals from what I can see. A red herring issue.

  • Calidissident||

    By this logic, interracial marriage bans were totally fine, because everyone had the same rights (to marry someone of their own race)

  • Mickey Rat||

    Differences in race for sexual relations are not meaningful. Differences in sex are meaningful for sexual relations, unless you hold that humanity is default androgynous.

  • Austen||

    That is absurd. By your definition you are defining what a sexual relationship should be, and ignoring what real-world evidence says and shows how complicated and varied sexual relationships are.

    How is it meaningful to to ban same sex marriage? What possible impact does it have on sexual relationships? It isn't like gay people are not having sexual relationships because they can't get married.

    And what does androgyny have to do with it? There are a lot of value judgements embedded in your last statement.

  • Calidissident||

    1) None of that is relevant to the point I was making. Under his logic, what I said was absolutely correct, even if you approve of one form of marriage, and disapprove of the other. If gay people have equal rights cause everyone can marry someone of the opposite sex, then the same is true for interracial marriage, since everyone had the same right to marry someone of the same race. Even if you think those restrictions don't make sense, the logic is exactly the same. If you want to make your argument against gay marriage on religious or biological grounds, then go ahead. But that's not what Vincent Milburn did.

    2) The meaning of sexual relations is completely irrelevant to the role of government, as long as they are voluntary. There is no reason for the government to treat voluntary heterosexual relations differently than voluntary homosexual relations. It simply isn't a proper function of the state to do so.

  • Austen||

    Exactly. 100% with you on this.

  • Gekkobear||

    The problem is marriage means two things at the same time, and we haven't (and maybe can't) separate the two.

    1) A religious acknowledgement of a relationship.

    Clearly the government has no part in this.

    2) A contractual agreement with another person (or arguably people).

    This is a clear government issue, but not a clear religious one.

    The problem is treating them both as the same thing at the same time.

    If we'd have "marriage" as the religious activity with no government acknowledgement, approval, licensing, or involvement and also had a "domestic partnership" as a government approval of a contractual agreement between people with no religious requirement or limitation... we might be better off.

    Telling a religion what they should be forced to do is silly.

    Telling me I can't enter a contractual agreement with someone because of their gender is also silly.

    But you can't mix the two and not end up trying to force a situation that isn't silly.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Suppose that there were a revival, such that Christians in the US began to use their economic power to boycott businesses run by atheists or apostates. Any time they find out that a business they patronize is run by an atheist, they demand the conversion of this person to Christianity else they will refuse to deal with the business in question.

    Wouldn't it be cool if people could freely organize themselves into social groups according to their mutual interests?

    What if people could thumb their noses with impunity at those who feel compelled to force everybody else into conformity with their beliefs?

    FUCK OFF SLAVERS

  • SlV||

    1. Do you think a business's personnel decisions or corporate actions should ever be a factor in deciding whether to patronize a firm?

    I canceled Amazon Prime, blocked their tracking and haven't made a purchase in the last year over their public stance and practices on sales tax collection.

    I'm not buying any Girl Scout cookies because of their support of the #banbossy campaign.

    There might be something else but most of my personal consumer boycotts are based on poor customer service or a dislike of the product. I've avoided Barnes & Noble for more than a decade and look forward to their demise.

  • blank||

    When you buy cookies not only must they taste good and be reasonably priced but the marketing campaigns must conform to what you consider acceptable political positions?

  • SlV||

    They're not reasonably priced. The GSA isn't some "partner" on the list. #Banbossy is like there new motto.
    I wouldn't buy Bund Deutscher Mädel cookies either.

  • blank||

    No, they certainly are not reasonably priced. When I buy cookies my intent is not to make the world a better place. I just want a cookie.

  • blank||

    How much would the price of Girl Scout cookies have to drop before the value of consuming those cookies matched the pyschic costs of doing business with a politically divergent company?

  • OldMexican||

    2. Is the problem with Mozilla that it caved so quickly to OK Cupid's campaign?


    It didn't cave. This was a personal vendetta against Eich perpetrated by someone with influence within the organization.

  • Christophe||

    In a libertarian world:

    - There wouldn't have been a proposition 8 because defining marriage wouldn't be a government power.
    - There wouldn't have been a donor list to disclose, because such compelled disclosure would never pass constitutional muster.
    - There wouldn't have been a KULTUR WAR fight over the appointment of a CEO, who, by all accounts, never let his beliefs intrude into the workplace, because such a fight wouldn't be a proxy battle for a larger scale political tug-of-war.

    That's not to say boycotts wouldn't happen, just that they wouldn't happen over something so bafflingly small.

  • buybuydandavis||

    I think Nick misses the point on the criticism.

    Sure, people should be free to patronize a company, or not, on whatever criteria they want.

    But were Progressives saying this when the intolerant foot was up the ass of Communists? I don't think so. Even today, the same people cheering this firing of someone for blasphemy against homosexuality would consider the blacklisting of Communists a crime against humanity.

