Pushing back against the bullies

When I heard that Brendan Eich had been forced to resign his new job as CEO at Mozilla, my first thought was “Congratulations, gay activists. You have become the bullies you hate.”

On reflection, I think the appalling display of political thuggery we’ve just witnessed demands a more muscular response. Eich was forced out for donating $1000 to an anti-gay-marriage initiative? Then I think it is now the duty of every friend of free speech and every enemy of political bullying to pledge not only to donate $1000 to the next anti-gay-marriage initiative to come along, but to say publicly that they have done so as a protest against bullying.

This is my statement that I am doing so. I hope others will join me.

It is irrelevant whether we approve of gay marriage or not. The point here is that bullying must have consequences that deter the bullies, or we will get more of it. We must let these thugs know that they have sown dragon’s teeth, defeating themselves. Only in this way can we head off future abuses of similar kind.

And while I’m at it – shame on you, Mozilla, for knuckling under. I’ll switch to Chrome over this, if it’s not totally unusable.

548 thoughts on “Pushing back against the bullies

  1. s/sewn/sown/

    …and I haven’t used Mozilla in a long time anyway, but this would definitely turn me off.

  2. Shit, it you are supposed to withhold transacting business from some party because you dislike their stance on gay marriage, someone should send an email to Elane Photography.

  3. “When I heard that Brendan Eich had been forced to resign his new job as CEO at Mozilla, my first thought was “Congratulations, gay activists. You have become the bullies you hate.””

    That’s not true – the bullies that gays hate are bullies who bully gays.

    Why would you think they’re against bullying on principle and not just against things that are unpleasant for them? I’ve seen no evidence for that assumption.

  4. I’ve been using Chrome, and been fairly satisfied with it (as in, I’ve not felt the need to install many extensions); I’m now looking for a replacement for Thunderbird.

    (Replacements must be able to put account information in an area shared between both OSs on my Linux/Windows dual-boot machine.)

  5. If you do find Chrome unusable, I’ld like to propose the following:
    Switch your search engine to DuckDuckGo.
    That way, Mozilla doesn’t get any money from you, and you get more privacy-respecting search results. It’s like a win-win, except Mozilla loses.

    (Disclaimer: I work on Firefox for Mozilla, and I’m giving you an option that will hurt my livelihood, albeit by a small amount.)

  6. > I’ll switch to Chrome over this, if it’s not totally unusable.

    I interact daily with this blog (and actually most of the WWW) using Chromium “Version 31.0.1650.63 Built from source for CentOS release 6.5 (Final) (238485)” 64 bit.

    Tastes great, less filling. YMMV.

  7. “it is now the duty of every friend of free speech”

    What a weird concept of free speech you have. Seems to me you are saying there should be no consequence for speaking freely. As M.J.Garrett says (http://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/30577.html ) “Donating to Proposition 8 [at the point Eich did it] was not about supporting the status quo, it was about changing the constitution [of CA] to forbid something that courts had found was protected by the state constitution.” You seem to argue that he should not be inconvenienced for that. That his public opinion shouldn’t affect his role as the face of a corporation that prides itself on inclusivity.

    You seem to also argue that everyone who disagreed with Eich and called for his resignation is a bully. Now, while there indeed have been idiots, many others have argued the same point with restraint and reason. But heck, let’s throw them under the same bus.

    “Then I think it is now the duty of every friend of free speech and every enemy of political bullying to pledge not only to donate $1000 to the next anti-gay-marriage initiative to come along, but to say publicly that they have done so as a protest against bullying”
    So to you, all gays are bullies. Pardon me: “all gays that don’t immediately denounce this episode of bullying, are bullies. Even then, they should all suffer anyway. Serves them right”

    “And while I’m at it – shame on you, Mozilla, for knuckling under. I’ll switch to Chrome over this, if it’s not totally unusable.”
    Good riddance then.

  8. In any case, the first question is — was he really forced out, or did he feel it was the best thing for Mozilla for him to take his own controversy and distance himself and it from the company?

    But once you get past that, I’m not sure where you propose drawing a line. In a market-driven society, we are supposed to vote with our dollars.

    Were boycotts against South Africa morally defensible? If not, when, if ever, are boycotts morally defensible, and why is it indefensible for people to collectively voice their opinions?

    If so, how do you distinguish Mozilla?

  9. >That his public opinion shouldn’t affect his role as the face of a corporation that prides itself on inclusivity.

    That his private opinion shouldn’t affect his role as the face of a corporation that prides itself on inclusivity. Not even those who attack him charge that he showed bigoted behavior in the workplace.

    This isn’t about “inconvenience”, it’s about intimidating others into silence and submission.

    Boycotting Mozilla if it had anti-gay policies would have been justified. This is not.

  10. Here are some questions to consider/bullets to bite.

    Suppose that Brendan Eich had instead donated to a political campaign to pass a constitutional amendment to: (pick any of the following)

    – Ban inter-racial marriage
    – Ban homosexuals from holding state office
    – Ban women from voting
    – Raise the top marginal income tax rate to 98%
    – Require all political campaigns and ads to be publicly-funded
    – Send the Jews to the gas chambers (Godwin’s what now?)

    In that case,
    1) Would you still classify those calling for his resignation as “bullies?”
    2) Would you still pledge to donate to the same cause as a show of solidarity against the bullies?

  11. There’s been a lot of gleeful drooling over this at various venues, with discussions replete of how it’s a good thing to “make an example” – they don’t want to fire EVERYONE, just pick a few to encourage the others….

    Frankly, it is disgusting.

    Despite his views on Prop 8 – he’s done more to promote freedom of thought and expression through his work on firefox and javascript than the vast majority calling for his head can claim.

  12. “Despite his views on Prop 8 – he’s done more to promote freedom of thought and expression through his work on firefox and javascript than the vast majority calling for his head can claim.”

    Eich has been the CTO of Mozilla Corp for years, AFAIK doing a great job. It was also a different job. The CEO is (also) the public face of the Corp. His public opinion is important.

  13. Ahh. I get it – no one who doesn’t subscribe to right think in all currently necessary ways (subject to change tomorrow) is ALLOWED to be in a public position like that.

  14. >His donation is a matter of public record.

    Only because the IRS illegally leaked a list of Proposition 8 donors to a gay-activist group.

  15. And as to public record – yes. Somehow, the only thing they could find to tear him down was to start looking through donation records, not his performance at work or how he interacted with people there.

  16. >1) Would you still classify those calling for his resignation as “bullies?”
    >2) Would you still pledge to donate to the same cause as a show of solidarity against the bullies?

    In general, yes and no. I might make an exception for “Send the Jews to the gas chambers”, but if I did, I’d probably feel ashamed of myself afterwards.

  17. >Only because the IRS illegally leaked a list of Proposition 8 donors to a gay-activist group.

    Laws are for the little people.

  18. Here’s another one for syskill’s list:

    Restrict the rights of atheists: no voting, no serving on juries, extra taxes which are used to support favored religions.

    Would you boycott someone who promoted this?

    I’ve been happy with Chrome– it’s method of handling tabs is somewhat less annoying than Firefox’s.

    A left wing blogger doesn’t want politics to be a game of You Bet Your Job. His commenters mostly don’t agree with him.

  19. The IRS leaked NOM’s lists, not this one. This one was subject to FOIA request, and the records have been online since before the vote.

  20. > “Ahh. I get it – no one who doesn’t subscribe to right think in all currently necessary ways (subject to change tomorrow) is ALLOWED to be in a public position like that.”

    Ok, two things. First, don’t put that “ALLOWED” in my mouth. I agree with Eich’s resignation, but didn’t call for it. I just find Eric’s outburst ridiculous.
    Second, I’m sorry you didn’t notice this before. It’s not like it’s the first time a public figure has been forced to step down because of his opinions/deeds. Off the top of my head I can think of Gary Hart and John Edwards (sex affairs forced them to drop their candidacies). Let’s think about the boycotts called against Orson S. Card. (homophobic views).

  21. $1,000 is a little rich for my blood. I might consider $10.

    I’m not yet convinced this is a real issue. One question I have, is how did his donation become public information?

  22. > Only because the IRS illegally leaked a list of Proposition 8 donors to a gay-activist group.

    Sure about that?

    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.

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/04/04/no-the-irs-didnt-leak-mozilla-ex-ceos-do

  23. >why is it indefensible for people to collectively voice their opinions?

    What puts this in the “unacceptable” category for me is that Eich had made a private donation on his own time. The activists weren’t pushing against a government policy, or a corporate policy; they specifically targeted an individual for information based on a donor list that had been illegally leaked.

  24. Mozilla’s Mitchell Baker seems not to have seen the irony in her announcement when she said, “Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public.” Evidently this encouragement does not apply to crimethink.

    I wonder whether the existence of this sort of bullying can be used in a First Amendment challenge to donor reporting laws.

    (I note, in passing, that the same people who are complaining that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down limits on individuals’ political speech also were complaining when the court struck down limits on people banding together for the purposes of political speech. If I understand them correctly, neither those few with a great deal of money, nor those many of moderate means joined together, ought to speak on political matters; only the larger number of rich-but-not-too-rich people, or those in unions.)

    Not also that voices on the wingnut side of the discussion are eagerly awaiting a back-lash. From one of the less-restrained voices on the ’net:

    But now, thanks to the Eich affair, political employment discrimination is overt, and what was previously only legal is now PUBLIC AND ACCEPTED PRACTICE. It is purge or be purged time. So, if you are an employer in many states, you can now feel free to stop employing every non-critical employee who voted for Obama or is known to be a member of the Democratic Party.

    Others may predict the same back-lash without hoping for it, which is why I hope more people follow Eric’s lead and take a strong anti-bullying stance now.

  25. Only because the IRS illegally leaked a list of Proposition 8 donors to a gay-activist group.

    Is that true?

    Then it is outrageous.

  26. The trouble, Adriano, is that his public opinion about gays is COMPETELY UNRELATED to web browsers. If he was writing software for management of gay people, sure, fire his ass, but he would never risen that high in the gay people management hierarchy anyway.

  27. The PC Inquisition has branded him a heretic. Error has no rights. He must repent, or be burned, for the sake of the kingdom.

  28. >Is that true?

    Hm. Apparently I got some misinformation about this. According to Reason, which I consider a trustworthy source, there was an IRS leak of a donor list, but it wasn’t about prop 8.

    I still think Eich’s opinion about gay marriage remained his own private business, and nobody else’s, as long as he never engaged in discriminatory behavior against gays who were married or wanted to be. Nobody has charged that he did anything of the kind.

  29. “The trouble, Adriano, is that his public opinion about gays is COMPETELY UNRELATED to web browsers”
    I’m repeating myself: “his role as the face of a corporation that prides itself on inclusivity.” Mozilla Corp does not only make browsers, or at least, it doesn’t speak of just making browsers.

  30. > “I still think Eich’s opinion about gay marriage remained his own private business, and nobody else’s, as long as he never engaged in discriminatory behavior against gays who were married or wanted to be.”

    I already quoted:
    “Donating to Proposition 8 [at the point Eich did it] was not about supporting the status quo, it was about changing the constitution [of CA] to forbid something that courts had found was protected by the state constitution.”

    So he was very much discriminating against gays who were married or wanted to be. He wanted to outlaw the -at the time lawful- gay marriage.

  31. > Um, no. His donation is a matter of public record. His other donations to similar causes are also public.

    That it’s a public record does not make it a corporate act. Does (did) Eich acquit his responsibilities as a steward of the business, including the responsibility of hiring (promoting, etc.) the best people without regard to any matters that do not affect their job performance?

    “There is an old, old story about a theologian who was asked to reconcile the Doctrine of Divine Mercy with the doctrine of infant damnation. ‘The Almighty,’ he explained, ‘finds it necessary to do things in His official and public capacity which in His private and personal capacity He deplores. [Robert A. Heinlein (1907 - 1988) Methuselah's Children]”

    Do the acts of someone in their private and personal capacity necessarily reflect on their official and public etc.?

    Executive employment agreements often contain clauses like this: “Employee’s commission of any act (i) involving (A) misuse or misappropriation of money or other property of Corporation or (B) a felony or repeated use of drugs or intoxicants; or (ii) which disparages the business integrity of Corporation, its parent Corporation or subsidiaries or affiliates or their officer directors, employees or customers, and materially and adversely affects the business reputation of Corporation.”

    It’s pretty far down the slippery slope to argue that supporting Prop. 8 individually and in a private and personal capacity “disparages the business integrity of Mozilla and materially and adversely affects the business reputation of Mozilla”.

    (FWIW, I vehemently disagree with Eich’s position, Prop. 8, etc — but I tend to agree with Eric about the “bullying” aspect.)

  32. “It looks like you (and MANY others for that matter) don’t interpret ‘inclusivity’ as it was meant”

    No, sorry. I don’t interpret tolerance as “tolerance of the intolerant”. I don’t interpret inclusivity as “Let’s include the hateful”. I don’t see how, say, shunning nazis would be bad. I’ll always disagree with you on this.

  33. I wish he would have tried to fire everyone who called for his resignation. They are supposed to be working on software. He probably would have been forced out anyway, but if he fought, he might have made Mozilla a safe place for the type of people who can put together a functioning browser. But he resigns, apologizing profusely.
    Sad.
    Meanwhile, I wonder how long it will be before homosexuals realize they are putting their relationships under the loving care of the divorce industry. Court mandated wealth transfers shall now commence. The lawyers will be gay, but the homosexuals will not.

  34. I’ve been experimenting with Chrome for the last year on account of the instability of Firefox. If Chrome would fix the tiny fonts used in the tabs and add a sidebar I’d switch in a minute. But I don’t expect them to do either, the Chrome developers are singularly unresponsive to those long standing requests.

  35. >So he was very much discriminating against gays who were married or wanted to be. He wanted to outlaw the -at the time lawful- gay marriage.

    Discrimination is not proven even in principle here. Many people have beliefs about traditional marriage equating to one-man/one-woman that have nothing to do with gays per se – they are just as adamant about, for example, polygamous marriage.

    I don’t hold any of these positions myself, but I recognize that they exist. I also don’t consider it any of my business what position Brendan Eich himself holds.

  36. @Adriano –

    > No, sorry. I don’t interpret tolerance as “tolerance of the intolerant”. I don’t interpret inclusivity as “Let’s include the hateful”. I don’t see how, say, shunning nazis would be bad.

    Because shouting down dissenting opinions (especially in the name of “political correctness”) is a slippery slope to groupthink and real loss of freedom of speech/thought/action.

    Our host has explained this all before.

  37. >”> So he was very much discriminating against gays who were married or wanted to be. He wanted to outlaw the -at the time lawful- gay marriage.

    > That’s not proven even in principle. Many people have beliefs about traditional marriage equating to one-man/one-woman that have nothing to do with gays per se – they are just as adamant about, for example, polygamous marriiage. Some are religious, some secular-conservative.
    If donating money to an attempt to outlaw the recognized (at the time, in CA) right of gay marriage is not a proof of discrimination against married gays, I really can’t think of what would be a proof for you. I honestly do not understand this answer. Could you make it clearer?

    > I also don’t consider it any of my business what position Brendan Eich himself holds.
    Gays did consider it somewhat of their business, it appears.

  38. I hate bullies no matter what form they take. I was bullied excessively in grade school, just because my left hand shook due to having tremors. I would bust out in tears and you know what the rest of my peers did? Nothing! So I think it’s imperative that actions be taken in the form of a boycott to send a clear message that if your going to fight against intolerance, make sure you are not intolerant in your actions.

    I read his interview with the Guardian and he continued to stress that he kept his thoughts on gay marriage private and did not see the relevance for bringing them into his job. First word that came to my mind when I heard this was, “Gestapo”.

    As for Chrome, I think it’s more in line with the hacker need for efficiency due to it’s clear performance gains over Firefox. Not only that, but since I have two Android devices, the plugins and bookmarks sync across all of them very nicely.

    Thank you for taking a stand on this and you can count me in.

  39. @ Justin Andrusk

    > As for Chrome, … since I have two Android devices, the plugins and bookmarks sync across all of them very nicely.

    +1 Yes, this is an excellent feature if you are a ‘Droid user.

  40. From Reason:

    http://reason.com/blog/2014/04/04/no-the-irs-didnt-leak-mozilla-ex-ceos-do

    >>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 leak is related to prop 8, but Eich’s donation was for the latter, not NOM.

    Sorry, but it is still a pattern of intimidation that does not change @ESR’s essential point.

    >So he was very much discriminating against gays who were married or wanted to be. He wanted to outlaw the -at the time lawful- gay marriage.

    Discrimination and prejudice are two separate things. There are a lot of reasons to oppose “gay marriage” that have nothing to do with prejudice against gays. For example, concern over regulatory oversight or small business overhead costs.

  41. @John D. Bell
    >> No, sorry. I don’t interpret tolerance as “tolerance of the intolerant”. I don’t interpret inclusivity as “Let’s include the hateful”. I don’t see how, say, shunning nazis would be bad.

    > Because shouting down dissenting opinions (especially in the name of “political correctness”) is a slippery slope to groupthink and real loss of freedom of speech/thought/action.

    You say “shouting down dissenting opinions”, others say “voicing their displeasure at the choice of a CEO that didn’t represent the values of the company”.

    > Our host has explained this all before.

    Yes, I remember the post about werewolves. I disagreed then as I do now. I also disagree with our host letting -say- JAD post hate here, but it’s his blog, so whatever, I just filter it. Were this my blog, and should I really find someone (say, Jeff Read) posting what I thought was lies and misinformation, I wouldn’t be nearly as patient. I certainly wouldn’t waste time warning other readers that the poster is a notorious liar. I’d just ban him. Groupthink seems to be alive and kicking here, anyway. The difference between considering, say, Jeff Read a laughingstock, and banning him is almost zero, for me.

  42. @John Koisch
    > Discrimination and prejudice are two separate things. There are a lot of reasons to oppose “gay marriage” that have nothing to do with prejudice against gays. For example, concern over regulatory oversight or small business overhead costs.

    Let’s explain that to the gay couples, shall we? Let’s explain how you want to take away a right they fought for and gained, a right every hetero couple has, “but not because I’m a homophobe, no sir, it’s just that increases the overhead of mom-n-pop stores.” Let’s see how they understand the difference.

  43. > I don’t interpret inclusivity as “Let’s include the hateful”.
    Neither do I.
    The way I read it is, is that everyone is welcome to contribute to accomplish the mission of Mozilla.
    That includes people who’s private/personal opinion may/are hateful according to others BUT leave your private/personal opinion at the gate when you ‘come in’ to contribute ie enter the workplace.

    That’s exactly what Eich has done, leave his personal opinion outside of the workplace and has done that the whole 15 years he worked on/for Mozilla.

    Lots of people on the Ars forums don’t seem to get that you can separate the two.
    In my professional life I have rarely known the private/political views of the people I work with and I don’t care as long as their views don’t interfere with their work or my ability to do mine.

  44. @Adriano:

    “No, sorry. I don’t interpret tolerance as “tolerance of the intolerant”.”

    Ah, Newspeak; what ever would we do without you?

  45. The “anti-Communist blacklists as witch hunt” allegory was literally a part of my public school education. I had been under the impression that the moral force behind this argument was anti-blacklist. If it wasn’t, then what’s left over, pro-Communist?

    I’d also been led to believe that banning anonymous contributions to political campaigns was supposed to be justified in order to reveal information about the *campaigns*, not about the *contributors*.

    Since I’m clearly misunderstanding the moral lines here, I’d kind of like to know where the actual line is supposed to lie. Should we end the secret ballot, for example? If we have the right to see who’s supporting bad politics by spending money on advertising, why shouldn’t we see who’s supporting bad politics by casting legally-enforceable votes?

  46. @Diederik
    I’m repeating myself: “I’m sorry you didn’t notice this before. It’s not like it’s the first time a public figure has been forced to step down because of his opinions/deeds. ”

    Good for you that you are able to keep your perception of others so compartmentalized. Many people aren’t as strong as you. For me, if my boss told me in private he didn’t want me to have the same rights he has because reasons, I’d still wouldn’t want to work for him. Even if he kept his opinion strictly outside the workplace.

  47. Firstly, private citizens boycotting someone does not in any way infringe on that persons freedom of speech. Freedom of speech is freedom from prosecution by the government, not freedom from people judging you based on your speech. Had he been a state employee and had he been fired because of this, you may have had a case, but he was neither a state employee, nor fired, so there is simply no free speech issue here at all.

    Secondly, trying to destroy the career (through legal means) of a person who is trying to destroy your life, seems fair. Especially to the extent the person is unrepentant. Had he come out and said, “sorry I tried to destroy your life, I will not try to destroy your life again”, then maybe people should have backed off. But he did not. Mind you, I would not care one bit about Mr. Eich’s personal opinions. I would also not mind one bit if he wants to lobby against gay marriage, as long as he restricts himself to just that: lobby gay people to refrain from marrying, lobby churches to refrain from conducting ceremonies. But don’t lobby the government to infringe on the rights of others. At that point it is no longer simply a matter of opinion.

    I think an important point here is that Mr. Eich’s actions were not just in favor of some amoral initiative. We are not debating the color of a bike shed here. This was a clearly objectively imoral action (as was every vote cast in favor of the proposition), attempting to infringe on the rights of others at no benefit to anyone. The fact that this issue is still up for debate, is of course regrettable, but the people holding Mr. Eich’s view are dying out, and history will not judge them kindly. And quite frankly I think the present is far too kind on them (you?).

  48. When I heard that Eich was being harassed by a group of bossy bitches (see what I did there, sheryl?), I immediately switched to the Firefox browser. When I heard that Mozilla caved in to pressure from those same bossy bitches and let Eich go, I immediately switched back to Chrome.

    ESR is right on the money here. However you feel about gays or gay marriage (I particularly don’t think the government has any business telling us who we can and can’t marry) — we can’t let a bunch of liberal commie social-justice activists bully us around. It is for this reason I make it a point to eat at Chick-Fil-A, watch Duck Dynasty, and it’s the reason why I switched to Firefox for what ended up being only a day.

  49. >If donating money to an attempt to outlaw the recognized (at the time, in CA) right of gay marriage is not a proof of discrimination against married gays, I really can’t think of what would be a proof for you. I honestly do not understand this answer. Could you make it clearer?

    Here’s a hypothetical that may be helpful. One Endan Breich tells you that he “defends traditional marriage”, but the behavior you actually see is the does not vote against a proposition banning Mormon-style plural marriage.

  50. >> “No, sorry. I don’t interpret tolerance as “tolerance of the intolerant”.”
    > Ah, Newspeak; what ever would we do without you?

    I’m sorry if the idea is new to you. I got it from Primo Levi.

  51. “Donating to Proposition 8 [at the point Eich did it] was not about supporting the status quo, it was about changing the constitution [of CA] to forbid something that courts had found was protected by the state constitution.”

    This is a deliberately dishonest statement. The status quo was that CA was barred by law from recognising same-sex marriages. The people had already voted on that and overwhelmingly approved it. The legislature had brazenly ignored it, and the CA Supreme Court agreed that this was true, but instead of overturning the legislature’s blatantly illegal act, a majority of the state court committed their own treason against their oaths of office, by deliberately lying about the meaning of the state constitution. They knew very well that it did not protect the non-existent “right” to same-sex marriage, but they lied and said that it did, because it was the only way they could see to rescue their preferred policy. So the public put these impudent judges in their place. The result of Prop 8 was a public repudiation of the court decision. It overturned that decision and entrenched the public’s view on the matter explicitly in the constitution, so that even these rogues could not ignore it. To claim that the temporary and illegitimate situation that reigned during those few months was the status quo, and that the effort to return to the status quo ante was some sort of aggressive move, would be like Putin claiming that the Russian annexation of Crimea is now the status quo, and nobody must challenge it.

  52. @Adriano:

    “You say “shouting down dissenting opinions”, others say “voicing their displeasure at the choice of a CEO that didn’t represent the values of the company”.”

    They weren’t merely “voicing their displeasure.” They were demanding that he either resign or submit to an auto-da-fé.

  53. @Adriano
    If my boss would tell me that, he would have brought his personal opinion to the workplace and I would not be ok with that (and wouldn’t want to work with/for him/her either).

    If your (personal) friend also happens to be your boss, things could get tricky.
    But I don’t want to have a professional relation with my personal friends, even more so if the relation not equal like in boss/employee relation.

  54. @adriano

    “Donating to Proposition 8 [at the point Eich did it] was not about supporting the status quo, it was about changing the constitution [of CA] to forbid something that courts had found was protected by the state constitution.”

    Which is what being part of the democratic process is all about. By blacklisting political opponents and depriving them of livelihood you create a chilling effect in terms of free speech and political participation. Prop 8 lost in the end. That’s as it should be.

    I wrote about the Hollywood blacklist in the other thread. I see parallels here. Folks advocating that boycotts and twitter campaigns is the proper response should go back and read about that and understand that it’s a two edged weapon.

    You never know if the mob will be manipulated to turn on you next.

    No, sorry. I don’t interpret tolerance as “tolerance of the intolerant”. I don’t interpret inclusivity as “Let’s include the hateful”. I don’t see how, say, shunning nazis would be bad. I’ll always disagree with you on this.

    I haven’t seen him as hateful. I grew up in the south in the 60’s so my perceptions are different. I’ve seen folks vilify him as being the same thing as a clansman that hates colored people and I just don’t see that in his actions or in his words. There was a large number of good people that believed that segregation was correct and the separate but equal was fine. Some of those would donate money to candidates that fought integration. They were wrong but not hateful or evil.

    There were clansmen and there were just plain folk that didn’t get it. One hated you. The other misguided. And it certainly took many longer than six or seven years (2008 to 2014) before they came around.

  55. “You say ‘shouting down dissenting opinions’, others say ‘voicing their displeasure at the choice of a CEO that didn’t represent the values of the company’.”

    I naively thought that, in Mozilla’s case, “the values of the company” would have something to do with the quality of the software they create and the follow-on support provided to any of their customers who experience problems using that software.

    But I guess “the values of the company” refers instead to the social engineering interests of certain activists who have joined the organization in order to advance those interests.

    Companies are apparently no longer in business to provide good products at a good price. Nowadays they’re “change agents” in the cause of “social justice”.

  56. I can’t agree with the idea of donating to causes I don’t believe in to make a statement. Regardless of my feeling on this whole matter (and I think it was disgusting), it would be even more disgusting for me to support a law or position I didn’t have to make a point. It would be something akin to me killing the family of a criminal to make a point about their crimes.

    Perhaps the most fitting response to this (short of more speech as we’re doing now) would be to turn these tactics against the bullies. Every person who’s supported the ouster of Mr. Eich online is probably traceable back to a real identity. From there, we simply need to examine the rest of their political activity and find them publicly supporting some other civil rights restriction. A good bet would be gun control. From there, every person who found this display to be thoroughly disgusting should start agitating at the supporter’s employers to fire them for their political support of the removal of rights. After all, isn’t that exactly what the supporters are saying this is all about. Eich is bad because he supported the suppression of a right and should be ousted from his job. So any person ever who supports the suppression of a right is a bad person and should also be ousted from their job.

    Personally, I’d rather live and let live, and not become the bully I despise, but that might also be why my political persuasion has little to no power. It’s hard to wield political power when you don’t want it.

  57. >”By blacklisting political opponents and depriving them of livelihood you create a chilling effect in terms of free speech and political participation”

    How should people protest then? “Hey, we don’t like the guy, but it’s all right, he can just go on as my boss?”

    >”They weren’t merely “voicing their displeasure.” They were demanding that he either resign or submit to an auto-da-fé.”

    What other alternative did they have? Grumbling quietly? Again, a person who has done to your group -or you personally- damage is appointed your boss. You can stay silent, or you can protest. If you have a voice, you can ask for his resignation or his apology. He’s forced to do neither by you alone.

  58. I’ve been experimenting with Chrome for the last year on account of the instability of Firefox. If Chrome would fix the tiny fonts used in the tabs and add a sidebar I’d switch in a minute. But I don’t expect them to do either, the Chrome developers are singularly unresponsive to those long standing requests.

    It turns out that every browser sucks in some way. Which annoyances you wish to put up with varies by person and browser version. I use safari and if it sucks for some reason move to Chrome. If Chrome sucks I drop down to Firefox.

    Tech is tech.

  59. @Adriano

    Would it be appropriate for a Mozilla CEO to be forced to resign for contributing to an organization that was seeking to ban firearms? Banning abortions? Making abortions more easily available? Allowing for more or less political contributions? Wanting education vouchers to be available?

    Basically was his donation an appropriate call to action because it was political or because it was something you disagreed with?

  60. @Adriano:

    >Again, a person who has done to your group -or you personally- damage is appointed your boss.

    Bearing in mind that Proposition 8 has since been overturned, and that by all reports Mr. Eich has in his professional capacity treated others with utmost respect regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or other group affiliation, please identify the “damage” that Mr. Eich has done to anyone.

    Be specific.

  61. Adriano, give me one reason why we, the majority who oppose same-sex marriage, should tolerate you. What makes your view better than theirs? If one view is not to be tolerated, why shouldn’t it be yours?

    For that matter, give me one reason, according to your own position, why it was wrong for the homophobic majority that existed for many years to ban sodomy altogether. They legalised it in the name of tolerance; if you won’t tolerate them, then they were mistaken to let you into the light in the first place, and since your place there was obtained illegitimately shouldn’t it be taken away? Why don’t we return to the status quo ante 1960, and rerun the sexual revolution and the whole gay rights campaign, but this time with the majority on notice that if it’s allowed to succeed they will be illegitimised and driven into the shadows? How do you think that would play out?

    The bottom line here is that it is intolerable for a view that was absolutely mainstream a mere five or ten years ago to now be considered so marginal that it can be persecuted without consequence. Opposition to same-sex marriage is a respectable opinion, and if you can’t tolerate it then I see no reason to tolerate you.

  62. > “Here’s a hypothetical that may be helpful. One Endan Breich tells you that he “defends traditional marriage”, but the behavior you actually see is the does not vote against a proposition banning Mormon-style plural marriage.”

    Eric, I was a bit lost in the triple negative, but I think I see your point, though the example seems to me a bit weak. I ask you: as a member of the church of LDS, or a sympathizer, would you be happy about it? What would you do?

    I said earlier: you seem to be putting everyone in the same bag. Gays who protested forcefully, people who asked for his literal head, gays who work at Mozilla, gays who don’t, blog commenters, forum commenters (always level-headed, these ones). You ask for boycotts against people who in all likelyhood had nothing to do with this. In fact, you demonstrate the point @nht makes. You try to manipulate a mob against those who did something you see as evil. What about their free speech? Where does it end?

  63. >”Bearing in mind that Proposition 8 has since been overturned, and that by all reports Mr. Eich has in his professional capacity treated others with utmost respect regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or other group affiliation, please identify the “damage” that Mr. Eich has done to anyone.

    Be specific.”

    Why, I’m certain no gay couple who was married before Prop 8 passed was inconvenienced afterwards. At all.

  64. > How should people protest then?
    If Eich himself has made his opinion public, then people would be right to protest and/or ask for his resignation.

    But that’s the crux of this whole situation, someone else (and afaik through an illegal act) has made his opinion public, which he himself has always kept personal and out of the workplace.
    That’s also why he was interviewed by the Guardian/CNET he didn’t want to comment on his personal opinions, because that would’ve made him bring his personal opinion to the workplace. And he explicitly said that THAT would’ve violated Mozilla’s principles.

  65. @Adriano:

    >Why, I’m certain no gay couple who was married before Prop 8 passed was inconvenienced afterwards. At all.

    All of the marriages that occurred between when the California Supreme Court held that gay marriage was legal under existing California law, and when Proposition 8 passed, were left intact by Proposition 8. It did not retroactively “undo” anything.

    Try again.

  66. Milhouse on 2014-04-04 at 15:55:02 said:
    “Donating to Proposition 8 [at the point Eich did it] was not about supporting the status quo, it was about changing the constitution [of CA] to forbid something that courts had found was protected by the state constitution.”

    This is a deliberately dishonest statement. The status quo was that CA was barred by law from recognising same-sex marriages. The people had already voted on that and overwhelmingly approved it. The legislature had brazenly ignored it, and the CA Supreme Court agreed that this was true, but instead of overturning the legislature’s blatantly illegal act, a majority of the state court committed their own treason against their oaths of office, by deliberately lying about the meaning of the state constitution …

    Whether or not I agreed with the principle of gay marriage I might well have donated to Prop 8 in the way Eich did because of the outrageous decision by the CA legislature and judiciary to ignore the clearly expressed will of the people.

    CA prides itself as a democracy but yet it seems that when the people vote for something their representatives disagree with the representatives can feel free to simply ignore the will of the people. This reminds me strongly of the EU where, when a referendum goes against the EU’s desires they simply make the country hold the referendum again until the right result is obtained. This sort of behavior by our rulers needs to be protested in every possible way by everyone.

  67. How should people protest then? “Hey, we don’t like the guy, but it’s all right, he can just go on as my boss?”

    By understanding when action is required and when you’re being manipulated into a disproportionate response.

    The guy donated $1000 to a cause. It won then lost in court. If he’s law abiding and can leave those feelings at the door that’s just his business. There are actual hateful people out there more worthy of attention.

    I’ve done clinic defense before. There’s a huge difference between people that might give some money to a pro-life candidate or a pro-life pac and those that come out to harass women in hateful ways. One is working within the bounds of the political process. The other is not.

    Mozilla provided partner benefits and I don’t think that would have changed. Nobody has provided any stories about him creating a hostile environment and if he had not been outed I doubt anyone would have known his personal views.

    THAT’S the guy you think needs to be made an example of? Or was it just that he was an easy target and that Mozilla would buckle?

  68. > “Adriano, give me one reason why we, the majority who oppose same-sex marriage, should tolerate you. What makes your view better than theirs? If one view is not to be tolerated, why shouldn’t it be yours?”

    You are trying to deny a right to one portion of the human race based on their sexual affinity to other consenting adults. That, to me, is wrong.

    > “For that matter, give me one reason, according to your own position, why it was wrong for the homophobic majority that existed for many years to ban sodomy altogether.”

    Because I don’t think consenting adults should be told what to do in bed.

    > “Opposition to same-sex marriage is a respectable opinion, and if you can’t tolerate it then I see no reason to tolerate you.”

    I disagree, for the reasons noted above. You can have your opinion. You can’t force me to respect it.

  69. The “anti-Communist blacklists as witch hunt” allegory was literally a part of my public school education. I had been under the impression that the moral force behind this argument was anti-blacklist. If it wasn’t, then what’s left over, pro-Communist?

    Yes. The “anti-anti-communist” movement was a fraud, and the anti-blacklist campaign was almost entirely run by those with secret (and not so secret) communist sympathies.

    I support boycotting communists and nazis. I support boycotting the Phelps family. I support boycotting supporters of “Palestinian” terrorists. Those are not respectable positions to hold in polite society. Christianity is a respectable position. “Heteronormativity” (as the newspeak term has it) is a respectable position. And support for the definition of marriage that was universally accepted as recently as five years ago is certainly still a respectable position.

  70. “All of the marriages that occurred between when the California Supreme Court held that gay marriage was legal under existing California law, and when Proposition 8 passed, were left intact by Proposition 8. It did not retroactively “undo” anything.

    Try again.”

    Cool. I suppose that every gay couple who had made plans to marry and deposited money for the ceremony/party/whatever did find it a bit inconvenient.
    Less specific: I’d hazard that watching as a right your group had fought for and won being taken away again is not actually pleasant. If you don’t want to define that as “damage”, well, I don’t have anything else.

  71. “THAT’S the guy you think needs to be made an example of? Or was it just that he was an easy target and that Mozilla would buckle?”

    I’m repeating myself: “Ok, two things. First, don’t put that “ALLOWED” in my mouth. I agree with Eich’s resignation, but didn’t call for it. I just find Eric’s outburst ridiculous.” Go find the comment.

