I'm curious what the community thinks about the ouster (under pressure) of Brendan Eich from Mozilla.

Should someone be deprived of their livelihood for contributing to a candidate or cause with which we don't agree?  Is it OK for a company to push someone out for personal views contrary to company policy that are not expressed on company time?  Is it OK for people to try to force a company to fire someone because they don't care for the person's personal views or contributions?

In all cases?  In some cases? 

For those not familiar, here's a blog that sort of gives both sides of the argument, in that it quotes heavily from one while presenting another.  


Eich, for those who are not aware, was the co-founder of Mozilla, its chief technical officer, and the developer of Javascript which is used across the web.

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People vote at the polls, but also with their dollars. We forget how much power consumers can have. Corporate officers have a responsibility to promote the company; not cause damage. He let his personal beliefs conflict with his public business responsibility, and realized it and did the right thing.

Apparently you can have those beliefs and still sell fried chicken. That's OK with me. I had chicken once. It tastes like possum.


If Eich said "I wouldn't want my son to marry a black woman" or "I'm glad my son isn't a Jew" or if he donated money to organizations unsympathetic to Black equality ... he would never have made CEO in the first place. Gay equality is still not taken as seriously as other equality in the United States.

And there's a reason for that. It's hard to raise gay marriage to the same level as black equality or Jewish acceptance for two major historical reasons: slavery and the holocaust. It's not like he endorsed putting people in chains, working people to death, or exterminating gays in death camps. 

I disagree with him, but to claim some sort of parity with the situation of the blacks and Jews simply doesn't hold a lot of water. 

1. All discrimination is wrong. A gay guy not being hired at a job for being gay is just as repugnant (and just as illegal) as not hiring a black man for being black. And the gay guy deserves to be defended just as much as the black man. We wouldn't because gay people weren't slaves in the past? They get less protection? If a CEO publically said "I don't want my son to marry a black woman" he would be out before the end of the day. This guy donates money to an organization against equality and says he wouldn't want his son to marry a man and it's  "free speech". Black people can get married because they were once slaves but gay people can't because they weren't? Gag.

2. Gay people have been persecuted (and nastily so) WAY before jews and African-american slaves ever existed. Would you like a beheading in Arabia? Or raped with a hot poker? Or being castrated for sodomy? Or hung in Iran. A pink triangle in Dakau? Set on fire in Kiev? How about being pummeled to death in Idaho? Having guys beat you up and piss on you in Moscow? Or your head bashed in by your father? Or dragged through the streets in Uganda? Or jocks forcing you to eat shit. Or a group of soldiers mouth raping you for looking efiminate? To just what degree to gay people need to have been persecuted to be protected?

First, illegality is beside the point because we're not talking the law, we're talking ethics. All discrimination is wrong? Not so. Discriminating against pedophiles is wrong? Discriminating against smokers in many situations seems proper enough. If the gay guy deserves to be defended just as much as the black guy, then by your logic the smoker (or pedophile) deserves the same, right? Make no mistake: I support gay marriage, but on a scale from horrifically offiensive to banally offensive, it's more toward the banal end (not AT the banal end), but that may be due to my attitude toward marriage.

Gays are not generally subjected to beheadings or rapes with hot pokers. Certainly violence against gays happens, as it does against elderly people, handicapped people, women, and men of the wrong race in the wrong place. Gays ARE protected here against that sort of thing, though like most such "protections" the "protection" consists of prosecuting offenders after the fact. I do feel sorry for gays facing the marriage problem. I wish I could find my magic wand. I'd wave it and make gay marriage legal everywhere. However, any attempt to equate it with slavery or the holocaust is actually rather laughable.

If you really think that gay people today don't get executed in the Middle East and that gays don't have their faces bashed in in Russia and that 100 years ago in America openly gay people were murdered, jailed or tortured ... then there's no point in continuing this conversation with you.

Whether gay marriage is a basic human right is not written in granite (only a god could do that). So, it's a legislative matter and legislation is based upon the opinions of the constituents in a political jurisdiction.

Who gets basic rights and what those rights are are contingent and historical. For example, sex between men and teenaged boys was entirely okay according to the Greeks, and happens as a matter of course in some other cultures in the Pacific islands and among some Native American tribes (at least, until the white man arrived).

Gays will have full rights when the public wants them to, which clearly is happening apace. 

By now, you must know that I don't believe in human rights except insofar as they are legislated. Any other conception of them falls into the "imaginary" category. 

It seems clear to me that Eich quit after realizing he was not a good "fit" with Mozilla's corporate culture to a degree that would make him ineffective in his role as CEO. It seems to me that was an excellent decision on his part.

And sometimes, it's discriminatory.

Well, discrimination (the ability to discern differences and distinctions) isn't necessarily bad.

Judgments of fairness are just as much a cultural artifact as aesthetic judgments. Fairness can be judged by the result or in terms of the process. In other words, we could decide to invalidate any process that treats Icelanders as equal to us or to be as deserving to us.

Anyway, "That's not fair!" is the sort of bleat one hears out of four year olds. It's a sign of weakness. The strong don't complain, they take what they want.

You forgot atheists, LOL. Unlike blacks (or 25% to 100% Jewish blooded persons living in Europe in the 1930s, for example) gays and lesbians could stay in the closet and have stayed in the closet to save themselves from the levels of persecution that blacks or Jews received. I think in many countries during various decades they were no less hated, just way more invisible.

But have it your way. You essentially claim that Icelandic marriage in the United States could be invalidated fairly.

Go ahead then. Present your case. Invalidate those undeserving Icelandic marriages and we'll judge the fairness of the process and result.

This sort of judgment involves attitudes, not facts. So, no "case" can settle the issue. In fact, all ethical arguments are about competing attitudes, not competing facts. The only facts involved are over what the attitudes are. Whether denying Icelanders marriage rights in the US is fair or not is a matter of perception and perceptions are colored by attitudes. Attitudes are a matter of fashion.

Seventy years ago, when I was under 10, the attitude was that interracial marriage was wrong. Today we find that idea ludicrous and backward. Who knows what attitudes we have today, thinking ourselves liberal, will be adjudged backward. Perhaps in the future people will a so-called "human right" to marry their pets and the days when people could not might be seen as "the bad old days."

Unseen, how can you reconcile your postmodernism with your Ubermesnch attitude and your indifference to gay rights. It doesn't make any sense.

@Gallup's Mirror - The issue is that you claim to have an argument which invalidates Icelandic marriage fairly, that is, by a process that is just, impartial and honest. 

I made no such claim. But, once again, whether a process is just, impartial, and honest is subject to attitudes. Value judgments can't be elevated to the level of fact, whether it's your evaluation of whether Rush is the greatest rock trio of all time or whether Rembrandt's Night Watch is better than Vermeer's Lacemaker or whether giving Icelanders the right to marry is the right thing to do. The only way to come partway to settling any of those things is through various fallacious appeals, usually some sort of appeal to marjority thinking.


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