    Most people are just railing against the hypocrisy of the left. I'm not.

    It's not that Progressives are hypocrites, because they never had any principles about freedom of conscience in the first place. Their principle has always been Power, by any means necessary, including bullshit rationalizations that they'll toss the moment they conflict with gaining Power.

    If it's all just a tactic on the road to power, the charge of hypocrisy is pointless. The point should be in recognizing that these are the people we're dealing with: the shoe laces in the boot stomping a human forever.

  • blank||

    I don't remember exactly who I heard the following from: It is in the best interests of a country to have a free trade policy even if their trading partners don't. Might have been Milton Friedman.

    Bob, who is black and owns a farm, is denied service at William's restaurant because he is black. However, William is still willing to buy produce from Bob. Is it in Bob's best interests to not sell to William?

  • cavalier973||

    Bob can also start his own restaurant to compete with William, but that doesn't advance the cause of "social justice", so it is a suboptimal solution, don't you know.

  • Calidissident||

    If you approach things purely from a monetary standpoint, then sure. But you're making a value judgment that that should be the only thing Bob should care about.

  • blank||

    I was looking for more of a comparison with the free-trading state. Is the U.S. better off without a Soviet Union type country in existence and therefore should try and "starve" said country? Should Bob expose himself to further impoverishment to eliminate Bob's bigotry and to possibly deter any future discrimination for others

  • blank||

    eliminate William's bigotry

  • Calidissident||

    I think that's a decision for Bob to make. Does he value the money more or less than whatever utility (pride, setting an example, deterring discrimination, etc.) he gets from denying William service? I don't see how anyone besides Bob can make that value judgment.

  • John||

    The libertarians who think this is great are as government obsessed as progs and as profoundly stupid. First, there is more to having a free society than having a small government. Apparently many libertarians have no clue that anything bad can happen or any society can suck and be oppressive as long as the government is not involved. If it wasn't so pathetic it would be funny to listen to libertarians talk about how living in a society where expressing an unpopular opinion or privately giving to an unpopular cause means losing your job and livelihood is free as long as the government isn't involved. I guess libertarians completely lack the imagination to ever see a society that might not be just like 21st century America much less that things here might ever change.

    Libertarians sadly react to buzz words and just stop thinking here they hear Free Market and like Pavlov's dogs slobber out how great it must be as if nothing ever could be bad or I just as long as the government isn't involved and it happens in the market.

    And serious man, you couldn't get any more dumb on the issue than you already are.

  • Austen||

    First off, Eich wasn't fired, he voluntarily stepped down. In his own words, "under the present circumstances, I cannot be an effective leader." Mozilla being a non-profit company that relies on donations to support the organization, the backlash would have been a fight that Mozilla didn't want to get into. I believe Eich stepped down to protect Mozilla from that onslaught.

    As a gay man I wasn't opposed to Eich being the CEO of Mozilla. The social debate over LGBT equality, especially with marriage equality, is something that is currently a hot topic in our society. If Eich had been appointed at a time when the debate for LGBT equality wasn't in public full swing I think the appointment would have gone largely unnoticed.

    And in the years since Proposition 8 a lot of public opinion has shifted from opposition to support for LGBT equality. It is quite possible that Eich today would not have supported Prop 8. It is possible that his views have changed since 2008, like many other American's minds have also changed. I do not think that his past support for a political campaign that is over 6 years old now should be cause to ask for his dismissal. It's old news and we do not know where he stands on the issue today. People change. We have to allow for people to re-evaluate their social/political views on their own terms and through the natural process of public discourse.

  • Austen||

    And no, I don't think that firing supporters of Prop 8 is a cause we should be addressing. However I do believe in there being transparency about how people and businesses participate in public arenas (and yes, political campaigns that have a direct impact on the public are by definition "public" speech and not "private" speech.)

    Case in point, the Arizona boycott. Personally I was all for businesses being allowed to post big signs saying that they reserve the right to refuse servicer to homosexuals. As long as they were transparent and public about it. My response to that? "Thank you for letting me know not to patronize your business. I will gladly take my money elsewhere." The problem is that they don't want to post big signs about that. They want to quietly discriminate against LGBT people while still courting their friends and family to support their business.

    In our world where money is free speech it is asinine to say that the only qualities of a business one should measure are the suitability of their products. If a business as an entity supports agendas I do not, I should be able to choose whether or not to support that business. If a business remains neutral, but the owners and benefactors of that business are supporting agendas I do not, I should still be able to choose whether to support them or not.

  • John||

    You make one good point. If you think that boycotts are just and proper then it is difficult to see why the government shouldn't require public disclosure of political contributions. How can I claim privacy rights to a public contribution? It makes no sense, especially if you think boycotts are a proper way to settle these things. They only way I do claim that public disclosure violates my rights is if I believe that boycotts affect my right of free speech such that the only way we can guarantee free speech is to give people who wish it some anonymity so they won't be subject to boycotts for expressing an unpopular opinion.