  72. >What about [the gay activists'] free speech? Where does it end?

    Maybe that’s the question they should have been asking themselves before they ginned up this witch hunt.

    Karma is a bitch.

  73. Prop 8 lost in the end.

    Wrong. It won. A corrupt federal judge then struck it down, and the higher courts declined to get their hands dirty disciplining him.

  74. Brendan was not actually forced to resign, or there would have been a large crowd following him to the exit. He made this decision on his own, thinking first and foremost of Mozilla, his life’s work. And presumably to protect his sanity and his family from the vitriol that the world had been throwing his way.

    It’s certainly an ugly and deeply unfair situation, but that’s the world we live in, and this is the press and public discourse we have. What is even more ridiculous in my view, is that both sides in the debate think that boycotting Firefox is the way to hurt the other. Which is actually true, if you think about it, as an open web where everyone is free to innovate is something that would benefit everybody, on both sides.

    So let’s just do that and get over with it. Let’s stick it to the man and the bozos all around the world that help build Firefox. Who needs an open source browser produced by a non-profit foundation, when we have all those others whose creators can afford to burn millions to handle PR shitstorms. That’s what makes a good browser, right?

    Disclaimer: I work for Mozilla and I’m tired of the abysmal quality of a lot of the public commentary on the issue. From some of the commentators I expected more than that.

  75. @esr:

    Did you by chance live in Bala Cynwynd, PA about 15 years ago?

    In other news, I’ve now taken to looking up everybody I know (this may take a while) in the Federal and State databases for campaign contributions. Anybody who has ever given money to support a candidate or cause to restrict my rights to own firearms or property will now be treated explicitly like shit. I need to spend some money consulting with a lawyer to find out specifically how much of an asshole I can purposefully be to people without facing legal consequences.

  76. “Wrong. It won. A corrupt federal judge then struck it down, and the higher courts declined to get their hands dirty disciplining him.”

    I’ll try to use your definition of winning the next time my soccer team loses. I’ll keep you posted.

  77. Will Mozilla be dropping support for JavaScript? After all, if we hate the man and his actions, shouldn’t we hate what he has created?

  78. “Maybe that’s the question they should have been asking themselves before the ginned up this witch hunt.”

    Yes, but you are the purported paladin of free speech. They just want to marry.

  79. here’s a huge difference between people that might give some money to a pro-life candidate or a pro-life pac and those that come out to harass women in hateful ways.

    There is nothing hateful about begging someone to reconsider having her helpless child slaughtered. Or about telling her to her face, and making it difficult for her to evade, that that is exactly what she is about to do.

  80. >Yes, but you are the purported paladin of free speech.

    Yes, and that requires me to make war on these thugs and their allies.

  81. You are trying to deny a right to one portion of the human race based on their sexual affinity to other consenting adults.

    Bullshit. Homosexuals have always been free to marry, they just didn’t want to. There has never been a right to purport to “marry” a member of the same sex, and force everyone to go along with this pretense, and there still isn’t.

  82. > “Adriano, give me one reason why we, the majority who oppose same-sex marriage, should tolerate you. What makes your view better than theirs? If one view is not to be tolerated, why shouldn’t it be yours?”

    You are trying to deny a right to one portion of the human race based on their sexual affinity to other consenting adults. That, to me, is wrong.

    And I think your view is wrong. Yet you expect me to tolerate you, despite your opinion. Tell me why the hell I should do so? Why should you not be forced to hide your opinion, keep it a deep dark secret, on pain of being fired, expelled, evicted and shunned? After all, that is what you want to do to me, and to the majority that agree with me. So why shouldn’t we do that to you? Why shouldn’t we have done it to you long ago? The only reason is the ideal of tolerance, but you have just repudiated it, so why should we not do the same?

  83. >I suppose that every gay couple who had made plans to marry and deposited money for the ceremony/party/whatever did find it a bit inconvenient.

    Proposition 8 did not forbid gays from holding wedding ceremonies or receptions. It did not even prevent gays from enjoying all of the legal rights of marriage provided by the state (existing California law already countenanced civil unions).

    Keep trying.

    >If you don’t want to define that as “damage”, well, I don’t have anything else.

    And there we have it. His deviation from politically-correct orthodoxy hurt their feelings. That’s the extent of the “damage” that anybody suffered.

    And for that, they hounded him from his job and quite possibly destroyed his career aspirations.

    If you consider that an appropriate and proportionate response, I consider you a contemptible excuse for a human being, and we have nothing further to talk about.

  84. @Milhouse, @nht: Excellent summaries.

    @Adriano:

    Tolerance is not the same as agreement. You can disagree with a position and still tolerate the position or the person holding it. Eich’s actions are eminently tolerable: he didn’t go out of his way to harm anybody. At worst, he supported changing the legal qualifications to get a State benefit which is largely titular, given that Civil Unions were already available with equivalent legal benefits. He didn’t go out and rough up his political opponents. He didn’t even call for the loss of employment of those who thought otherwise.

    Moreover, many of my rights are blocked by the government. I cannot buy, sell, and use heroin. I cannot own nuclear weapons. I cannot solicit and pay for sex. I cannot buy new automatic firearms. I am taxed.

    If working towards the reduction of any of my rights is somehow intolerable, what response is legitimate? Digging up dirt on people in order to get them fired? Making up dirt to get them fired? Slaying them by sword and salting their fields?

    Where does the line end?

  85. I’ll try to use your definition of winning the next time my soccer team loses. I’ll keep you posted.

    Do you deny that there are corrupt umpires? If your team shoots more goals, and the umpire, who has personally bet on the other side, declares that your team has no right to be in the league, and cannot win a game no matter how many goals they shoot, then you have been cheated, and you have the right to act accordingly, e.g. by invading the pitch and kicking the shit out of the umpire.

  86. > As for Chrome [...]. Not only that, but since I have two Android devices, the plugins and bookmarks sync across all of them very nicely.

    There is Firefox Mini (for Android) / Firefox Browser for Android and it has Firefox Sync (where you hold the key, rather than trusting the corp that makes money on ads; OTOH you are responsible for not losing said key).

  87. > There is nothing hateful about begging someone to reconsider having her helpless child
    > slaughtered. Or about telling her to her face, and making it difficult for her to evade, that that is
    > exactly what she is about to do.

    To me that is really crossing the line, harassing someone because you don’t agree with their choice.

    To quote Evelyn Beatrice Hall:
    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

    But saying it and harassing her like you suggested is not the same thing in my book.

  88. @Milhouse, you seem to be conflating both “respect” with “tolerance” and our opinions with ourselves: ” Opposition to same-sex marriage is a respectable opinion, and if you can’t tolerate it then I see no reason to tolerate you.”

    So, you want respect, tolerance, puppies, or what? Do you want respect for your opinion, or for yourself? I said “You can have your opinion. You can’t force me to respect it.” I also said that I accept that Eich can have his opinion. Were I gay, I wouldn’t want him as my boss, and would say so. Apparently that would make me a bully.

    @Garrett “Tolerance is not the same as agreement. You can disagree with a position and still tolerate the position or the person holding it.”
    I said so. I’m still saying so. I also said “I don’t have to like it”. Again, I’m not excusing the bullies. I’m saying that not all of the people who wanted Eich out of the post are bullies.

  89. How the worm has turned. Time to stop referring to Western gays as an “oppressed” group. And within IT specifically they are a privileged group.

  90. “Do you deny that there are corrupt umpires? If your team shoots more goals, and the umpire, who has personally bet on the other side, declares that your team has no right to be in the league, and cannot win a game no matter how many goals they shoot, then you have been cheated, and you have the right to act accordingly, e.g. by invading the pitch and kicking the shit out of the umpire.”

    While I don’t think it’s fair to you, I’m saying that if the decision is still that your team lost, your team has lost. Sorry.

  91. TM wrote: “I can’t agree with the idea of donating to causes I don’t believe in to make a statement.”

    Yeah, I agree with that. It doesn’t make sense to me to support a cause I think is wrong just because of some other wrong. It’s the old “two wrongs don’t make a right” thing. If I was neutral on the gay marriage issue, or against gay marriage, then sure, but that’s not the case. So no, I won’t donate to anti-gay marriage stuff in order to protest this clear oppression of free-speech.

  92. @Adriano:
    “What other alternative did they [the offended] have?”

    As with every other issue in which one engages in free speech in this country, one speaks out to the contrary, with argument or even condemnation. But one does not get to demand their job or slander them or harass them.

    Even the most un-engaged know this from a dozen every day examples. The juvenile bully on the playground though, yes he has the “what else could I do” defense ready, as do you, in case of the spotlight.

  93. While I don’t think it’s fair to you, I’m saying that if the decision is still that your team lost, your team has lost. Sorry.,

    No, it hasn’t. The umpire’s decision is a nullity. The team won the game, and was robbed of the prize, exactly as if they had been given the prize and then mugged on the way out of the stadium and had it stolen then.

  94. @Adriano

    As of 2004, when career criminal Gavin Newsome, someone who clearly has no interest in the institution of marriage as it was traditionally known, started handing out marriage licenses[1] in violation of state law, there was no discrimination against homosexuals IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA when it came to the economic and legal chattels of marriage.

    At the time the *State Law* said (in effect because i’m not going to dig it out and quote it) that civil unions (or partnerships, I forget the exact wording) were functional identical to marriage with the exception of how they were created and destroyed. Meaning that under California law *AT THE TIME* there was no difference in them with reference to taxes (state and local), inheritance, etc. Most California companies that provided benefits to married partners also provided the benefits to civil partners.

    The government could also not prevent churches (that wanted to) from performing marriage rites/ceremonies with same-sex couples (or even group weddings) as those are religious events and outside the purview of the state. They could not even prevent any two or 10 people from calling themselves married, or for those in the body politic from accepting and recognizing those sorts of coupling.

    In short, other than a marriage certificate and a divorce lawyer the differences between the two were as minimal as could be.

    But in 2004 the Left needed a stick to beat the Republicans with, and Newsom needed something to differentiate himself from his even more frothing at the mouth communist opposition, and there it was. He could make a whole lot of wealth constituents happy, create a wedge issue and make himself look like a stand up guy all in one swoop.

    Me, I’d have solved the problem by doing a `cat fed_regs | sed ‘s/marriage/civil union/g’ `.
    (and yes, account for upper case, you get the point).

    Let the religious keep “Marriage” as a sacrament, let the law have it’s bucket, and let society figure out how to deal with it.

    Don’t forget, Prop 8 won OVERWHELMINGLY in an election that Obama won *overwhelmingly*.

    And before tote out that stupid “we don’t vote on rights” bullshit, of course we do. Sometimes it’s the people, sometimes it’s Congress, sometimes it’s 12 old fucks in D.C., but our rights get voted on all the time. In fact, at about the same time Newsom was violating the law, his city voted to BAN HANDGUNS. Because that works so well.

    The left uses every tool, legal and otherwise, that it can to intimidate and silence people.

    You’re part of it.

    And this shit is *exactly* why I don’t use my real name much on line anymore.

  95. “…your team has lost. Sorry.”

    Quick now, demand the jobs of the losing team while talking up their aggrieved victims.

  96. > “Proposition 8 did not forbid gays from holding wedding ceremonies or receptions. It did not even prevent gays from enjoying all of the legal rights of marriage provided by the state (existing California law already countenanced civil unions).”
    Yes, I can also make a ceremony declaring I’m the Pope. So civil unions are _exactly_ the same as marriage? So what was the problem, then? And why have two things, then?

    > And for that, they hounded him from his job and quite possibly destroyed his career aspirations.
    First, let’s throw the “quite possibly” phrase away. Its information content is zero. Let’s also remove the “hounded” verb, and use the more factual “asked he be removed or resign”. There. After all, just because some right-wingers say obama is a muslim monkey, it don’t mean you all think the same. Does it?

    > If you consider that an appropriate and proportionate response, I consider you a contemptible excuse for a human being, and we have nothing further to talk about.

    No, hounding him and destroying his career is not what I find an appropriate or proportionate response. It’s also not what I have been saying or advocating in this thread, at all. Try again.

  97. I’ve switched to Opera on both my Linux desktop and my Android tablet.

    It probably got buried by subsequent comments while awaiting moderation, so I want to repeat my previous observation that this whole affair only arose because Mozilla, like so many other companies, has become confused about what their “company values” should address. Instead of its values being about providing quality software & excellent technical support, Mozilla is catering to the activists among its employees who want to advance their social engineering agendas.

    I.e., it seems to have forgotten what its real business is.

  98. “No, it hasn’t. The umpire’s decision is a nullity. The team won the game, and was robbed of the prize, exactly as if they had been given the prize and then mugged on the way out of the stadium and had it stolen then.”

    I’ll draw you a picture, then: “If the umpire’s decision is upheld or let stand all the way to the supreme grand command of Baseball, your team has still lost. Sorry” Do you get what I’m saying, now?

  99. Adriano is apparently a master of the concern troll. Feigning an interest in fairness while abetting the gay activists. Notice how his posts are full of pedantry to conceal this fact. This is the way it always is with monkeys (especially the weaker ones), always positioning to look concerned and harmless while getting ready to stab you in the back.

  100. I said this the last time it came up (on the topic of Duck Dynasty) and I’ll say it again. I will never understand self-professed libertarians who think that boycotts are not part of the free market but are somehow outside it.

  101. @Adriano:

    >So civil unions are _exactly_ the same as marriage? So what was the problem, then? And why have two things, then?

    Of course they’re not exactly the same thing, as was successfully argued by the plaintiffs challenging Proposition 8 in their lawsuit. The point is that gay couples had a serviceable alternative to bona fide marriage pending the outcome of the litigation, and nothing about Proposition 8 prevented them from having wedding ceremonies or receptions in the meantime. The cost or inconvenience of the delay was trivial.

    >First, let’s throw the “quite possibly” phrase away. Its information content is zero.

    Let’s not. Stipulated: neither of us can predict the future. But if you think this episode hasn’t damaged Eich’s future employability in Silicon Valley, you’re a fool.

    >Let’s also remove the “hounded” verb, and use the more factual “asked he be removed or resign”.

    Again, let’s not. Did you even read the Owen Thomas screed I linked to above? When you have the managing editor of Valleyway demanding that you publicly recant and do penance for a six-year-old and professionally-irrelevant deviation from politically-correct orthodoxy, and when that demand is met with hosannas from a sizable amen choir, “hounded” is perfectly descriptive.

    >No, hounding him and destroying his career is not what I find an appropriate or proportionate response.

    And yet you’re defending and apologizing and making excuses for people who’ve done precisely that.

  102. I will never understand self-professed libertarians who think that boycotts are not part of the free market but are somehow outside it.

    Boycotts are part of the free market. Secondary boycotts are not.

    And boycotting people for holding an position which is within the spectrum of respectable opinion is part of the free market but it is not part of civil discourse, because it is a deliberate attempt to push a respectable opinion off that spectrum, to delegtimise it. It is not acceptable to win elections by banning the opposition.

  103. @Adriano on 2014-04-04 at 14:47:58 said:
    > Ok, two things. First, don’t put that “ALLOWED” in my mouth. I agree with Eich’s resignation, but didn’t call for it.

    I stand corrected. No, you didn’t use that exact word or phrasing. I won’t waste time unpacking what you have said, and the assumptions and implicit statements that are part of it though. You are getting tiresome.

    @Random832

    I think this is a case of Sorites paradox (the paradox of the heap) combined with a bit of disingenuousness. There is a statement – even a boycott as a statement – that can be made. “We disagree with his personal opinions. Boo! Don’t use Firefox!”

    Great. You are entirely legally allowed to do that. Go for it. But at some point, people who are bothered by something and speaking out cross the line from lodging their complaints and “being heard” to being assholes and bullies. The line is not crystal clear, but it exists.

    So yes, it is legal, but the question should be, is it wise?

    Keep in mind that truly free speech and actions cut both ways. In the past, it was considered bad form to fire, or “encourage to resign in a way everyone knows he was run out” someone for having a political opinion, if he showed up on time, did his job, and treated the people he worked with with respect (and before you go there, no, holding a different opinion on a political issue is not being disrespectful) It’s part of that free speech thing. The answer to speech is more speech.

    One problem here isn’t so much that people are pissed he got appointed – it’s that what they’re pissed about has so little to do with his job there, and compared to what he has arguably done FOR the very people he supposedly offends, is a pittance.

    Add to that my personal observation of many commenters (far fewer here) who have come right out and said that this was supposed to be an example to teach everyone else not to have these bad opinions. And given the context – that things you said or did off the job would be dug up to get rid of you.

    Another problem is the blatant double standard. One of the strongest arguments here was that he was acting to restrict a right that had been previously been granted.

    OK. Let’s turn that around. What if a CEO is known to be a supporter of the Brady Campaign, with donations, etc. – a group that actively seeks to curtail a right explicitly written out in our constitution that forbids the govt. from taking away practical means for the natural right of self-defense?

    By the very arguments above, we have a much stronger case to not only protest, but call for their resignation. They want to take away explicitly enumerated rights we’ve had for hundreds of years! Blacks and Gays too! And hispanics!

    So no – calling this bullying isn’t about people being upset that he once supported (and maybe still believes in) an opposing political view. It’s that they dug up a part of his life outside of his work to run him out, that so many are so gleeful about it, and that many of them are using arguments that are either poorly thought out due to being provably more applciable the other way, or are rank hypocrites who will chuck those standards out the window when not convenient.

  104. Roger Phillips on 2014-04-04 at 17:06:28 said:
    > How the worm has turned.
    > Time to stop referring to Western gays as an “oppressed” group.
    > And within IT specifically they are a privileged group.

    Be careful, privileged is a term of art. [Posted from rekonq, to which I have returned. I am happy to note that the bug that drove me away seems to no longer occur (without any update on bugs.kde.org).]

  105. @Dgarsys: If the CEO were Bill Ruger, then it would be appropriate to hound him and boycott his products.

  106. The more I read about this, the more I’m bothered by how sloppy people are about drawing distinctions between the following:

    1. I am in favor of making X illegal.
    2. I am in favor of boycotting anyone in favor of X.

    Eric can get away with this here, because it’s his blog and more importantly, most of us have read his blog long enough to know what he’s apt to do against selected X.

    Fortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any legal wrongdoing here, and also no cries of such. No one in OKCupidLand seems intent to sue Eich (I think), and no one’s suing Mozilla; everyone’s just exercising their right to boycott.

    Which means what’s really troubling me here is that while I think Eric’s right to fight the bullying, I’m seeing that that’s pretty much all the recourse that side has, short of physical force, and it might not be enough.

    Then again, maybe it will be. If Nancy hadn’t linked to Andrew Sullivan’s article, I would have. It’s not every day you see Eric and Andrew agree on something, to put it mildly.

    “Suppose you oppose the death penalty… Now suppose you hang everyone who is for the death penalty…”

  107. William O. B’Livion:

    “Let the religious keep “Marriage” as a sacrament, let the law have it’s bucket [Civil Unions], and let society figure out how to deal with it. ”

    Adriano:

    “So civil unions are _exactly_ the same as marriage? So what was the problem, then? And why have two things, then?”

    Adriano, you realize that William’s position is identical to Barack Obama’s position when he was running for President in 2007? In other words, right in the middle of the Prop 8 effort.

    The problem here is the destruction of society’s middle ground where compromise might be possible, by groups that believe that they can “win” and make their opponents “lose”. c.f. your comments on soccer and officials.

    Every time this happens – and it is happening increasingly frequently – it make me much more sympathetic to Middle America in general and religious fundamentalists in particular. I wouldn’t have thought that would be possible, but it’s a strange world, this Cold Civil War.

    I don’t mind condemning Eich’s position, I just think it’s a Very Bad Thing that he was burned at the stake. The issue has gone far past that of rights and into the destruction of the agora. It looks like Progressives are burning the village in order to save it.

  108. 1) Irrelevant.

    In your example – the “personal” position is very much opposed to what he manufactures (though you could have a gun company owner who did not believe in private ownership but was more than willing to make guns and sell them to governments….). Whether or not someone believes that the term “marriage” as opposed to civil unions should be a legal term for making a legal union of gay people provably has little to do with his ability to create and foster technology and software. He also hasn’t take actions to prevent gay people tom getting or helping develop his product.

    2) Doubly irrelevant. We have a real example before us proving that he was trusted and well known enough to be chosen as CEO by the board of an outfit he’d worked with for years. He is obviously technically competent. He obviously likes to write programs and is good at it. He delivered, and managed the delivery, of shipping product. He created a programming language in use by effectively every web page that exists. What are the odds that an avidly anti-gun person would work his way up through, manage, and end up being chosen to lead a gun manufacturer.

  109. Adriano:

    “After all, just because some right-wingers say obama is a muslim monkey”

    Interesting that you should mention Obama.

    Obama was opposed to gay marriage as recently as 2012.

    Did you vote for him?

    My money is on “yes”.

    Did you call him “hateful” or “homophobic”, call for him to be removed from office, or create strained analogies between him and the Nazis?

    My money is on “no”.

    So, basically, you wanted Eich to be gone because he held views in 2009 that Obama held as recently as 2012.

    The hypocrisy and double-think is simply incredible.

  110. @Marco

    Be careful, privileged is a term of art.

    Yes, it is key terminology in the field of professional victimhood.

  111. So, let’s see. The strategy here is to deal with bullies by becoming bullies. Nice plan, and a happy karma to you.

  112. @Dgarsys: My point was that Bill Ruger’s position (to sacrifice the RKBA crowd to curry favor with institutions) was an example of a CEO whose open (not private) position on a hot political issue was directly relevant in a way that this case was not.

  113. @Marco

    And I thoroughly believe if people don’t want to buy Rugers, they don’t have to (I prefer XD’s and Sigs myself, as well as 1911’s. Plenty of good sources for the latter…). And it’s up to the board and stockholders to decide if he’s doing well and keeping the company viable.

    In that context though – you’re right, it’s far more appropriate to take action to oppose him than what they’re hounding Eich out for. And you’ll note I’m still not giving a crap. Don’t buy the damn things. Don’t support him. Counterpoint him when he speaks up. Buy someone else’s stuff.

    .. and he still has a right to work to oppose one of the founding laws of our land and keep his job if the board backs him.

    So we both agree that under the terms justifying hounding Eich out, there are even better grounded reasons to hound out and harass far more people, including the CEO of Ruger, but also of many other corporations that have nothing to do with guns?

  114. @ ESR – “Brendan Eich had been forced to resign his new job as CEO at Mozilla”

    The Duck Dynasty assault was just a few months ago. Can the Krystalnacht be that far off?

  115. “Then I think it is now the duty of every friend of free speech and every enemy of political bullying to pledge not only to donate $1000 to the next anti-gay-marriage initiative to come along, but to say publicly that they have done so as a protest against bullying.”

    I don’t think that follows. I am angry at the treatment of Eich. I approve of various kinds of significant gestures in protest. I also think the left may well inherit the wind from promoting ordinary politics to a morally virtuous firing offense, and I’ll at least be grimly amused if they do. (And hopefully well pleased — only “hopefully” because poetic justice is not always pretty.) I just don’t see how to derive an informal duty as an obvious obligation by any usable theory of applied ethics. (I regret that such a theory of ethics seems to be beyond state of the art. E.g., such a theory of ethics would help us solve defense problems informally. Instead we’re pushed to rely on exceedingly imperfect formal organizations.) And trying to discover a large dubious ethical duty to aid the enemy of our enemy seems likely to backfire. (Backfire 1: people doubting that you have a universal moral code which reliably gives consensus on this particular remedy. Backfire 2: people finding this particular enemy of the enemy more than usually distasteful to support.)

    While we don’t have a reliable way for informally reaching consensus about large positive duties against collective threats, we do have a useful partial replacement. We have traditions and shared ethical intuitions for reaching an informal consensus that behavior is totally unacceptable. Further, we have traditions and shared intuitions about how outlaw-ish status might follow, so that harmful acts against the outlaw become not just OK but meritorious. The kind of zealots who have gone after Eich (and done related things in various other recent cases) are themselves appealing to something like this intuition, though with the twist of doing it with an unusually large admixture of preference falsification and ersatz consensus. As above, this may be unwisely sowing the wind on their part, and even if not, it doesn’t make it ineffective for their critics to fight with a related strategy. So I suggest if you want to hit them where it hurts, that would be a more promising way.

    E.g., to make a successful appeal to informal intuitions of outlawry, or to defend against them, it helps to have people keep a straight face. Being obviously a screaming hypocrite is not an impossible obstacle, but it is a significant one. I don’t know much about the California ballot initiative, but self-righteous left movements often have ridiculous glass-houses problems with fellow travelers or terrorists or corruption or notorious private-sector scoundrels or all four. I suspect public reminders of that might be more painful than donations which tend to support the narrative that their somewhat-unsympathetic rival is their only opposition.

    (And how might the US left inherit the wind by legitimizing the cry of “[career] outlaw! let none give [career] shelter!” for the kinds of offenses that are ordinarily the basis of political attack ads? One possibility: today many US voters are grouchy with public schools but would feel bad about putting teachers out of work. It could be interesting times for the left if the public can flip that to self-righteous desire to put teachers out of work because of how the teachers tend to be several notches left of the electorate. And this is not something grouchy individuals need to think up individually — if you make an environment favorable for that meme, it will be hard to damp it down short of telepathic ninjas confiscating every politically incorrect thumbdrive, and anything like the existing “Tea Party”-ish ecosystem of primary competition is likely to systematically whip it up.)

  116. > By the very arguments above, we have a much stronger case to not only protest, but call for [gun grabber's] resignation

    Have at it. The free market will determine whether you are successful or not.

    What if the “political position” in question were one universally (or near enough) thought to be immoral? Slavery, Nazism, etc.

  117. I asked, in the eighth comment:


    In any case, the first question is — was he really forced out, or did he feel it was the best thing for Mozilla for him to take his own controversy and distance himself and it from the company?

    Everybody ignored this, but it cuts to the heart of at least part of the matter.

    Panos Astithas later commented:

    <a href="http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=5651&cpage=1#comment-478580&quot;?
    Brendan was not actually forced to resign, or there would have been a large crowd following him to the exit.

    Everybody has completely ignored this, as well, despite that Panos claims to work at Mozilla.

    I don’t know Panos from Adam, but in all seriousness, if he is correct and Brendan Eich decided on his own to leave Mozilla to defuse the controversy, then how, pray tell, exactly, does punishing Mozilla with a new boycott help to defuse the situation?

    BTW, if you want to fight mob rule and give to unpopular people who you (probably) often disagree with, there is no real need to wait for the next shitstorm — go ahead and break out the checkbook and write one to the ACLU.

  118. @BC “Proposition 8 did not forbid gays from holding wedding ceremonies or receptions. It did not even prevent gays from enjoying all of the legal rights of marriage provided by the state (existing California law already countenanced civil unions).

    Keep trying.”

    Did it not allow entities to extend privileges to married couples not extended to couples in civil unions (like being allowed to visit in a hospital)?

    Are you asserting that there is absolutely no practical consequences to not being allowed to be in the category “married”? If that were true, then claiming to be married when actually in a civil union would be a mere act of speech, and could not be fraud because there is no possible gain from being thought to be married. Are you asserting this is true?

  119. @Random832:

    I was noticing the same thing. It can’t be seriously disputed that “Let me see him — I’m his wife!” is compelling in many circumstances where “Let me see him — I’m his registered domestic partner!” is not.

  120. Not to mention, of course, that, AFAIK, federal law (you know, where you file your income taxes) does, in fact, make a distinction between married and domestic partners.

  121. In essence, the fact that “In a civil union but not married” is not a protected class is an end run around the fact that “gay” is.

  122. “It is irrelevant whether we approve of gay marriage or not.”

    Good grief. Do you even read the shit you write?

  123. Panos Astithas later commented:

    <a href="http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=5651&cpage=1#comment-478580&quot;?
    Brendan was not actually forced to resign, or there would have been a large crowd following him to the exit.

    Everybody has completely ignored this, as well, despite that Panos claims to work at Mozilla.

    It was nice that he freed folks of the need to make a moral decision. I expect many felt relief at the outcome. I’d like to know who in the organization stood up for him.

  124. I don’t know Panos from Adam, but in all seriousness, if he is correct and Brendan Eich decided on his own to leave Mozilla to defuse the controversy, then how, pray tell, exactly, does punishing Mozilla with a new boycott help to defuse the situation?

    April 1st: “I am CEO, and I’m confident I am the best person for the job right now. I serve at the board’s pleasure. If that should change, I’ll do something else.”

    April 3rd: “I may get to it, but not working at Mozilla. I’ve resigned as CEO and I’m leaving Mozilla to take a rest, take some trips with my family, look at problems from other angles, and see if the “network problem” has a solution that doesn’t require scaling up to hundreds of millions of users and winning their trust while somehow covering costs.”

    April 3rd: “Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.

    We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.”

    Two days ago the guy had a vision for solving what he considered to be a critical problem for the internet. One that really takes the resources of something like Mozilla to do.

    Right, he resigned on his own. Is Panos likely lying? No, but neither do I believe that the rank and file really knows what is going on at the board level.

    Reading the post from Baker she threw him under the bus. There isn’t even the usual pleasantries of wishing him the best in his next venture.

    In any case, attempting to punish Mozilla at this point would be nothing more than attempting to prove that three wrongs make a right after two wrongs failed to do so. That you seem to think that the second wrong didn’t occur is simply an attempt to whitewash what actually happened.

    Their market share is plummeting anyway. It would be like trying to punish Blackberry. Or HP. What more could you do to them?

  125. Their market share is plummeting anyway.

    Yeah, this witch hunt might’ve actually done Eich a favor. Eich might’ve succeeded in getting Mozilla back at the top, but the winds were definitely against him, so moving on right about now might be better for him.

    With him gone, I think the odds of Mozilla surviving for long are pretty bad.

  126. Whatever happened to freedom of contract? Brendan Eich has a right to donate to political causes of his choice. Mozilla has no duty to employ executives that don’t fit its desired public image. Where is the problem here?

  127. It’s always been stupid to demand moral perfection from anyone – nobody’s perfect – especially when nobody can agree on what moral perfection is. That’s really at the heart of maintaining a certain amount of tolerance for the views and habits of others. In a very real sense, we Americans have been losing our way in these matters for years. It’s imperative that we band together to force certain principles on the ‘social justice’ activists, and make them understand that:

    1. Other people have a right to their opinions, without intimidation from you.
    2. We VOTE. If more people disagree with your stand on something, that’s something you just have to ACCEPT. A lot of those people are actually smarter than you are.
    3. Everyone has a right to life, liberty and PROPERTY. I know that the legal eagles will go into long, boring details about how that stuff is supposed to restrict the government, rather than private citizens or organizations, but our traditions apply such restrictions to them, as well. Our society suffers when such traditions are ignored.

    Eich’s forced resignation is a particularly bad violation of #3. It not only has political consequences, but economic consequences as well, since Mozilla will now have to go forward without the best man for the job. Abe Lincoln was a lot smarter than that…when a delegation of ladies came to complain about General Grant’s whiskey drinking, he was polite to them, but Grant kept his job. I hate to think of the consequences to our country, had the president bowed to the ladies’ moral arguments…..

    If we can’t fix these things firmly in our minds and hearts, the internet will only make things worse. Nobody’s perfect, new offenses against society are made up by the social justice industry every day, and every thing you do ends up on the ‘net, which never forgets it.

  128. @Blakenthorn Who alleged that there was any violation of this? The allegation is that the boycott against Eich was a case of politically-correct thugs muscling someone out for reasons that have nothing to do with his ability to do the job. Whatever the means used, this is an example of this thing stupid people call “discrimination” (_real_ discrimination is GOOD).

  129. Strange discussion. The first laws regulating marriage were the anti-miscegany laws. Before then, Marrige was a religious matter (or public or civil, or community affair, but today all we have is private v.s. government).

    Make no mistake, government is force. Both sides want the SWAT team to break down my door and take me away for reducation if I don’t recognize the government’s definition of marriage. I’d be perfectly happy (if as has been proposed in Oklahoma) that the State gets out of the business entirely. (As a Catholic, I cannot recognize a paper that says “divorced” any more than one saying two members of the same sex are “married”).

    But since almost everyone here – ESPECIALLY the gay rights activists thinks that having the government be the proxy that shoots dissenters, I’m going to fight to insure that MY definition of marriage prevails. Get rid of the guns and the looting by government if I dissent, and I have no quarrel. I might debate or disagree, but you can say you are married, I can say I disagree, and we both can go on with our lives.

    Now “gay marriage” has failed in most states by ballot – popular vote. You know, democracy. So instead they find some stupid social engineer on a bench with a gavel to declare ex-cathedra the dogma that gay marriage should have equal recognition. Just like Justice Tawney declared Dredd Scott property.

    You either hold that humans have dignity because they are human, not because they agree with your opinions. or you don’t.

    You either hold that free will, free thought, and free expression derived from those is more important to preserve than the opinion being agreeable.

    There is a split – Denying a piece of paper to a pair of persons is not an act of theft, fraud, or violence. If thoughts become actions, or speech becomes fraud is the only time it crosses a line, but I would only act AFTER the act occurred or was in progress or certain to happen, no amount of mere words would move me to restrict someone’s speech or thought.

    You either defend life and liberty first, or you only defend it when it is convenient or to your advantage or when you feel like it. But the latter is no defense. For you are only entitled to life if you defend the life of the persons you least feel inclined to. And similarly, those liberties you cherish you must defend when they are used or even abused by those that do things you detest.

    Liberty is lost not through a big, direct, tyranny, but thousands of little compromises – when you would sell out the liberty of others – and those same others sell out your liberty.

    Dress up in your rainbow sheets and burn a lambda sign on their lawn! Or simply hound him so he cannot work. If discrimination and intimidation is wrong, it is wrong to do it to a CEO as much as its lowest paid janitor. Some people don’t think much of women, so should GM get rid of their CEO so they can sell more big trucks? Some people don’t think young people know anything. Should the CEO of Facebook resign?

    I will blame Eich to this extent. A CEO must lead. Mozilla is dead because no CEO can now lead it. They are now just a figurehead, something like the remaining european Monarchs, that are there only as long as the mob tolerates them. But it has been made clear that they can’t decide, hold an opinion, or do anything without someone threatening or launching a boycott. In short, they can’t do anything but drift, directionless, until they become obsolete.

    As a practical matter, does the database of Prop 8 contributors include all the names, addresses, and EMPLOYERS? Perhaps a filtered list of all employees Mozilla and which side they were on should be posted. And a letter writing campaign begun.

  130. Roger Philips> The allegation is that the boycott against Eich was a case of politically-correct thugs muscling someone out for reasons that have nothing to do with his ability to do the job.

    And my counter-allegation is that there are no thugs here. All there is is a public record and an organization exercising its freedom of contract based on this record. Nowhere in this picture is force or fraud threatening anyone’s life, liberty, or property.

  131. I beg to differ with Eric here.

    As I see it, the libertarian principle is this: any attempt to get government to use force (whether by calling the police, lobbying or bribing a politician, or campaigning) is exactly equivalent to using that same force by means of a gun in your hand.

    Those who donate to anti-freedom causes SHOULD face disgrace and ostracism for it at the very least. The fact that this happened to Mr. Eich does not fully restore my faith in humanity, but it’s a good start.

  132. Lots of replies here unsurprisingly so I guess I’ll give my 0.02. I’m trying to take a neutral approach to this as much as I dislike these “sanctity of marriage” idiots (you can’t blame me. I live in the southwest and have to hear this and other such stupidity often). The way I see it this is a fundamental conflict with mozilla’s basic mission which is to bring people of all types together to write good open source software. Having a CEO like Eich casts a negative light on mozilla as a whole. Given that he cares about the organization I assume this was just a pragmatic decision on his part. Certainly can’t blame him for that.

