Free to Believe

Brendan Eich

Mozilla: Mountain View, California

In April 2014, just days after his appointment, Brendan Eich stepped down as CEO of Mozilla, developer of the Firefox Web browser. The long-time Mozilla employee was chased out of his job for holding a view that—at the time—even President Barack Obama claimed to subscribe to. Though presumably hired for his industry experience rather than his political views, Eich became the target of a highly coordinated smear campaign when it was revealed that he'd given $1,000 to California's successful Proposition 8 effort five years previous. Proposition 8, the "California Marriage Protection Act," created a new amendment to the California Constitution which said, "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." 

Despite his affirmation of "Inclusiveness at Mozilla," and his "commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla," an unfortunate, apologetic self-censorship demanded activists, Eich ultimately resigned—joining the growing list of Americans whose reputations and careers are publicly flogged because they dare to express an opinion that reflects the diversity liberals insist they want.

This kind of "gay rights McCarthyism," as Rod Dreher called it, is so deeply permeating the workforce that a person's moral views may as well be listed alongside legitimate qualifications on a routine job application. But this brand of exclusivity for inclusivity's sake isn't exactly making fans of some on the Left. With Eich, the pendulum has swung so far that activists may actually be alienating the base it claims to represent. "Call it left-wing anti-liberalism," wrote the far-Left's Michelle Goldberg, "...At such times, old-fashioned liberal values like free speech and robust, open debate seem like tainted adjuncts of an oppressive system, and it's still possible for radicals to believe that the ideas suppressed as hateful won't be their own."

Andrew Sullivan (who no one would mistake for a social conservative) had even stronger words for his gay activist friends. "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."

With Eich's departure from Mozilla, the mask of "equality" slipped, and even its cheerleaders have begun to realize that the real face of the movement is "hateful, intolerant, illiberal, persecutorial." Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in GLAAD's response to Eich's ousting. "Mozilla's strong statement in favor of equality today reflects where corporate America is: inclusive, safe, and welcoming to all." Or, more accurately, welcoming to all who agree with us.

Photo credit: Courtesy of O'Reilly Media