    But few of the people on this board think boycotts are bad or in anyway affect free speech. Given that it is hard to see why they would not support public disclosure other than they heard the word privacy and had their usual Pavlovian response.

    Bottom line is that if you think that people boycotting over political donations is a good thing, then you should also support making people disclose their donations do people know who to boycott.

  • Austen||

    Well, aren't you subjecting yourself to the potential for boycotts through free speech anyway? I mean, if you declare loudly and definitively your position on an issue in the privacy of your own home, to nobody or maybe to your close friends, yeah, that's a private form of speech because you kept it private. But if you state that same opinion in a public forum you still run the risk of dealing with a public response. That is just the nature of public discourse.

    Is a boycott always the appropriate response? No. I think a discussion is always the best place to begin. But I definitely think that a boycott is way more appropriate of a response than is government intervention.

  • John||

    Sure it is better than government force. That doesn't mean it is not stupid.

  • ||

    Bottom line is that if you think that people boycotting over political donations is a good thing, then you should also support making people disclose their donations do people know who to boycott.

    If you believe in wearing underwear, then you should also support painting all mailboxes yellow.

    Cool non-sequitur, bro.

  • John||

    If you think what underwear people wear is a valid basis on whether to do business with them then their underwear becomes public when they do business.

    You analogy is the non sequitur you half wit.

  • ||

    Bottom line is that if you think that people boycotting over political donations is a good thing, then you should also support making people disclose their donations do people know who to boycott.

    If you believe in wearing underwear, then you should also support painting all mailboxes yellow.

    Cool non-sequitur, bro.

  • Austen||

    If money is speech, then when you spend your money with a company you are giving that company your voice, who then "speak for you" because you selected them for patronization. It is very important to choose wisely because of the money-speech impact to our society. This is why I'm working on a project to help people make these kinds of informed decisions about their spending habits: http://www.cottbot.org

  • blank||

    When I trade my money for a service or product the money is no longer mine. What the recipient does with that money in no way speaks for me. I have zero connection with any future actions of that individual. I valued his service/product more than I did the money so I traded the money.

    Do you ever buy anything made in China?

  • John||

    Or from a company that has a Muslim CEO?

  • Agile Cyborg||

    If that Muslim CEO had proven links to Jihadism I would absolutely avoid buying anything from him.

  • Austen||

    That is exactly correct. It is no longer your money. It is theirs. So if money is speech you are giving up your speech to someone else. But by giving them your money you are allowing them--in part through you--to speak with that money. If you support their agendas, or you don't care about their agendas, then what difference does it make? At the end of the day, you as a consumer are supporting their ability to speak and endorsing their message, whether you agree with that or not.

    And yes, I buy lots of stuff made in China.

  • blank||

    I am supporting their ability to continue making a product that I find beneficial. I am supporting the proper allocation of limited resources.

    The media corporations that are allowing access to their platforms in exchange for money are allowing them to "speak". I have no say in the matter.

    Do you support China's agenda?

  • Austen||

    You do have a say in the matter. If you buy products from the company or organization that is then using part of that money to buy their speech time on media networks. If you don't like their speech then don't fund them. They will still do what they can with their limited resources but those resources will be even more limited because you chose not to endorse their messages. That seems fair to me. You're free to do and say whatever you want. But under no circumstances should I be forced or deceived into supporting someone else's agenda.

    I do not support nor do I oppose China's "agenda" because it is not a topic that (yet) rates high enough on my list of things to become more informed of. I couldn't tell you what China's agenda is or isn't. Therefore I'm not going to speculate on that particular topic. :)

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Many of the products we buy are produced by a zealous Communist state with factories utilizing labor in ways that violate human rights. This issue is something that all rational minds should stay abreast of.

  • Austen||

    Of course. You have a point. My point is that I'm currently occupied with the violations of human rights that are happening right now in my own neighborhood. I'm dealing with the gentrification of a neighborhood by a social nightlife that brings in a lot of outsiders that beat the fuck out of people like me because they think it is fun and justified. It is very reminiscent of the times 20 years or so ago when I had to deal with Klan members storming around my neighborhood and terrorizing the people I care about.

    I'm not saying I don't care about the issues that surround China and its impact on a free society. I'm just saying that there are enough rational minds focused on that issue that mine can be spared to deal with the issues that are currently directly impacting the quality of life in my community.

  • blank||

    If you don't like their speech then don't fund them

    I like their product. When purchasing a product why should I take into consideration how the owner live's her life? What does this have to do with the utility of the product? If I follow this strategy will I not be poorer for it?

  • Austen||

    Well that's up to you isn't it? If the utility of a product has more value than your own values then do what you want with your money.