    Also, I take offense to people’s constant remarks that he is the reason the web is like it is today. He did a big deed in designing javascript but there are much more and much better people that played a part in it. Hell, you did more than he did in making the web what it is, Eric. As far as JS in itself goes I’m definitely going to give more credit to Douglas Crockford. AKA the guy behind JSON and some pretty damned good tools. Seriously, in the larger scope of things Eich no doubt deserves respect and credit for what he did. But only to a reasonable point.

    If in the unlikely event this was Eich buckling from pressure by bullies I have one thing to say: Grow some thicker skin. I’m really thinking that this was more of a pragmatic decision by both parties involved though.

    P.S. One reason I like reading comments on esr’s posts is that the comments tend to be well thought out and usually random asshats don’t get through. But in this case there are just too many to read through as much as I want to. I guess that’s a good thing in a way.

  133. I just switched to IceCat — which is just Firefox without their trademark. (They love that. all-things-linux.blogspot.com/2010/08/iceweasel-icecat-whats-difference.html)

  134. And my counter-allegation is that there are no thugs here. All there is is a public record and an organization exercising its freedom of contract based on this record. Nowhere in this picture is force or fraud threatening anyone’s life, liberty, or property.

    Clearly, the term “thug” is being used with some poetic license. Do I have to restate my exceedingly simple post in terms you can’t twist, or are you going to start reading for comprehension? Eich was removed – however you wish to label the means – for reasons that had nothing to do with his competence. The rabble of idiots have changed the flavor of their stupidity, but this is still the mob at work.

  135. I am not completely comfortable with the fact the guy got fired for his personal beliefs. But I am way less comfortable with the idea that the best way to express that is to donate money supporting the oppression of a minority group. And to have the nerve to say that doing so is taking a moral stance against bullying? Delusional. You don’t improve one person’s situation by ruining other people’s.

  136. @Roger Phillips

    > Clearly, the term “thug” is being used with some poetic license. Do I have to restate my exceedingly simple post in terms you can’t twist, or are you going to start reading for comprehension? Eich was removed – however you wish to label the means – for reasons that had nothing to do with his competence.

    Yeah. There is a choice bit of intellectual dishonesty / spin you are replying to. “All there is is a public record and an organization exercising its freedom of contract”

    if that were indeed all it was, it likely would not have blown up the way it had. We certainly would not have metaphorical mobs with their pitchforks cackling with glee about how this will encourage the others outside calling for his head.

    It’s sort of like trying to pretend a thermodynamic system with outside energy inputs is a closed system.

  137. This is silly. If talking in public and boycotting about a disagreement is “bullying” then so is switching to Chrome and blogging publicly about it. As it is, it’s all free speech. That’s why they are “metaphorical” mobs with pitchforks: which is to say not actually mobs, wielding not-actual pitchforks. I don’t really want to hang out with people who claim to be libertarian, but can’t discern between people who actually are wielding violence, and people who speaking their opinions and making free choices.

    On the other hand, I think it’s perfectly reasonable if people want to get upset because a company made a choice that didn’t align with their cultural political views. Let’s be clear though: you’re doing it out of cultural affiliation, not because of some meta-principle.

  138. “What if the “political position” in question were one universally (or near enough) thought to be immoral? Slavery, Nazism, etc.”

    How about Communism? Perhaps not as universally reviled as the other two, but should be. Certainly it has a higher body count.

    Is it now okay to expose Communists and drive them from their jobs?

  139. I’m with you on this one, Eric. In fact, I just uninstalled firefox on my older Android phone, which is a bit painful as it is the best browser that I’ve found for my phone. Nevertheless, I want no part of any organization that will punish their CEO for exercising his constitutional right to political speech. A pox on their house.

  140. esr, meet the the salami slicer.

    Congratulations on taking a stand on the most recent movement leftwards of the right hand edge of the Overton window.

    You are a bit late, esr. “Racists” have been getting this treatment, and a great deal worse, since 1940 and “sexists” since 1970.

    So you would accept all the limits on speech that have become ever more limiting up till today, and then, today, say we should not have further limits on speech, as if bullying was something new. Will esr of 2016 accept all the limits on speech that will have become ever more limiting to 2016, and say that in 2016, there should be no further restrictions on speech?

    Any law against freedom of association is in practice a law against speech, since words and body language can protect one quite effectively against unwanted associations. If judges did not acquiesce in the application of these laws against speech, laws against freedom of association would be swiftly hollowed out.

    Observe how testosterone levels in males are falling, illustrated by the less manly appearance and behavior of modern males, and the rapidly falling sperm counts in modern males. Testosterone production and sperm production are jointly regulated, so a fall in one is compelling evidence for a fall in the other. We don’t have good survey evidence on testosterone levels, but we do have good survey evidence on sperm counts.

    Also, observe how testosterone levels in women are rising, illustrated by their increasingly manly chins, rattier hair, deeper voices and slutty behavior. It is possible that deeper voices are merely a fashion affectation, that actresses in the early years of the talkies merely chose to speak at a higher pitch, (modern pitch when playing a bad girl, high pitch when playing a good girl) but I am pretty sure that the manlier chins and rattier hair are not a fashion affectation, that some environmental factor, possibly social expectations and pressures for androgyny, are actually causing physical changes in both men and women – that quite possibly pressure on men to refrain from acting manly actually inhibits testosterone production (no guns, or even gun shaped pieces of toast or gun shaped sticks), and pressure on women to act manly, (for example the ridicule and contempt addressed against playing mommy with dolls and dressing up as princesses) actually increases testosterone production. Or maybe it is plasticizers in soft drink bottles that is decreasing testosterone in males, and increasing both estrogen and testosterone in females, but I am inclined to think that it is laws against male speech and male behavior.

  141. This is a morally complex issue. It boils down to “honoring procedural norms” versus “substantive good or evil”. Nearly all societies have rules and procedures for resolving disputes and making collective choices. It is normal for people to profess loyalty to these procedures, even when the substantive outcome is not what they want, because the alternative is rule by force, with every dispute resulting in combat.

    Rule of law and civic courtesy make a much better place to live. But how much claim does this principle have? Socrates refused to let his students break him out of prison and escape execution; he argued that as a citizen of Athens, he was morally obligated to obey its laws. On the other hand, in the Declaration of Independence, the Founders of the U.S. argued that when government becomes oppressive, the people have moral right to overthrow it.

    The principle of “freedom of expression” is such a norm, We agree that everyone should be free to say what they think, even those who say what we dislike. Voltaire offered to die for the free speech of such; ESR’s response to the attack on Mr. Eich is in the same vein. (Political donations or advocacy are forms of expression.)

    The attack on Eich is not a state attack, but it is, de facto, a mob action. Such actions have historically been employed to suppress dissent and enforce obedience to established authority.

    But should “freedom of expression” truly absolute? What of advocacy that is for evil ends? That of course raises the question of “What is evil?” ESR mentioned advocating the extermination of Jews as something that could justify even a secondary boycott. A factor that may apply is whether the advocacy can actually have any effect – that one is an obvious non-starter,

    But suppose an executive who is also a stockholder or junior partner, such that his position brings him $50M a year; and who is a major donor to a Moslem cleric who advocates clitoridectomy of baby girls. Should he get run out of Dodge on a rail? Hard to say no.

    Abraham Lincoln once posed the following question: “Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier boy who deserts, while I may not touch a hair of the wily agitator who induces him to desert?” He spoke as a wielder of state power, but the same dilemma applies to private action.

    But both of the examples above are cases of very bad, very dangerous advocacy. Such extreme cases may exist. I am loyal to the Constitution of the United States and democratic rule. But I would fight President Nehemiah Scudder, even if he was elected by a real majority. That doesn’t justify the violence of the Weathermen and their ilk. Nixon wasn’t Scudder. Only the most extreme wrongs can justify revolutionary violence, or mob intimidation, or secondary boycotts.

    Who are the bullies in the Eich case? Those who resort to such means for comparatively trivial ends; those who loudly assert that the issue on which Eich is allegedly wrong is one of extreme substantive import – who insist that the state of things which obtained everywhere in the world until a few years ago was intolerably oppressive.

    The celebrated social analyst C. Northcote Parkinson listed several forms of “Chairmanity” (methods for a chairman to impose his will on a committee). One was “Browbeatnikism” – the chairman informs the committee that a matter was decided at the last meeting, then if someone disagrees, takes personal offense (“Are you calling me a liar?”) and threatens a fit of rage.

    That of course is bullying – silencing disagreement by raising it to an intolerable affront. It is also bullying to assert absolute moral claims and declare all disagreement immoral (except in very extreme cases). Doing so routinely and aggressively is unquestionably bullying.

  142. @SPB

    Is it now okay to expose Communists and drive them from their jobs?

    Many folks, even here, don’t get the reference to the Hollywood Blacklist or don’t see the parallels. The blacklists were mob mentality driven. harmed many innocents and created a culture of fear where any dissent was squashed.

    @rich

    It is also bullying to assert absolute moral claims and declare all disagreement immoral (except in very extreme cases). Doing so routinely and aggressively is unquestionably bullying.

    Well said. I don’t agree with Eich’s position on gay marriage but I don’t believe that he arrived there based on hate. Nor do I believe that his ouster was a victory for morality as some are crowing. He’s simply going to become a martyr for the religious right to rally around and weapon to use in their fight.

  143. Roger Philips> Eich was removed – however you wish to label the means – for reasons that had nothing to do with his competence.

    But it did have something to do with his competence. Mozilla is a corporation; Eich was its CEO. Projecting the public image that a corporation wants for itself is part of the CEO’s job. Apparently, Mozilla wants nondiscrimination against gays to be part of its image. If so, an active opponent of gay marriage is incompetent to project it.

  144. “Apparently, Mozilla wants nondiscrimination against gays to be part of its image. If so, an active opponent of gay marriage is incompetent to project it.”

    “Apparently Universal Studios wants American values to be part of their image. If so, a communist is incompetent to project it.”

  145. @Thomas Blankenhorn

    But it did have something to do with his competence. Mozilla is a corporation; Eich was its CEO. Projecting the public image that a corporation wants for itself is part of the CEO’s job. Apparently, Mozilla wants nondiscrimination against gays to be part of its image. If so, an active opponent of gay marriage is incompetent to project it.

    DURRP. Maybe after this you’ll start (as I suggested earlier) reading for _comprehension_ instead of trying to “win” the argument (the prize: remaining an unthinking animal). Mozilla’s ostensible mission is to serve the general rabble of morons. So obviously, someone who the mob doesn’t like is, by _definition_, not competent for the post! But that does not mean that he was removed BECAUSE he was not competent. To figure out why he was removed, you would have to interrogate why the peanut gallery went against him in the first place. And if you think that’s because of genuine concern for the well-being of Mozilla as an organisation rather than, say, gay activism and the universal human ambition for power, then you are even dumber than you appear.

  146. SPB> Is it now okay to expose Communists and drive them from their jobs?

    The premise of your question is false. Eich was not exposed, he was looked up in the public record. His donation was in the public record because political campaigns, generally speaking, have a legal duty to disclose their donors and the amounts they donated. Nobody exposed anything that wasn’t already in the open.

    But to answer your question anyway: Yes, it would be okay if Michael Bloomberg fired Daniel Doctoroff, the CEO of Bloomberg L.P., if Doctoroff had donated to the Communist Party and Bloomberg had discovered this in the public record. Bloomberg has a public image to maintain. Activism against the financial industry is inconsistent with its desired image. Therefore, donations to the Communist party inherently diminish one’s competence to be CEO of Bloomberg. This would justify Bloomberg in firing him.

    That being said, my answer would differ if we were talking about, not the CEO, but some staff analyst at Bloomberg, or some staff programmer at Mozilla. Individual staff, unlike individual executives, play a minimal role in maintaining their employers’ public image. So that side of it would be irrelevant to their competence for the job.

  147. SPB> “Apparently Universal Studios wants American values to be part of their image. If so, a communist is incompetent to project it.”

    Yes he is, if that’s the image Universal Studios wants, and he (or she) is the CEO.

  148. Roger Philips: And if you think that’s because of genuine concern for the well-being of Mozilla as an organisation rather than, say, gay activism and the universal human ambition for power, then you are even dumber than you appear.

    You just triggered my “don’t feed the troll” policy. It’s been nice talking to you.

  149. What a convenient way to ignore the fact that everything you said so far was rubbish. I guess being an unthinking moron is pleasant.. from the inside. Much as a dog is probably quite happy being a dog.

  150. That being said, my answer would differ if we were talking about, not the CEO, but some staff analyst at Bloomberg, or some staff programmer at Mozilla.

    Why? What if that staff analyst is often quoted on TV? Or the staff programmer presents at tech conferences? Many folks represents the public face of a company. Marketing folks, scientists, sales staff, tech support, managers at all levels, you name it.

    They are no longer allowed to participate in the political process without fear of dismissal either? FOR SOMETHING THEY DID 6 YEARS BEFORE THEY EVEN HELD THE POSITION?

    This isn’t him cheating on his wife or gay bashing on his private blog or calling someone an expletive at a dinner party somewhere. This is someone who did his civic duty in engaging in the political process and has, as far as all reports go, treated everyone with respect.

    I disagree with him on a visceral level but he owes nobody any sort of apology.

    Rodger is being too kind. That you don’t even get the historical reference regarding communists, even though it’s been pointed out before, is even more telling.

  151. ” Eich was not exposed, he was looked up in the public record.”

    His contribution was exposed by looking him up in the public record. Nice attempt to obfuscate the point, though (and by “nice” I mean “laughably transparent”). It makes no difference whatsoever how the information came to light.

    I also find the assertion that CEOs are somehow “special” in this respect…unpersuasive, especially given how many Obama supporters are on-board with the Eich purge. Remember, Obama was on the record as being opposed to gay marriage until last year. If there’s been any large-scale mob action calling for him to step down as a result of that position, I must have missed it.

  152. Obama did what Eich did not:

    He stated that he changed his mind on the position, that he was wrong before and would do whatever he could to balance the redress.

  153. @JAD:
    [...] but I am pretty sure that the manlier chins and rattier hair are not a fashion affectation, that some environmental factor, possibly social expectations and pressures for androgyny, are actually causing physical changes in both men and women – that quite possibly pressure on men to refrain from acting manly actually inhibits testosterone production [...]

    Wow, way to support the loony fringe of your enemies beliefs: “Gender is socially constructed! check your privilege!”.

    Idiot.

  154. Adriano writes, You say “shouting down dissenting opinions”, others say “voicing their displeasure at the choice of a CEO that didn’t represent the values of the company”.

    This is Mozilla, though, not a company that’s about sex. Mozilla can make the world better by making good web browsers, and we are all better off if they stick to that mission. At the same time, Mozilla’s opinions about sex–either corporate statements or the positions of individuals–seem rather irrelevant to me. Who would look for advice about sex, or about committed relationships, by going to Mozilla?

    On the other hand, Brenden Eich is not a particularly good software person. Perhaps some people in Mozilla are using the gay card as an excuse to push him out.

  155. “He stated that he changed his mind on the position, that he was wrong before and would do whatever he could to balance the redress.”

    Obama has changed his position on this subject at least four times.

    If you think he won’t change it again should it become politically expedient, well…

    “On the other hand, Brenden Eich is not a particularly good software person. ”

    No, of course not . He only created the language that powers every modern web site. Nothing important.

    And your comparable accomplishments would be?

  156. SPB> His contribution was exposed by looking him up in the public record. Nice attempt to obfuscate the point, though (and by “nice” I mean “laughably transparent”).

    If re-publishing information that is already public constitutes exposure in your dictionary, you must be speaking a very different English than I do.

    SPB> Remember, Obama was on the record as being opposed to gay marriage until last year.
    But he always supported full civil unions and never supported any campaign to repeal gay marriage in places where it was already possible.

    SPB> If there’s been any large-scale mob action calling for him to step down as a result of that position, I must have missed it.
    Just because people have the right to fire their executives for the causes they support, that doesn’t mean they have to. Remember this ‘mob action’ called “federal elections”? The American people had the right not to hire Obama in 2008 (when he openly opposed gay marriage). They also had the right to fire him in 2012, (when he openly approved of permitting gay marriage). But they decided differently, and that was their right, too.

    But let me get back to your analogy with the Hollywood blacklist. It fails on a different level as well. In the present case, the Mozilla Corporation freely exercised its right to associate with Eich, or disassociate from him, as it pleased. The Hollywood Blacklist, by contrast, was a direct consequence of government force, and the threat of more force to come, in the form of contempt-of-Congress citations from the House Un-American Activities Committee.

    So sure, you can blame the Motion Picture Association of America for caving in to the federal government’s bullying rather than challenging it in federal court as a First-Amendment violation. (Pete Seeger did that and won.) But that’s a far cry from saying that the studios acted freely. The Hollywood Ten would not find official employment anywhere in the industry. Mr Eich, I am sure, will find another job at some other tech company. The Hollywood Blacklist was driven by unconstitutional government bullying. The Eich case is driven by public opinion and freedom of contract. That makes them fundamentally different cases.

  157. >No, of course not . He only created the language that powers every modern web site. Nothing important.

    To be fair, Javascript’s design is indeed pretty badly botched. Go look at how it handles type coercion near equality tests. Once you understand it, see if you can keep your lunch down.

  158. “If re-publishing information that is already public constitutes exposure in your dictionary, you must be speaking a very different English than I do.”

    Whatever, dude. Your spin attempt didn’t work. Suck it up and move on.

    “But he always supported full civil unions ”

    So? Do you have any evidence that Eich didn’t support civil unions?

    “The Hollywood Blacklist, by contrast, was a direct consequence of government force”

    Nonsense. The government never ordered the studios to do anything.

    “.The Hollywood Blacklist was driven by unconstitutional government bullying. The Eich case is driven by public opinion and freedom of contract.”

    Just a few paragraphs before, you were lecturing us on how the government is a consequence of public opinion.

  159. “Once you understand it, see if you can keep your lunch down.”

    Oh, I’m not arguing that it’s some Platonic ideal of a beautiful language, but, you know, it works. It’s been used as a tool to create many beautiful/amazing/powerful things, and it’s open-ended enough that it can be do things that its creator never imagined. That looseness around the edges makes it a good design over, even if you can point out places where it’s a bit flawed.

  160. The Hollywood Blacklist, by contrast, was a direct consequence of government force, and the threat of more force to come, in the form of contempt-of-Congress citations from the House Un-American Activities Committee.

    No, it was the result of conservative groups organizing boycotts of studios and creating lists of people. There were far more than 10 people affected.

    Groups like the American Legion were emboldened by the HUAC but were not governmental. The force employed was not legislative nor judicial but from the same kind of pressure applied to Mozilla.

  161. The Hollywood Blacklist, by contrast, was a direct consequence of government force, and the threat of more force to come, in the form of contempt-of-Congress citations from the House Un-American Activities Committee.

    No, it was the result of conservative groups organizing boycotts of studios and creating lists of people. There were far more than 10 people affected.

    Groups like the American Legion were emboldened by the HUAC but were not governmental. The force employed was not legislative nor judicial but from the same kind of pressure applied to Mozilla.

  162. Just to be clear here: Mozilla is perfectly free to ask Eich to step down (if that’s what happened). I’m equally free to consider them cowardly scum.

    See how that works?

  163. It’s not just a singular incidence of bullying (OP), but a longstanding pattern of ever-increasing intensity. It’s a deliberate campaign of memetic coercion aimed at moving the mean of social consciousness by insidious intimidation.

    Eric is right to flag this atrocity. This was not a trivial misdemeanor, but the most recent surge in a building tidal wave. Most won’t see it coming until it is breaking over their heads.

  164. “He stated that he changed his mind on the position, that he was wrong before and would do whatever he could to balance the redress.”

    Obama has changed his position on this subject at least four times.

    If you think he won’t change it again should it become politically expedient, well…

    His window for caring about political expediency is ~2.75 years. If he does flip again, will you be supporting him?

  165. Nigel> Why? What if that staff analyst is often quoted on TV? Or the staff programmer presents at tech conferences? Many folks represents the public face of a company.
    I concede there’s a sliding scale of wrongness here. In practice, you have to draw the line somewhere. Reasonable people can disagree which kinds of employee falls on which side of the line. But the CEO is clearly on the “right” side of the it. A corporate CEO always serves at the pleasure of the board. The board can fire him for any reason it pleases, or for no reason at all.

    Nigel> I disagree with him on a visceral level but he owes nobody any sort of apology.
    I agree that he doesn’t. Likewise, Mozilla owes nobody an apology for firing him. Everybody exercised their legally and constitutionally protected freedoms. Everybody should be fine.

    I would empathize more with our gracious host if he was a believer in positive liberty, the liberal concept that freedom equates to something more than absence of external restraint. But he doesn’t, consistent with his libertarian mindset. That’s what surprised me about Eric’s original post: There is no external restraint in this picture, only a corporation’s free choice to stop employing someone. (And Eich resigning to preempt this choice.)

    Rodger is being too kind. That you don’t even get the historical reference regarding communists, even though it’s been pointed out before, is even more telling.
    I did get the reference. I just disagree it’s a valid precedent for what happened here.

  166. SPB> Just to be clear here: Mozilla is perfectly free to ask Eich to step down (if that’s what happened). I’m equally free to consider them cowardly scum.

    Works for me. I’m not saying you’re not.

  167. I would empathize more with our gracious host if he was a believer in positive liberty, the liberal concept that freedom equates to something more than absence of external restraint. But he doesn’t, consistent with his libertarian mindset. That’s what surprised me about Eric’s original post: There is no external restraint in this picture, only a corporation’s free choice to stop employing someone. (And Eich resigning to preempt this choice.)

    I share our host’s apparent view in only “negative” liberty as you put it.

    It just strikes me as a non-sequitur that anyone could believe in an absolute, private-retaliation-proof “right” to engage in political activity with impunity (even when it’s a method of initiating force), but not a similar private-retaliation-proof right to sexual and relationship privacy. The latter makes a lot more sense to me.

  168. >There is no external restraint in this picture, only a corporation’s free choice to stop employing someone.

    Agreed. My ire is not mainly directed at Mozilla; they were within the law, though I think it was cowardly and unbecoming for them to knuckle under. The people who deserve serious roasting are the PC thugs at OKCupid, and their allies.

  169. Nigel> No, it [the Hollywood Blacklist] was the result of conservative groups organizing boycotts of studios and creating lists of people.

    That’s not quite how Wikipedia tells the story of the Hollywood blacklist. In short, Wikipedia’s story is that McCarthy and his various Congressional committees drove it, and that nongovernment organizations contributed. But I’m not going to argue about the details of this. All I am saying is that the presence of government bullying made a substantial difference, and makes the Hollywood Blacklist a bad precedent for the Brendan-Eich story.

    Nigel> There were far more than 10 people affected.

    I’m aware that the “Hollywood Ten” were just the first casualties, not the only casualties. Nevertheless, thanks for the link. Interesting article.

  170. >It just strikes me as a non-sequitur that anyone could believe in an absolute, private-retaliation-proof “right” to engage in political activity with impunity (even when it’s a method of initiating force), but not a similar private-retaliation-proof right to sexual and relationship privacy. The latter makes a lot more sense to me.

    Are you supposing that I am not consistent in this way? If so, why not?

  171. jdgalt> I share our host’s apparent view in only “negative” liberty as you put it.

    It’s a technical term in political philosophy. Nothing disparaging.

  172. @esr thinking about it, the better response is to work with him to create a solution to privacy. His last post asked:

    “Can a browser/OS “unionize its users” to gain bargaining power vs. net super-powers?

    To create a data commons with “API to me” and aggregated/clustered economics?

    Open the walled gardens to put users first?

    Still be usable and private-enough for most?”

    The best way to show disapproval of blacklists is to work with that person. I don’t think he needs a day job anyway.

  173. Social pressure against people who would deny other people their human rights — up to and including imposing severe social consequences for such people — is not bullying. It is the right and ethically responsible thing to do.

  174. @esr:

    The people who deserve serious roasting are the PC thugs at OKCupid, and their allies.

    I doubt they did any serious damage, and they are probably best dealt with with humor and ridicule.

    My ire is not mainly directed at Mozilla; they were within the law, though I think it was cowardly and unbecoming for them to knuckle under.

    Mozilla only has one real paying customer, and that is google, a staunch opponent of Proposition 8. I can’t know how or where pressure was applied, and you probably can’t either, but unlike Nigel, who is ready to quote public timelines in support of the proposition that Eich was forced out, I could see it merely being a word to the wise, e.g. a board member saying “Your realize that your politics are opposite to google’s — should we go talk to them?” and Eich saying “Never mind — this whole thing is too distracting, so it’s probably best if I leave.”

    Here’s an interesting article — I haven’t researched it, but if the presented backstory is correct, then this kerfuffle may have even been a convenient pretext:

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/currency/2014/04/how-mozilla-lost-its-ceo-brendan-eich.html

  175. >I doubt they did any serious damage, and they are probably best dealt with with humor and ridicule.

    Any time bullies successfully contract the boundaries of political speech is serious damage.

  176. ESR> The people who deserve serious roasting are the PC thugs at OKCupid, and their allies.

    Deserve serious roasting for — what, specifically? My efforts to make Google turn up anything resembling thuggery failed miserably. All they came up with is ridiculously mellow stuff like this:

    The LA Times> The organization named Eich CEO last week after operating under an interim CEO for more than a year. Eich had worked at Mozilla for years and was known as the founder of JavaScript, a popular programming language.

    But Eich came under sharp criticism for donating $1,000 to a campaign that supported Poropisition 8, Several Mozilla board members resigned to protest his appointment.

    Numerous Mozilla staffers also took to Twitter to call for his resignation. One popular online dating site OKCupid displayed a message on its website asking Firefox users to access the Web using a different browser.

    This is fairly typical for what I see elsewhere. For the most part I see people talking. To the extent that I’m seeing people acting or suggesting that other people act, it’s three things:

    (1) Mozilla board members resigned in protest, as is their right to do.

    (2) Mozilla stafferes call for their CEO’s resignation.

    (3) A dating website suggested to its clients that they change browsers. Having a stake in both the web and the social mores around dating and sexuality a dating website clearly has standing to act in this matter.

    What I don’t see, anywhere, is anyone going after anyone’s life, liberty, or property by anything resembling force or fraud. Sure, we must allow for some poetic license, but still: where is the moral equivalent of violent criminals? (I’m asking because “violent criminals” is what the word “thugs” means literally.)

  177. “I doubt they did any serious damage, and they are probably best dealt with with humor and ridicule.”

    I think they did do serious damage. Nonetheless, I’ve been referring to them as “No Way, Stupid”.

  178. > Any time bullies successfully contract the boundaries of political speech is serious damage.

    But I don’t think they have. You’re still talking about it, right?

    To insinuate that a large group of people getting bent out of shape and somebody losing their job is a new thing is simply wrong. This too shall pass.

    And, FWIW, I agree with Ken White on the use of the bullying word:

    http://www.popehat.com/2013/02/13/bully-means-just-what-i-choose-it-to-mean-neither-more-nor-less/

  179. “Works for me. I’m not saying you’re not.”

    I don’t actually think you’re saying much of anything, since (as far as I know) *no one* here has disputed that Mozilla had the *right* to fire him.

    Arguing against a position no one has actually made may be satisfying to you, I guess, but what’s *actually* under discussion is whether it was a correct or morally repugnant thing to do. Because, you know, just because something is legal doesn’t make it right.

  180. I don’t see how a resignation/stepping down/firing “contact(s)(ed) the boundaries of political speech.”

    Hopefully, I can get most of my thoughts in one post:

    1. Is it perfectly legitimate and reasonable to consider personal and or private views as a factor in determining the suitability for some positions, particularly CEO? Yes.

    2. Specifically, is the CEO’s role far greater than overseeing the technical execution of an organization’s goals and deserving of greater scrutiny and care? Yes.

    3. Is Mozilla a unique class of organization where “political” values will come into play? Yes. (I place little chance of succeeding at accomplishing a goal predicated on defining universal, open access to the web as a fundamental human right without considering other human rights. Mozilla has always prided itself on its progressive human resource policies. Mitchell Baker has now explicitly stated that the Mozilla Corporation and Foundation do support same sex marriage for all. https://blog.lizardwrangler.com/2014/03/29/on-mozillas-support-for-marriage-equality/ David Flanagan claims this has always been true (although I find no evidence of it). https://medium.com/p/7645a4bf8a2

    4. Is it perfectly reasonable and legitimate for people to respond to decisions, views, and character traits of business and organization leaders with boycotts, dissent, displeasure, and calls for action? Yes.

    5. Is it perfectly appropriate for a corporation or organization to listen to dissent and determine if that dissent impairs a CEO from fulfilling his duties? Yes

    6. Was the resignation/stepping down/firing of Eich motivated solely by the campaign contribution made in 2008 or was it compounded by Eich’s response (1-insisting that he was required to keep it private because of Mozilla’s policies when in fact those policies don’t require you maintain your privacy, only that it will be if you desire to do so — as clearly evidenced by the large outpouring of private opinions from fellow Mozillians; 2-his bizarre claim that Indonesians wouldn’t like it; his refusal to address his current views; 3-his assertion that although Mozilla Corp and Foundation specifically endorse same sex marriage for all, that this did not apply to the broader Mozilla Community, even though he was being questioned about his role as CEO of the Mozilla Corp ( http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/apr/01/mozilla-ceo-brendan-eich-refuses-to-quit ); 4-his complete lack of an apology whether or not his views have changed; 5-etc.)? Eich may not have been able to preserve the title of CEO whether or not he responded perfectly; however, his intransigence and poor response certainly guaranteed his removal.

    7. Whether or not I think Eich’s politics required action do I delineate a clear distention between him being CEO versus him being CTO, contributing code to Mozilla, creating Javascript, and my usage (or not) of FF or Javascript-enabled browsers? Yes, absolutely.

    8. Whether or not the particular issue at stake was this one or any other issue, did Eich’s response suggest to me that he is incapable of fulfilling the role of CEO for Mozilla and navigating the numerous responsibilities required of a CEO? Absolutely.

    9. Are supporters of hetero marriage or those against gay marriage likewise free to boycott and dissent? Of course.

    10. Is it rational, wise, predicated, or righteous for those who are solely against Mozilla removing Eich based on the dissent, or those who feel that Mozilla’s mission is more significant than the political issue, to respond with their own dissent? Not particularly, no.

  181. >But I don’t think they have. You’re still talking about it, right?

    My concern is: First. that anyone wishing to have a career in Silicon Valley will now suffer from a justified fear of offending the “social-justice” left. Which will not only chill political expression, but encourage the SJs to go after more scalps and further narrow the bounds of “acceptable” discourse.

    Even some prominent homosexuals are now worried about this. Andrew Sullivan has, for example, rightly described it as “thuggery”. He, and others like Camille Paglia, understand that homosexuals and other out-groups have the most to lose if the broad covenant of political tolerance is broken. The SJs are burning down their own shelter.

  182. Argh, several typos and brainfarts in my comment above… but I think my intentions are largely clear.

    I did want to just quickly clarify, in my point #10, when I say I think it’s not particularly appropriate to respond with dissent — I am specifically speaking to calls for action, boycotting, further removals, etc. They are of course free to voice their opinions. I just find it wholly illogical to claim: this was inappropriate bullying, let’s respond with bullying or the technology of the open web should have been more important to Mozilla than political values, therefore, I will try to hurt that technology.

    Also, yes, I agree with Patrick: “bullying” is being used completely inappropriately in this case; it’s become such a touchstone now that people think merely invoking it presents a valid argument when it rather seems to remove a quality argument from the matter most times these days. (And I recognize I used it above, but I think it’s clear that I’m using it in this case to shade light on how poorly it is being used in this conversation.) Likewise, this is also clearly not a Free Speech issue. Claiming it is shows individual lack of understanding of what free speech is and devalues one of the greatest of human rights.

    (So much for commenting once.)

  183. First. that anyone wishing to have a career in Silicon Valley will now suffer from a justified fear of offending the “social-justice” left.

    For people in commerce, there has always been a fear of offending somebody. Which is worse, a boycott of a company like SodaStream, that (if they knuckle under) means that they will put a few hundred poor Palestinians out of work, or a boycott of Mozilla which displaces one guy who almost certainly didn’t need the job, and apparently wasn’t universally the first choice, anyway?

    Attention spans are short. This is a good news/bad news thing — Brendan Eich will be able to get a job again and life will go on. If anything, I think all the controversy around this will help inoculate the populace, and will not do OKCupid any long-term favors. I could be all wet, but time will tell.

  184. @Patrick:
    “Attention spans are short … life will go on.”

    Nonsense, and is oblivious to the chilling affect cited in near every 1st amendment challenge in the courts. Public attention, especially if reinforced with visible negative career consequences (or positive reward of crude behavior) turns into custom and habit, where it may never go away.

  185. “Nonsense” … Most people commenting in the last two weeks had completely forgotten or were completely ignorant of the fact that the issue had arisen two years ago and has occasionally risen up from time to time in the intervening period. (I hadn’t, anticipated it surfacing, and wondered why Mozilla wasn’t prepared for it.)

  186. SBP> I don’t actually think you’re saying much of anything, since (as far as I know) *no one* here has disputed that Mozilla had the *right* to fire him.

    What I’m saying is that in a free society, critical speech, social association, and social dis-association are all proper means of discourse and advocacy. The people who practice them come nowhere close to moral equivalence with violent criminals, also known as “thugs”. Not even after accounting for poetic license. Accordingly, I think Eric is mistaken on the substance of his central point. (But I don’t think the means by which he makes it are out of line. For demonstration, watch me not call him a thug for switching to Chrome — I have no reason to.)

  187. @Falstaff:

    a) What Tim said.

    b) The whole concept of “1st amendment challenge in the courts.” implies Streisand effect. Calling attention to the fact that people are being mean to you is a sure way to keep them being mean to you. As anybody who truly understands true bullying would know implicitly.

  188. Hopefully, one last thought:

    Since I proposed that those who value Mozilla’s core goal of providing an open web, universally available to all above any political issues were incorrect to respond by boycotting or calling for further chances, I think it appropriate for me to provide that group some suggestions.

    Patrick has been nibbling around the edges here, and I’ll present a few questions… Why was Mozilla so unprepared to adequately deal with the issue? Why, after an exhaustive search involving more than 100 candidates and 25 more candidates more extensively interviewed/examined, were they only able to come up with Eich as a reluctant candidate? Why were 2 Board members leaving contemporaneous to naming Eich CEO? Why did the other Board member leave because of Eich (but possibly not specifically or soley because of this issue)? Why is Eich taking his ball home when the Board strongly lobbied him to say in several other capacities, not CEO? Isn’t Mitchell Baker equally important to Mozilla as Brendan Eich (even if she didn’t create Javascript)? If so, should we or should we not defer and/or accept her current leadership in this situation? What is Mozilla’s plan for existing without Google’s contributions (even if it appears unlikely that Google will stop supporting Mozilla since it is a pittance to them and a good antitrust, goodwill safety measure)? Is Google’s contributions adequate to allow Mozilla to survive (around $300 million annually)? Can Gecko equal, compete with, or exceed Blink, WebKit, or IE (yes, I know it may be debatable to you whether or not they do already)? Is the continued existence of a reasonably competitive desktop browser engine sufficient for Mozilla’s relevance? Do you think Mozilla’s business plan of creating an extremely low-cost, web-based, mobile, touch platform and ecosystem (using that $300 million) likely to succeed and ensure Mozilla’s future existence? Etc?

    i.e. If your greatest interest in this matter is to see Mozilla continue to exist in the hopes of fulfilling their technological goals, I think there are far, far, far, greater concerns for you than whether or not Eich was permitted to be CEO of Mozilla Corporation. Rather than addressing political issues, your greatest concern should be very real technological and economic threats (that Eich very likely wouldn’t be addressing or wouldn’t be capable of tackling).

  189. “What I’m saying is that in a free society, critical speech, social association, and social dis-association are all proper means of discourse and advocacy.”

