Mozilla says, “While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better.” Again, Mozilla’s actions will undercut tough conversations by making fewer people willing to engage in them. If you believe that an open, robust public discourse makes the world better, as they purport to, they’ve made the world worse. This action is a betrayal of their values, not a reflection of them.
I thought this part was particularly funny. Not just the fact that, in practice, this “we need to have a conversation” trope is a favorite squishy saying of people who would rather do anything but have a conversation, but the idea that the web has somehow improved the quality of our conversations. This is exactly why we need the web, for the unlikely chance we might ever be able to talk like adults!
Anyway, unless you count the few times I’ve been called a fag for having long hair or being taciturn and introverted, I don’t know what it’s like to be gay, obviously. Maybe it’s not for me to say how anyone should feel or act about a situation like this. Choire Sicha would seem to agree there, but Andrew Sullivan is also gay, and he vehemently disagrees with this whole episode, so I think they cancel each other out, leaving the floor to me, right? I’m pretty sure that’s how this works.
Though it may be easy for me to say, I still think these are valid philosophical principles in general: Be magnanimous in victory as much as possible. Don’t seek to settle scores or humiliate people for having chosen the wrong side of a fight. Be wary of acquiring a taste for ostracizing and exiling people who opposed you. When you’re racking up one court victory after another — the sorts of institutional achievements that matter — you can afford to ignore some ignorant reality TV star. When public opinion is decisively swinging in your favor, you can refrain from vindictively punishing people who pose no actual threat just because you can. When you have substance, you don’t need symbolism.
April 8, 2014 @ 2:38 pm
I don't disagree with much of what you've said about this. I'm not generally on the side of the flying monkeys. On the other hand, Sullivan supported the Iraq war, I mean, he is remarkably unreliable as an objective thinker; discrimination against gays is still rampant in some locals; and we all have freedom of speech, i. e., if I think someone in a powerful position shouldn't be in that position, as I believe is true about anyone who is a bigot of any sort, then I have the right to say so.
If you were gay and you worked for Eich, would you expect to be treated fairly? If you were seeking a job, might it not be important to know you would be working for a bigot? If Eich was prejudiced against women, or blacks, or Jews, would you have a different opinion about this episode? I wouldn't.
April 9, 2014 @ 1:40 am
I do think there are different dynamics at play in the case of a CEO of a celebrity company. It's not like some poor schmuck who happened to attract the Malevolent Gaze of Twitter and got his life ruined as a result. So in that sense, I don't think this is the miscarriage of justice that other incidents have been.
if I think someone in a powerful position shouldn't be in that position, as I believe is true about anyone who is a bigot of any sort, then I have the right to say so.
You do have that right. But what if it's a case where someone's bigotry only comes to light because of, say, a breach of privacy of some sort? What I mean is, say you have someone in a powerful position who has never acted unfairly in that capacity, but somehow hizzorher diary gets stolen and ends up on Gawker where it's revealed that this person privately thinks gays are depraved perverts. If there are no complaints about this person's professional conduct, should it matter? Were there any such complaints about Eich's behavior?
Sullivan, to be fair, has acknowledged many times that he was as wrong as wrong could be about Iraq. To me, his site is mainly useful as a sort of link-roundup — I don't really see much of his own writing that impresses me (plus I'm not a subscriber, so I can't read the full articles if they continue after the jump). I do respect the fact that he airs a lot of different opinions there. He seems to try to give ideas a fair hearing. He doesn't have comments, but he does regularly print emails from readers telling him how full of shit he is on any particular topic.
April 9, 2014 @ 2:12 pm
A person's biases affect his thinking and decision making. Sullivan's bias is his desire to be seen as more objective than other gays and liberals. Maybe he often is, but supporting W's pet war was so stupid that it really disqualifies someone from being taken seriously, to my mind. As for Eich, the reason bigotry is bad is what that kind of thinking reveals about someone's character: that he's fine with treating others unfairly. So it seems pretty silly to say such a person is, himself, being treated unfairly. He's all for it in other instances.
Also, no one would be defending him if he was discovered to have given money to the Nazi's or the KKK, no matter how that info came to light, right? Well, I was alive when anti-gay bigotry was just as bad in some ways, so my attitude is, "Fuck you shitty excuses for human beings", rather than, "It's just a private political belief."
April 9, 2014 @ 5:11 pm
I agree with noel. While I think there was a bit of an over-reaction here, and it seems a little "petty", as I told ben and his commenter at Back Towards the Locus, this was indeed a private decision made based on the "image" of the company. Does a company have the right to police the image of its employees?
That's an interesting question in itself, but if he was contributing money to Stormfront or the League of the South, would we be having this conversation?
April 10, 2014 @ 12:40 am
I was born into a Unitarian family, so I do have a hard time understanding how any intelligent person could take religion seriously for one minute. So, yeah, I guess I think less of anyone for having fallen for that shit.
Did Sullivan understand that the US put S. Hussein in power, gave him massive amounts of weapons and the technology to make chemical weapons, and that the war was really about punishing a disloyal puppet? No evidence of that. And Hitchens? How come all these brilliant guys don't seem to know what's really going on?
April 9, 2014 @ 11:01 pm
I guess my questions are, how far are you willing to go to root people out for holding bigoted opinions? How much scrutiny should people like Eich get before assuming a powerful position (and what exactly counts as one)? How much privacy are they entitled to?
I could be mistaken, but I thought I read where some of the people who worked with him for years expressed complete surprise, because he'd never said or done anything to ever indicate he might harbor such opinions. If he's never actually acted in an unfair way to anyone in a professional capacity, how much should his private opinions count?
I realize, again, that we're talking about a celebrity CEO in a celebrity industry, but I'm asking in a more general sense.
but supporting W's pet war was so stupid that it really disqualifies someone from being taken seriously, to my mind
Well, we all have to decide how to allocate our limited time and cognitive energy, so I certainly wouldn't insist that anyone should read him, but I definitely disagree with that as a general principle. I mean, Bart Ehrman and Michael Shermer were both fundamentalist Christians growing up — does that mean we can't trust their thinking now? Anybody can fall prey to confirmation bias and groupthink, but if they eventually work their way out of it, I don't see any sense in condemning them for original intellectual sin.
April 10, 2014 @ 2:10 pm
That first part sounds pretty obnoxious. What I meant was, if a person continues to Believe as an adult, I think less of their capacity for clear thinking. I shouldn't have said I think less of them per se: Many religious people are awesome human beings.
April 10, 2014 @ 10:21 pm
That's actually not surprising to me. Uneducated people sometimes have plenty of common sense. And intelligent people are also very good at motivated reasoning, which probably causes just as many of our problems as outright ignorance. Sometimes we don't know better, but sometimes we don't want to know better.
With religion per se, you have to remember that, aside from the people who handle poisonous snakes or treat cancer with prayer, there are rarely any direct adverse consequences for believers. In most of the situations of day-to-day life, it really doesn't matter what you believe about God or Jesus. There's plenty of wiggle room for people to have harmless, if bizarre, rituals and beliefs as long as they can still follow traffic laws and hold down a job. Seeking truth for truth's sake is something only crazy philosophers do.