    The point is you are free to choose.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    He is free to choose.

    But if blank had no problem buying equipment from a Syrian construction company that allowed its cranes to be used to hang infidels you would respect him as a rational Libertarian? Cranes, by the way, are the hanging tool of choice in several middle-eastern locales.

  • blank||

    Why would controlling people be part of my values? That is what your argument seems to be. If someone thinks differently than you they are declared an unperson and should be shunned. Don't you give any weight to the costs of such a business philosophy. An intellectually tolerant society is either a good thing or a bad thing. It can't be sometimes good and sometimes bad.

  • Austen||

    It's not about controlling people, blank, it is about not endorsing someone else's public activities that are in violation of your values.

    There is a difference between allowing someone to have the freedom to express values in opposition to your own and quite another to not participate within the ends to their means. By not giving a business my money isn't an act of controlling them, it is an act of controlling myself and preserving my own values.

    I'm all for social discourse. That is how we grow and learn as a society. I just don't want to fund my opposition, it all.

  • blank||

    it is about not endorsing someone else's public activities that are in violation of your values.

    My understanding of the market is that when I purchase something I am signaling(endorsing) the continued or even greater allocation of the constituent resources to be consumed in the creation of the purchased product. That is all I am saying to the world when I buy something.

    My less than sophisticated understanding of free trade was that one of its benefits was that it helps promote freedom and a civil society. That is why we trade with China and the embargo of Cuba is counter-productive. I don't see why I can't extrapolate that down to my local community. I believe it is best to keep the business and political spheres separate.

  • Austen||

    I do agree with you here. I think that most businesses do keep business and political and social spheres separate. However not all of them do. I'm not advocating that there is an abject need to research and troll each individual business on their activities. It is the ones that are blatant about their extra-business activities I am concerned with.

    If a business make a point of or attempts to obfuscate participation in social activities that undermine my civil liberties that's when I think a consumer needs to respond beyond typical day-to-day transaction activities and make more discerned buying decisions.

    At any rate, this is a complicated issue and I don't have all of the answers. I just know that I would rather support a business who makes a point of not influencing social outcomes over businesses who do.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Unless you are affluent you have very few alternatives even IF the product was fine but produced in a proven sweatshop filled with little kids.

    Do you care at all about the treatment of labor in areas of the world where there is little to no regard for common ethics and human rights?

  • ||

    But under no circumstances should I be forced or deceived into supporting someone else's agenda.

    No one is suggesting you should be forced to do anything, nor are you being deceived by deprivation of information on what every employee in a company uses his or her money for. You're perfectly entitled to be an obsessive, single-issue, borderline autistic bag of nerves over whatever selective bugaboos you may have. The question is whether it's beneficial to have an entire society composed of obsessive, single-issue, borderline autistic bags of nerves who would grind commerce to a halt if every organization they traded money with wasn't in lockstep ideological uniformity.

  • ||

    At the end of the day, you as a consumer are supporting their ability to speak and endorsing their message, whether you agree with that or not.

    Nope. As a consumer you are supporting their ability to provide you with a product that has utility to you beyond the money you spent on it. To suggest anything more would imply some liability on your part for the decisions made by anyone down the ownership chain of every penny you ever spent. That's beyond ridiculous.

    You're you're not right, period, but you're especially not right when you're talking about an employee of a company spending the money the company pays him on speech you don't like. My giving McDonald's corporation a buck for a hamburger doesn't imply any endorsement on my part of whatever political campaign the 7 dollar an hour fry cook may have made.

  • Austen||

    The $7/hr employee will never be able to match the $M/franchise owner in their ability to affect a change. Yes, I suppose someone irrational can fixate on the actions of a $7/hr employee. But I never suggested anywhere in my argument that the actions of employees justified a boycott response. I said business owners and beneficiaries. But to suggest that a business or business owner's actions beyond providing their product and/or service to you has no relevance to your life and/or values is simply playing "See no evil, hear no evil" and hoping for the best. It's kind of like blind faith.

    If you know that a business owner is funding an agenda you don't support, and you choose to support that business anyway because you adhere to some undefined obligation to only decide based on product utility then you dismiss the idea and reality that a business and business owners play another role in our society beyond making products that are useful.

    What kind of product exists that is purposeful and has utility for social equality? For fair and free elections? For non-discrimination? For whatever cause you might care about. These are not things that are traded in an open marketplace, yet still get influenced by the beneficiaries of that open marketplace.

    Boycotts are based on the right to freedom of association. I say one's actions in our society are fair game for someone to decide how they choose to associate.

  • ||

    But I never suggested anywhere in my argument that the actions of employees justified a boycott response. I said business owners and beneficiaries.

    What is an employee if not a beneficiary of the business who employs him? Also, just FYI, executive officers in a corporation are not necessarily "owners" of the business (although many do hold stock in the companies they work for), and even when they are, they are also employees, and act as such in their roles as executives - that is a different role than their role as owners. A fact not particularly relevant in this case since Mozilla is a non-profit and doesn't have any "owners" or shareholders.