    Mob rule and witch burning have no commonalities whatosever with “discourse”, proper or otherwise, any more than bashing someone in the head with a club is a “conversation”.

    Yes, those are forms of communication. They’re just not civilized forms of communication.

  190. >What I don’t see, anywhere, is anyone going after anyone’s life, liberty, or property by anything resembling force or fraud.

    What I see is Eich’s scalp being collected in an explicit attempt to intimidate other people from speaking or acting in opposition to LGBT political positions in the future. That is political thuggery, and even some prominent homosexual activists are so recognizing.

  191. “Mob rule and witch burning have no commonalities whatosever with “discourse”, proper or otherwise, any more than bashing someone in the head with a club is a “conversation”.”

    I highly doubt Mitchell Baker and those currently making decisions for Mozilla, or even Brendan Eich for that matter, agree with your perception. My own perception: I’d put “mob rule” and “witch burning” and “bashing someone in the head with a club” in quotes well before I’d do the same to discourse and conversation.

  192. I doubt Brendan would want people to boycott Firefox. Isn’t that what gays were / are doing?

    Apropos of nothing, I see this as a lack of religion /or any larger structure/ to act as context and perspective, ballast, against whatever small principles people /can/ muster. Ie small grievances / principles fill up all the space in otherwise empty psyches. /not religious

  193. Mob-rule, witch-burning, scalp-collecting. . . Arlo Guthrie’s guitar is starting to play in the back of my brain as I’m mentally preparing to hear about father-stabbing, mother-raping . . . father-raping next. I think I’m about to overdose on metaphor here.

    Apart from that, being gay is no guarantee for being infallible, as Andrew Sullivan would be the first to admit. This is true even in discussions involving the civil rights of gays.

  194. @Burnside

    He stated that he changed his mind on the position, that he was wrong before and would do whatever he could to balance the redress.

    In other words, he bowed down and accepted the rule of the mob. What a great example for others! lol

  195. @SBP:

    > Mob rule and witch burning

    OKCupid is no more a mob than the one I see around here. As for witches, are you on fire yet, Eric?

    @esr:

    What I see is Eich’s scalp being collected in an explicit attempt to intimidate other people from speaking or acting in opposition to LGBT political positions in the future.

    And this is no more and no less than what has been going on forever, with one cause or another. I actually think it will be funny when OKCupid thinks they are the ones who collected his scalp and tries again the next time. I think they will fail miserably, because it only worked because of other events this time.

    I hate to agree with JAD, but where was your impassioned defense of Paula Deen? (Who, by the way, for those who think attention spans aren’t short, seems to be doing fine now.)

    There are things that you just can’t say in polite society without blowback. Those things change over time. If you believe, as most here do, that political spending should not be limited because “money is speech” then you have to agree that spending $1000 on an unpopular message is more forceful speech than letting slip a word you used to use regularly in your youth.

  196. >I hate to agree with JAD, but where was your impassioned defense of Paula Deen?

    Er, who is Paula Deen and what did she do?

    I suppose that implicitly answers your question…

  197. > Er, who is Paula Deen and what did she do?

    Yeah, actually, I’d never heard of her before the controversy. Apparently she used the “N” word, lost her TV show, etc.

    But there have been and always will be numerous people who lose their jobs because of stupid stuff they say or do publicly, and for the most part, this is a feature rather than a bug.

  198. As to the issue of Obama, I expect politicians to behave as politicians and CEOs to behave as CEOs; therefore, I see no value to the comparison or defense.

    That is, I expect a politician to have a viewpoint on every political issue, for them to generalize, temper, modify, and in some cases suppress their own personal views to such an extent that they continue to represent a particular viewpoint while broadly appealing to their constituency and being able to get elected in general. And that this may mean their publicly expressed views will change in time or not directly correlate to their privately held personal views at any one time.

    I expect a CEO to be the best candidate to represent and express the views of their corporation and to be the best candidate to lead that organization. This may require that a CEO act like a politician, but in this case, Eich has refused to do so, thinking his new role as CEO was purely a technical one or as an executive/managerial role strictly governed by existing HR policies rather than public perception.

    Not only do I have different expectations for the differing roles, Eich has remained intransigent and refused to speak further on the issue. I don’t see the two as comparable nor do I see Obama’s past views as a defense for Eich’s past and/or present views.

  199. Oh, forgot one other very clear and important distinction between Obama v. Eich/elected government official v. CEO. Political support in an election is ultimately going to come down to selecting a candidate that best represents you from a pool of, likely, TWO candidates, in some cases, maybe as many as 3-5. It ultimately becomes a choice of the lesser of two evils. I know that virtually all of the advocates for LGBT causes that I know were, in fact, disappointed with the Clintons and Obama for not going “all the way” (particularly in regard to the Clintons and DOMA) and yet they would still happily support their half measures over the alternative viewpoint. The lesser of two evils does not apply to CEO selections.

  200. Thomas Blankenhorn: “What I don’t see, anywhere, is anyone going after anyone’s life, liberty, or property by anything resembling force or fraud.”

    ESR: “What I see is Eich’s scalp being collected in an explicit attempt to intimidate other people from speaking or acting in opposition to LGBT political positions in the future. That is political thuggery, and even some prominent homosexual activists are so recognizing.”

    I also see a legal environment where some of Eich’s political rivals are specially protected as members of special classes, and their allies enjoy a vague but large amount of protection from old fuzzy concepts like “hostile work environment” and from whatever new fuzzy concept might be invented by a court tomorrow. As I understand it the letter of the written law means fiiring a CEO for being gay is not a good way to preserve one’s property in California. Because of the fuzzy fallout like “hostile work environment”, firing a CEO for supporting gay marriage would also be a significant legal risk: have fun the next time some gay employee sues you or the next few thousand times that rejected gay applicants sue you. So one issue here is that the attack on Eich is not just backed by a coalition of private individuals which is strong by counting noses in Silicon Valley, it is also backed by state force which protects his political rivals from many closely-similar tactics.

  201. William Newman: Yes, it would be a bad idea (i.e., ILLEGAL in California) to fire someone solely, or even in part (I believe), for their sexual preference. Unclear to me how that relates to this matter but the entirety of your comment suggests you are a homophobe.

  202. “OKCupid is no more a mob than the one I see around here.”

    Bullshit. They saw the mob forming and couldn’t wait to pick up torches and pitchforks.

    This is not “conversation”, “discourse”, “activism”, or any other high-sounding euphemism.

    It is ape-hooting.

  203. Also, Patrick: you might want to explore a concept called “figures of speech”, since they are clearly a mystery to you.

    I mean, I have it on good authority that none of the victims of the 1950s communist witch hunts were *actually* burned at the stake.

  204. I would think one of the first and easiest steps of avoiding “bullying”, “thuggery”, “witch hunts”, and “mob rule” and promoting discourse and conversation would be avoiding inflammatory and connotatively-rich figures of speech that lack clarity and accuracy.

    And I see nothing in your protestation, SBP, that even suggests that the personal opinions expressed by the founders of OKCupid and the boycott they enacted is different from what you and others suggest. As a side note, is Mitchell Baker and the numerous Mozillians who asked Eich to step down also “ape-hooting”?

  205. Furthermore, even as a figure of speech, I would characterize “witch hunt” as meaning: sacrificing one or more, but fundamentally a small number of, scapegoats to placate and satiate a broader, irrational fear with little to no proof or cause — where the chosen scapegoats may or may not even have attributes stemming from or related to the original, motivating irrational fear. (Maybe you still think it applies. I don’t. But it does to HUAC and related Communist purges of the 1950s.)

  206. “I doubt Brendan would want people to boycott Firefox”

    firefox, and the open web, will live on. mozilla will wither and die. as it should be. fork mozilla!

  207. “would be avoiding inflammatory and connotatively-rich figures of speech that lack clarity and accuracy.”

    You mean like calling Eich a “homophobe”, a “bigot”, a “Nazi”? That type of “discourse” and “conversation”?

    Me, I’m wondering if Patrick gets confused when he reads a news report about one team “slaughtering” another but no arrests ensue.

  208. ” But it does to HUAC and related Communist purges of the 1950s.”

    And no, sorry, it turned out that many of the Communists who were blacklisted were, in point of fact, Communists.

    You know, the political philosophy that’s resulted in somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 million deaths (and still counting)?

  209. SBP, you seem confused. Myself and Patrick, although I do not purport to speak for Patrick, are observing that this occurs all of the time and appears to be the market of ideas and values working itself out. He and I acknowledge that there are hateful and unconstructive speech and actors as well as helpful, thoughtful thought and speech on both sides.

    Also, we’ll have to disagree on HUAC — yes, I am aware many were Communists and there were many Communists spying for the Soviet Union; however, I think it’s fair to say that many more innocent people were harmed by HUAC (directly and indirectly) and other scare tactics than guilty people were caught, particularly in relation to traditional and legal means of accomplishing the same goal with greater efficacy, like the Venona Project, than lists and accusations.

  210. Also, you seem completely blind to the fact that Patrick was, in part, making a personal joke to ESR who self-identifies as Wiccan.

  211. (Also: I’m also aware that the veracity of the translations and attempts to identify personal and code- names in the Venona Project are also under question and maybe have some element of “witch hunt” to them as well — I only present it as a more constructive and productive tool to accomplish the same well-intentioned goals of the “Red Scare” RELATIVELY speaking.)

  212. Furthermore, I specifically called out HUAC since it was directed at art and media that was un-American. Were it not for Elizabeth Bentley’s testimony (and even the resulting identifications of soys from that can easily be questioned to this day), I think it’s fair to say that HUAC would largely have been a “witch hunt” largely unsuccessful at identifying American Communists committing espionage, disloyal to their American citizenship, or even disseminating Pro-Soviet/anti-American propaganda.

  213. The first laws regulating marriage were the anti-miscegany laws.

    I really doubt this. Got any documentation?

    Before then, Marrige was a religious matter

    This is definitely false. “Laws regulating marriage” does not mean what you evidently think it does. The state of marriage has been deeply embedded in our laws for nearly as long as we’ve had laws. The remote ancestors of our legal system all took into account the institution of marriage, and treated husbands and wives differently than they did strangers. For instance, the legal principle that a husband and wife are the same person goes back probably 2000 years.

  214. Both sides want the SWAT team to break down my door and take me away for reducation if I don’t recognize the government’s definition of marriage.

    This just isn’t true.

  215. “. . . Arlo Guthrie’s guitar is starting to play…”

    As I recall, it was actually a twelve-string, electric dobro.

    Well….I’m OLD.

  216. ” observing that this occurs all of the time and appears to be the market of ideas and values working itself out.”

    People do a lot of reprehensible things “all the time”. That doesn’t excuse them.

    And no, screaming “homophobe” at someone who doesn’t agree with you has nothing to do with a “market of ideas”, “discourse”, “conversation”, or anything else.

    It is ape hooting, aimed at making the Bad Ape from the Other Tribe go away, or at least shut up.

  217. I’m not suggesting that something reprehensible would be excusable if it occurred all the time. I’m suggesting that it’s not reprehensible.

    I did not “scream” homophobe; however, I did use that word once — I suggested that one commenter here appears to be and may well be a homophobe based on his comment. I stand by that claim. I see nothing incendiary or detrimental to discourse in making that statement or in standing by it.

    Also, you still haven’t addressed the two core issues in my initial reply to you: 1) what distinguishes this “ape hooting” (some of which I readily acknowledge — however not by myself, Patrick, or several other commenters here or those who have written on the topic) from the “ape hooting” you identify with? You claim there is a distinction but I see none. 2) Is Mitchell Baker, in stating that Mozilla failed its community and mission, that Brendan was the wrong choice, and that Mozilla Foundation and Mozilla Corporation do support same sex marriages for all also “ape hooting”? Are the Mozillians who called for Brendan to step down also “ape hooting”? Is Chris McAvoy “ape hooting”? (see http://weblog.lonelylion.com/2014/03/30/more-context-on-brendan-eichs-appointment-to-ceo/ )

  218. Instead of Chrome, switch to a Chromium-based browser. I’ve been using Iron Browser (srware.net) instead of Google Chrome for years. I use portable installs of it so I can run several different sets of bookmarks and isolate cookies, and so some of the Iron installs can run Flash while others are blocked from it.

  219. @sbp:

    Mob rule and witch burning have no commonalities whatosever with “discourse”, proper or otherwise, any more than bashing someone in the head with a club is a “conversation”.

    This I can agree with.

    Also, Patrick: you might want to explore a concept called “figures of speech”, since they are clearly a mystery to you.

    In my experience, “Bashing someone in the head” is not normally a figure of speech. To the contrary, it usually is used in reference to a physical head of an actual human or other animal being deliberately damaged quite severely. The comparison that A is to B as C is to D — when B, C, and D are all real things — normally strongly implies that A is a real thing as well.

    When you backtrack and try to claim that A is merely a figure of speech, it shows a significant lack of respect for your audience.

    Me, I’m wondering if Patrick gets confused when he reads a news report about one team “slaughtering” another but no arrests ensue.

    Directly disrespectful trolls like this are much more appreciated.

    Tim F. did a pretty good job of summing up my position and explaining the in-joke. You’re free to feel however you want about me, but your hyperbolic comments are singularly unpersuasive, especially when your putative goal is to attempt to call out ill-advised free speech.

    They’re just not civilized forms of communication.

    And you would seem to be an expert on this.

  220. @sbp:

    Bullshit. They saw the mob forming and couldn’t wait to pick up torches and pitchforks.

    Speaking of which…

    I haven’t seen any comments from you around here before.

  221. @Jeff Read: Social pressure against people who would deny other people their human rights….

    But who defines human rights? When did same-sex marriage become one? In the blink of an historical eye, same-sex marriage went from a punchline to a theoretical possibility to a “human right” that supposedly only bigots oppose. If for no other reason, the speed of this revision should give people pause about the hounding of Eich.

  222. “When you backtrack and try to claim that A is merely a figure of speech, it shows a significant lack of respect for your audience.”

    I did nothing of the sort.

    Please provide a direct quote where I claimed that people were LITERALLY being burned at the stake over this issue. Can you find one?
    No, you can’t.

    “Witch hunt” in this context is CLEARLY a figure of speech, obvious as such to anyone who isn’t being deliberately obtuse. There was nothing to “backtrack” about.

    Lying about what was said and playing disingenuous semantic games isn’t exactly “respectful” either, dude. It also doesn’t work very well when the original text is still there for everyone to read.

  223. “I haven’t seen any comments from you around here before.”

    Well, given that you apparently haven’t seen the “witch hunt” figure of speech before either, I’m guessing that there are a quite a lot of things you haven’t seen.

    I’d rather not have my life wrecked by an ape hooting mob, thanks.

  224. Let’s recap, shall we?

    Me: Uses “witch hunt” as it’s been used in political contexts for the last century or so (the earliest reference that’s coming up for me is Margot Asquith’s autobiography, referring to the persecution of German-born citizens during WWI).
    Patrick: either out of cluelessness or (more likely) intentional misunderstanding, pretends that I’m talking about a literal burning-at-the-stake old-school witch hunt.
    Me: points out (not very politely, I’ll admit) that this is a pile of crap.
    Patrick: claims that I’m “backtracking” and delivers a plonking lecture about “respect”.

    Yeah, whatever, dude.

  225. The topic is not about controversial political views (or even the issue of gay marriage), but solely about the acquisition and exercise of power. The message is clear, “if you disagree with us, we can’t get you fired. So shut up and tow the line.”

    The danger is that every such success encourages even greater extremism by the bullies.

  226. “If for no other reason, the speed of this revision should give people pause about the hounding of Eich.”

    IIRC the campaign started when an app developer published that he would stop doing business with a company whose CEO paid good money to have the app developer’s marriage annulled. With an added risk that his husband could be deported.

    If I would have been in such a situation, I would have started a boycott too.

    Eich has Free Speech rights, the boycotters have them too.

  227. @SBP:

    > I’m guessing that there are a quite a lot of things you haven’t seen.
    > I’d rather not have my life wrecked by an ape hooting mob, thanks.

    This comment practically implied it was your last. It also somewhat implied that Tim F. and I constitute a mob that is hounding you, which opinion and worldview would certainly explain your empathy for Mr. Eich.

    But wait, there’s more!

    > Let’s recap, shall we?

    Why not?

    > Me: Uses “witch hunt” as it’s been used in political contexts for the last century or so…

    Also, uses “mob rule”, which usually comes closer to matching what’s going on, and “bashing in the head”, which almost always describes exactly what’s going on, in the same sentence.

    > Patrick: either out of cluelessness or (more likely) intentional misunderstanding, pretends that I’m talking about a literal burning-at-the-stake old-school witch hunt.

    Well this is slightly more respectful, but you did miss option (C) — I was playfully needling Eric — even after Tim F. pointed it out to you.

    > Me: points out (not very politely, I’ll admit) that this is a pile of crap.

    Better.

    > Patrick: claims that I’m “backtracking” and delivers a plonking lecture about “respect”.

    The point of respect is not that I demand, expect, or even really care about respect from you. The point is actually about two things: persuasiveness, and the pot calling the kettle black. The answer to bad speech is always more speech, but it is most helpful if the additional speech doesn’t simply turn off the listener and make them more entrenched.

    Granted, this is difficult to do when the original speech is so far off the mark that even our reptilian hindbrains recognize it as a load of bollocks and engage our speech centers before we have well-reasoned arguments, but it’s still something to strive for.

  228. Patrick Maupin> In my experience, “Bashing someone in the head” is not normally a figure of speech. To the contrary, it usually is used in reference to a physical head of an actual human or other animal being deliberately damaged quite severely.

    Your framing of the issue, Patrick, also makes more sense in light of the first sentence of this thread’s original post: “. . . ‘my first thought was “Congratulations, gay activists. You have become the bullies you hate.”’ So let’s recall some of the bullies gay activists hate.

    (1) In 1785, when Jeremy Bentham first raised the idea that gay sex should be legalized, the people who practiced it were hung as a matter of course. Their hanging happened physically, not figuratively.

    (2) In 1952, when the British government found out that Alan Turing was gay, it sentenced him to chemical castration, the alternative being that he be thrown in jail. The castration didn’t happen figuratively; and the jailing wouldn’t have happened figuratively. They happened physically (or, well, chemically, if you want to be technical about it).

    (3) Until 1969, when the Stonewall Riots pushed back against the oppression of gay people, police frequently raided gay bars, lined up the patrons, threw them in jail, and clubbed them down if they resisted. All this abuse happened physically, not metaphorically.

    (4) During the upstairs lounge larson attack, a gang of homophobes threw a Molotov cocktail into a dance hall frequented by gay patrons. Thirty-two of them burned to death — physically, not figuratively.

    Now compare this with what happened at Mozilla. Boardmembers resigned. Staffers demanded the CEO’s resignation. A dating website suggested an alternative browser. If anyone used as much as fighting words, or even just foul language, none of the reporting mentions it. And this is supposed to be morally-equivalent, or even figuratively-equivalent, to the vile physical abuse that’s been going on? “Gay activists [...] have become the bullies [they] hate”? Really? Please tell me that this is some hackish “ha-ha, only serious” act that I’m not getting as an outsider!

  229. > It makes no difference whatsoever how the information came to light.

    It didn’t come to light, it was born in the light.

  230. Winter wrote “With an added risk that his husband could be deported. If I would have been in such a situation, I would have started a boycott too.”

    According to Wikipedia, U.S. Department of Defense figures for US casualties in the Korean war include 33,686 battle deaths and 8,176 MIA. Also, it is not obvious how to come up with a good estimate, but a significant number of US citizens in the late 1950s must have had personal connections to people trapped or dead behind the Iron Curtain.

    Curiously, I have never heard a leftist endorse support of McCarthy-era blacklisting by people with a personal connection to surviving USSR subjects who might yet be killed in the future, or by people with personal connections to people who might well be casualties in the much-feared potential future all-out war with the USSR.

  231. @William Newman:

    > Curiously, I have never heard a leftist endorse

    If you ever heard of such an endorsement, you would immediately conclude they were not a leftist. QED.

    FWIW, 4 out of the 6 chairmen of the HUAC were Democrats.

    > people with a personal connection to surviving USSR subjects who might yet be killed in the future

    How would blacklisting people in this country with such a tenuous connection help people in other countries?

    > who might well be casualties in the much-feared potential future all-out war with the USSR.

    The true communists believed (stupidly, but that’s another story) that if we all became communist then we could all get along. Why would there be a need for such a war?

    Sorry, but this doesn’t refute Winter’s point at all.

  232. >So let’s recall some of the bullies gay activists hate.

    Please don’t use the word “bullying” to describe immolation, murder, and castration; you damage the ability to make important ethical distinctions when you do that. “Bullying” has a specific range of meanings, and attempts to score cheap rhetorical points by ignoring that do not really advance your position or persuade anyone.

  233. @Peter Scott:

    That is hilarious, and I sincerely hope that OKCupid and their parent corporation get everything they deserve out of their PR.

    @esr:

    The distinction you are worried about is like the one between manslaughter and murder.

    The distinction I’m worried about is one which IMO you have violated — true bullying involves enough actual violence that the associated speech is effectively backed up by credible threats of further violence.

    Ability and willingness to escalate are part of the distinction. Many events that wind up with people maimed or killed started off as what any grade-schooler would immediately recognize as bullying.

    There may be a different standard for bullying for 8th grade girls, but there is no need for the wider society to buy into that; else you will need a different word for what 8th grade boys go through.

  234. ESR, I do believe that’s exactly the point Thomas was trying to make to YOU!

  235. >The distinction I’m worried about is one which IMO you have violated — true bullying involves enough actual violence that the associated speech is effectively backed up by credible threats of further violence.

    I used “bullies” because one of the specific purposes of low-level physical intimidation of gays has been to inhibit them from expressing their preferences openly. This is exactly what some gay activists are now trying to do to people with “traditional marriage” beliefs. I don’t share those beliefs, but I know bullying when I see it.

    The push, in both directions, is of a different kind than murder, castration, or immolation.

  236. If that was the intent, it probably would have been best to say:

    “Now gay activists are trying to inhibit opponents from expressing their preferences openly, something they hate being done to them.”

    Since that’s a very narrow definition of bullying and you clearly acknowledge that gay activists have been subjected to many more forms of bullying (“one of the specific purposes” — which actually suggests it’s just one of the intents, not one of the methods).

    Of course, stating it as so would be absolutely wrong since Eich doesn’t want to and refuses to express his own personal preferences regardless of any pressure. I saw many more requests, in the initial waves, calling for him to explain his personal views, rather than suppress them.

  237. “If you ever heard of such an endorsement, you would immediately conclude they were not a leftist. QED.”

    That’s a pretty lazy convenient assumption on your part. (Or is it a conclusion? From what?)

    “FWIW, 4 out of the 6 chairmen of the HUAC were Democrats.”

    1950s directly elected politicians’ parties don’t map reliably to modern leftist pieties, or even 1950s leftist pieties. E.g., check out JFK in the Senate[*] in support of the minimum wage: “Of course, having on the market a rather large source of cheap labor depresses wages outside of that group, too–the wages of the white worker who has to compete. And when an employer can substitute a colored worker at a lower wage–and there are, as you pointed out, these hundreds of thousands looking for decent work–it affects the whole wage structure of an area, doesn’t it?”

    And even today I suspect a considerable number of directly elected Democrats are strongly motivated to avoid invoking McCarthy-as-worse-than-Stalin as a campaign piety, much the same way as a considerable number cannot safely campaign on leftist gun-control pieties.

    If you will grant me a reasonably selective definition of “leftist” — not the leftmost 50% (so that society would be a mixture of leftists and rightists and absolutely nothing else?), but the leftmost 30% or less, and not projected back however many decades it takes to cause confusion, but my adult lifetime (1983 onward) — I don’t think my original point is unreasonable. Sometimes (perhaps especially around the time of the USSR’s collapse) people can be found dissenting on anti-anti-communism while remaining recognizably left in many other ways. But I don’t remember any doing so by inventing Winter’s particular style of justification for personally highly motivated individuals while retaining the main orthodoxy that except for such personally highly motivated individuals anti-Communist blacklists remain a go-to example of inexcusable political witchhunting.

    [*] I can’t check the citation directly, but see David Henderson’s comment in http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2009/07/using_the_minim.html : minimum wage hearings before Subcommittee on Labor, March 20, 1957 .

  238. >Of course, stating it as so would be absolutely wrong since Eich doesn’t want to and refuses to express his own personal preferences regardless of any pressure.

    That is true, but does not falsify my statement. The purpose of collecting Eich’s scalp (and I’m not speculating, this is clear from the OKCupid discussion) is not primarily to punish Eich himself but to intimidate people who might be less reticent than he in the future.

    Note, by the way, that I approve of Eich’s refusal to be explicit about his reasons for supporting Prop 8. They’re not anyone else’s business, and doing so would muddy the real issue in this mess. Good for him for having a spine.

  239. esr> “Bullying” has a specific range of meanings, and attempts to score cheap rhetorical points by ignoring that do not really advance your position or persuade anyone.

    I don’t know about you, but the specific meaning I have in mind is Webster’s definition 2.a: “a blustering browbeating person; especially : one habitually cruel to others who are weaker”. Notice that Webster does not say: “… but if the habitual cruelty reaches the point of murder and castration, the people who do it aren’t bullies anymore.”

    As to the blustering and browbeating part, I suppose that reasonable people can disagree how much of it happened between the board members stepping down, the staffers asking Eich to resign, the dating site suggesting another browser, and the myriad people talking about this on the internet. This is partly a matter of perception.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that Eich never suffered anything like the ongoing physical abuse and habitual cruelty that gay teenagers suffer at the hands of schoolyard bullies every day. So even if I play along with your allegation that the examples in my previous post don’t count, it doesn’t change the fact that your original metaphor was hyperbolical and misleading.

  240. > This is exactly what some gay activists are now trying to do to people with “traditional marriage” beliefs.

    While I grant that calling for someone to be fired is unseemly, I don’t equate it to low-level physical intimidation, and I certainly don’t equate asking a figurehead with impolitic views to step down with the sort of broad-based intimidation of all gays that happened a few decades ago.

    Do you see gays saying that nobody who is homophobic should be allowed to have a job, support themselves, to exist? I’m sure you could find some examples of this, but it isn’t mainstream, and is unlikely to become so.

  241. >Do you see gays saying that nobody who is homophobic should be allowed to have a job, support themselves, to exist? I’m sure you could find some examples of this, but it isn’t mainstream, and is unlikely to become so.

    Don’t you get it? The success against Eich brings this sort of extremism closer – that’s exactly why the trend has to be stopped now. The sort of “activist” we have seen at work here interprets success as license to increase his demands. I don’t think we’re very far at all from “homophobes shouldn’t have jobs” now.

  242. >Slippery slope fallacy.

    Except when it’s not. In political movements, it usually isn’t.

    (I hope it’s clear that I don’t see this as a problem in any way specific to LGBT activists.)

  243. It’s really just plain nonsense and ridiculous fear mongering. Do you think all racists and misogynists are unemployed now? Do you think the gay rights movement has leapfrogged both the civil rights movement for people of different races and the female sex in this one blip that largely likely (we don’t occurred) mostly between Eich and Baker and the input of the Moz community?

    Do I think it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold homophobic views? Yes. Do I think your fear mongering is absurd and not rooted in reality and any evidence whatsoever? Yes.

    It will be increasingly difficult to be the leader of major organizations where public opinion matters if you cling to the belief that its okay to deny civil rights from people will different sexual preferences than your own. This is true. Suggesting that people who understand that and want that will make it not only impossible but illegal for a homophobic person to hold employment is complete and utter fear mongering and fallacious.

  244. @ Thom B
    > But that doesn’t change the fact that Eich never suffered anything like the ongoing physical abuse and habitual cruelty that gay teenagers suffer at the hands of schoolyard bullies every day

    Because hounding someone out of their job and hanging an albatross around their neck within their professional field is such a minor inconvenience. Because the attitude on many quarters saying that anyone who supports the position that he did shouldn’t have a job at that level (which given the circumstances strongly implies a threat to force anyone who dares say otherwise out by also ruining their livelihoods and reputation…) and that this will serve as an example to encourage the others to think “correctly”, isn’t going to throw monkey wrenches into anyone else’s lives or ruin them either.

    Got it.

    @Tim F
    > Do you think all racists and misogynists are unemployed now?

    No – but we used to consider (and many feminists still do) the simple relative lack of women upper management to be proof positive that active discrimination HAD to be occurring (no other factors could possibly apply. Nope…) – and we have people actively calling that no-one should be a CEO or similar position if they hold view “Y”. When that’s not sufficient to get rid of “bad thought”, there will of course be a need to expand the scope.

    Given how acceptable views have changed in the last few years, people who were comfortably liberal only a decade or so ago (say, Orson Scott Card – ironically the guy who probably did more to positively change my mind on homosexuals) are now radical hatemongers.

    So yes, we have someone who donated money to help support a proposition that wishes to reverse what you refer to as a basic human right, marrying two people who in living memory would have been considered mentally ill at best. This is a proposition that passed with a majority of the people residing in CA who bothered to vote (and with VERY strong support from the black community).

    So this guy supported a view arguably held by a majority of Californians, a majority of people in the US, and almost certainly the majority of the planet. He does not have a record of individually mistreating anyone based on their gender (as opposed to places where gays men are hung…), and has arguably done more to foster freedom of expression, thought, and communication than the vast majority of his critics for all people regardless of their gender.

    But no – neither he, nor anyone else who holds that view ( roughly 50% of the US) should be a CEO.

    And somehow, people who contribute to restrict gun rights, a part of western tradition of the natural right to self-defense, enshrined in our country’s law at the core of our legal system for over 200 years, are just working to change the legal system in a way that reflects changing human needs.

    You know – if this guy’s attitude is so heinous and backward that it poisons him and his actions such that he cannot possibly be a CEO and guide a company and its products, then why don’t you show some consistency. Stop using anything he had a significant hand in developing.

  245. Unlike ESR I find it funny to watch imbeciles like Tim F furiously nitpick over specific word usage, while constantly distorting language according to leftist programming that he’s not even aware of.

  246. Eric, in the interest of not getting stuck in a mutually-frustrating back-and-forth, let me try to re-frame the issue by asking you two questions:

    (1) Is it okay for people to protest against a corporate CEO’s political activism, or do they have a moral duty to keep their mouths shut?

    (2) Assuming that your answer to question #1 is “yes, protest is okay”, what would you suggest as a proper form of protesting?

  247. @esr:

    > Don’t you get it? The success against Eich brings this sort of extremism closer

    I get it; I just don’t agree. Tim F. is right that it’s hard to imagine the LGBT community’s clout surpassing, for example, the feminists any time soon, and as we saw with Adria Richards, even in that community, people who overreach will get spanked (and claim it’s yet another example of ***-ism, but whatever).

    In the case of OKCupidity, the mainstream media is already pushing back — enter “OKCupid” into google news and see what pops up today. The meme inoculation is already occurring from all directions. The fact, which you and others have pointed out, that people like Andrew Sullivan are talking about this shows that it’s extremely unlikely that this extremism you are worried about is going to seriously take root nationally, although of course the bay area was a lost cause a few decades ago.

  248. “Do you think all racists and misogynists are unemployed now?”

    All racists? Certainly not. Some racists are not just employed but are quite powerful in the employment biz. The actual acute problem is that people who are vulnerable to the charge of “racism” under the current witchhunt rules do risk serious career problems. (It is also a problem that messing up freedom of contract messes up all sorts of stuff, but I don’t feel like arguing that libertarian conclusion today, so everyone will just need to take my word for it.)

    It is not safe for people’s careers to harp on how the usual rationalizations for affirmative action tend to fail spectacularly for Asians (redressing historical oppression by penalizing Asians relative to whites, sure) and/or apply to officially-protected Jews at least as strongly as officially-discriminated-against Asians. (I’m no fan of other AA, either, but someone with an IQ of 89 and not much interest in politics or history might credit some of the rationalizations for that, so it’s not at the same level of crude absurdity as AA against Asians.)

    It is not safe for someone’s career to harp on how the emperor has no clothes in peer-reviewed academic subliteratures like the Chan and Boliver paper discussed in http://www.arnoldkling.com/blog/a-grandparent-effect/ . (Hint: it is not sensible to silently neglect effects of biological heredity — statistically determining that those effects turn out to be negligible could be OK, but assuming they’re negligible is asinine — and it does not demonstrate racism to notice this, merely supports charges of “racism”.)

    The safe thing is cynically discriminating against Asians or playing Lysenko-like pseudoscience games at the taxpayer’s expense. It can be observed that this is the common thing as well; congratulations, leftists.

    The left’s cynical strategy of selectively doling out “tolerance” to powerful allies is ghastly. Pirating the names of classical liberal principles (tolerance, equality, various kinds of personal autonomy) for this crude ersatz is no excuse, just additional corruption. The strategy enforces whatever racism and sexism pleases the left, and not just in small ways. E.g., historic discrimination of top universities against Jews is rightly considered a serious matter — and modern discrimination against Asians is comparable. Or consider that classifying gay men as unfit custodial parents is considered a serious matter, which makes it tricky for an honest leftist to explain how continuing to consider heterosexual men unfit parents is a negligible nonissue. (Especially since a lot of the rhetoric is about what’s best for the children, so collective punishment for het men is a particularly silly justification.) It also screws up good outcomes directly (e.g. preventing technically valid outcomes in the no-genes-here-we-are-scientists example above) and indirectly (e.g. being a major enabler for efforts to stomp out meritocracy).

    Some clearly-imperfect progress toward tolerance can be celebrated by libertarians. E.g., ending Prohibition long ago or legalizing marijuana tomorrow is good, even if the main motive is unrelated to tolerance (e.g., increasing tax revenue). But imperfect “progress” which is just a political favor reserved for powerful friends of the ruling coalition — marriage for gays not polygamists, visa-granting powers handed out to universities or connected businessmen, discrimination prohibited against favored groups but required against disfavored groups, Obamacare waivers doled out by executive decree, etc. — can seldom be celebrated, and can be at least as bad as the supposed problem being ameliorated.

  249. @Dgarsys:

    No – but we used to consider (and many feminists still do) the simple relative lack of women upper management to be proof positive that active discrimination HAD to be occurring (no other factors could possibly apply. Nope…)

    This practically makes my point for me. It’s a lot harder to win a sex discrimination lawsuit against a company now than it was 20 years ago, because people learn. Same thing with ridiculous harrassment judgements.

    In fact, the worst PC things happening now are things like rape prosecutions at the hands of prosecutors with almost infinite power, huge mandatory minimum sentences, and marginal cases. E.g. the government.

  250. >(1) Is it okay for people to protest against a corporate CEO’s political activism, or do they have a moral duty to keep their mouths shut?

    Yes, but this is too broad a question to answer the Eich case. The fact pattern that makes this unacceptable thuggery is much more specific.

    >(2) Assuming that your answer to question #1 is “yes, protest is okay”, what would you suggest as a proper form of protesting?

    There is no easy general answer to this question. Different kinds and modes of “activism” have different meanings.

  251. > I don’t think we’re very far at all from “homophobes shouldn’t have jobs” now.

    Isn’t “homophobe” a one-word kafkatrap? It ascribes the target’s opposition to homosexuals and homosexuality as being due to a mental illness, and dismisses any attempt by the target to defend his position as mere rationalizations resulting from that mental illness.

  252. Let me start by thanking everyone contributing to this thread. There are a lot of divergent views here and reading them has helped me sort out my own opinions on the subject of same sex marriage.

    I currently live in a conservative community in a state where same sex marriage is not recognized. If a poll were taken, I suspect the the result would be 80% against same sex marriage in my county.

    My wife and I met in California in the early 1980’s. Before we got married, some close friends of ours were joined in a wedding ceremony in San Francisco in 1981. They got married in a park, we got married in a church.They didn’t get a license out of the deal, we did. We all raised kids, paid mortgages, voted, mowed the lawn, loved each other, moved to different places, and stayed in touch. What right did I have to accept that they were somehow less married than my wife and I? So my opinion changed out of respect for them.

