The PJ Tatler

Mozilla Burning

Are we all missing the point of the nasty little war that ended with Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich resigning yesterday?

As an opponent of same-sex marriage, but more importantly a proponent of free speech in this instance, it’s heartening to see Andrew Sullivan strike such a strong position on this:

Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

Let’s just throw this out there: If one’s position on a personal-religious-cultural issue as same-sex marriage becomes a hiring or firing offense, then we have truly moved into dangerous new territory. Illegal territory too, as such questions are not supposed to be part of the employment process.

But let’s look at the anatomy of a cyber witch trial.

The IRS — the federal government — deliberately leaked confidential information on the National Organization of Marriage’s donor file to one of its enemies, the Human Rights Campaign. That leak was illegal, but no one has been sanctioned for it.

The Human Rights Campaign took its illegally-obtained booty and used it against NOM donors. That information formed the basis of the assault on Eich, via the dating site OKCupid. The company he co-founded, Mozilla, behaved like craven cowards and pressured him to resign.

Brendan Eich is not a pundit, or even a particularly political person. He invented JavaScript. I wouldn’t expect the likes of HRC to go after a pundit who publicly opposes same-sex marriage. But that isn’t and never has been the point. What they are doing is going after private citizens who oppose same-sex marriage.

What was the Chick-Fil-A battle about? It was about the company’s owner, Dan Cathy, stating his beliefs on marriage in an interview. Democrats tried to shut his company out of whole cities, to shun him and hurt him.

What was the Duck Dynasty battle about? It was about the Robertson family patriarch, Phil Robertson, stating his beliefs on life and marriage in an interview. Activists pressured A&E into taking him and his hit show off the air.

The fascists lost both of those battles, so they adjusted their tactics. The Mozilla battle saw a few employees within the company tweet their displeasure with Eich. No employees tweeted support for him or for the concept of free speech.

In both of those earlier cases, and in Eich’s, private citizens expressed their views, and the fascist mob tried to destroy them and their entire lives for it. The fascists lost the first two battles, but have won the third. Eich is gone and now Mozilla is radioactive to a large number of people. I deleted Firefox from my computers and mobile devices, and replaced it with other products. Many made similar decisions. Web browsers are easy to replace. I’m already happier with Epic and Dolphin browsers than I was with Firefox, which had become buggy and slow.

The progs don’t care what happens to Mozilla. It can live or die, they can’t be bothered about that. It doesn’t matter to them at all. They actively wanted both Chick-Fil-A and Duck Dynasty destroyed. They would probably be content to see Mozilla die too. But it doesn’t matter to them anymore. It did what they want. They will turn and attack some other target when the opportunity arises.

The objective was not to intimidate those of us in the pundit world. On that score, the fascists’ tactic backfired — same-sex marriage supporters have been rightly appalled by all of this.

But we aren’t the target audience.

The target audience is people like Eich who have money, are not mainly political, and just want to use their means to make some difference. He gave $1000, six years ago, to support a referendum on the definition of marriage that ultimately passed. So he stood with the majority of voters in California. That thoughtcrime against the left’s fascist collective has cost him his job — and it has scared the hell out of anyone else contemplating donating to NOM or other groups that support traditional marriage. They justifiably fear that even the most benign move can end up costing them greatly, at some point in the future.

And that has been the point of all this. Terrify people who do not engage in political combat every day, and therefore do not know just how savage and dishonest it has all become. Dry up funding for activist groups opposed to re-defining marriage. Persecute and blacklist one or two famous people to provide an example to others. Destroy livelihoods. Divide. Harass. Intimidate.

It’s the same Roman tactic that former Obama EPA official Al Armandariaz disclosed before a small group of like minds in 2010:

EPA Region VI Administrator Al Armendariaz: “I was in a meeting once and I gave an analogy to my staff about my philosophy of enforcement, and I think it was probably a little crude and maybe not appropriate for the meeting, but I’ll go ahead and tell you what I said:

It was kind of like how the Romans used to, you know, conquer villages in the Mediterranean.  They’d go in to a little Turkish town somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they saw and they’d crucify them.

“Then, you know, that town was really easy to manage for the next few years.”

Whoever leaked NOM’s donor file to the HRC has never been prosecuted. Armandariaz was not fired for disclosing the Roman strategy. He resigned, but leading Democrats never disavowed his strategy. Even if they had, their actions since would have shown any disavowals to have been strategic lies.

Armendariaz’s management by crucifixion is what the GLAADs and Human Rights Campaigns of the world — and their allies within the Obama government — are really after. They cyber-crucified Brendan Eich to make non-political but instinctively conservative Americans easier to manage by fear. They also salted the earth from which groups like NOM hope to reap donations.

And unfortunately, the fascists probably succeeded.

Correction: Eich’s information was not disclosed by the IRS. It was disclosed legally by the State of California.

Which constitutes an extremely strong argument for preserving donor anonymity.

The fact remains, his small donation was used to destroy him, and to terrify others who agree with him.