    If you know that a business owner is funding an agenda you don't support, and you choose to support that business anyway because you adhere to some undefined obligation to only decide based on product utility then you dismiss the idea and reality that a business and business owners play another role in our society beyond making products that are useful.

    Yeah, and? I happily reject the notion that a business has any obligation other than to satisfy its customers, and I'm also able to acknowledge the difference between a business, its owners, and its products. Not everyone shares your obsessiveness or your moral convictions about what a business and its owners are or aren't obligated to do.

    (cont'd)

  • ||

    These are not things that are traded in an open marketplace, yet still get influenced by the beneficiaries of that open marketplace.

    Yeah, actually they are. The marketplace of ideas and, vastly more relevant to folks like you, the marketplace of politics and institutional power, is as fully a market as the market for goods and services. Not getting the results you want doesn't make it any less a market or any less valid a market.

    Boycotts are based on the right to freedom of association. I say one's actions in our society are fair game for someone to decide how they choose to associate.

    No one has suggested otherwise. Feel free to selectively boycott any and every person, business or product that doesn't rigidly and steadfastly conform to your personal politics. Just don't claim universality for your viewpoint. Other people are just as entitled to make different value judgments and live lives relatively free of neurotic worry over every transaction they engage in. You aren't a better or more moral or more sincere person for being a neurotic, selectively outraged hypocrite.

  • John||

    I think your view is repugnant and will be the doom of our society if everyone followed it. It would make us into effectively a tribal society as businesses and personal careers succeeded or failed based on politics rather than merit. But most of the rest if these nitwits are going to be right there with you waging the cultural war through commerce and turning our society dogmatic, oppressive and stupid.

  • blank||

    Sure I bought an overpriced inferior product, but I bought American dammit! I at least get to feel good about myself for that.

  • John||

    Same sort of stupidity. Funny how people see it there but not here.

  • ||

    Yes, because supporting the ability of people to do stupid shit as long as they don't involve government in it is obviously the same thing as endorsing their viewpoint.

    Seriously John, go fuck yourself.

  • John||

    Go fuck yourself and try to join arguments where you understand what is happening. Saying they can do it is not the same as saying it is good. I say they can but it is stupid. You can't seem to understand that.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    You'd buy anything from anybody even if they were affiliated with violent extremism?

    I do think there are definitely rational limitations on boycotting and splitting hairs over purchasing decisions but your position is appearing rather extreme to me.

  • blank||

    How many degrees of separation are required. If I do business with a bigot will you then boycott my business.

    I know everyone has psychic benefits and costs factored into each purchase(see my buy American example above). If a restaurant is operating at full capacity and has to turn people away, as a customer that was served, what difference is there if instead people were turned away for their race. You got the product you wanted at an acceptable price.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    "You got the product you wanted at an acceptable price."

    Price and product quality are only part of many purchasing decisions, especially if the consumer is affluent.

  • blank||

    How far out do I have to imagine the effects of my purchase. I completely understand not wanting to do business with people who I find to have revolting opinions or even actively support causes I am strongly against. However, I am starting to question the efficacy of such a practice. I am not buying something to make the world a better place. I am buying something for its utility. Does this company support deforestation? Or, do they pay a living wage? These are questions that can pop into someone's head prior to purchase. This seems more of social manipulation and not pertinent to why I left my house and went to the store.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Rational appraisals should certainly inform limits on what dictates our purchasing decisions. At some point, it makes no rational sense to deviate from purchasing something simply based on philosophical or political aversion every time we walk into a place of business.

    I think there is a middle of the road here. But to suggest that we should flit through stores and businesses with zero thought about what our dollar and patronage is supporting isn't intellectually feasible to me.

    A lot of noticed bullshit should and will be rejected but maybe a small percentage of outrageous activities should be met with resistance.

    You would buy beer from a bar specifically barring black people?

  • blank||

    You would buy beer from a bar specifically barring black people?

    A bar is a lot more than just buying beer. That said, all other things being equal, as a customer why would I care who else the owner does business with? Racial discrimination is wrong because of the negative effects it has on me, not because it makes the discriminated party feel bad. Saying black people are inferior is just a flat out lie. Barring them from certain fields or positions results in an misallocation resources and society and myself are poorer for it. Government discrimination based on race leaves me or my descendants vulnerable to the whims of government despots. What I think is fair does not really matter.

    Long story short, no I would no frequent the race discriminating bar because of the possible social repercussions.

  • ||

    Rational appraisals should certainly inform limits on what dictates our purchasing decisions.

    How about "value is subjective, buy what you want, for whatever reason you want"? Just don't project your personal values onto everybody else and suggest we have all betrayed our convictions by doing business with people you don't like (not you in particular; this is more up Austen's philosophical alley).