    The Mozilla/Eich controversy has caused me to re-think that opinion. In this case a long term employee and co-founder of a company is forced out of a job because of a perfectly legal political donation he made a number of years ago. The donation is so objectionable to a group of opposite minded people that his on-the-job record (by all accounts impeccable) is irrelevant to the outcome. Out comes the pitchfork waving mob and a career is blown out of the water.

    Using similar logic, a CEO who makes a donation to a pro-life campaign or candidate is fair game. Or another CEO making a similar contribution to a women’s rights group would also be fair game. One is taking away women’s rights, and the other is promoting the killing of unborn children. There’s plenty of folks available to wave pitchforks on both sides of that issue, too. I use abortion only to illustrate the logic. Other issues can have the same effect.

    Much of what I’ve read about this controversy on other forums falls along the lines that, “Because of the donation, he’s a bigot, and if you don’t believe he’s a bigot, that makes you a bigot, too.”

    I have a problem with pitchfork waving mobs, especially when they affect the lives of people whose sole offense is to disagree with them. Diversity requires respect and is a hollow term when it only includes those who agree with you. So until the LBGT community learns that, count me out. I’m not going to the extent that Eric is (I’ve got other political causes I’d rather spend $1,000 on), but I understand why he’s going there.

    Again, thank you all for the enlightening discussion. Now I have to apologize to our friends, who deserve better than this from me.

  253. esr> There is no easy general answer to this question. Different kinds and modes of “activism” have different meanings.

    Fair enough. In the specific case of protesting against Mr. Eich, then, what would be some ways of doing it that you would deem proper?

  254. @ Thomas Blankenhorn – “what would you suggest as a proper form of protesting?”

    You can focus your activism as support for a particular cause or goal; emphasizing a philosophical justification and providing sound argument. This is often called “taking the high road.”

    Demonizing your opposition (and intentionally inflicting harm as intimidation) is one of the first steps on the road to transitioning from bully to despot.

  255. Isn’t “homophobe” a one-word kafkatrap?

    Not particularly surprising (although I had not thought of it in that way before), “homophobe” is propaganda jargon, and propaganda is invariably composed of kafkatraps and thought stopping cliches mixed in varying proportions.

  256. @Kevin Snyder:

    So until the LBGT community learns that, count me out. I’m not going to the extent that Eric is (I’ve got other political causes I’d rather spend $1,000 on), but I understand why he’s going there.

    Your thoughtful post led me to discover my main objection to what is going on here. Eric’s initial post, and half the comments here, essentially treat “the LGBT community” as some monolithic whole.

    For Eric this may be somewhat consistent — reading between the lines of prior posts, it may be that he takes to heart the military maxim of punishing everybody in the group until everybody behaves — but even if you barely concede the remote chance that homosexuality might be an immutable characteristic, then there is a chance that you’re hitting innocent bystanders with such action.

    Which may or may not be a useful tactic, but is certainly one of the edge cases when thinking about the NAP.

  257. >Fair enough. In the specific case of protesting against Mr. Eich, then, what would be some ways of doing it that you would deem proper?

    I don’t think Eich did anything that merits protest at all, so I’m not the right person to ask this.

    I’d have an answer you might find more satisfying if there were any evidence that Eich had exhibited bigoted behavior towards individual gay people, or uttered offensive epithets, or anything. But there isn’t any such evidence – by now, if it were even possible to trump up such charges, it would have been done.

    We don’t know Eich’s motivations for supporting Prop 8, and he refuses to discuss them. Which is his right as they’re not really anyone else’s business. They would become a proper target of scrutiny if he had a history of individual bigotry, but see above.

  258. > So yes, we have someone who donated money to help support a proposition that wishes to reverse what you refer to as a basic human right, marrying two people who in living memory would have been considered mentally ill at best.

    The fact that a belief was common within living memory does not mean that belief is not wrong.

  259. >Eric’s initial post, and half the comments here, essentially treat “the LGBT community” as some monolithic whole

    I have not done this. I have advocated donating to anti-gay-marriage initiatives because it’s a specific and proportionate response to the scalping of Eich. It is an appropriate response whether we attribute the scalping to all gays or only a fraction of them, because it has the specific goal of deterring a very specific kind of thuggery through counter-action with an obvious and just relation to the thuggery.

  260. @esr:

    I have not done this.

    You are advocating a response that conceivably has negative consequences for some other than the offenders, which negative response you apparently don’t otherwise believe in applying.

    I have advocated donating to anti-gay-marriage initiatives because it’s a specific and proportionate response to the scalping of Eich.

    The response is not at all proportionate to someone who wants to get married and who hasn’t participated in the OKCupidity sideshow.

    It is an appropriate response whether we attribute the scalping to all gays or only a fraction of them, because it has the specific goal of deterring a very specific kind of thuggery through counter-action with an obvious and just relation to the thuggery.

    And this is why I likened it to punishing a platoon. The response may be just in some grand scheme of things, but is not necessarily just to individuals.

  261. Eric, in the past, I’ve suggested that you have too much trust in punishment, but I didn’t have an example. I think this is an example.

    Why do you think your choice of policy will have the specific effects you want, and not lead to some sort of blowback?

    Also, I don’t think many people in this thread (which should include a fair number of people who are inclined to agree with you) have agreed with your specific policy proposal, and it doesn’t have a chance to be tried unless you can recruit people to join it. You may be underestimating the amount of work which has gone into anti-racism and related causes.

  262. >Eric, in the past, I’ve suggested that you have too much trust in punishment, but I didn’t have an example. I think this is an example.

    Even a flatworm turns away from pain.

    >Why do you think your choice of policy will have the specific effects you want, and not lead to some sort of blowback?

    Because targeted action driving the net payoff from misbehavior to zero is a response that is easy for people to understand.

  263. @Adriano

    > I don’t interpret inclusivity as “Let’s include the hateful”.

    I guess the problem is how you define hateful. I have basically a relativist attitude to it (Eric and others who like to stick to philosophically reasoned principles will probably dislike it): people who come up with NEW ideas how to screw with others unnecessarily are hateful. People who like to stick to OLD, traditional ways of screwing with others are not hateful. They are just traditionalists. They just like to keep things the way they are used to them. Yes, even if serfdom and slavery were around, I would not define people who defend them as hateful. Of course if someone wanted to re-introduce it, that would be hateful. It matters which side is established and which side is not.

    My primary reasoning is that people get used to everything. They find ways to live with things, given enough time. The serf will find a way to cheat the landlord out of part of the taxes, the slave will find a way to slack off, gays adopt each other instead of marrying. At the end of the day given long enough time, people adapt to anything and do not feel a lot of pain. This – the lack of a lot of pain – means defending something old a traditional may be stupid or ethically wrong, but not actively hateful or evil-intending. An important ingredigent to hatred – wishing the pain and distress of the Other – is missing, due to adaptation and coping.

    Now of course when people want to introduce something new like that, that is hateful, because that is obviously going to cause a lot of distress and pain before people adapt.

    Generally when people want to hurt others, they have to come up with new and new ways of it, because humans are very good at adaptation. This is why we can assume people who just want to preserve old, traditional ways of screwing with others, they are probably not hateful, just traditionalists.

  264. @Rich

    >This is a morally complex issue. It boils down to “honoring procedural norms” versus “substantive good or evil”

    You get it. This should be really the starting point of the discussion, not something encountered halfway through the thread.

    The problem is of course that given that the ultimate purpose of every procedure is to prevent large-scale evil from happening, they can and ought to be broken in the presence of large-scale evil. I am perfectly willing to break any procedure, custom, or law to prevent e.g. a genocide because at that point if it was not possible to prevent it procedurally or lawfully they failed in their primary purpose and deserve to be suspended.

    This, of course, means that you can call anything – in this case, banning same-sex marriage – a large-scale evil and get away with breaking procedure. Cute, isn’t it?

    Or in other words, what procedure can work as a meta-procedure, generating the cases where the substantive evil is big enough to allow breaking procedures?

    My proposal, as above, is tradition/establishment, based on the idea that nothing that exists for a long time can cause a lot of suffering no matter how unjust or stupid it is, because people are very, very good at adapting to everything. Yes it even includes serfdom or slavery.

    So one half of the meta-procedure would be that you are not allowed to break procedure for anything new, for the sake of any innovation. Changes can only be made procedurally. Breaking procedure is only allowed for counter-acting some kinds of changes. Generally procedure-breaking is only allowed for preventing the introduction of new evils, and for ushering old evils out it is not.

    Of course this still leaves the question open in what cases – but clearly not all – are the traditionalists allowed to break procedure? So far we have only established that the anti-traditionalists are never allowed, but we cannot really decide exaclty in which cases are the traditionalists allowed to. I cannot answer that.

    Interesting that although I am not part of the Anglo-American political tradition, external observation suggests me that this political tradition roughly worked like this. For example revolutions in the Anglosphere were generally meant to topple kings who violated the old, traditional rights of subjects. They were not meant to introduce new rights. So the king broke procedure with an innovation, and the revolutionaries broke procedure in defense of tradition. There seems to be a lesson in it. It seems to work.

  265. You usually come across as more rational, Eric. You must understand that the response to your bully bullying will be bully bully bullying. I wasn’t terribly interested in the gay marriage debate before but, if you’re going to throw down against it just for kicks, I believe I’ll need to counter your attack by going the other direction.

  266. @esr
    “Even a flatworm turns away from pain.”

    A bull or tiger has more options. Try to inflict pain to the fully grown bull. Se whether it will turn away from you.

  267. Upon second thought… there are some evils people cannot adapt to no matter how old and established they are, because they violate some basic human instinct.

    So, one part of the meta-procedure should be that those who are up against an established, traditional evil are allowed to break procedure if said evil is non-adaptable (chattel slavery that breaks families apart, forms of legal killing etc.) but not when they are adaptable (serfdom, indentured servitude…). Anti-sodomy seems non-adaptable (you cannot really get used to what basically amounts to forced celibacy), lack of marriage equality seems adaptable.

  268. From the OKCupid profile:

    “…the CEO of OKCupid’s parent company (and founder of OKCupid) donated $500 to the campaign of Congressman Chris Cannon in 2004. Cannon is an extraordinarily anti-gay Utah Republican who received a 0% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, a group that rates legislators on their support for LGBT issues. While in office, Cannon voted yes for a ban gay adoptions, voted no on a bill to prohibit job discrimination based on sexual orientation, and supported a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage nationwide.

    So apparently OKCupid thinks it’s okay to organize a boycott against a company whose CEO donated $1,000 to bigots. Because they have the moral high ground. Because their CEO only donated a mere $500 to bigots.

    Seriously, I spend a lot of time thinking about this. HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE TO PEOPLE??!”

    Priceless. It seems the people rallying the mob is often doing so in an effort to keep from getting trampled by the mob by finding a different victim.

  269. > …because it has the specific goal of deterring a very specific kind of thuggery through counter-action with an obvious and just relation to the thuggery.

    By “thuggery” you mean exercising one’s freedom of contract by declining to do business with people who support a cause one strongly disagrees with, and encouraging others to do the same by informing them of these facts.

  270. Being against gay marriage does not necessarily imply being against gays. But unfortunately, such negative feedback doesn’t fit well into the American form of political hysteresis.

  271. esr> I’d have an answer you might find more satisfying if there were any evidence that Eich had exhibited bigoted behavior towards individual gay people, or uttered offensive epithets, or anything.

    Let me jump on your word “anything” here. In earlier posts, you suggested that Eich is being pilloried for nothing but his private thoughts. But his donation actually went beyond private thinking in two ways. First, donating money to a political campaign isn’t private. It’s public, because it affects the laws that the public lives under. Consequently, I would argue, his donation is properly in the public record and fair game for criticism by the public. Second, donating money to Prop-8 activists isn’t just a thought. It’s an act, done to help the recipient act to bar gay couples from marrying. Why doesn’t that count as “anything” for you?

  272. > So apparently OKCupid thinks it’s okay to organize a boycott against a company whose CEO donated $1,000 to bigots. Because they have the moral high ground. Because their CEO only donated a mere $500 to bigots.

    Donating to a candidate is very different from donating for a specific cause, because in our two-party system each candidate supports many things that you may agree or disagree with, and you have to choose how much each is worth to you and where the balance is. Maybe he supported that candidate because his opponent wanted to ban guns.

  273. P.S. That is something that worries me a lot about this “Anybody who has ever given money to support a candidate or cause to restrict my rights to own firearms or property will now be treated explicitly like shit.” talk.

    You can donate to a candidate without knowing or caring about their stance on gay marriage or gun control or whatever, because there are lots of other reasons you might be donating to them. The same cannot be said for prop 8.

  274. The sad part is how life in the US is increasingly coming to resemble life in the old Soviet bloc, where they name a street after you one day, then chase you down it the next…

  275. You can donate to a candidate without knowing or caring about their stance on gay marriage or gun control or whatever, because there are lots of other reasons you might be donating to them. The same cannot be said for prop 8.

    Regardless, the effect is the same. If the crime Eich committed was donating to a cause that harmed the civil liberties of US citizens, then donating to a politician who does the same is the exact same crime. And being willfully ignorant of your chosen politician’s stances (or simply not caring that they are trampling civil liberties) is no more an excuse than being willfully ignorant of other civil rights abuses. If voting and contributing to political causes are actions that can and do cause harm, then it is incumbent upon every voter to be fully aware, cognizant and if not accepting then resigned to the harm that their votes and contributions will cause and the consequences thereof.

  276. >Why doesn’t that count as “anything” for you?

    I’m not going to re-expolain that. Look upthread.

  277. >I wasn’t terribly interested in the gay marriage debate before but, if you’re going to throw down against it just for kicks,

    I haven’t asserted any position on gay marriage. And now I’m not going to – doing so would dilute my point.

  278. >>Eric, in the past, I’ve suggested that you have too much trust in punishment, but I didn’t have an example. I think this is an example.

    >Even a flatworm turns away from pain.

    People are not flatworms. People are capable of attacking back, as Winter pointed out, and they’re also capable of forming the idea of intractable enemy.

    Punishment works some of the time, but using it, or even imagining it, seems to have a strong hypnotic effect of assuming it will work out exactly as planned. There will be no retaliation or foot-dragging, or at least nothing that can’t be dealt with by more punishment.

    It’s possible that that non-punitive approaches have the same hypnotic weight if a person likes them.

    However, it’s especially entertaining to watch you assume that your preferred punishment will work (because your ideas are all correct, I guess, but also because punishment is such a great strategy) when the whole point is to make someone else’s punishments not work.

  279. >then donating to a politician who does the same is the exact same crime.

    So, in your version of thug-think, should the CEO of OKCupid be forced out for donating $500 to anti-gay conservative Chris Cannon? What if it were $50? Where does the gleichshaltung stop?

  280. > Regardless, the effect is the same

    The effect is not the same because it’s diluted by the many other things the candidate might do with the money.

  281. >People are not flatworms. People are capable of attacking back, as Winter pointed out, and they’re also capable of forming the idea of intractable enemy.

    Well spotted, Winter. The LGBT-activist crowd is well on its way towards making me an intractable enemy with the Eich scalping.

    >However, it’s especially entertaining to watch you assume that your preferred punishment will work (because your ideas are all correct, I guess, but also because punishment is such a great strategy) when the whole point is to make someone else’s punishments not work.

    Oh, no. I’m afraid their punishment will work. That’s why they need to be stopped.

  282. esr:
    > I’m not going to re-explain that. Look upthread.

    Rich Rostrom:
    > One was “Browbeatnikism” – the chairman informs the committee that a matter was decided at the last meeting, then if someone disagrees, takes personal offense (“Are you calling me a liar?”) and threatens a fit of rage.

    I in fact looked upthread and found that you started with “private opinion” and never backed off when your theory that it was only made public by an illegal disclosure by the IRS was disproved. You’ve continuously asserted that this is just a matter of opinion, rather than, you know, spending money to enable someone to commit actions against people, but you’ve never backed that up with reasons. An assertion is not an explanation. Why do you not consider spending money to be an action?

  283. There is a difference between holding an opinion, publicly expressing it, and taking action in furtherance of forcing it on others. Most people believe that, as a universal standard, the first two are okay and the third is not. You seem to believe that all three are okay for Eich, and that even the second is not okay for gay rights activists.

  284. >You seem to believe that all three are okay for Eich, and that even the second is not okay for gay rights activists.

    I oppose the “activists” at the point where their behavior becomes a campaign of intimidation against political expression. I have been consistent about this (see my post on the Duck Dynasty brouhaha) and it is a standard that I would apply anywhere on the political spectrum.

  285. Hey, that didn’t even trigger the filter!

    Anyway,

    @esr:

    > Oh, no. I’m afraid their punishment will work. That’s why they need to be stopped.

    That’s the crux of our disagreement. Could be wrong, but I don’t think it will work long-term in a significant fashion.

    @Random832:

    > The effect is not the same because it’s diluted by the many other things the candidate might do with the money.

    Yeah, but in this particular case, I don’t think many around here will be too concerned if there is significant blowback to OKCupid. It’s not even really schaudenfreude, although the perceived lesson will vary according to the recipient. Some will take away the lesson our esteemed host desires to teach, others will simply take it as a cautionary tale about casting the first stone, and a few timid ones will take the whole episode as confirmation bias about not getting involved at all.

  286. > I oppose the “activists” at the point where their behavior becomes a campaign of intimidation against political expression.

    By “intimidation” you mean something other than a threat of physical force.

  287. Isn’t “homophobe” a one-word kafkatrap? It ascribes the target’s opposition to homosexuals and homosexuality as being due to a mental illness, and dismisses any attempt by the target to defend his position as mere rationalizations resulting from that mental illness.

    No, I don’t think so. It may have started out as an attempted kafkatrap, but if so it quickly lost that meaning. Nowadays, at least in my experience, homophobia is universally understood as a sin rather than an illness. I never see anyone referred to as “suffering from homophobia”, or any sympathy for the “sufferer”, as one would expect of an illness.

    Indeed, the PC for at least the past 30 years has been never to refer to a person with an illness or disability with a noun derived from that condition, e.g. “schizophrenic” or “mongoloid”, or with an adjective, e.g. “consumptive” or “autistic”, nor even with terms like “victim” or “sufferer”, e.g. “AIDS victim”. Instead, the rigid PC is that one must refer to such a person as “person with AIDS”, “person with autism”, “person with bipolar disorder”, etc.

    So if homophobia were really regarded as an illness then the word “homophobe” would be banned, and we would hear only of “people with homophobia”. Instead, we hear “homophobe” slung around as an epithet, meant to insult, denigrate, and hurt. A person accused of it must immediately abase himself. It’s a sin against the religion of PC, not an illness or condition.

    Actually, I don’t believe it was ever really intended as a psychiatric diagnosis, and thus as a kafkatrap of the sort you suggest; rather, it was originally intended as a snide put-down, in an era before it became un-PC to look down on crazy people, and PC to regard them as having objectively diagnosable illnesses exactly like medical conditions. Calling someone a “homophobe” was meant to insult the person by calling them crazy rather than just wrong, and also to subtly imply that they might be homosexual themselves, which somehow would be a bad thing in them even though it’s not a bad thing in anyone else.

  288. @Milhouse

    > Instead, the rigid PC is that one must refer to such a person as “person with AIDS”

    I have a pet theory that much of the PC stuff comes from people who have really serious self esteem issues and are secretly afraid that others may see them as inferior. Therefore, they really want to wall off any possibility that anyone could ever be seen inferior as others. The point is, obviously nobody ever _likes_ to be seen as inferior, but for people with a healthy sense of ego it is not really a big fear, not really a major worry, so it does not require such an effort to prevent. However, I am not sure how to test or prove it.

  289. The effect is not the same because it’s diluted by the many other things the candidate might do with the money.

    So as long as the money might be used in the furtherance of some other action, contributing to causes which harm civil rights does not cause harm? Or perhaps I’m misunderstanding. Was Eich’s crime that he caused harm to the rights of others or that he expressed agreement with a cause by way of monetary contribution?

    There is a difference between holding an opinion, publicly expressing it, and taking action in furtherance of forcing it on others.

    What is the fundamental difference between publicly expressing an opinion on a political topic and taking action in furtherance of forcing it on others? Obviously me expressing that you should sit down and me actually forcing you to sit down are two different things, but when we’re talking about a political matter up for vote, how is me contributing 1000 to a cause sufficiently different from getting on TV or attending a rally and championing that cause? Are not both actions taken in the hope of getting that law to pass?

    Basically I’m asking at what point did Eich’s contributions to a political cause cross the line from expressing a political opinion (which per your statement, most people feel is ok) to CEO ousting affront against the people. Had he stayed under the minimum dollar amount required for public disclosure, would (had his support been discovered some other way) that still be grounds for ousting him as CEO? Had instead of contributing 1000 to a cause he purchased 1000 to air a radio commercial in support of prop 8, would that be grounds to oust him?

    So, in your version of thug-think, should the CEO of OKCupid be forced out for donating $500 to anti-gay conservative Chris Cannon? What if it were $50? Where does the gleichshaltung stop?

    First: Not my views. I’ve already expressed my personal views up thread. Be careful that you aren’t so quick to identify enemies that you attack your allies as well.

    In order for OKCupid to be consistent with their own message and world views, yes. If Eich’s contributions to a political movement is reason for Eich to be fired from a job having nothing at all to do with that political movement, then OKCupid’s CEO’s contributions to a political candidate is equally cause to fire the CEO.

    Of course, as I stated up thread, I personally don’t subscribe to these views. Politics and job performance are very rarely related, and unless and until Eich actually made a hostile work environment for his employees, he’s political voting and contributions on gay marriage in california have nothing to do with his (ex) job. OTOH, had it been revealed that Eich was contributing to CISPA or laws against open source tools and software, that is immediately relevant to his position as CEO of an open source company.

    Like most things in politics the reality is there are degrees separating these things, and not everything is black and white. As I’m sure you agree, every individual had a right to express their displeasure at Eich, and Mozilla had every right to terminate his employment contract for any reason (under the concepts of free contract). So the question at hand is not whether any of this was illegal (it wasn’t) or even “wrong” in a moral sense (again, it wasn’t) but whether it is wrong (in an abstract sense) for the tenor of the political debate to be such that contributing to the wrong side of a political debate can cost you your job in an unrelated field years later if enough media attention can be poured on it. Is it wrong to say that your political opponents must publicly recant their political views or you will hound them and their employers, stirring up a media shit storm that ultimately may lead to their termination? There’s a line here, and it’s probably not a hard and fast one, the question is, did this event cross that line. In my opinion yes.

  290. @TM – This is complicated by the fact that not everyone agrees that gay rights should be considered a mere matter of politics, with no moral implication of one side being right and the other being wrong in the same way there would if someone were advocating, for instance, a return of slavery.

  291. @Random832

    Perhaps even someone advocating the return of slavery should be largely insulated (as a matter of standards, not as a matter of law) from reprisal in otherwise unrelated areas. I mean, what is the line between a matter of politics and a matter of “morality” wherein one should be shunned from jobs and society for expressing their political views. Less than 50 years ago, corporate CEOs expressing support for gay marriage would likely find themselves run out as Eich was today. But that’s because 50 years ago, the predominate “moral” stance was that homosexuality was wrong and deviant behavior. Would it have been right to run out those more liberal CEOs then because they were “wrong”? Conducting our standards of behavior based on which of our opponents are “moral” is a dangerous slope considering how flexible morals tend to be. I would much rather hold myself (and others) to the much higher standard of “treating our political opponents as we would ourselves like to be treated should we ever be on the “wrong” side of a “moral” debate”

  292. No, I don’t think so. It may have started out as an attempted kafkatrap, but if so it quickly lost that meaning. Nowadays, at least in my experience, homophobia is universally understood as a sin rather than an illness.

    Partly, but those who use the term routinely equivocate, particularly by first defining it as any opposition for any reason to state-sanctioned same-sex marriage, labeling individuals with politically incorrect opinions with it, and then swapping in an unstated definition akin to clinical phobia in order to claim that any such opinions are rabidly irrational and dismissable if not requiring immediate suppression.

  293. @TM – I don’t believe moral relativism is a good base to build any kind of argument on.

    It would not have been right because they were not wrong. The fact that the majority of society in their time is in the wrong does not alter this.

    @Christopher Smith
    > swapping in an unstated definition akin to clinical phobia

    I don’t think your argument follows from the premises. Just because the word ends in “phobia” does not mean this is happening. If anything the unstated definition is more akin to racism or sexism.

  294. I don’t think your argument follows from the premises. Just because the word ends in “phobia” does not mean this is happening. If anything the unstated definition is more akin to racism or sexism.

    I didn’t state anything that sounded the least like a syllogism. I relayed personal observations. It’s entirely possible that the unstated bad substitute definition varies, but I usually see it presented as closer to a clinical phobia.

  295. @Random832

    I’m not suggesting moral relativism as a base for anything. I’m suggesting that a person’s “morality”, however it’s defined, is not generally an adequate basis for ousting them from their jobs.

    And now we get into “how do you determine who is right and who is wrong?” Sure it’s easy for something like slavery, and easy (but less so) for gay marriage. For example, I might vote against a law explicitly legalizing gay marriage [and only doing that] specifically because I don’t think the government has any business defining which consenting adults another adult can and can’t contract with, spend their lives with, have sex with or assign power of attorney and visitation rights to. OTOH, I might vote yes for a law that eliminates all marriage laws from the books. Am I “wrong” if I do these things?

    And what about less clear politics? Who’s on the right side of the political battle for gun control? Who’s right about drug legalization (not pot, the hard drugs)? Who will be on the right side of the up and coming debate over mandatory vaccinations? How about the recent Supreme Court decision with regards to political contributions? Obviously there must be a “right” and “wrong” side to these debates. Are you confident enough in your ability to pick your side that you are comfortable living in a world where picking the “wrong” side is – years later – grounds to oust you from a job? Are you confident enough in society to pick the “correct” choice and have it become the dominant “moral” position such that any deviance from that position is grounds to start a media campaign to have you ousted from your job? I’ve read enough history, and I’m aware enough of my own limitations to confidently state I’m not comfortable with it..

  296. >And now we get into “how do you determine who is right and who is wrong?” Sure it’s easy for something like slavery, and easy (but less so) for gay marriage. For example,

    Actually, I don’t think it was exactly easy to work out for slavery– it took thousands of years for it to even occur to people that there was a problem.

  297. @ Nancy Lebovitz

    Well, sure, obviously it wasn’t an easy question for society, but I’m granting (mostly because I mostly believe it myself) Random’s position that there is such thing as a moral absolute, and that just because society says something is right doesn’t make it so. Which I guess now that I’m stating it that way boils my whole argument down to a much simpler query:

    Assuming an absolute morality outside of society, how confident are people that the ouster of Mr. Eich was “right”? Are they willing to stake their own future careers on it? I’m personally not so confident.

  298. >For example, I might vote against a law explicitly legalizing gay marriage [and only doing that] specifically because I don’t think the government has any business defining which consenting adults another adult can and can’t contract with, spend their lives with, have sex with or assign power of attorney and visitation rights to.

    Why do you think voting against removing a restriction supports the general position of the government having no business interfering?

  299. >Actually, I don’t think it was exactly easy to work out for slavery– it took thousands of years for it to even occur to people that there was a problem.

    While this is true, it’s also easy to mistakenly regard anti-slavery as an exclusively modern phenomenon. Principled arguments against it survive from the classical Greeks and early Roman Empire.

    It is also worth noting that chattel slavery died out very early in several European societies. Thralldom was abolished in Iceland around the same time chattel slavery was fading out in the British Isles, around 1100CE. Most of the Norse world had followed suit by 1350.

    Note to self: must blog a brief history of slavery emphasizing the bits that don’t fit a simple racialist narrative.

  300. >Why do you think voting against removing a restriction supports the general position of the government having no business interfering?

    He might think so because state involvement in marriage creates legal burdens on, for example, employers. Gay-marriage laws can not unreasonably be interpreted as uncompensated regulatory takings. (I am not making a “should” argument here; my own position on the matter is not relevant.)

  301. It should be emphasized that this is not really “about” same-sex marriage, in the sense that Eich’s views or actions matter one way or the other. Prop 8 was voided by a judge, so Eich’s views on the subject, past and present, are moot. The legal issue is settled in California, so this was simply revenge and retribution by the victors against someone for having supported the losing side of a political dispute.

  302. Why do you think voting against removing a restriction supports the general position of the government having no business interfering?

    Because I subscribe to the belief that the appropriate way to deal with unjust laws is to remove the unjust law, not introduce new ones that incompletely address the issue. A law which states “marriage shall consist of a union between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman or a man and a man” is just as bad of a law as one that says “a marriage shall consist of a union between a man and a woman” because both laws pre-suppose that the government has any authority whatsoever to regulate who you have a right to get married to in the first place. And the introduction of such a law then simply pushes the issue down the road, so that in 20 or 30 years we can battle out in courts whether man-woman-woman is a valid marriage and whether woman-man-man is valid and whether man-sex automoton is valid.

    A law directly legalizing gay marriage (as opposed to removing statutory restrictions on marriage) is not correcting the issue, it’s simply covering it with a buggy patch and assuring everyone that “this time we have it right!”. It’s the same reason why free speech advocates and gun control advocates worry about any laws that give the government the authority to regulate any part of their rights. Once the government has that authority, it will be difficult to take it away, and it will be used as justification to remove more rights. One need only look at the continuing war on cigarette smokers to see this is true, but one can also look at (as I mentioned before) the up coming discussions on anti-vaccination.

    Now that I’ve addressed your question regarding one, part of my post, would you mind responding to the rest. In particular, I’m interested in whether you are confident enough in your own righteousness that you are willing to stake your future employment opportunities on a society that ousts people from their jobs because they’re “wrong” about something entirely unrelated to that job.

  303. In addition to the above, esr is also correct. A law that defines a term legally then imposes that legal view on entities which may or may not subscribe to that same view. Though we have been assured it won’t come to pass, I guarantee in the next 50 years we will see a lawsuit succeed in forcing a church or other religious institution to recognize gay marriage as a marriage. We’ve already seen the beginnings of this with the photographer in New Mexico, and we can see a similar example with respect to Hobby Lobby and the contraceptives required under the ACA.

    And no, I don’t think this is because of some “gay agenda”. It will happen because at some point, the legal definition and the institutional definition of the words will come into conflict and in these cases the law almost always wins.

  304. >The legal issue is settled in California, so this was simply revenge and retribution by the victors against someone for having supported the losing side of a political dispute.

    I don’t think that’s true. It wasn’t revenge, it was forward-looking intimidation of people who might remember that 52% of California’s population had voted for Prop 8 and not consider the issue settled.

  305. I should have been clearer. I’m not dismissing the forward-looking-intimidation aspect, but pointing out that it took the form of revenge against a defeated opponent.

    And by the way: remember back when leftists used to worry about things that had “chilling effects” on free speech? Good times….

  306. >Though we have been assured it won’t come to pass, I guarantee in the next 50 years we will see a lawsuit succeed in forcing a church or other religious institution to recognize gay marriage as a marriage.

    Something like this has already happened. Decades ago I remember that the push for repeal of the anti-sodomy laws achieved grudging acquiescence from conservatives partly with promises that the normalization of homosexuality wouldn’t be pushed further (and, in particular, that gays would not become a “protected category” like blacks).

    So-cons feel that promise was betrayed by gay-marriage advocates and what they consider pro-gay propaganda (“Heather Has Two Mommies”) in public schools and institutions. I don’t share their values or premises, but I can understand why they’re angry about this.

  307. @Milhouse:
    Indeed, the PC for at least the past 30 years has been never to refer to a person with an illness or disability with a noun derived from that condition, e.g. “schizophrenic” or “mongoloid”, or with an adjective, e.g. “consumptive” or “autistic”, nor even with terms like “victim” or “sufferer”, e.g. “AIDS victim”. Instead, the rigid PC is that one must refer to such a person as “person with AIDS”, “person with autism”, “person with bipolar disorder”, etc.

    Interesting that you should say this; there is actually now, and has for at least several years, been some pushback against this from e.g. autistic communities: many people on the autism spectrum in fact prefer “autistic” to describe themselves instead of “person with autism”.

    The explanation is simple. A “condition” like autism may be “appropriated” or “reclaimed” — that is, reconceptualized as something that is not necessarily and unilaterally negative; it can then be viewed (quite realistically) as constituting a significant part of the identity of the person who “has” the “condition”. (Scare quotes for reasons that should soon become obvious.)

    If someone then says that you’re a “person with autism”, the implication is that the autism is some mostly-external thing that’s sort of grafted on to the base person; that you’re just a person, no different from anyone else, but you just happen to have this extra condition that doesn’t have much to do with your identity, your core personality, your essence, etc. Why, it might even be removed from you entirely, without really modifying the core of who you are! Wouldn’t that be nice?

    Many autistic people reject that view, instead espousing the (quite reasonable from a neurological perspective) position that autism fundamentally shapes who they are, and is inseparable from their identity. (Compare, e.g., “a person with maleness”, “a person with smartness”, a “person with blackness”.) They therefore find terms like “person with autism”, or sometimes even statements that someone “has” autism (instead of “is autistic”), to be insulting.

    (This, of course, leads to some interesting internet confrontations between social justice warriors (who are often not themselves autistic) engaging in righteously angry lecturing about “person-first language” on one side, and actual autistic people on the other. It’s always amusing when (some of) the people on whose behalf offense is being taken turn out to have a different view of the matter at hand than the offense-takers.)

  308. It’s always amusing when (some of) the people on whose behalf offense is being taken turn out to have a different view of the matter at hand than the offense-takers.

    But enough about Bill Cosby.

  309. >It’s always amusing when (some of) the people on whose behalf offense is being taken turn out to have a different view of the matter at hand than the offense-takers.

    Indeed. If anybody described me to my face as as “differently abled”, I’d have to suppress an urge to punch them out. That’s stupid, condescending, mealy-mouthed, euphemizing, patronizing language that I experience as a kind of insult to my dignity, as through the speaker assumes I’m so fragile that I have to be wrapped in verbal cotton batting lest I shatter or burst into tears.

    I prefer “palsied” or even “crippled”. They may not be nice, but they’re more honest.

    I don’t know how common my attitude is among people with physical disabilities. And it’s probably relevant that I’m barely “disabled” at all. But there it is.

  310. > He might think so because state involvement in marriage creates legal burdens on, for example, employers. Gay-marriage laws can not unreasonably be interpreted as uncompensated regulatory takings. (I am not making a “should” argument here; my own position on the matter is not relevant.)

    Sexual orientation already being a protected class in California, this is only true in so far as it prevents an end run against that. If there were no state involvement in marriage, companies would not be able to discriminate against gay married couples vs straight ones, because it would by default be a discrimination against them as gay people.

    There’s a better argument for this regarding the protected class status itself, but people for whom this is an issue should make their stand properly instead of fighting a holding action at a loophole.

  311. @esr:

    > I don’t know how common my attitude is among people with physical disabilities.

    And we may never know, because in my experience, most physical disability umbrage is taken on behalf of others.

  312. Also, taking it to an extreme, your argument also means allowing non-christians to marry is an “uncompensated regulatory taking”. Allowing anyone to marry whomever they choose is not a taking because it does not cost the company any more than if they were to marry whoever the company is okay with them marrying – it costs the company no more to have an employee in a gay marriage than one in a sham (or real, for that matter) straight marriage.

  313. For what ;little it’s worth, I get the impression that people with mobility problems (possibly because there’s some chance of muscling through some of their limitations) are more gung ho about blunt language than people with vision problems.

    If you want to watch all hell break loose, try telling people with serious mental problems that the colloquial use of “crazy” is ablist. As might be expected, there are some people with serious mental problems who don’t like casual use of crazy, and some who feel it’s not a problem at all and don’t want to be told that it is.

    Not a huge issue at my end, but I’ve been told that being Jewish does not give me sufficient standing to say that the casual use of “Nazi” to mean authoritarian is not a problem.

    Actually, I like the idea of neo-Nazis feeling culturally appropriated.

  314. >For what ;little it’s worth, I get the impression that people with mobility problems (possibly because there’s some chance of muscling through some of their limitations) are more gung ho about blunt language than people with vision problems.

    I suspect this is correct. I have a blind friend who I can ask and I’m sure won’t be offended by the question; I’ll ask.

  315. esr> I’m not going to re-expolain that. Look upthread.

    I did. You asserted upthread that Eich’s donations were a matter of private opinion rather than public action. But you never explained it.

    In America, political traditions and First-Amendment caselaw treat political contributions as akin to political speech — which in turn is inherently public. (See, for example, the recently-decided case of McCutchen v. Feder (PDF) and the precedents it cites.) Other countries might treat them as akin to voting instead; a pledge to respect privacy could make sense there. But American traditions and precedents being what they are, why shouldn’t opponents talk back in public?

    By the way, if the reason you don’t want to explain it is that you’re losing interest, I respect that. Either way, it’s been an interesting exchange. Thanks for making me think!

  316. >You asserted upthread that Eich’s donations were a matter of private opinion rather than public action. But you never explained it.

    And then later, when I was corrected about the circumstances of disclosure, I explained why I don’t think the public-private distinction is actually very important here.

  317. @Nancy Lebovitz:
    Not a huge issue at my end, but I’ve been told that being Jewish does not give me sufficient standing to say that the casual use of “Nazi” to mean authoritarian is not a problem.

    Similar disagreements arise around whether being Jewish gives you sufficient standing to make jokes about Jewish people. (This can then be broken down into the case where the joke can be construed as being insulting to Jews or not.)

    (I’m sure this happens with other groups also, I’m simply speaking from my own experience.)

    The fact of the matter is, some people are offended by any given piece of humor, and others are not. I suspect that the notion of having “sufficient standing” to make one or another class of potentially-“offensive” joke is something that matters more to people outside the class of people with “standing”, than it does to people inside that class. For instance, as a Jewish person, I might bristle at gentiles making Jew jokes, but the notion that being Jewish makes me immune to the possibility of offending other Jews is not really accurate.

    What happens is that if I’m not Jewish, and I make a Jew joke, then other non-Jews in my presence might take offense on behalf of Jews-in-general, even if no Jews are present (or even if some are, but are not visibly taking offense). Whereas if I am Jewish, and I make a Jew joke, then non-Jews in my presence will refrain from offense-taking-by-proxy, assuming that I have “standing” and therefore no offense-by-proxy is necessary. Meanwhile, whether or not my joke offends any actual Jewish people is the same in both scenarios…

  318. “No, sorry. I don’t interpret tolerance as “tolerance of the intolerant”. I don’t interpret inclusivity as “Let’s include the hateful”.”

    Being in favor of traditional marriage isn’t automatically intolerant or bigoted, but if you think it is, then you are.

  319. > And then later, when I was corrected about the circumstances of disclosure, I explained why I don’t think the public-private distinction is actually very important here.

    You never explained why the opinion-action distinction isn’t important, though.

  320. @Rick C:
    Being in favor of traditional marriage isn’t automatically intolerant or bigoted, but if you think it is, then you are.

    Since you’re here, could you explain in what sense “being in favor of traditional marriage” is a meaningful or sensible way to describe the position of being against gay marriage? (Or is that too off-topic? I don’t want to derail the comment thread too hard.)

  321. >Since you’re here, could you explain in what sense “being in favor of traditional marriage” is a meaningful or sensible way to describe the position of being against gay marriage?

    Sure. You need to realise that the word “marriage” has two slightly different meanings, the first is as a societal institution for recognizing relationships and secondly as an individual relationship thus recognized. Wanting to “change marriage” is a desire to recognize a different class of relationships or recognize them in a different way, etc. Wanting to “change a marriage” is a desire to change the way two individuals in such a relationship relate to one another, etc. There is probably some fancy jargon for this distinction (Eric, do you know any?).

    The traditional formulation of marriage (the societal institution) is “one man, one woman, for life”, that is it should be between two people (one male, one female) and it should be formed with the intention that it is only dissolved when one party dies. This is traditional marriage, gay marriage is where “one man, one woman” is replaced by “two people”.

    There are two reasons for saying “pro traditional marriage” rather than “anti gay marriage”. One is simply it is better to say what you are for rather than what you are against. The other is to emphasise that gay marriage is not specifically being targeted, marriages involving space aliens, multiple people, farm animals, time limits or prepubescent children are all also invalid (but there is no credible campaign for any of these at this time).

  322. @ Peter Davies:
    There are two reasons for saying “pro traditional marriage” rather than “anti gay marriage”. One is simply it is better to say what you are for rather than what you are against.

    Your comment leaves me still entirely unsure how being “pro traditional marriage” is equivalent to being “anti gay marriage”.

    “Societal institutions” emerge out of the practices and views of individuals. I’m not sure how one can “change marriage” except insofar as one changes what individual people do or think. We can change what people do or think with legislation, or with various forms of persuasion and such.

    My core question, I suppose, is this. Two men, or two women, want to inform the government that they are in a certain sort of relationship with each other, and they want the government to recognize this state of affairs, and they would like this governmental recognition to take the same form as the recognition a man-and-woman couple would receive in an analogous circumstance (assorted financial and legal benefits and consequences).

    Here you* come along and say, “Whoa now! I don’t think the government should do that!”

    “But why on earth not?!” I ask.

    “Well, I’m in favor of traditional marriage.”

    “Huh …? What… what’s that got to do with anything? Heck, what does that even mean?”

    Which is to say, I don’t see the chain of reasoning, from any construal of “I’m in favor of traditional marriage”, to “I don’t think the government should grant same-sex couples the sort of recognition-of-relationship-plus-associated-benefits as opposite-sex couples”. What exactly does the former mean such that it leads to the latter, and how does it lead to the latter?

    * I don’t know what your actual views are, I mean “you” as in the hypothetical “pro traditional marriage” person.

  323. >You never explained why the opinion-action distinction isn’t important, though.

    Because it’s map, not territory – a pseudo-ontological language distinction that has almost nothing to do with what kinds of behavior are protected by law and custom in civil societies with a classical-liberal tradition. Nothing that is ethical becomes unethical (or vice-versa) because of any semantic argument about whether it’s “opinion” (speech) or “action”.

    Many important and protected forms of political behavior have elements of both. Carrying a sign at a demonstration. Donating money to a candidate. Canvassing door to door. Sit-ins. Nonviolent civil disobedience. You can category-chop all you like about whether and how much these are ‘opinion(ating)’ versus ‘action’ and it gets you almost nowhere in understanding anything about why the laws and customs protect any of them.

    I say ‘almost’ because there is a narrow historiographic sense in which studying the changing definition and scope of “speech”clues you in to how the jurisprudence has evolved. One theme in the evolution of First Amendment law is for more and more kinds of action (from campaign donations to nude dancing) to be swept into the “speech” category because the premises of the system imply that they must be considered praxeologically equivalent to speech.

    The very fact that this occurs should tell you that the opinion-action distinction is not (and cannot) be fundamental.

  324. > “opinion” (speech)

    No. Speech is an action. An opinion is what you think, not what you say.

  325. And as long as we’re rejecting maps in favor of territory, why not call the specific opinion what it is: That gay people should not have equal rights to straight people.

  326. @Random832

    That gay people should not have equal rights to straight people.

    Because acknowledging that fact that homosexuality is inferior (and consequently should be accorded only second-class status) is heresy. So you get endless word-games to hide what’s really going on (and SHOULD be going on). Not even “equal rights” morons actually believe in “equality”, and the use of this term is an obvious sign of either subterfuge or stupidity.

  327. >No. Speech is an action. An opinion is what you think, not what you say.

    In that case, “opinion” is irrelevant to anything Eich did or was accused of, and trying to parse a distinction between opinion and action is even more pointless than I have already shown it to be.

  328. >That gay people should not have equal rights to straight people.

    We don’t know that Eich has that opinion. Given the reports of his behavior at Mozilla you are not entitled to presume it.

  329. Which is to say, I don’t see the chain of reasoning, from any construal of “I’m in favor of traditional marriage”, to “I don’t think the government should grant same-sex couples the sort of recognition-of-relationship-plus-associated-benefits as opposite-sex couples”.

    Ask some doctors what they think of dentists calling themselves “doctor”, let alone chiropodists, therapists, masseurs, let alone quacks such as homeopaths and chiropracters. The title “doctor” carries high public regard. Now suppose a state gives doctors a special number plate for their cars, so they can park in no-parking zones when necessary. And suppose someone proposes that it should give the same “doctor” plates to all carers who visit people and might need parking privileges. The doctors would be upset about that. They might propose that these other people be given a new plate, marked “home care” or some such thing, with all the same parking privileges, but not the cachet of a “doctor” plate. But to call all those people doctors would damage the brand for the real doctors.

    And that’s how the state pretending same-sex relationships are marriages undermines real marriage.

    That’s what calling non-marital relationships “marriage” does to real marriage.

  330. @Milhouse:

    … that is one of the most ludicrous and borderline-nonsensical blog comments I have read in some time. (Which, I suppose, speaks for the quality of the blogs I usually frequent.)

    This subject interests me, and so I am prepared to respond with an elaboration of why I say your response is absurd, but I think that before I do so, I’d like some assurance that your stated reasoning is representative of more than a single person’s views. Would, perhaps, Peter Davies, or another commenter, care to endorse Milhouse’s comment as a reasonable representation of their opinion on the matter?

  331. A more general comment on the “traditional marriage” thing:

    We’ve seen it said by some people that they are “in favor of traditional marriage”.

    Here’s the thing about being “in favor of” abstract concepts, though. For your statement about being in favor of a thing to be meaningful, you must actually be “in favor of” (endorse, advocate for, etc.) concrete individuals (or, at least, organizations) doing specific things, or else you must be “in favor of” (consider desirable, work to bring about, etc.) specific states of affairs. There isn’t any other meaningful sense in which one can be “in favor of” abstractions.

    So when I say “I’m in favor of Concept A”, what I must mean, for that statement to have any possibility of having a truth value, is something like “I believe that person(s) X should do thing(s) Y” (which is somehow related to Concept A), or “I believe that world state Z is desirable, more so than e.g. some mutually exclusive world state Z” (which, ditto).

    So, for anyone who says that they are “in favor of traditional marriage”, please elaborate on that claim by telling me: which specific person(s) or organization(s) should, in your opinion, do which specific things? (And what do those things have to do with “traditional marriage” — this may not be obvious!) Or, which specific, unambiguously observable state of affairs do you think should obtain? (And the same qualifier.) In the latter case, please provide examples of what actions you think it’s possible for what specific persons or organizations to take, that would plausibly bring about that state of affairs. (Otherwise, saying the state is desirable is a moot point.)

    Please note that saying “society” should do this or that doesn’t count! “Society” cannot unilaterally take actions. A claim that “society” should do something must either cash out as some set of claims that concrete person or organizations should do specific things, or else the claim is meaningless.

    (Laconic version of this comment: operationalize your favor!)

  332. @Said Achmiz you have basically just written off the whole premise of mediatized representative democracy as it works in the 21st century. Which is, to win votes by pretending to feel good about stuff the electorate feels good about, and identify with stuff the electorate likes to identify with. And actual politics, as in, operations and law-making and stuff are kind of optional. You can basically just stand up wearing a hat and saying everybody who likes wearing a hat is totally a cool person and forms the real moral backbone of the nation / is forward-looking, open-minded and progressive (choose one), and rake in the votes of everybody who likes wearing a hat and likes to feel good about themselves…

  333. @Shenpen:
    you have basically just written off the whole premise of mediatized representative democracy as it works in the 21st century.

    Yes. Yes I have.

    … was that a criticism of my comment?

    If not: carry on. If yes… please elaborate.

  334. >That gay people should not have equal rights to straight people.

    This is really a bad approach for a multitude of reasons. One, pursuing the abstact, philosophical ideal of equality should not really be the purpose of legislation, it should be more pragmatic. Two, pushing to pursue this abstact goal sounds too much like using legislation to prop up fragile egos of people who are afraid they may be seen as inferior to others, again, not really the correct tool for the job. Three, pursuing any abstract philosophy with legislation is problematic in and of itself, so it would be better not to do it at all, but if you really need one, equality is a particularly poor choice, really the idea that nobody is ever better than anyone else is not really a noble ideal at all, it is not a worthy candidate for an abstract philosophical goal. You would be better off if your philosophical goal would be the not necessary equal, but basic minimum guaranteed level of dignity or liberty for all, while keeping the top end open. A guaranteed minimum of human dignity serves basically the same philosophical purposes as equal rights without really pushing the idea that nobody is ever better than anyone else. Four, the equality of rights seems to be orthogonal to their utilitarian well-configuredness. Sometimes you want to given non-equal, read, more rights to for example people who are more vulnerable. See Rawls for a left-wing discussion of that. And of course right-wing examples are plenty. Five, and this is the most pragmatic, equal rights to different things (i.e equal rights to marry the same sex or the different sex) is basically a huge box of WTF. Equal rights are fairly simple and functional as long as they relate to the exactly same thing regardless of whether you like it or not. So the equal right of straight or gay people to marry someone from the opposite sex is at least simple and functional, as it is equal rights to the same things, the different is that one group happens to like it and the other not. But once you redefine it as equal rights to that particular thing you happen to like, even when it is different and not the same thing, it gets problematic. For example you could say everybody has equal rights to the very same public education curriculum, but once you would say every religious or ethnic group should have equal rights to a customized public education according to their preferences, you will quickly run into problematic stuff.

    I admit this is a cool sounding slogan. It makes one sound magnanimous, just and noble. I guess if I was a young college student I could get a lot of popularity points for saying stuff like this. However, under closer intellectual scrutiny it has more leaks than a wickerwork canoe. Really at least in intellectual circles this approach should be scrapped.

  335. @shenpen
    “One, pursuing the abstact, philosophical ideal of equality should not really be the purpose of legislation, it should be more pragmatic.”

    But “equal rights” is not abstract. Rights before the law are very concrete.

    Can you start a family with the person you want and get the same legal status or not? It can if your partner is of a different sex. All kind of hypothetical cases which would include polygamy or involving non-humans are a non-sequitur.

    Alice can marry Bob, but not Clair. Why should Bob and Clair be treated differently by the law?

    All kind of elaborate arguments boil down to religious intolerance in the end: $DEITY forbids it. But laws that enforce one opinion of what $DEITY wants over other opinions and other @DEITIES are not in line with the constitution of the USA.

    I do not see what is so abstract about this question. These are real people who want to have recognition under real laws which have real consequences, financial and otherwise. And other people who want to deny them this recognition. Note that these other people do not have a stake in the supposed marriage: There is absolutely no material difference to all these objectors whether Alice marries Bob or Clair.

  336. @Winter

    My point is not about whether GM is a good idea or not but about whether arguments from equal rights are a good argument or not.

    The question of whether same or different sex is considered the same thing or different thing, so valid for an equal rights argument or not, largely depends on your evaluation of whether it is really just about a form of public affirmation of love or some other things as well.

    I mean at the very least those who like the equal rights argument should present some decent historical argument that marriage evolved through history, first it was about an alliance between families where consent did not matter, then it was a free choice and consent based and romantic love appeared, but still had a reproductionary focus as infertile marriages were still annulled, and then largely and slowly it evolved towarsd a form of public announcing of romantic love where the reproductive focus got slowly phased out and infertile marriages or voluntary childlessness got finally accepted. This historical narrative COULD be made a decent argument and it COULD be used to support an equal-rights argument, if it was demonstrated that its focus changed through history, and this it was changed to what exactly the rights apply.

  337. > [...] damage the brand [...] pretending same-sex relationships are marriages undermines real marriage [...].

    For this to make sense, you’d need to define what “real mariage” is, and explain what’s so special about it that it deserves special protection against brand dilution.
    I don’t see it. The only rationale I can come up with is (what WInter said:) “$DEITY tells us so” or, from your doctors’ license plates analogy, “it hurts the doctors’ ego”, and neither of those mean much to me.

  338. @Shenpen
    “and slowly it evolved towarsd a form of public announcing of romantic love where the reproductive focus got slowly phased out and infertile marriages or voluntary childlessness got finally accepted.”

    Marriage had two main objectives: Providing financial support for children and women. Childnessless was accepted partly to ensure the women were still cared for. Care for the women is slowly eroding too as an incentive. Meanwhile, same-sex couples get children to care for too.

    As has been said before, most of the protections of marriage can be got under contract law. The crucial points are inheritance and children.

  339. > We don’t know that Eich has that opinion. Given the reports of his behavior at Mozilla you are not entitled to presume it.

    Then what opinion do you imagine he was attacked for? The action we are speaking of is a donation to an organization dedicated to taking rights away from gay people.

  340. > Because acknowledging that fact that homosexuality is inferior (and consequently should be accorded only second-class status) is heresy.

    Does it even occur to you that someone might disagree with this and not consider it to be a “fact”?

  341. >Then what opinion do you imagine he was attacked for?

    Don’t be silly. He was attacked to be made a bloody example of in order to intimidate others. The attackers didn’t know his opinion, they either assumed it or didn’t actually care.

  342. > I still think Eich’s opinion about gay marriage remained his own private business, and nobody else’s,

    So was he attacked for an opinion or not?

    > as long as he never engaged in discriminatory behavior against gays who were married or wanted to be. Nobody has charged that he did anything of the kind.

    The things that prop 8 enables are, themselves, discriminatory behavior. Its sole purpose is to allow people to disguise unacceptable discrimination against gay people as acceptable discrimination against unmarried people. In what sense is campaigning for a law to legalize discrimination not itself discriminatory behavior?

  343. @esr
    “He was attacked to be made a bloody example of in order to intimidate others. ”

    If you look at the motivation of the Catlin’s, that sounds like a very personal and emotional stance. If someone who had personally tried to prevent me from marrying became a CEO in a company, I would stop all business with them too. Maybe you would not, but I would take this personal.

    “We formed this business only because Prop 8 was overturned; it wouldn’t have been possible otherwise,” said Catlin in an interview with msnbc. “The first thing we wanted to do was build apps for the new Firefox phones. We spent two months building them together. So it’s personal that the company we were investing in appointed somebody who had donated to make our company not exist, and had not said that that was a mistake.”

    Catlin said the boycott was still in effect, but that they’re no longer calling for Eich to step down – a simple apology would suffice.

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/new-mozilla-ceo-prop-8-backlash

  344. P.S.

    > Its sole purpose is to allow people to disguise unacceptable discrimination against gay people as acceptable discrimination against unmarried people.
    And to force people who wish to discriminate against unmarried people to discriminate against gay people, even if they do not otherwise want to.

  345. Was reading back over some earlier comments, spotted this:

    > I used “bullies” because one of the specific purposes of low-level physical intimidation of gays has been to inhibit them from expressing their preferences openly. This is exactly what some gay activists are now trying to do to people with “traditional marriage” beliefs. I don’t share those beliefs, but I know bullying when I see it.

    Do you wish to justify your claim that “low-level *physical* intimidation” is “exactly” what is happening here? Were you using some definition of the word “physical” with which I am not familiar?

  346. >Do you wish to justify your claim that “low-level *physical* intimidation” is “exactly” what is happening here? Were you using some definition of the word “physical” with which I am not familiar?

    Again, you’re being silly. I was speaking of the purpose and effect of the bullying, not the mechanism. If you didn’t know that already, your brain has shut down.

  347. >If you look at the motivation of the Catlin’s, that sounds like a very personal and emotional stance.

    Probably true. I am utterly unimpressed by this. I could get all weepy and emotional and enraged about freedom of expression, too. It would signify just as little.

    There are some people for whom emotional outrage is its own reward. The phrase “drama queen” seems doubly appropriate here.

  348. Let me try to frame this debate in terms that may bring some understanding to the participants of this blog. If Eric were the equivalent of the special interest groups that got Eich fired (i.e. righteous bullies swinging a cudgel because they can), then he could rightfully ban people from his blog whose opinions he did not share. He could stoop down to that level (there is nothing illegal or immoral about choosing who to associate with), but he takes the high road and openly, honestly confronts his critics in fair intellectual combat. Which is the better example – OKCupid or A&D?

  349. Eich was punished for his ACTIONS. He was caught supporting a measure which would legalize anti-gay discrimination. And damn right he was made an example of! To paraphrase Bob Marley by way of Haile Selassie I: until the philosophy which holds one sexual orientation superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere there is war. Homophobes are still a politically powerful force here in Murka; in order for equal rights to win, those who support equal rights cannot allow them ANY social quarter.

    This is really partly your doing, Eric: Jargon helped boost the hacker culture’s self-awareness as an open, inclusive meritocracy. Now the culture has developed an allergic reaction to noninclusiveness, and a strong aversion to allowing an exclusive person to assume a leadership role. That’s all that’s happening here.

  350. > Again, you’re being silly. I was speaking of the purpose and effect of the bullying, not the mechanism. If you didn’t know that already, your brain has shut down.

    The purpose and effect isn’t what makes something bullying. I can, for example, pay someone to not speak their opinion, and that has the same purpose and (assuming both that they accept it and that they would have given in to intimidation) and that is bribery, not bullying.

  351. Also, sorry, I didn’t consider that it might be the word “exactly” for which you were using a definition I was not familiar with. I thought as a hacker you were above using words like “exactly” or “literally” to mean “similar in one aspect but not in others”.

  352. Note: the words “the same effect” should have occurred after the parenthetical two posts above.

  353. Is it possible that many who supported and voted for proposition 8 were unhappy with the fact that gay marriage came through the courts instead of the legislature? I cannot speak for Brendan Eich, but I would have been tempted to donate myself for that reason. Proposition 8 was a repudiation of the people who changed the law without going through the legislature, against the expressed will of the people.
    I think that the Massachusetts legislature should have responded to their state Supreme Court’s verdict with bills of impeachment. Not on the basis of justice or injustice, but because the court has trespassed on the legislature’s bailiwick.
    If government by consent of the governed is to have any meaning the law must be made by the legislature, not the courts. If people want the law changed let them persuade their neighbors and lobby their legislatures. Rule by judicial fiat is not government by the consent of the governed.
    Perhaps this is all too abstract for people who want what they want when they want it.

  354. > Is it possible that many who supported and voted for proposition 8 were unhappy with the fact that gay marriage came through the courts instead of the legislature?

    If they were in favor of gay marriage, but against it being a matter for the courts, they should have had the legislature do something affirm it and claim it for itself, rather than taken very real steps to outlaw it.

  355. @Random832

    If they were in favor of gay marriage, but against it being a matter for the courts, they should have had the legislature do something affirm it and claim it for itself, rather than taken very real steps to outlaw it.

    No, that would be like taking ownership of the result of a burglary, by tracking the thief down and giving him a bill of sale. The sovereign right of the people to govern themselves was stolen.

    Would a proposition to impeach the judges who voted to change the law for malfeasance in office seem any different to you?

    Too many activists of whatever stripe get their way through the courts. The legislatures have abdicated their responsibilities, and the courts enable it. The ballot referendum is a way to help fix that, but not if the courts can override it.

  356. Loving v. Virginia judicially ended anti-miscegenation laws as well, despite a couple of states leaving it in their state constitutions for several more decades and in one case into this millennium.

    Arguing that change needs to be done legislatively rather than judicially is to not understand the checks and balances of our government.

  357. @Tim F

    I understand quite well that people go to score the easy points rather than do the job properly.

  358. Is that your best response for your claim that legislatures matter more than the judiciary?

  359. “I mean at the very least those who like the equal rights argument should present some decent historical argument that marriage evolved through history…”

    I don’t think it’s necessary to argue the obvious. I’d put the onus on people claiming “marriage has always been…” or those using Luntzian rhetoric like “natural” and “traditional” marriage. Of course, marriage has always evolved and has taken on many different forms in many cultures. Moreover, I’d place an additional requirement on them as well: not only demonstrating that marriage has largely been immutable but producing the values they claim it enshrines and promotes. But, of course, the statistics show the bastions of traditional marriage are also the bastions of child pregnancy, unwed pregnancy, divorce, and domestic abuse.

  360. > Would a proposition to impeach the judges who voted to change the law for malfeasance in office seem any different to you?

    Along with not actually overturning gay marriage rights? Yes.

    There’s something wrong with passing something like prop 8 without caring who it hurts. At least the people who do want to hurt gay people are honest about it.

  361. For example: Peter Davies: “The traditional formulation of marriage (the societal institution) is “one man, one woman, for life”, that is it should be between two people (one male, one female) and it should be formed with the intention that it is only dissolved when one party dies. ”

    So, according to Peter Davies, “traditional marriage” has always been dead or on life support. Many societies throughout human history have allowed for divorce. Only 2 countries do not allow for divorce. No-fault divorce had become the law of the US from 1969 to 1985 in al 50 states. Therefore, according to Peter Davies, there is no longer a “traditional marriage” to be preserved anyway.

  362. @esr
    “There are some people for whom emotional outrage is its own reward.”

    The integrity of one’s family under outside threats is high on the list of emotional topics of almost all people.

    Trying to ridicule this does a disservice to your credibility.

  363. >There’s something wrong with passing something like prop 8 without caring who it hurts. At least the people who do want to hurt gay people are honest about it.

    There’s a third possibility. People may have voted for Proposition 8 knowing it would hurt gays, caring that it would hurt gays, but believing that some greater harm was thereby avoided.

    One specific example of this kind of belief, with respect to popular sovereignity, has a;ready been mentioned here. I could easily list others.

  364. Arguing that change needs to be done legislatively rather than judicially is to not understand the checks and balances of our government.

    On the contrary, it means that you do not understand it. The judicial branch has no right to effect any change in the law. Its only legitimate role is to resolve legitimate ambiguities in the law. In cases where the meaning of a law is unclear, a court must determine, as accurately as as honestly it can, what the law has always meant since it was enacted, and rule accordingly, whether it likes the meaning it determined or not. Laws do not spontaneously change their meaning, and it is not a judge’s place to amend them. When judges knowingly misinterpret the law, because they wish it were different from what they know it is, they are violating their oaths and acting ultra vires, and their “decision” is null.

  365. “There’s a third possibility. People may have voted for Proposition 8 knowing it would hurt gays, caring that it would hurt gays, but believing that some greater harm was thereby avoided.”

    Well, let’s explore that because I contend that an exploration of such a claim will get to the root of this largely being homophobia (or if you think that’s loaded, bigotry towards homosexuals).

    As stated above, the bastions of “traditional marriage” do not have a good track record of a greater societal good. So what is this nebulous “some greater harm”?

  366. “The judicial branch has no right to effect any change in the law.”

    Bzzzt, WRONG! Dismissed.

  367. >So what is this nebulous “some greater harm”?

    I’ll let someone with that belief answer the question. I was only trying to point out that Random832 had oversimplified the issue.

  368. Okay, so you are contending that: “People may have voted for Proposition 8 knowing it would hurt gays, caring that it would hurt gays, but believing that some greater harm was thereby avoided.”

    I’m arguing that this is fundamentally coding for: “People may have voted for Proposition 8 knowing it would hurt gays, caring that it would hurt gays, but couched in a personal valuation of a “greater societal good” that is fundamentally, at root, bigoted towards homosexuals.”

    So, it may not be your view, but I don’t see how I should take it as a rebuttal to Random if you yourself are unwilling to hold it to be true or logical, and/or unwilling to explore it, and/or actually defend the defense. I take your “it’s not my view” as a signal that “this defense is merely a red herring.”

  369. For example: Peter Davies: “The traditional formulation of marriage (the societal institution) is “one man, one woman, for life”, that is it should be between two people (one male, one female) and it should be formed with the intention that it is only dissolved when one party dies. ”

    So, according to Peter Davies, “traditional marriage” has always been dead or on life support. Many societies throughout human history have allowed for divorce.

    And here you demonstrate your utter dishonesty. Yes, almost every society has provided for divorce, and Peter Davies obviously knows this. Now name a significant society, anywhere, that has approved of marrying with the intention of later ending it by divorce. (Shiite Islam does have such an institution, but it is rightly looked down on as not a real marriage.) You deliberately ignored that bit because it suited you. That is dishonest and disqualifies you from any serious debate.

  370. @Milhouse

    > The judicial branch has no right to effect any change in the law.

    Excuse me, but isn’t the literal opposite of what you said here is the major and defining, really _essential_ difference between the Anglo-American common law / precedence law tradition vs. the Napoleonic civil law tradition Continental Europe?

    Of course, the whole reason I am confused is that your legal system became civil law based to a significantly large extent too, so it is just hard to see the exact barriers between the two if someone has not spent a lot of time in studying that.

  371. By the way, before you bring it up, polygamy is not a counter example to Peter Davies statement either. As far as I know, in every significant society that allowed polygamy, each marriage consisted of one man and one woman; but men were allowed to transact more than one marriage. Each of a man’s marriages was an independent relationship; his wives were not related to each other.

  372. > I take your “it’s not my view” as a signal that “this defense is merely a red herring.”

    No, it simply means that I am aware of such views, don’t consider them intrinsically crazy, but don’t wish to commit for or against them in this discussion. Remember that I am deliberately not talking about my views on gay marriage because I think doing so would distract from much more important questions related to freedom of expression.

  373. I see no logical need to demonstrate that marriage is intended to be ended within a couple’s lifetime when demonstrating that a definition of “traditional marriage” is for life is false. The simple fact that the majority of marriages are not “for life” is sufficient rebuttal.

  374. You are creating a “lesser of two evils” argument without addressing whether or not it is in fact the lesser of two evils or whether or not that lesser of two evils is in fact the same evil. You want to be able to get away with saying, they hold some value to be a greater good, and hoping that we ignore not knowing what this “good” is, never mind whether or not it is actually valid or logical. If you nor anyone else is unwilling to take up that argument, I am willing to state that it is, in fact, an invalid and unsupportable argument.

  375. > The judicial branch has no right to effect any change in the law.

    Excuse me, but isn’t the literal opposite of what you said here is the major and defining, really _essential_ difference between the Anglo-American common law / precedence law tradition vs. the Napoleonic civil law tradition Continental Europe?

    No. The common law evolved over time, as judges struggled to understand and explain the law as they honestly understood it to be. They had no right to deliberately amend it. But in any event it’s irrelevant here. The common law only fills in the ever-smaller gaps where there is no written law to cover a matter. In all the cases we are discussing here, common law played no role. Common law can never be used to strike down a statute, and the statutes here were clear. The judicial piracy we are discussing purported to interpret the constitution, which is merely a meta-statute, a statute that governs the enactment of statutes, and like them cannot be amended by judges.

  376. The simple fact that the majority of marriages are not “for life” is sufficient rebuttal.

    There has never been a significant society in which the majority of marriages ended in divorce. That they do so now is clear evidence of the sickness which has been introduced to our society by the very same forces that are now further attacking the institution by extending it to same-sex relationships. Their intent is to destroy the institution utterly, and the fact that one can hear arguments like yours made with a straight face proves how far they have succeeded.

  377. In any case, Tim F, I’ve already proven beyond doubt that you are dishonest, and arguing in bad faith. You gave me that evidence when you deliberately left out “with the intention”.

  378. Judges do have the right to interpret law, but they can go so far that it amounts to rewriting it. Personally, I think the claim that “equal protection” means “same-sex marriage is constitutionally protected” is a huge stretch.

    As for the harm of SSM, I don’t have much except a vague Burkean distrust of “Year Zero” revolutionary remodeling of society. To take something like the traditional definition of marriage and expand it so quickly makes me uneasy. It’s hugely stressful on society when, in the course of a few decades, something that was a punchline becomes a sign of bigotry if you don’t agree. Major changes take time, and pushing them too hard and too fast is counterproductive.

  379. “There has never been a significant society in which the majority of marriages ended in divorce.”

    Nonsense. Today many societies have the majority of their marriages end in divorce. You are free to argue that many factors led to the destruction of a particular cultural definition of marriage, I have no problem with that, but you can’t argue that that definition hasn’t already been utterly destroyed.

  380. “In any case, Tim F, I’ve already proven beyond doubt that you are dishonest, and arguing in bad faith. You gave me that evidence when you deliberately left out “with the intention”.”

    I have no clue what you mean; care to elaborate so I can establish, in your eyes, my honesty and good faith?

  381. @Tim F

    The judiciary has enormous power in its ability to nullify the actions of the other branches. There is no real appeal to the decisions of the court. We must necessarily limit their scope. Normally we limit the kinds of things we bring into the courts. The courts have, in the past, limited the kinds of cases they would accept. When both those restraints fail our remedies are more drastic.

  382. >Any estimates on what proportion of people would want to be in same sex marriages?

    Given the (true) statistics on incidence of homosexuality, it’s pretty certain to be less than 5%.

  383. @Nancy Leibovitz
    I am open to being persuaded that the law should be changed. By the legislature. I am opposed to rule by judicial fiat.
    I’m not ignoring you!

  384. Eric, that was my first thought– and then I considered bisexuals, and I don’t have a detailed idea of how that would affect the statistics, though I assume it would still be under 10%.

  385. “The judiciary has enormous power in its ability to nullify the actions of the other branches. There is no real appeal to the decisions of the court. We must necessarily limit their scope. Normally we limit the kinds of things we bring into the courts. The courts have, in the past, limited the kinds of cases they would accept. When both those restraints fail our remedies are more drastic.”

    I’m unclear on the argument here, other then: I don’t like what the judiciary has decided. We aren’t addressing here a judiciary decision, we are addressing a public, non-profit organization responding to the public response to the hiring of a CEO. I see nothing extrajudicial or illogical about California’s Supreme Court declaring that Prop 8 was inconsistent to the due process and equal protection clauses of its Constitution because the state does in fact grant equal protection to sexual preference and there are rights and privileges granted with marriage. Nor do I see nothing extrajudicial or illogical about the US Supreme Court stating that those who opposed that state Supreme Court decision do not have standing to overrule it. The US Supreme Court has been highly reticent to address equal protection for sexual orientation.

    We would need to argue for far greater interference in the established processes of government to get to the point where California did not provide equal protection to sexual orientation than the Supreme Courts of California and the United States stating that Prop 8 was unconstitutional.

  386. >Eric, that was my first thought– and then I considered bisexuals, and I don’t have a detailed idea of how that would affect the statistics, though I assume it would still be under 10%.

    Probably. The incidence of causal bisexuality among women seems to be much higher than 10% in cultures and subcultures that don’t taboo such behavior, but those women aren’t generally interested in marrying each other.

  387. “Personally, I think the claim that “equal protection” means “same-sex marriage is constitutionally protected” is a huge stretch.”

    I don’t see how it can be a “huge stretch” at all. But of course, this isn’t being argued, it’s largely settled. If states do provide equal protection for sexual orientation and they do afford for granting the same rights and privileges to same sex couples via civil unions, marriages cannot be denied them. (California had established this by 2004-2005, I believe, by the way, LEGISLATIVELY). For states that haven’t provided equal protection to sexual orientation or civil unions for same sex couples or the federal government, this “stretch” has not been made.

  388. One of the side-effects of the unnecessary and malicious bullying of Eich is to significantly increase animosity in our already fractured society. If you de facto punish people for their political speech (campaign donation), then you haven’t necessarily vanquished your opponent, just forced him to resort to other (probably covert) means of expression. Be care what you wish for; war is a two-way street.

  389. Judges do have the right to interpret law, but they can go so far that it amounts to rewriting it.

    They do not have the right to do so. The moment they knowingly change the law, even by an iota, they are ultra vires.

    Personally, I think the claim that “equal protection” means “same-sex marriage is constitutionally protected” is a huge stretch.

    That’s not a stretch, it’s an outright lie. They know damn well that this is not what the 14th amendment means, so when they say it is they are lying, violating their oaths, and their ruling is not law.