  • Austen||

    I don't necessarily agree with you, shocking I know. I think if people maintain their values and spend their money according to those values then the ideas that get funded and shared, especially those of political campaigns, will represent the actual voices and opinions of society and not those of special interest.

    If people who care about LGBT issues care enough to choose LGBT supportive businesses and not to support opposition to LGBT equality then that issue gains their support. If people oppose LGBT issues and choose to support businesses that also do not support LGBT issues, then that issue also gains their support. Each issue is backed by the voices of the people who support those causes, and the value of those ideas then reflect an actual representation of the public's mindset.

    The way I see it, these issues are going to get their support, for and against, one way or another. I don't see how deceiving people by maintaining secret agendas helps prevent oppression or dogmatism. In fact I think the exact opposite happens.

    The reality is that if money is speech then a millionaire has control over more of the discussion than does a poor person. Does that mean that the millionaire's perspective is worth more than the poor person's perspective in a free society?

  • ||

    I don't see how deceiving people by maintaining secret agendas helps prevent oppression or dogmatism.

    It is not deceit for a company to fail to disclose the every action of its employees to you so that you can obsess over whatever small-minded single issue gets your gears turning. Although it would be rather hilarious to watch you try and sift through the payroll of a company like GE and probe the political (and non-political) expenditures, donations, and business transactions of all 305,000 of its employees before you decide whether to put a pack of light bulbs in your basket at Jerry's Non-Discriminatory Homosexual Food Emporium.

    The reality is that if money is speech then a millionaire has control over more of the discussion than does a poor person. Does that mean that the millionaire's perspective is worth more than the poor person's perspective in a free society?

    No, it doesn't, any more than it means a person with a loud voice has more control of the discussion than a person with a soft voice. The amount of something that a person can afford to buy says nothing about the value of the person himself or of his viewpoints. Thanks for dropping the mask and confirming yourself for a progressive retard though. Now we can dispense with taking you seriously and just point and laugh like we do with shreeek and Tony.

  • Austen||

    Oh, so sorry I forgot to align my viewpoint against yours before I decided to participate in the discussion. Sorry for my faux pas for not agreeing with you.

    Nobody is talking about the actions of employees. That is your bend, not mine. You can dismiss me as a progressive all you want. I honestly love it when people resort to name calling. "Small minded," "retard," etc. I am here to discuss an issue. If you notice, I haven't called anybody else in this thread "stupid" because I don't agree with them. Bravo. You're a winner.

  • ||

    Oh, so sorry I forgot to align my viewpoint against yours before I decided to participate in the discussion.

    Lol. Coming from somebody whose sole argument here has been that anyone who doesn't obsessively boycott or threaten to boycott any company that deviates from his or her personal political viewpoints is a moral degenerate, that's rather rich.

    Nobody is talking about the actions of employees. That is your bend, not mine.

    I'm sorry, I didn't realize until your follow-up post above that you were unaware that executive officers in a corporation are employees, whose jobs are completely unrelated to ownership. I'll try to better accommodate your ignorance in the future.

    I honestly love it when people resort to name calling. "Small minded," "retard," etc.

    "Progressive" and "small-minded" are not names, they are descriptors. "Retard" you can take as an insult, but it's not completely unrelated.

    I am here to discuss an issue.

    No, you're here to demagogue an issue. And you have. Congrats. I think you've pretty well exhausted your intellectual arsenal, such as it was.

  • Austen||

    I do respect your opinion. My position is not about obsessively boycotting a company. I think that context matters. In this case about Mozilla I think that the action and response was unwarranted, as I stated in my original response. I do, however, think that CEO's are much more subject to scrutiny that are other employees of a company. They have much more influence on the direction a company takes, and its extra-business activities than other employees enjoy.

    I am fully aware that CEO's are not "owners" of companies and that they themselves are employees. When I said "beneficiaries" I was not talking about mere employees. The $7/hr employee does not enjoy bonuses from company profits, nor do they enjoy the same "ownership" of a company through stock compensation as does the CEO and other executives. It is complicated, and it is different for a private corporation versus a public corporation. I view the relationship of employer/employee as a neutral position. Employees of a company are an expense of that company providing a good or a service. The employee provides services, for which the employer pays the employee. That is the end of that. I don't advocate trolling employees' personal actions to reflect a company's position.

    (cont)

  • Austen||

    A company making contributions towards a civic agenda outside of that company's business purpose is what I am talking about. Corporations are distinct entities from the people who manage the company. The owner's are stock-holders of that company, but it is complicated to pin extra-business activities on a sole individual or group of people, including stockholders.

    However businesses, despite being separate legal entities, cannot make decisions on their own. Those decisions are made by the people who run the company for the benefit of that company, and for the benefit of themselves. This is fine in most cases. But to dismiss business activities because it was "the business" and not the decision makers that influenced that direction is absurd. Business entities are abstract concepts and are not capable of making decisions, and I find it ridiculous to pin blame on a non-physical, merely legally defined entity for the actions of its managers.