  390. “There has never been a significant society in which the majority of marriages ended in divorce.”

    Nonsense. Today many societies have the majority of their marriages end in divorce.

    And that is a symptom of a deep sickness that needs to be cured if these societies are to have any hope of survival. I’m not optimistic.

  391. Finally, we agree Milhouse: your definition of marriage and perception of society is profoundly sick (and has been well before same-sex marriage entered the fray) and has little hope for survival.

  392. And to be clear, I fully intend “sick” to mean “not healthy, less vigorous”, I do not intend “sick” to mean “abhorrent or disgusting” or any such judgmental connotation.

  393. @ Nancy Lebovitz
    Is there anyone in this conversation who’s neutral about same sex marriage?

    I find myself to be largely neutral about it, though leaning towards the positive side on the grounds that I believe in individual freedom and think the government needs to be getting out of this sort of thing, not only because they have no business in it, but also precisely because of how poisonous this debate has become. In a society where “marriage” is a societal institution without government involvement, the definition becomes whatever the society wants it to be through organic change in society. Without a government forced definition of marriage, individuals, communities and businesses are free to recognize and approve (or not) of whatever forms of living arrangements they feel comfortable with.

    @ Tim F.

    I don’t see how it can be a “huge stretch” at all.

    Well, it largely depends on the purposes the government has for recognizing marriages at all. On the one hand, there’s the “contract/inheritance” theory, where in marriage is a convenient short hand for a specific type of contract between two people involving join property, powers of attorney and so forth. There’s a strong argument for this as it’s how marriage is treated in most of the places it’s mentioned in the law. Under this theory, gay marriage is absolutely an equal protection issue since there’s no legitimate state interest in restricting who you can contract with in this manner. For the purposes of inheritance, power of attorney and ownership, it does not change things based on the sex of the other individual. The problem with this theory is that society (and the government) has been slowly eroding what marriage actually means as far as these things go. As a recent example, under HIPAA law, your spouse can’t have access to your medical records without your express consent. Also, as I recall a number of insurance benefits require that you explicitly list your spouse as a beneficiary (though I admit, I do not know enough about inheritance law to know what happens if you don’t and you die)

    On the other hand, there’s the theory that the government has an interest in defining and promoting marriage for the purposes of encouraging people to reproduce, produce healthy offspring in a stable home (something that may not happen without the societal bindings that marriage comes with) and encourage productive pooling of resources to maintain or increase the population and society as a whole. This theory would largely be based on the various “benefits” that come with marriage, in the tax code, but also the ease of inheritance and such. You can also see remnants of this form of marriage theory in alimony/child support proceedings, including the fact that a man can be made to pay child support even without ever having entered the marriage contract. The problems with this theory lay largely in the fact that marriage benefits are extended regardless of whether you are reproducing or not. There’s also the issue brought up before of the “divorce rate” demonstrating that the intend to provide stability has been eroded, and while that’s certainly true, I strongly suspect that most people who have religious and “traditional” objections to gay marriage would also (and have already) expressed displeasure at the divorce rate and the ease of divorce. However, under this theory, gay marriage is a stretch for the “equal protection” argument based on the idea that gay marriages by definition will be non-reproductive.

    Of course, both of these cases presume the government has any business in marriage at all (whether as a contract or to encourage behavior). If the government got out of the business entirely and contented itself with simply defining the impacts of having various contracts with another adult (for property ownership, power of attorney, inheritance etc) then society would be free to combine and live in whatever forms and ways that best suited society at the time without the need to spend billions on expensive legal wrangling to determine exactly what combinations of living arrangements are acceptable for certain contracts to automatically kick in. It’s not like we as a society don’t already have plenty of experience with individual/joint responsibility contracts (see any rental agreement) or with resolving cases where two contracts come into conflict with each other.

  394. I have no clue what you mean; care to elaborate so I can establish, in your eyes, my honesty and good faith?

    See my comment at 14:00:12.

  395. >Given the (true) statistics on incidence of homosexuality, it’s pretty certain to be less than 5%.

    Winter could help us out here. But Wiki says between 2001 and 2011 in The Netherlands there were roughly 15K same-sex marriages for roughly a 16,8M population – and that was 10 years after it was introduced, so it had time to become established in the minds of people. Of course it is hard to estimate what a percentage of the population should be considered “eligible” – not a minor, not already married, not really hopelessly elderly (if that is an issue, not sure) etc. etc. But projected to total population, below 0,1%.

    I should also add it is not an argument either way. Something _private_ and non-affecting others 0,1% of the total population does is neither going to destroy the fabric of society and the traditional sense of marriage nor is a high-priority civil rights issue that warrants taking up arms in the name of glorious equality. By all reasonable accounts, it is just another sign that culture wars are really indeed about culture, about symbolic cultural losses or wins, definitional wins and losses, regardless of practical outcomes.

  396. Yeah, still don’t see it: if your definition says with either the intent or the effect and it fails more than 50% of the time, it’s a bad definition.

  397. @ Random832

    I can, for example, pay someone to not speak their opinion, and that has the same purpose and (assuming both that they accept it and that they would have given in to intimidation) and that is bribery, not bullying.

    Except they don’t have the same effect, which is exactly why we have different words for them. Bribery doesn’t have a chilling effect on my further speech or that of others. No one was ever intimidated from speaking their mind by someone else being bribed not to.

    On the other hand, if you were a CEO of MegaCorp 50 years ago, and you saw the CEO of Innitech get ousted from their position for a vote they made 4 years earlier in favor of gay marriage, you might be hesitant to make any future statements or votes on the matter, lest you lose your job as well.

  398. TM, I see no need to discuss government’s involvement in marriage as “theoretical.” Almost all of the evidence is to the contrary.

  399. I see nothing extrajudicial or illogical about California’s Supreme Court declaring that Prop 8 was inconsistent to the due process and equal protection clauses of its Constitution because the state does in fact grant equal protection to sexual preference and there are rights and privileges granted with marriage.

    You lie again. The state supreme court did no such thing; it couldn’t, since by definition an amendment to a constitution cannot be unconstitutional. Really, is there no end to your lying?

  400. “Something _private_ and non-affecting others 0,1% of the total population does is neither going to destroy the fabric of society and the traditional sense of marriage nor is a high-priority civil rights issue that warrants taking up arms in the name of glorious equality.”

    I find the former persuasive but not the latter. If a country institutionalized racism, and the minority affected was a very small percentage, I would not deem it a cause not worth fighting for.

  401. “The state supreme court did no such thing; it couldn’t, since by definition an amendment to a constitution cannot be unconstitutional.”

    You are on the wrong side of reality. Of course a constitutional amendment can be ruled unconstitutional. You aren’t helping your argument, you are making yourself look more and more foolish the more you dig in.

  402. @Tim F

    > If a country institutionalized racism, and the minority affected was a very small percentage, I would not deem it a cause not worth fighting for.

    Great, just do it then. Because it is pretty sure that a level of maltreatment comparable to racism affecting 0,1% of the population you are going to find in any first-world country, just not based on race, but for example disability, learning disability, prison population, hospitalization, or mental health facilities, or really anything. It wil be largely a “maltreatment going unnoticted falling through the gaps” case. Have you ever tried this? Ever looked into similar corner cases like whether a mentally ill 80 years old is treated with dignity or not?

  403. Shenpen, I would absolutely argue that I would and do support ANYONE who’s civil rights are being infringed or constrained no matter their relative population size. The efficacy of such isn’t really coming into effect in the situation you laid out. After all, I support and defend the civil rights of minorities and women, but I don’t contend nor do I know if my support will ever produce a result that is 100% effective.

  404. @ Tim F.

    I did not state that government involvement was theoretical. I pointed out that there are multiple theories as to why and what purpose government involvement has. Of course the fact of the involvement is not theoretical, but the purposes (both historical and current) are.

  405. @milhouse
    “There has never been a significant society in which the majority of marriages ended in divorce. That they do so now is clear evidence of the sickness which has been introduced to our society by the very same forces that are now further attacking the institution by extending it to same-sex relationships”

    Funny. In those golden ages, marriages lasted on average shorter than they do now. Because “for life” used to be rather short.

    Also, in such golden ages as the Victorian, most poor people were only able to marry quite late in life. The number of women that were effectively concubines or prostitutes during part of their lives was much higher than now. With a complement of male clients.

    All in all, marriage was not more pure in the past. It was simply a different financial institution for different financial times.

  406. @ Tim F.

    You are on the wrong side of reality. Of course a constitutional amendment can be ruled unconstitutional.

    I assume you have case history for this? I am aware of certain other countries where the legislatures amend the constitution as a matter of course having in built restrictions on the possible amendments but I am unaware of any such instances in the US. By simple definition, an amendment to a constitution duly passed according to the laws can not be unconstitutional. It can be wrong and it can violate previous constitutional lines and they can conflict with other parts of the constitution, but that is not the same as unconstitutional. That’s why proponents of gun control often argue to change the second amendment.

  407. @Tim F for example one issue I find particularly horrendous and clearly hitting way over the 0,1% mark in some nations at least, is that it somehow still possible to condemn physically weak pickpockets or white-collar criminals to two years of getting raped in the ass in prison. Somehow this glaring barbarism doesn’t really get the attention it should.

    (And it shows how the whole thing is really identity based, not utilitarian – who would garnish their identity by speaking for actual condemned criminals and risk getting identified with, lumped together with them? But identifying with 0,1% who wants to get same-sex married is a cool identity, it is open-minded and progressive and whatnot. It all looks like an obvious failure mode of the mediatized, feelings-based, identity-based, short-attention-span kind of democracy.)

  408. @Shenpen
    Gays do regularly marry here. I have no statistcs ready. Same sex marriages are non-controversial. It helps that clergy is not involved in the legal procedures of marriages. That is a purely state affair.

    We have had right-wing ministers who were married gays/lesbians. We had a lesbian secretary of state in the 1980s who took her friend to all official occassions.

  409. “I assume you have case history for this? ”

    Yes. Prop 8 and Loving v. Virginia (several states had anti-miscegenation written into their Constitutions that remained on the books until as recent as 2000, they were nonetheless nullified) have already been mentioned and should suffice. Beyond that, basic logic and scores of evidence should put the responsibility of claiming otherwise on Milhouse and yourself to prove otherwise if you care to. I’m not here to give a history lesson.

  410. “It can be wrong and it can violate previous constitutional lines and they can conflict with other parts of the constitution, but that is not the same as unconstitutional.”

    That is nearly precisely the definition of “unconstitutional.” I have no idea what nebulous middle ground you are arguing for when a constitutional amendment is struck down because it is determined to violate previous clauses of the constitution or requiring further interpretation to resolve conflicts made by additions to a constitution.

  411. Eich was punished for his ACTIONS. He was caught supporting a measure which would legalize anti-gay discrimination. And damn right he was made an example of! To paraphrase Bob Marley by way of Haile Selassie I: until the philosophy which holds one sexual orientation superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere there is war.

    And yet, heterosexuality is manifestly superior to homosexuality. Eric is right; you are out of touch with reality. Homosexuality can’t even *exist* without heterosexuality. It’s only in an over-prosperous, decadent environment that people can not only hold such stupid beliefs but hold additionally that people who disagree are BAD.

    This is really partly your doing, Eric: Jargon helped boost the hacker culture’s self-awareness as an open, inclusive meritocracy. Now the culture has developed an allergic reaction to noninclusiveness, and a strong aversion to allowing an exclusive person to assume a leadership role. That’s all that’s happening here.

    Eich isn’t an “exclusive” person in the hacker culture. Vindictive, self-righteous twats like YOU are “exclusive”. And yes – intolerant little bigots of your kind are increasingly invading computing. Woopty doo!

  412. I’ve already argued that I have little need for history lessons, but I might as well provide one more nugget: do you realize that the Alabama Constitution still has an Amendment on the books requiring the segregation of public schools and forbidding a member of another race from attending a school with students of a different race?

  413. @ Tim F.

    Prop 8 and Loving V. Virginia were both matters of a state constitutional statute being unconstitutional under the federal constitution. The US Constitution’s supremacy clause makes this case possible and is not what someone means when they say “a constitutional amendment can’t be unconstitutional.” and it certainly isn’t what Milhouse meant when he said:

    “The state supreme court did no such thing; it couldn’t, since by definition an amendment to a constitution cannot be unconstitutional.”

    As to “nebulous middle ground”, I’m arguing for no such thing. Words have meanings and a constitutional amendment duly passed under the laws can not be unconstitutional under the same constitution. That a new amendment conflicts with a previous part of the constitution does not make it unconstitutional. For example, Amendment XII to the US Constitution directly conflicts with Article II Section 3 and has no direct text overriding or repealing that previous part of the constitution (unlike the repeal of prohibition which explicitly repealed the prior amendment). It’s new and conflicting text was simply assumed to override the previous text. So would it be in a constitutional amendment that violates due process. Until such time as the legislature corrects the imbalance it would (and should) be interpreted as superseding (in that instance) the due process clauses. But since the amendment was legally passed and is therefore a part of the constitution, it can not be found unconstitutional under that same constitution.

  414. Incidentally, I (and others) have stated here that despite our objections to how this all played out, Mozilla of course has the right to contract with whomever they want and to fire them for whatever reason (including “damaging the brand”). In an amusing twist of fate, in California that may not actually be the case

    § 1101. Political activities of employees; prohibition of prevention or control by employer

    No employer shall make, adopt, or enforce any rule, regulation, or policy:

    (a) Forbidding or preventing employees from engaging or participating in politics or from becoming candidates for public office.

    (b) Controlling or directing, or tending to control or direct the political activities or affiliations of employees.

    § 1102. Coercion or influence of political activities of employees

    No employer shall coerce or influence or attempt to coerce or influence his employees through or by means of threat of discharge or loss of employment to adopt or follow or refrain from adopting or following any particular course or line of political action or political activity.

    Of course, Eich “resigned” and would likely prefer this whole mess to go away, so I doubt this will become relevant to the issue at hand, but it is worth noting that a California company couldn’t legally fire their CEO, even if he declared his support for the re-institution of slavery.

  415. You are correct that these are not the best examples because it involves the Federal superseding the State Constitutions. My apologies.

    I will simply leave you with this:

    http://ballotpedia.org/Amending_state_constitutions

    “State constitutions can also be changed through judicial action. This can happen when a federal court declares that part of a state’s constitution is unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution and must be removed or treated as null. It can also happen when a state court declares that an amendment to the state’s constitution is unacceptable.”

    The frequency with which State Constitutional Amendments have been found unconstitutional by their own state judiciaries, again, puts the onus on you to prove otherwise.

  416. TM: Good find. Note that Mozilla’s actions also seem to violate another section of California law, that prohibits a religious test for employment. If support for same-sex marriage is a requirement, that seems like a religious test that would exclude many observant Christians, Mormons, and Muslims.

  417. >The frequency with which State Constitutional Amendments have been found unconstitutional by their own state judiciaries, again, puts the onus on you to prove otherwise.

    Except it’s not, because he’s set a kafkatrap – any time this happens, it’s “judicial fiat” and therefore evil.

  418. Yeah, still don’t see it: if your definition says with either the intent or the effect and it fails more than 50% of the time, it’s a bad definition.

    You were dishonest in ignoring the clear phrasing of Peter Davies’ definition. He said the traditional definition of marriage includes the intent of permanence, and you know perfectly well that that’s true, and that even now almost everyone marries with that intent.

    Now you treat the recent (and it is recent) spike in divorce rates as it it were the default state. It’s not. It’s abnormal, and it’s terribly worrying. It’s a symptom of a terrible sickness in our culture, that we have to do something about, or we are doomed. And at least one cause is precisely the erosion of he definition of marriage, at the hands of cultural saboteurs. Another symptom of their work is the flight from marriage; straight men are nowadays more reluctant than ever to get married, for a number of reasons, but one is the erosion in the status of marriage in our culture. And this is no accident; it’s the result of deliberate undermining by enemies of our society, Gramscian damage as Eric calls it. Speak to anyone who was involved in the gay rights movement in the 70s, and if they’re honest they will tell you that the radical faction that drove the agenda was out to undermine the family. It’s frightening to what extent they’ve succeeded.

  419. No, I am not being dishonest in disregarding an intention of permanence. I don’t think many entering marriage today view it as permanent, only binding until they are divorced. And I’m 100% certain that whether or not there is an intention, there is a complete failure to achieve permanence so, I, find including permanence in any definition to be completely laughable.

    And I definitely do not take the rest of your culture politics as given whatsoever. Most of it is complete self-delusional nonsense.

  420. And to really get you wound up: premarital sex, premarital cohabitation, unwed parenting, and adoption and marriage rights being extended to classes of people formerly barred from participation are probably doing more to strengthen marriage as an institution than anything that I’d imagine you would propose.

  421. Of course a constitutional amendment can be ruled unconstitutional.

    Excuse me? Are you nuts or is this just more of your knowing, deliberate dishonesty? By definition an amendment to the constitution cannot be unconstitutional.

  422. Funny. In those golden ages, marriages lasted on average shorter than they do now. Because “for life” used to be rather short.

    How is that, or anything else you wrote, at all relevant? Who the hell cares how long the average marriage lasted? It has no effect at all on the point in question, or on Tim F’s dishonesty.

    Divorce has always been a safety valve, an emergency fall-back, not an option to deliberately plan for.

  423. “Are you nuts or is this just more of your knowing, deliberate dishonesty?”

    I’ll take nuts if you take illiterate and stop calling me dishonest. Repeating it over and over does not make it so.

  424. I have no idea what nebulous middle ground you are arguing for when a constitutional amendment is struck down because it is determined to violate previous clauses of the constitution or requiring further interpretation to resolve conflicts made by additions to a constitution.

    This has never happened, and can’t happen. A constitutional amendment by definition contradicts what the constitution previously said. That’s what amendments are for. And by definition it overrides and nullifies anything previously in the constitution that contradicts it. This is all obvious, you can’t possibly not know it. I can’t fathom why you choose to lie like this.

  425. Now I’m a liar. And maybe you are getting closer to looking rather stupid.

  426. The frequency with which State Constitutional Amendments have been found unconstitutional by their own state judiciaries, again, puts the onus on you to prove otherwise.

    Oh yeah? Give an example, why don’t you? Or I will assume the frequency is zero.

  427. The State Judiciary ruled a State Constitutional Amendment was unconstitutional. And you are an idiot who think repeating “dishonesty” over and over hides that idiocy.

  428. The State Judiciary ruled a State Constitutional Amendment was unconstitutional.

    That it violated the federal constitution, you liar.

  429. You said above that a State’s judiciary cannot find a State Constitutional Amendment unconstitutional ever and that it has never done so. Rather than presume you are lying, I will presume you are ignorant.

  430. You said above that a State’s judiciary cannot find a State Constitutional Amendment unconstitutional ever and that it has never done so. Rather than presume you are lying, I will presume you are ignorant.

    I said that a state court can’t find an amendment to the state constitution violates that constitution. It can’t, and it’s never been done.

  431. This is what you had claimed happened to Prop 8. You’re full of shite.

  432. By the way, a state constitution doesn’t have to violate the federal constitution to be invalid; all federal laws rank higher than state constitutions, so Congress could pass a law tomorrow that contradicts every state’s constitution, and (provided that law was itself valid) all those states would have to obey the new law and ignore the contrary provisions in their constitutions. There’s nothing special about the federal constitution in this regard.

    So until the recent DOMA decision, if Congress had made a law requiring states to recognise same-sex marriage the states would have had to comply, even if their constitutions said otherwise. But the Supreme Court just ruled that such a law would be invalid, beyond Congress’s power, because marriage is a matter for the states, not for Congress. That works both ways. It means the feds must recognise same-sex marriages in states that purport to have them, but it also means the feds can’t impose them on states that don’t.

    Treaties rank equal with federal statutes, so they also override state constitutions and laws. If marriage were a proper subject for federal law, the president could sign a treaty with the Netherlands to allow same-sex marriage in both countries, and if the senate ratified it all state constitutions and laws against it would become invalid. The House wouldn’t even get to vote on it. But that can’t happen now, because it’s a subject reserved to the states.

  433. Milhouse, that got well off track and admittedly petty, and I’d like to apologize. I’m sorry.

    If you’d like, I will concede that I cannot currently provide evidence of a State Judiciary finding a State Legislation to be Unconstitutional according to the State Constitution. I still believe that it does occur and regularly [many State's have zero faith in the Legislature, allowing easy modification of the Constitution (sometimes directly, and ironically, by the Legislature), so there are usually some Judicial Review checks in place, additionally many State Constitution duplicate elements of the Federal Constitution so they don't have to rely on it], but if I was proven wrong, I’d readily accept it, admit I was wrong, and apologize if necessary. The fact that any State Law can be nullified by the US Constitution and its Amendments and that the current Supreme Court has done so and that there are many instances of State Judiciaries doing the same seems sufficient in this case. I thought the topic began with a Judicial Review Absolutist point of view, but if your concern is more narrow, there’s no skin off my back.

    Whoever previously claimed I was “programmed by Leftist language” or some some twaddle, I’m proud that my thinking is more aligned with Canada, Mexico, and Argentina on this issue. I would like to say my thinking is as “progressive” as the Danish but I admit it is not.

  434. Justin, I don’t find that article interesting and I rank that article as one of the most misguided stories I’ve read (the others I found following #gaystapo).

  435. @Tim F

    Whoever previously claimed I was “programmed by Leftist language” or some some twaddle, I’m proud that my thinking is more aligned with Canada, Mexico, and Argentina on this issue. I would like to say my thinking is as “progressive” as the Danish but I admit it is not.

    You can’t even remember WHAT was said, so why are you bothering to respond? lol “programmed by Leftist language” what does that even MEAN? This comment amounts to no more than “DERP DERP I AM PROUD TO BE A WONDERFUL PROGRESSIVE *flea scratch*”

  436. >(the others I found following #gaystapo).

    #gaystapo

    Hm.

    I’m not ready to use this tag yet, but after the Duck Dynasty brouhaha and the scalping of Eich I’m about one similar incident from finding it appropriate.

  437. @Eric

    #gaystapo

    This would be comeuppance, but are you sure you would want to contribute to the trend of mindlessly jumping onto these bandwagons? Hashtags are an e-feminist staple..

  438. >are you sure you would want to contribute to the trend of mindlessly jumping onto these bandwagons?

    You raise a significant point. Ah well, perhaps the decision will not be required of me if the blowback from the scalping of Eich is fierce enough.

  439. Back when gays were in the closet in the ’30s and ’40s, Homintern was a term, a play on Comintern.

  440. @Shenpen&esr
    Number of same-sex marriages in the Netherlands 2011
    Men: 601
    Women: 754
    http://www.welingelichtekringen.nl/liefde-2/197093/homos-trouwen-amper.html (in Dutch)

    The total number of marriages in 2012 was 70,000. So, this is a small fraction ~ 2%.

    All is not ideal, not even in the Netherlands ;-)
    http://www.scp.nl/english/dsresource?objectid=28723&type=org (PDF!)

    To put the position of homosexuals in perspective:

    The current prime minister of Belgium, Elio Di Rupo, is homosexual, but not married (but he might not have a steady friend).

    It is widely suspected that the current prime minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte, is homosexual, as he is single and holidays with his mother (no really, this is no joke). But no one cares enough to find out.
    http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2010/06/who_is_mark_rutte_a_short_biog.php

    In our previous administration, we had two homosexual ministers, both from the Christen Democrats. One was married (our lesbian minister of agriculture), one not (our gay finance minister). There might have been others, but I did not pay attention.

  441. @Milhouse

    I sympathize with your definition of cultural sickness – I can notice decadence when I see it – but it is kind of nuts to blame it on gays consciously undermining families. Just sounds like the usual conspiracy theory, and like those it can just be dismissed as “Why? What for?” Rather the whole point is that culture is something that affects everybody, and basically the cultural changes towards short-termist hedonism and egoism affected everybody and then it had various effects amongst gay people, straight people etc. each buying into it in their own way.

    The point is, the more time I spend thinking about it the more I get that this is _objective_ in the past it was not religion or a reverence of traditions that keep cultures healthy. Rather it was hardship, from natural hardship to poverty to war and plague, the objective conditions. This, hardship created everything else, tightly knit communities, families and marriages understood as mutual support and alliance for life come what may, a suppression of short-term hedonism because long-term survival was not guaranteed, even the demand for religion, and even in a sense the demand for tradition, for everybody is a traditionalist when facing immediate danger. In a way healthy cultures were survivalist – they had to be.

    The point is, it is not possible to counter-act an objective decadence process generated by comfort and wealth by cultural arguments or legislation. Because liberal culture and liberal legislation are really just symptoms of it all.

    There is basically two things that can be done. Obviously it is not moral to artificially bring back past hardships. The pessimisitic option is to assume hardship will come anyway because decadence creates opportunities for aggressors. In this case what worths working on is creating inteconnected networks of traditionalists who can withstand any fecal storm. The optimistic option is that it is possible to find really attractive future goals that make it worthwile to accept new hardships – like space colonialization, in which case the settler communities on Mars or whatever would clearly go back to a healthy conservative culture if they intend to survive. But arguing with liberals is really just not too productive, because the whole decadence is driven by objective comfort and wealth, not arguments.

  442. @Shenpen
    “basically the cultural changes towards short-termist hedonism and egoism affected everybody”
    “The point is, it is not possible to counter-act an objective decadence process generated by comfort and wealth by cultural arguments or legislation. Because liberal culture and liberal legislation are really just symptoms of it all. ”

    That would be us (Dutch people, Scandinavians too). We have plastered our society with cushions to ban out hardship. And we were the first to legalize SSM.

    Obviously, we must be furthest along this route to decadence and sickness. Cannot say I see a lot of it.

    If anything, we are working long-term goals all the time, from pensions to AGW preparations.

  443. @Shenpen
    PS. Think the Pierson’s Puppeteers from Larry Niven’s stories. These banned out all hardship and were all for safety nets. They were the most dangerous enemies to have.

  444. @Winter

    >If anything, we are working long-term goals all the time, from pensions to AGW preparations.

    Um. These are policies, not lifestyles. But even in everyday lifestyles, somehow cold-weather cultures are good at keeping, well, a cold blood. Although I would be really interested how many people really take into account in their sexual or reproductionary choices whether when they will be 75 years old will they regret not having kids / grandkids or not? This is a really good test of long-term thinking. Have ever heard anyone say “Well I enjoyed being genderqueer pansexual at 20 but but now at 30 it is time to settle down and go the usual route because it will suck to be elderly without kids and grandkids?” If yes, that is a very positive sign.

    I mean here in Austria – and I know you guys have it too – I am borderline insulted that the government thinks I am an idiot who cannot save up for a summer holiday, so it divides my salary into 14 months not 12, July and November being double. (Because nobody ever bought Xmas presents before November or ever liked to travel in NOT the hottest month of the year, obviously.). I think you have something similar, 8% holiday trip reductions to be paid in the summer. It is incredibly patronizing, isn’t it? I mean, if these governments think we cannot even think 6 months ahead and from Jan to July save up for a trip, doesn’t it seem to suggest something? (OK one can argue that it is not actually patronization but regulatory capture by the the travel industry lobby making sure they get customers, haha. Still. It really sounds like short-termism is expected.)

  445. @Shenpen
    ““Well I enjoyed being genderqueer pansexual at 20 but but now at 30 it is time to settle down and go the usual route because it will suck to be elderly without kids and grandkids?” If yes, that is a very positive sign. ”

    I know many homosexuals who raise kids. I have heard of several lesbian&gay couples who got together and produced and raised kids together (two moms+tow dads).

    But rarely because they fear old age. We do have a good pension system.

  446. @Shenpen
    ” I think you have something similar, 8% holiday trip reductions to be paid in the summer. It is incredibly patronizing, isn’t it?”

    We do have it. It is “strange”, but I hardly care.

    It is a well known shortcoming of many people that they do not know how to save. If you think holidays are bad, think about all the people ending up without any pension savings. The same with medical insurance. Sometimes, we have to bow to reality. And human nature is one of these realities.

  447. Tim F. on 2014-04-08 at 13:59:14 said, “I’m arguing that this is fundamentally coding for…”.

    Is your imputation of coded speech the result of telepathic insight, or is it simply a reflection of the way you speak, and an assumption that everyone speaks in the same coded manner?

  448. I’m very late to this party but I’ll throw in my .02 anyway.

    If you want to change browsers because of this but like Firefox, try Pale Moon; it’s Firefox Lite without the Mozilla.

    If you judge companies by their politics and activism, Google is far more evil than Mozilla. I don’t use Chrome for that reason, plus Google knows way too much about me anyway.

  449. The topic is not judging a company’s politics or activism, but their suppression of people’s political speech, or their cooperation with such suppression.

    It has not been alleged that Google fired, or refused to hire, anyone because of political statements or donations they’ve made, nor that Google pressured other companies to do so.

  450. >It has not been alleged that Google fired, or refused to hire, anyone because of political statements or donations they’ve made, nor that Google pressured other companies to do so.

    Actually, rumor has it Eich was forced out under pressure from Google. Plausible; Google is, in effect, Mozilla’s sole customer.

    What this probably means is that some individual in a power position at Google leaned on Mitchell Baker until she crumpled.

  451. I agree on the fact that the victims of the past have become when their minds and critical common sense had been f***ed up by activism. Type of activism which has its roots deeply in old Trotskyist related groups.

    That is the reason why the debate in France around gay marrriage was so brutal.
    Because, short of arguments the pro gay-marriage activists made ad-hominem attacks on everyone who was not on their side, telling them they were some type of homophobic persons. Which was clearly not the case, as you had strong quality arguments over the serious debates on TV.

    I do not like activism, because in my solidly educated mind, favouring work , constant efforts, politeness, consideration of others, I cannot feel that hate is a solution to problems.

    It is ONLY a solution for those who cannot bear to argue and exchange ideas and visions of society, and prefer to act like a political thug, using lies, peer pressure, media rubish talk, diverted emotions, in short, mental and verbal violence.

  452. It is a bad thing that someone who has contributed a great deal to open source was forced out of his position because of his political beliefs and/or private actions.

    Some argue that his action was so very heinous as to justify it.

    I am and continue to be unhappy enough with the manner in which SSM was and is being promoted through the courts instead of the legislatures that I am quite willing to see the SSM advocates take a 15 yard penalty for illegal procedure.

    Those who are unhappy with the vestiges of anti-miscegenation that remain in state constitutions and state laws should persuade their friends and lobby their legislatures to clean them up.

    Going through the courts instead of the legislature is cheaper and easier. It does not make doing so good policy.

  453. @BobW:

    Going through the courts instead of the legislature is cheaper and easier. It does not make doing so good policy.

    Unfortunately, there are numerous examples of Congress passing laws that they knew were unconstitutional, just to be seen to be “doing something.” COPA is a good example of this; there are many others.

    We have an extremely dysfunctional system where Congress passes illegal laws to pander to the worst excesses of their constituencies and then relies on the courts to sort it out as best they can.

    You are right that getting the courts to clean up after the legislature is not great policy (not least because they can only clean up the worst excesses), but when the only people who can get elected are ones willing to play the game to this extent, you cannot really fault people for taking advantage of the deliberate checks and balances built into the system by using the courts as well.

  454. Then I think it is now the duty of every friend of free speech and every enemy of political bullying to pledge not only to donate $1000 to the next anti-gay-marriage initiative to come along, but to say publicly that they have done so as a protest against bullying.

    This is both stupid and morally wrong. It’s the same kind of “collective responsibility” crap the anti-gunners and other liberals push for – punish the whole (most of whom probably don’t even realize this fiasco happened) for the actions of a vocal few.

    What you are proposing is the equivalent of going after all Javascript programmers in retaliation for Eich’s actions. Whether you think they should have done it or not, at least the people behind this went after Eich based on his own actions, and not the actions of someone else who just happens to belong to the same demographic.

  455. @Jake: What about going after Eich in retaliation for the actions of all the JavaScript programmers?

  456. @Christopher Smith: Did he do it? Then that would also be wrong (though there is an argument that, as the creator of JavaScript, he bears at least some responsibility as a contributor and enabler).

  457. I thought the topic began with a Judicial Review Absolutist point of view,

    Judges do not have the power or right to change any law. Their role is merely to examine laws whose meaning is unclear in the context of a particular case, and honestly attempt to discern what they mean, which my definition must be what they have always meant. If there is no honest doubt what the law means then the judge has no role at all. And if a judge believes the law means X but wishes it meant Y, then he has no right to rule Y, and if he does he has violated his oath and his ruling is invalid.

    Constitutional provisions are meta-laws, and the role of judges is the same. If the constitution says a particular kind of law is invalid, then it must always have said that since the clause in question was enacted. If the judge knows damn well that at the time the clause was enacted it did not mean what he would like it to, and the law in question would have been upheld, then he has no right to strike it down now.

    When the CA supreme court held that the CA constitution requires same-sex marriage, it was wrong. The state constitution did not require any such thing. And Prop 8 was the people telling the court exactly that. The result of the Prop 8 vote was a clear repudiation of the court’s decision, and meant that the “right” to same-sex marriage had never existed.

    This means that Eich was supporting the status quo, preventing a new and bizarre non-right from being entrenched in the state’s laws by a handful of rogue judges who had knowingly and deliberately defied the expressed will of the voters. One needn’t strongly oppose same-sex marriage to take such a position. One need merely think it important to put rogue judges in their place before they become dictators.

    If you want to see a judicial branch run amok, effectively pulling a coup and installing itself as a dictatorship, see Israel. (The Israeli supreme court effectively controls judicial appointments, including its own membership, so it’s a self-perpetuating dictatorship.)

  458. @Patrick Maupin

    When was the last time you wrote to your congresscritters?

    When I studied the subject in the ’70s, legislators who received significant mail on a subject tended to vote accordingly. Fewer and fewer people write their congresscritters these days.

    U.S. House of Representatives
    U.S. Senate

    Stick to one subject per letter. Be succinct. Be polite. Use good grammar.

    Let’s see if piles of paper still impress.

  459. Prop 8 ended up being struck down by a corrupt federal judge, who had a personal interest in the case, and who decided how he would rule before hearing any evidence. His ruling was upheld not on its merits but because the state governor and attorney general refused to appeal it, and the federal courts ruled that only they had standing to do so.

  460. What this means is that any time a governor doesn’t like a referendum result, he can simply arrange for someone to challenge it in federal court, and refuse to defend it, and it will automatically be struck down. That can’t possibly be a good thing.

  461. @BobW:

    When was the last time you wrote to your congresscritters?

    I have done so a few times in the past. The most recent times were a couple of years ago about copyright and patent stuff. My Representive is (cough, cough) Lamar Smith, who, like a stopped clock, is occasionally correct, but only if enough people pay him to be so.

    When I studied the subject in the ’70s, legislators who received significant mail on a subject tended to vote accordingly. Fewer and fewer people write their congresscritters these days.

    That’s before they figured out how to apply Marshall McLuhan / Lee Atwater properly — now it’s about getting enough money to get elected, and the real masters are the people supplying the money.

  462. Milhouse,

    IANAL but as I understand it the right of the people to peaceably assemble protected by the First Amendment is broadly interpreted to mean a general right to join or leave an association with peaceable intent.

    Marriage is an association, and I can’t think of one with a more peaceable intent.

    Therefore, under the federal Constitution — let alone any state constitutions — any obstruction of the right for a person to marry another person — or even many people — is a serious Constitutional issue, as I see it, and anti-gay-marriage laws and anti-bigamy laws and anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional and always have been, irrespective of how the mores of the time may have influenced prior judges and legislatures.

    Then again, it’s not news that regard for the Constitution and the rights it endhrines and is supposed to protect, isn’t exactly the strong point of this government…

  463. Sorry, Jeff, but for instance the debate evolved in France ont around marriage or not marriage but between “same sex marriage” and “same sex civil union”.

    For instance I am strongly pro civil union with the same fiscal treatment and law treatment as married couple, except for children. Because here it is a matter of conscience.

    The adopted child who is a tier has not claimed to have two mothers or two fathers, so he will have no father in the first case or no mother in the second case.

    I find it very distrubing to organize consciously the future life of a human being, coldly assuming that he wil definitely not have a mother or a father, or if this person is known, he or she will weigh peanuts juridically.

    Basically, the rights of adults should not f… the children rights which are internationally recognized as to have a father and mother.

    This is why I am for any union between consenting adults regarding society, but not marriage as it entails the rights of the future children, thus future adults

  464. And the whole debated should not be pro or anti-guay which is completely false logically.
    Very few people are against gay unions in moderns an civilized societies.

    But every democratic system of law or justice is forced to look upon the rights and well-being of those who cannot defend themselves and have their situation imposed.
    For instance children confronted to adults decisions.

  465. @Patrick Maupin

    That’s before they figured out how to apply Marshall McLuhan / Lee Atwater properly — now it’s about getting enough money to get elected, and the real masters are the people supplying the money.

    There has always been money in politics. Campaign finance law is an attempt by incumbents of all parties to secure their positions. Incumbency is a huge advantage. A well heeled challenger has enough trouble overcoming that without spending limits.

  466. Condoleeza Rice is no war criminal.
    Rich is no gay hater.

    But sure, you want full leftists in charge of private and public sector + full domination on private a public discourse through activist police.
    In short, that is plain totalitarian désire.
    No more…

  467. @Jeff Read

    IANAL but as I understand it the right of the people to peaceably assemble protected by the First Amendment is broadly interpreted to mean a general right to join or leave an association with peaceable intent.

    Marriage is an association, and I can’t think of one with a more peaceable intent.

    Therefore, under the federal Constitution — let alone any state constitutions — any obstruction of the right for a person to marry another person — or even many people — is a serious Constitutional issue, as I see it, and anti-gay-marriage laws and anti-bigamy laws and anti-sodomy laws are unconstitutional and always have been, irrespective of how the mores of the time may have influenced prior judges and legislatures.

    This is an interesting angle of approach, but I don’t think it works based on legal precedent. Consider another form of legal union which provides people joining in the union with tax benefits, survivorship rights and single entity status for taxing purposes and certain functions: the corporation. Every state has it’s own laws regarding how you form a corporation. The federal government has their own laws (for example, IIRC there’s no such thing as an LLC at the federal level). In each state, you must meet certain requirements and perform certain actions and file certain paperwork in order to be considered a corporation (and in some cases, you can’t even declare your corporation to be a certain type without the appropriate credentialing from various NGOs). Without these meeting these requirements, you can not take advantage of the various legal proceedings and protections granted to corporations. You may of course gather your business partners in whatever manner you like, sign a series of contracts which roughly emulates incorporation and even get the courts to enforce those contracts, but without the proper procedures in place, the state and the federal government will not recognize your status as a corporation. I don’t think anyone would succeed (though I admit, I’m unaware of any attempts) in using the first amendment’s “association clause” to force the state or federal government to recognize a non corporation as a corporation.

    Certainly if laws made it illegal for gay couples to live and operate together as a married couple would I could see a 1st amendment challenge holding weight, but nothing about freedom of association requires the government or the states to issue an official recognition of your group as a particular legal entity.

    There’s also the fact that the courts have routinely violated the freedom of association clause with various hiring / firing and anti-discrimination laws.

  468. @BobW:

    There has always been money in politics.

    Yes, but that misses the point entirely. Politicians are now much better at telling the populace what to think, rather than simply responding to what the populace thinks. Credibly telling the populace what to think takes a lot more money than just getting out a simple branding message.

    Campaign finance law is an attempt by incumbents of all parties to secure their positions. Incumbency is a huge advantage. A well heeled challenger has enough trouble overcoming that without spending limits.

    That’s a completely different discussion, but I do eagerly anticipate seeing whether and how things change with the recent supreme court decisions.

  469. @TM:

    You’re actually helping to make Jeff Read’s point for him. Absent compelling reasons, the government is not allowed to discriminate in allowing corporation formation, and the federal government is not even involved in corporation formation — they just want to understand the form so they know how to tax it properly.

  470. @Patrick Maupin

    There’s a way to test your assertion that legislators no longer care what their constituents think.

    “You can ignore politics, but politics will not ignore you.”
    Pericles

  471. But sure, you want full leftists in charge of private and public sector + full domination on private a public discourse through activist police.
    In short, that is plain totalitarian désire.
    No more…

    Whoa, whoa, whoa.

    Who is the bigger totalitarian? Me, who favor market pressure on corporate execs with odious politics? Or a Bush administration official who was a bulldog for said administration’s torture and surveillance programs?

  472. Aw, c’mon, Jeff. Nobody here thinks that the government should be in the torture or surveillance businesses — those should be left up to private enterprise!

  473. What you defend Jeff, is not market pressure, it is political pressure on CEO’s and to promote and extend your ideology unchcked.

    The only way ideas can be checked is through your first amendment, whatever the ideas of each guy are. Even and particularly guys you dislike Jeff, they can prove useful.

    From my point of view, you are doing harm to your cause, because in the end, democracy an freedom always win. The longer your ideas will continue unchecked by criticism, the shorter they will come to fail in the real world. And the whole ideology will be sucked away into history.

    For Bush, I am not in a position to criticize him.
    Only american people can know and evaluate his actions. It is their job not mine.
    I have respect for foreign countries.

  474. “The point here is that bullying must have consequences that deter the bullies, or we will get more of it”

    Upon further reflection, I think simple agreement with the above (I do as far as it goes) and the consequence (a counter donation, pulling Firefox) are inadequate consequences and actually likely to cause more of the same instead of less. The reason being that this response as posed is framed as protest, which allows those that demanded the ousting to actually appear legitimate, only on the other side of debate.

    McCarthy was not put down by polite protest and logical counter argument. He too could rationalize his campaigns on past wrongs of indifference; there were in fact plenty of actual communist sympathizers and actual Soviet agents that were given cover by the like of Steffens (“I’ve seen the future and it works”). In the end, McCarthy was put down by calling his actions despicable. So too the Eichs McCarthys: Braybrooke, Bevan, Sinker, McAvoy, Klein, Le Dieu…

  475. I reccommend that anyone reaching this point in the discussion do a search for the word “right” and mentally replace it with the word “privilege” while re-reading those comments. You have a right to hold whatever ceremony you can come up with and call yourself a married couple. Getting the government to explicitly recognize it, with codified protections, tax codes, etc is something else entirely. Legal marriage is a privilege, not a right, and indicates a form of societal approval. No one has a right to compel others to approve of them.

    Granting a privilege to couple A, but not to couple B, is not a matter of harm to B. It may be still required under “equal protection of the laws” but it is not a matter of equal rights. That being said, I think the gay marriage advocates should have pushed for civil unions first. If those proved inadequate in general, not just with a few anecdotes, then they would have been somewhat justified in fighting for more. Or they could have replaced existing marriage laws with civil unions. I’d prefer that actually, since I can’t get government out of the business entirely.

  476. I, for one, am deeply annoyed by this Eich affair, because I strongly favor keeping politics out of work relationships. There are too many…interesting…ideas out there that, everyone was eager to determine employment based on these ideas, no one would be employable.

    For all those who support Eich’s forced resignation, I would like you to consider: how would you react, had Eich been forced to resign, because he donated to a pro Prop-8 organization? Would you be calling for Mozilla’s figurative head, or would you be fine with free-market forces working?

    Commenters have brought up the fact that gays have been murdered, as justification that Eich’s resignation isn’t really any sort of harassment…but would you be comfortable if Eich had been forced to resign if he were gay? What’s the harm in that? He wasn’t murdered, after all!

    Mathematicians have a certain ethos where you recognize a person for their contributions to the field–it doesn’t matter what race or creed or orientation that person was, or even if that person was guilty of murder (yes, I remember murder being specially singled out). Surely, it shouldn’t be that difficult to apply this to a foundation committed to open-source software! (Indeed, that Eich’s resignation was accepted on the basis of being committed to “diversity and free speech” is particularly galling, because there’s no better commitment to free speech, than defending someone’s right to be wrong.)

    Now, having said that, I also support the absolute right to be freedom of association. That is, Mozilla should have the absolute right to force Eich to resign, for any reason–including for how he donated to Prop 8–so long as it doesn’t violate any contractual agreement between Eich and Mozilla. So, yes, I believe that every organization should be free to discriminate for any reason–up to and including religious beliefs, sexual orientation, your association with others, race, or what-not. And if those people you discriminate against is the best in your field, then it’s your loss. Who knows? You may even go out of business!

    I happen to have a relative who, for two or three decades of his life, worked as a locksmith in the South. He had a lot of business going into rough neighborhoods–particularly those of minorities–and because he was the only one willing to go into those neighborhoods, everyone made sure to leave him alone when he did business there. Ironically, he’s a racist. He did this, though, because he had a family to support!

    And that’s one of the beauties of the free market: it can bring us to be tolerant, even in the face of irrational prejudice, because living comfortably is more important than being intolerant.

  477. @Winter: “Alice can marry Bob, but not Clair. Why should Bob and Clair be treated differently by the law?”

    I cannot answer this question, but I will say this: we have a LOT of restrictions on who can and cannot be married. Alice cannot marry Dave, who is already happily married to Eve; Alice cannot marry Frank, because he’s her dad, nor can she marry Greg, her son, or, in some jurisdictions, Harry, her first cousin. Yet, Alice might have reasons to want to marry each and every one of these souls. Indeed, Alice might have even have reasons to be “married” to these people, even if she has no romantic interest in them whatsoever!

    To further complicate matters, Alice might find herself married to Ike, because he moved in ten years ago…indeed, one fear that some people have about SSM is the possibility that living together as room-mates might require a divorce if they wanted to part ways, even if there had never been a ceremony marrying them in the first place.

    So long as the State determines who can and cannot marry, I cannot see why the State can’t arbitrarily decide that same-sex couples can’t get married; similarly, if the State /can’t/ arbitrarily decide that the same couple can’t get married, I can’t see how the State can forbid these other unions.

    My solution would be to get rid of the State altogether, but most people won’t be willing to do that. Meanwhile, if we insist on having a State, then it is our right to advocate for what we see as laws that will best benefit society. Whether or not an individual is wrong on a given topic is immaterial; this is a direct result of accepting a State, however big or small that it might be.

  478. Several commenters have justified Eich’s forced resignation on the fact that, not only did Eich believe that SSM is wrong, he /acted/ on those beliefs, by donating money!

    This bothers me: what good is having a belief, if we don’t act on it? Speech itself is an action, and certainly, acting is a form of speech–actions, after all, are louder than words. While Eich shouldn’t actively pursue SSM bans on company time (what does the topic have to do with software, after all?), he shouldn’t be pushed out of an organization for having a belief, and acting on it, so long as that belief doesn’t contradict the mission of the organization.

  479. “To further complicate matters, Alice might find herself married to Ike, because he moved in ten years ago…indeed, one fear that some people have about SSM is the possibility that living together as room-mates might require a divorce if they wanted to part ways, even if there had never been a ceremony marrying them in the first place.”

    Nonsense. Common law marriage is only on the books in 9 states, most are actually for probate (co-ownership) purposes and actually require a contract and recognition by a judge (so it’s hardly different from a marriage license). Pre-existing common law marriages have to be recognized but, even then, there are carve-outs for same-sex marriage or other kinds of marriage that would not normally be recognized by the state.

    I have never heard this argument before you made it, but if anyone were to make it can be dismissed as a red herring.

  480. “I have never heard this argument before you made it, but if anyone were to make it can be dismissed as a red herring.”

    I have heard this argument brought up before, from someone who supports SSM; her point in bringing it up is that it’s best to solve the issue of SSM legislatively, rather than judicially, because then you have the chance to iron out these kinds of details.

    If a ruling came from the Supreme Court that SSM should automatically be permitted in all states, then it can become an issue in those 9 states. And I have no idea what those 9 states are, so for all I know, I may be in one of them.

    The point that was made was that, when you legalize SSM via the legislature, you’re more likely to iron out details like this; furthermore, you’re more likely to have the hearts and minds of the people on board, because legislators will more likely be doing this because they have the support of the majority of their constituents…and legislators are more likely to have the support of constituents, because they have the opportunity to address potentially obscure fears such as this one.

    I think another point that was implied, but not stated outright (if I recall correctly), was that marriage is a complicated thing, and trying to change it suddenly could have…interesting…side effects. Heck, even legislative action is certainly not immune to “interesting” side effects! It just has a greater chance of addressing oddball concerns than unilateral court action.

  481. I thought your point was: don’t make an argument about unintended consequences without researching what you claim those unintended consequences are. There is no accidental-backdoored-by-same-sex-common-law-marriage unintended consequence if you took five minutes to research the present legislative and judicial reality around common law marriage. Calling something “interesting” doesn’t make it “a non-issue.”

    Furthermore, I see no evidence that legislators, by definition, are more thoughtful to the implications of legislation than the judiciary.

  482. Moreover, even if it were a real “interesting” issue, I don’t see how a same-sex couple cohabiting for a long period of time being recognized as a common law marriage is any different from a hetero couple cohabitating for a long period of time being recognized as a common law marriage. In either case, the same sex couple or the hetero couple may or may not want their cohabitation to be recognized or not. Was your friend who supports SSM also arguing that we need legislation to deal with hetero common law marriages, or was she just as ignorant as you are?

  483. Oops: Calling something “interesting” doesn’t make it NOT “a non-issue.”

  484. “I thought your point was: don’t make an argument about unintended consequences without researching what you claim those unintended consequences are.”

    I didn’t research the issue, because it isn’t a big deal to me. The point of the issue raised wasn’t to address an actual issue: it was to illustrate two other issues:

    (1) That people have certain fears that, if aren’t addressed, will cause them to fear the change. In this example, the fear was that a “couple” can accidentally be married without intending, whether it be two men or women with romantic interest in each other, or simply two room-mates who live together a long-enough time to trigger common-law marriages.

    If most people are like me–I am not a lawyer by any means, so my understanding of common-law marriage is “folkloric”, to say the least–then if this is a concern for me, then it needs to be addressed. That “addressing” may be something to the effect of “Sir, common-law marriages have not been legal in this State since 1943″; or it may be “Good point. Let me add an exception to the law, so that this doesn’t happen” for those States that have common-law marriages.

    (2) That the courts are a lousy place to take care of “interesting” corner cases. While it’s well-known that legislation can have unintended consequences, when something is created in legislators, then theoretically, at least, effort can be made to minimize those weird corner cases. The courts, traditionally at least, do not do this: they have a tendency (and a good tendency, I might add) to tailor their rulings as narrowly as possible. Thus, a decision that makes SSM legal is almost certainly NOT going to address potential common-law marriages; nor is it going to attempt to address any other (small or large) issue that may arise. Those issues will be left to future courts and/or legislatures to figure out.

    Now, whether or not common-law SSM is likely, I nonetheless think this is a fairly strong case that the issue of SSM should be hammered out in legislatures, and not on courts.

    (If it were up to me, I would do away with State-recognized marriage altogether–not just SSM–and hammer out these issues through a thorough mixture of religious institutions, contract law, and a free-market system of arbitrators…)

  485. “The point of the issue raised wasn’t to address an actual issue: it was to illustrate two other issues…”

    This is nonsensical double-speak: whether or not there is an issue (there is not), I raise the “issue”, which is not an issue to point out that (1) people may have an irrational fears about a non-issue and (2) the courts could not, would not, likely would not deal with the issue which is a non-issue even though I’ve put zero effort into looking at the so-called issue nor do I know if the alleged issue is even an issue…

    There is no “interesting” “corner case” issue that the courts are deciding by overruling same-sex marriage or civil union legislation, you’ve admitted as much, or at the very least have admitted that you have no specific knowledge of the one “corner case” you can make up. You’re not proving a potential to me by making up a potential you admit not to hold to or even know anything about, you are just saying: “Ooga Booga!”

  486. @Alpheus:

    I didn’t research the issue, because it isn’t a big deal to me.

    Presumably it was a bigger deal to Eich. Whether of the “I don’t believe gays should be married” or the “yeah, OK, here’s some money — please leave now, dinner’s waiting” variety, I don’t presume to know, but in either case, it’s helpful to think about what you’re supporting (or what you’re against).

    (1) That people have certain fears that, if aren’t addressed, will cause them to fear the change. In this example, the fear was that a “couple” can accidentally be married without intending, whether it be two men or women with romantic interest in each other, or simply two room-mates who live together a long-enough time to trigger common-law marriages.

    I’ll play along: if we assume, arguendo, that this particular example is why Brendan Eich decided to donate money to stop gay marriages, then he should rightfully be fired for being that stupid.

    Not that I believe any of that for a moment, but if that’s all you got, you got nothing.

  487. Let’s make an even more simple argument:

    Alpheus believes that two same-sex co-habitating adults could presumptively be “common law married” without both or either of those adults intending to be (this is not how common law marriage works in any state in the US) if existing marriage legislation involving hetero couples is extended to same sex couples… this consequence would be unintended and problematic, therefore, we should not extend marriage rights to same sex couples via judicial review of legislation.

    This means that there is currently the exact SAME “corner case” to two co-habitating hetero adults of opposite sexes to also be common law married (this is not how common law marriage in any state in the US). Are you and your friend also worried about hetero couples cohabitating being “forced” into common law marriage?

    It also means that your more-thoughtful-than-the-judiciary legislature did not properly craft marriage legislation (again, this is not how common law marriage works) and that the we now have reason to question hetero marriage (as per you, whether or not the corner case is an issue or not) and direct evidence that the legislature would not be more thoughtful and effective than the judiciary (they wrote the same Oooga-booga FUD corner case for non-consenting hetero adults into hetero marriage law).

    Of course, this argument is predicated on the false presumption that two people can be common law married without the mutual consent of the two people at question — which is absurd nonsense, i.e., ignorance is generally not solid ground for an argument.

  488. @Tim F.:

    > the false presumption that two people can be common law married without the mutual consent of the two people at question — which is absurd nonsense

    Be careful about absolutes. It could happen in some places if you have lying witnesses (we all know that never happens), or conceivably after a drunk night of sentimental declarations with the requisite smartphone video evidence.

    But not in California, where Eich, Prop 8, and all the controversy live. California doesn’t even recognize common law marriages, so Alpheus is not even wrong.

  489. “It could happen in some places if you have lying witnesses (we all know that never happens), or conceivably after a drunk night of sentimental declarations with the requisite smartphone video evidence.”

    I’d argue that this could/would not happen and/or demonstrating that the law could be deceived is not the same as saying this is how the law operates. But in either case, if I misplaced some absolutism in the potential deciding of common law marriage disputes, I take it back, apologize for my error, but reassert all other absolutism to my statements directed at this bizarro common law marriage argument presented by Alpheus.

    I’d still like to assert that the odds of a common law marriage being imposed against an unwilling party are virtually nil.

    However, this dispute over my absolutes distracts from both our points and, to me, most importantly, my later post:

    Alpheus claims some corner case concern applying to homosexuals resulting from potential common law marriages if the judiciary extends marriage law, as legislated, to same sex couples. This implies that there must be the same corner case for co-habitating, hetero-, different sex adults now built into the marriage law. This directly refutes his assertion that the legislature is more thoughtful of and likely to consider corner cases than the judiciary — or at least, it demonstrates that the judiciary would only be transferring the same corner case created by the legislature for heterosexual couples to homosexual couples, not creating some new problem. Yet, Alpheus does not appear to be concerned about marriage legislation for heterosexual couples for the same reason.

    So, yes, I agree that Alpheus is irrelevant even if he were correct, but he’s also ignorant, wrong, illogical, and not thoughtful on both the assertions he is making (that there is some corner case problem for common law marriages applied to homosexuals and that existing marriage legislation for heterosexuals is more thoughtful of corner case scenarios than judicial review of the same laws for homosexuals).

  490. >I assume you have case history for this? I am aware of certain other countries where the legislatures amend the constitution as a matter of course having in built restrictions on the possible amendments but I am unaware of any such instances in the US.

    For the record, there are two such restrictions in the US Constitution, one of which covers a temporary limit on Congress’ power to regulate immigration and nationalization (that was necessary to get the slave states to agree to the Constitution in the first place, and which Congress immediately acted upon as soon as the clock ran out on the limit). The remaining restriction protects the unique character of the Senate:

    Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

  491. > This implies that there must be the same corner case for co-habitating, hetero-, different sex adults now built into the marriage law.

    Without endorsing his argument… I get the impression that what he’s saying is that those people are aware of the risk of a common law marriage as a live issue and what they need to do to avoid it, whereas the much greater number of people who live with roommates of the same sex aren’t even going to have it on their radar.

  492. @Random832:

    > I get the impression that what he’s saying is that those people are aware of the risk of a common law marriage as a live issue and what they need to do to avoid it,

    If we allow that as a less-stupid option, it’s still pretty stupid. I know a shit-ton of kids (including one of my daughters) who live in mixed-gender arrangements who don’t give it a first thought. In fact, I bet if I told my daughter that someone might think she’s married since she and another girl are living in a house with three guys, she’d probably look at me like I was an alien — not that she doesn’t do that all the time anyway, of course.

    Even more to the point, I bet if I asked her what “common-law marriage” was, she wouldn’t have a clue what I’m talking about, because marriage isn’t on her mind at all.

    So the only people who might be caught up by this are the small number of people who share a bed in a state where common law marriages are recognized (again, not California) where they tell everybody they are married and generally act like they are married, but don’t want to be married.

  493. Random, I realize you are just playing devil’s advocate to extend the debate and Patrick already did a decent job addressing that, but I would add: an un-promulgated or not well promulgated law does not mean it is a law with unintended consequences. The intended consequences is that marriage law (including common law marriage) would be extended to applicable same sex couples and marriages as they already apply to heterosexual couples. Trying to treat promulgating the law as a hardship, burden, or unintended consequence is weak. As Patrick suggests, I’d wager there are already more co-habitating heterosexuals who are unaware or have not considered the implications of common law marriage, in the 9 out of 50 states with common law marriage, than there are co-habitating homosexuals who are unaware of or have not considered the implications of common law marriage if it were to apply to them.

  494. +Adrino, Eric is has a dog in the fight of casting Eich as the victim, because he too was kicked out of a leadership position in a Free Open Source Software company. And so was Russell Nelson, from the exact same position in the exact same company, no co-incidentally. So both of them feel sorry for themselves and Eich and believe they’ve all been the victims of witch hunts.

    Eric, can you please tell us exactly why you were kicked out of your job as President of the Open Source Initiative? Who were the bullies that forced you to leave, or did you leave of your own accord? How was it unfair to you, and why should we feel sorry for you?

  495. >Eric, can you please tell us exactly why you were kicked out of your job as President of the Open Source Initiative?

    Your fantasies get weirder and weirder as they go along. I planned to step down from the presidency of OSI as soon as I could from the beginning, because I know that reform organizations tend to fail if they remain dependent on founder charisma. I’ve written about this, and what I learned from historical examples like the Oneida Commune and Baha’i Faith, before.

  496. @Patrick Maupin, @Tim F: Talk about missing the forest for the trees! You have completely missed the point of my example, by focusing on a sample concern that I gave, to illustrate my point. When I read about this concern with common-law marriage, from someone who was in favor of SSM, it occurred to me that it can be a valid concern. (Indeed, I just remembered where she first heard that concern: it was from a friend of hers: a gay libertarian who opposed SSM for this very reason!)

    Let’s factor out this concern, so that we could focus on the point I was trying to make. The concern could be common-law marriages, or the destruction of the family, or it’s against the will of God, or that gays will push for SSM recognition in religions, even if those religions find homosexuality itself abhorrent, or even that it would make it that much easier for the puppet masters from space to control us. Yes, some of these concerns are more valid than others, but that doesn’t matter: enough people have concerns about gay marriage being legal, that enough people in California were able to pass Proposition 8. Clearly, concerns about legalized SSM exist.

    So let’s call that reason, Reason X.

    Now, let’s consider two ways we can approach the legalization of SSM. We can get it through the courts, one decision at a time. Perhaps this will address Reason X immediately, but perhaps not. Courts are notorious (for good reasons, though, I might add!) for being very specific in their decisions; thus, Reason X likely won’t be addressed for years. In the meantime, opponents of SSM will still have this concern, and loudly object to SSM because of it, even now that it’s legal.

    What’s worse: courts are unpredictable. If Reason X comes before the courts, they could rule in a way that is detrimental to everyone involved; and it could create another round of attacks from opponents of SSM; if the issue is bad enough, then SSM could be defeated altogether.

    Now, we have an alternative way to create law: we introduce it through the legislature. If a constituent calls about Reason X, the legislator can say, “Oh, I hadn’t thought about that!” or “You know, I don’t think this is the concern you think it is.” Each concern can be addressed, debated, and talked about. Furthermore, if a law is passed legalizing SSM, there’s a good chance that it has the support of the majority of voters, and that anti-SSM folk won’t be able to challenge it in court.

    In any case, you may be right, that when it comes to an institution that has centuries of law revolving around a male and a female joining together to raise children, extending the definition isn’t going to have any side effects…but when we’re talking about a legal institution that touches as diverse a set of laws as inheritance, adoption, taxes, hospital visits, court testimony, and who knows what else, then I think it’s very prudent to tread carefully. Heck, I wouldn’t even trust legislatures to do this! We’d be much better off if we figured this out on our own, one relationship at a time. (As it stands, we have let the government have way too much input on our relationships. A gay couple has to be married so that they won’t have to testify against each other in court, and so they could visit each other in the hospital? Why shouldn’t those benefits extend to me and my best friend, who I’ve known since high school? Or me and my mother? Why do we have to be married to get these “benefits”?)

    So, which way is the best for advancing the cause of SSM? Since we, as a society, favor monopolist governments, I would like to cast my lot with the legislatures. That’s what they are for, after all! The two of you, however, strike me as the type who would be happy to have black-robed souls dictating all our law, at least, so long as it goes your way.

    Incidentally, I don’t care what Eich believes. He could very well believe that Reason X where puppet-masters use same-sex couples as breeding grounds for their species, for all I care. If that belief doesn’t affect how he works, then why should I care? (Incidentally, we are still a “primitive” species, prone to superstitions of all types (including ones made up on the spot by our own subconscious) and probably always will be–so all of us have beliefs that are severely wrong.

  497. “Talk about missing the forest for the trees! You have completely missed the point of my example, by focusing on a sample concern that I gave, to illustrate my point.”

    No, I didn’t. You could only provide one example so it seemed the only point that needed to be addressed since you presented no other point.

    ” The concern could be common-law marriages, or the destruction of the family, or it’s against the will of God, or that gays will push for SSM recognition in religions, even if those religions find homosexuality itself abhorrent, or even that it would make it that much easier for the puppet masters from space to control us. Yes, some of these concerns are more valid than others, but that doesn’t matter…”

    Of course, it matters. Most of those are just slightly veiled religious intolerance or bigotry. None of them present the “unintended consequence” that you claimed resulted from common law marriage (but now apparently concede that even common law marriage does not).

    “Now, we have an alternative way to create law: we introduce it through the legislature. If a constituent calls about Reason X, the legislator can say, “Oh, I hadn’t thought about that!” or “You know, I don’t think this is the concern you think it is.” Each concern can be addressed, debated, and talked about. Furthermore, if a law is passed legalizing SSM, there’s a good chance that it has the support of the majority of voters, and that anti-SSM folk won’t be able to challenge it in court.”

    I’ve already stated several times I do not buy your assertion that the legislature is more or less thoughtful than the judiciary. I don’t see how repeating it again makes it true or valid. Legislatures are horrible at considering the consequences of legislation. There’s often little reflection in legislature of the citizenry’s intent. There isn’t less reason to challenge a law in the judiciary because it’s legislated; all laws challenged by the judiciary have been legislated after all.

    “In any case, you may be right, that when it comes to an institution that has centuries of law revolving around a male and a female joining together to raise children, extending the definition isn’t going to have any side effects…”

    I didn’t say that at all. I said that the one possible “unintended consequence” that you could conceive of was neither unintended or of much consequence. I also said that any other “unintended consequences” already exist today for hetero marriages; therefore, they are unlikely to be much of a problem.

    “…but when we’re talking about a legal institution that touches as diverse a set of laws as inheritance, adoption, taxes, hospital visits, court testimony, and who knows what else, then I think it’s very prudent to tread carefully.”

    And yet, you haven’t proposed a single valid concern yet.

    “(As it stands, we have let the government have way too much input on our relationships. A gay couple has to be married so that they won’t have to testify against each other in court, and so they could visit each other in the hospital? Why shouldn’t those benefits extend to me and my best friend, who I’ve known since high school? Or me and my mother? Why do we have to be married to get these “benefits”?)”

    This is a bunch of gibberish. Yes, the government is pretty much the only thing that defines marriage (if you’d like, you can have a religion and consider it a meaningful part in your marriage.) That’s a good thing. Privilege simply doesn’t extend to friendship and mommies; how does that not answer your question?

    “So, which way is the best for advancing the cause of SSM? Since we, as a society, favor monopolist governments, I would like to cast my lot with the legislatures.”

    This makes no sense. I don’t know what a monopolist government is, but I have no problem with state and federal judiciaries or the Supreme Court determining that same sex marriage bans are unconstitutional, so even I knew what you meant by monopolist government, I don’t see how this statement contains any logic.

    “The two of you, however, strike me as the type who would be happy to have black-robed souls dictating all our law, at least, so long as it goes your way.”

    Oooh, spooky! But I haven’t been afraid of the boogeyman since I was two, sorry.

    “If that belief doesn’t affect how he works, then why should I care? ”

    I don’t care if you care or don’t.

    “(Incidentally, we are still a “primitive” species, prone to superstitions of all types (including ones made up on the spot by our own subconscious) and probably always will be–so all of us have beliefs that are severely wrong.”

    Some more than others. And some, even when made aware of this, think that clinging to these “primitive” superstitions is its own argument, defense of, and proof of that argument. They usually are quite primitive, superstitious, and not very intelligent, and they need to be dragged kicking and screaming into modern civil society.

  498. Hi Eric

    I believe in FREEDOM – “live and let live” – and that people should not aim to restrict the freedom of others. Isn’t fighting against gay marriage, or any rights that a person or group of people desire, which itself doesn’t restrict the freedom of others, malevolent by definition. I mean that restricting others’ freedom is malevolent. I’m sure that for a gay couple, the freedom to get married is paramount, after other basic freedoms e.g. freedom of religion, of expression.

    As such I can understand the outcry from the LGBT community. How would we feel about a CEO that supported some malevolent proposition to restrict our valuable freedoms?

    At the same time, I don’t like that Brendan Eich lost his job. I wish he had conceded he should re-evaluate his position on gay marriage, and apologise to those members of the Mozilla for whom Prop8 was deeply hurtful, and as such beg their forgiveness. Because certainly the loss of his stewardship, is a loss to Mozilla and to us all.

  499. Strange as it may seems, noone has taken into account the freedom of choice of the children to have a father AND a mother, and not lacking one of both at the beginning of her or his life.

    Your personal freedom should stop when it begins to hurt someone else.
    Domestic partnership or civil union is great for gays couples.

    But Marriage will surely hurt a third party which generally is the weakest and less listened to in the world of selfish adults. This third party are children, thanks for not even thinking of them and their potential problems coming to the adult age searching their missing parent.

  500. One hopes that children have two loving parents in marriage. Many children don’t. I wouldn’t say it’s about having 1x mother plus 1x father per se. I’m sure you will find for example, that adoption by a single parent is legal and acceptable in most countries. Are you suggesting it is amoral for a single person to adopt, or for a girl who falls pregnant to have a child outside of marriage? That is clearly nonsensical, as it a natural occurence often beyond control.

    Besides which, I put it to you that your viewpoint is not the reason people oppose gay marriage. They oppose it for religious reasons, and/or because it’s something different to their personal definition of traditional marriage. This comes to harm if they would rather deprive other people of their freedoms, even though those freedoms do not impact on themselves in any tangible way.

    I have argued that this is malevolent, if that word is defined as harming others, in this case by depriving them of freedom, when that freedom does no harm to others.

  501. Thierry L’hôte: a) There is no credible evidence that children raised by gay couples are harmed in any way by being raised by a gay couple. If you are aware of credible of showing harm, please share it so those reading here will be able to ensure their opinions on the matter are properly informed.

    2) Your premise that gay marriage will hurt children where domestic partnerships or civil unions would not seems to assume that gay couples in domestic partnerships or civil unions won’t have children while gay couples that are married will. A simple Google search will show that this assumption is demonstrably false. Additionally, a child of a married gay couple is in a better position than a child of a couple in a domestic partnership or civil union, because marriage automatically conveys protections that domestic partnerships and civil unions do not, especially relating to the non-birth parent.

  502. You are infering things in people’s mind and put words into other people mouth.
    Here in France I have discussed with many priests and also Dominican monks (which is an intellectual elite in the Catholic church).

    They do not oppose any same sex union, and may even bless any love path that two sincere people want to pursue through mutual fidelity of course (for instance civil marriage with divorced people.)

    You speak with a very old image of religions in your mind. Or is it a mean to an end ?

    In fact you cannot find any religious oppositon to any same sex civil union.
    But marriage is a complete different matter as it opens the adoption rights.

    You will find many renowned psychologists, and judges of the familial affairs in France who are perfectly modern on your narrow standards, they can be leftist and atheistic. But they all emphasize from their experience of human suffering that a child needs a father an a mother to complete their psychological equilibrium. Lacking a mother or a father is always paid in some or other way as a psychological loss in their lives.

  503. You cannot speak as if they will be no harm whatsoever.
    This is a real world, not glamourous ideological vision.
    If you do not think with both eyes wide open, you are just hurting other people, just for your self comfort of mind.
    Happy sleeping.

  504. And also a big problem in your point of view is you speak from your ideology instead of thousand of children to come and born through sold bellies, or sold sperm.

    In fact you are deciding in place of another third party, who cannot speak and defend for himself. They will just have to assume what you are thinking now, and endure it whatever.

    Like any other intellectual, like Thomas Sowell likes to point out, you have great ideas for others, but you will not come to be responsible for the damage of your ideas. Surely not. LOL

  505. And sorry guys, logically, the evidences should come from the people who wants an change of opinion, not from the others who are skeptic.
    Any sound science change of theory relies at the end on evidences.
    So it should have been from the supporters of gay mariage evidences, not the other way around.
    The only way you can escape your duties and responsibilities for thinking new things is to put the pressure on others, but just not you.

    You are so fake…

  506. @Thierry, your concern with gay marriage is for well-being children that might be adopted?! I agree with you that “This is a real world, not glamourous ideological vision.” I put it to you that you have such a vision about family. Family is not about superficial appearances, but deeper, more important things, like love and nurturing.

    I admit I was not aware that adoption a big issue affecting the gay marriage debate. In any event, my argument is about freedom, as in “live and let live” and that to endeavour to restrict the freedom of others, is malevolent. I apply the same principles to adoption, whether by single parent, within a gay marriage, or in any other circumstances.

  507. “And sorry guys, logically, the evidences should come from the people who wants an change of opinion, not from the others who are skeptic.”

    No, the burden of presenting evidence lies with those who would restrict the actions of others.

    “Any sound science change of theory relies at the end on evidences.”

    Yet you have not presented any actual evidence to support your position.

    “You cannot speak as if they will be no harm whatsoever.”

    And you cannot speak as if there will be harm, unless you have evidence that there will be.

  508. http://pjmedia.com/instapundit/188857/

    WAS BRENDAN EICH DEFENESTRATED so that they could add Digital Rights Management to Firefox? “Eich stood firmly in the way of Mozilla incorporating DRM into Firefox. Now that he’s gone, and his technological authority with him, Mozilla immediately caved to Hollywood interests.”

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