    I am not making value judgements on what people should or should not be doing in regards to their values. Nor am I calling anyone "morally degenerate" for not supporting my values, political or otherwise. It has nothing to do with any alignment with what I believe. If your principles are your principles then maintain your principles. Period. If you don't maintain your principles then they can't really be called principles, can they? I am not looking for the opportunity to compare and pass judgement.

  • Austen||

    Anyway, it is a complicated topic, a complicated issue. I don't pretend to have all the solutions or answers. But I am putting my ideas to the test and in the end the public will decide whether or not my ideas have merit or if they don't.

    Maybe I am wrong in my position. I don't think that I am. I feel strongly about not giving my money to people who don't support me, veiled behind a company or not. That is my position. If I'm wrong about my position I won't try to spin it. I have been wrong before on many issues. But I listened and I changed my views based on discussions and debate. There's no shame in that for me. I am a better person for it. I'm willing to put myself out there and try something that I believe in, it is the only way that I can know for sure if there's validity in my idea or if I am off base. I'm certainly not going to get a definitive answer here in this thread, that's for sure.

  • ||

    This whole discussion is about the private actions of an employee (the CEO) and whether a boycott was an appropriate response to those actions.

    Your ideas lack merit and any semblance of coherant thought. The fact that you jumped right over PM's takedown of your position and immediately whined about his name calling shows that you have no defense of your positions.

  • Austen||

    This whole discussion is about the private actions of an employee (the CEO) and whether a boycott was an appropriate response to those actions.

    And I responded to that question. My answer to that was "no."

    Your ideas lack merit and any semblance of coherant thought. The fact that you jumped right over PM's takedown of your position and immediately whined about his name calling shows that you have no defense of your positions.

    I would rather engage with people who don't resort to Internet trolling. I'm more than happy to respond to people's criticisms of my ideas. It's just me, perhaps, but I think name calling is a waste of time and is never a basis for a rational discussion. From my personal experience when people resort to name calling I have never yet found continuing a discussion with them a meaningful or beneficial experience for anyone involved, especially bystanders.

    PM's "takedown" was arguing statements that I did not say, nor did I intend to imply. Given that this is a complicated issue, questions asking for clarity are more appropriate than name calling. You are, after all, limited in how much you can respond at one time by the limitations of this thread. So a coherent and cohesive train of though is problematic in this arena. I choose to engage with people who are constructive, regardless of their point of view. From PM's responses to me, and to others, I don't see a benefit to responding to base reactions.

  • ||

    That's funny since the italicized portion of his comment are direct quotes from your comment at 8:55 so you did, in fact, say the things he provided counter arguments to.

    Beyond that, my second paragraph was mostly tongue-in-cheek as many commenters in the past would say something similar no matter how much substance a post had. For what it's worth, while I think your opinion is wrong, at least it seems like you do think about your position.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm not totally unsympathetic to the desire so have transparancy when it comes to financial contributions to politicians and political issues. I think the problem with that though is what you see here. My desire to support any cause or candidate that may not be the most popular being suppressed or retaliated on by mob rule. Prop 8 was voted on as are politicians. At the end of the day the folks doing the voting are the ones that are making the decision regardless of who funded what or whom.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I'm talking about individual contributions here.

  • ||

    There's no more reason one's political expenditures should be public than there is for any other expenditure to be public. What entitles you to know which candidates I donated money to, but not, say, what church I donated money to, or what charity I donated money to, or what businesses I gave money to in exchange for products?

  • Agile Cyborg||

    1. Do you think a business's personnel decisions or corporate actions should ever be a factor in deciding whether to patronize a firm?

    Sometimes it matters, more often it doesn't- to me. I chalk this up to an effort to be tolerant of others unless their actions or beliefs are so extreme or offensive I find them or their business repulsive. For example, I would not visit a bar that specifically barred black people, but if the owner was slightly racist but still had no problem with black customers it probably wouldn't bother me simply because I grew up around racist blacks and subtle racism is pretty common among all races- in spite of the fact that most would reject that claim.

    I do not give money to police organizations. I avoid church. As much as Walmart's business tactics and over-reliance on China bother me I do not actively avoid Walmart. I think this is because their activities are understandable to a point and tolerable though I do think they could push the envelope with me to the point where I would seek alternatives.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    2. Is the problem with Mozilla that it caved so quickly to OK Cupid's campaign?

    If Mozilla was a product designed by a Christianity-based company they should absolutely stand firm on what they believe and they likely would have done so if this was the case. However, Mozilla is probably not best defined by their CEO and as such is likely neutral or even pro gay marriage which is evidenced by them caving so quickly to squelch the controversy. In this case I don't see this as a problem at all.

    3. How important is it that we're talking about the private sector rather than the public or political sector?

    The importance depends on the amount of power that sector actually wields over the lives of citizens or the level of disregard for common ethics any person or institution within any sector actively engages in. Is a CEO who financially-supported Prop 8 unethical? No. Do I believe he is wrong? Yes, just not unethical.

  • ||

    People are entitled to boycott or not boycott anything they want, for any reason.

    And private companies are entitled to hire and fire anyone they want for any reason.

    Should Eich be blacklisted? No. There ought not to be a campaign against HIM personally. But not using Firefox is different from (say) arguing he shouldn't be allowed to hold a job anywhere.

    He can still have any job he wants, with any willing employer. Some people just aren't going to buy his product. There's a difference.

    Plus, I suspect that Mozilla may have had other reasons for firing him that were lurking below the surface.

  • PapayaSF||

    The issues as I see them.

    1) It's fine to boycott a business because of their business practices, or because you don't like the politics of the owner.

    2) It's not fine to target a single individual's job simply because you disagree with his (rather mainstream) politics. It's not as if Eich was a Nazi or a Communist. Targeting him as an individual on these grounds is uncivil behavior, corrosive to the social fabric.

    3) I greatly dislike the "make everything a political issue" attitude, from any side. Calm down, please.

    4) I greatly dislike what I call the "Year Zero" attitudes of reformers: come up with a new "human right" (the "right to marry"), and then claim anyone who disagrees is a bigot. Slow down and cut people some slack. Social change needs to happen at its own pace. Push too hard and it becomes too divisive, if not counterproductive.

    5) If Andrew Sullivan thinks you are going to far in "defense" of gay rights, you are probably going too far.

  • PapayaSF||

    6) Here's an insider's view of the events. The TL;DR version:

    And the real tragedy here is that Mozilla would have sorted this out satisfactorily if it hadn’t been sensationalized by the media and turned into an internet witch hunt. Anyone who wrote a news story, posted to their blog, or tweeted about Brendan without understanding paragraph (i)(c) of the Community Participation Guidelines was part of the mob that brought Brendan down.

    For more than 15 years, Brendan fought for openness and freedom on the web, and led many of the people who built that open and free web. This week, in a senseless, vicious convulsion, the web turned on him.

    7) The CEO of OkCupid once donated to a very anti-gay politician, so their stance might have been a publicity stunt.

  • PapayaSF||

    One more.

    8) I am amused by the tactic of claiming that Mozilla had to let Eich go because of community pressure. Yeah, the pressure that activists created. Leftists do the same thing in other areas: They claim capital punishment isn't worthwhile because it takes so long and costs so much, which of course it does, thanks to anti-capital punishment activists. Environmental activists tie up nuclear plants or other projects in lawsuits and red tape, and then claim they aren't worthwhile due to all those lawsuits and red tape. Etc.

  • Tony||

    All of which can be responded to with a nice hearty libertarian fuck you. Government didn't oust anyone. Nobody did anything but exercise legal rights. You have expressed more whiny defense of this one man than you ever have for millions of workers who lose their jobs for far less (such as, because their boss wanted to fire them). Like or dislike the manner in which this one guy resigned, but the selectivity of the outrage, to me, is the real story.

  • PapayaSF||

    Not everything legal is ethical. You cannot argue against the Hollywood blacklist and also support the hounding of Eich. They are essentially equivalent. Millions of people are not fired for how they voted or for the legal campaign contributions they made.

  • Gekkobear||

    You want a few simple questions... that's cool. So do I.

    1) Do you think there is a snowball's chance in hell of a Mormon, Muslim, or Catholic being the CEO of Mozilla?

    Obviously not, that cannot be allowed based on their views or supposed views based on their religion without any regard to their workplace attitude or activities. It's laughable to think otherwise after this imbroglio.

    2) Do you support the Eich ouster as promoting tolerance?

    3) Do you support a policy that bans specific religions from leadership positions at a company?

    If your answers to #2 and #3 aren't the same, you're not being honest with yourself. #1 clearly shows that #2 and #3 are the same question, asked differently.

    Maybe you're for segregation and ostracism and NOT diversity and tolerance; but lets not pretend the goal is "diversity through segregation". That's simply too Orwellian to be a real thing.

  • BoscoH||

    A couple responses... First, I don't think this is really about gay rights per se. It's a deeper riff that I explain in terms of the Silicon Valley "woman problem" that's always cropping up.

    Read my essay here.

    Second, this is also an "open source" problem. Progressives flock to "open source" because it sounds to them like more fair than commercial models. Community, cooperation, blah blah blah... But "open source" as a code development model is ultimately utilitarian when it works.

  • Paul Spomer||

    This is tricky. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence, but then again, I'm uncomfortable with the idea that people should avoid supporting causes they believe in becauuse they fear losing their jobs.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement