Last week he was named as CEO of the Mozilla Foundation, a nonprofit organization best known for the Firefox browser. It is an organization in turmoil, as the mobile revolution makes desktop computers increasingly irrelevant, and with that, Mozilla's core product. (Daily Kos's traffic is now nearly 50-50 mobile traffic, as you can see in this chart. The dark blue band is mobile.)
The problem with Eich is that, well, he's a bigot. And worse than that, he hasn't "evolved" since 2008, like so much of America. He held steadfast to his beliefs, out-of-step with the world his product serves. So the Mozilla community erupted in anger, and after a half-assed effort to hang on, Eich resigned the position. So of course, you have people screaming about "persecution" from the usual conservative suspects to contrarians like Andrew Sullivan.
When people’s lives and careers are subject to litmus tests, and fired if they do not publicly renounce what may well be their sincere conviction, we have crossed a line. This is McCarthyism applied by civil actors. This is the definition of intolerance.Please read below the fold for more on this story.
Of course this is intolerance. Would Sullivan rush to this guy's defense if it turned out he was a Grand Wizard in the KKK? Of course not. We are allowed to be intolerant of people who operate outside the bounds of civil decency. This wasn't governmental action infringing on any Constitutional rights. This was Mozilla developers saying they refused to do work with a bigot, private websites blocking access to the Firefox browser because they refused to do business with a bigot, and employees of the firm speaking up because they refused to work for a bigot.
In short, it was the free market expressing itself. Eich was perfectly within his rights to stay at Mozilla, but he would then face a hostile market and eventually faced the reality that he couldn't do his job in that environment. The free market spoke, and a free market enterprise was forced to react.
Do I cry because most people would rather vote for a Muslim than an atheist (and really, neither)? That's not McCarthyism, it's popular opinion, and I realize that my religious (non) views puts me in the minority. As long as government doesn't punish me for being an atheist (and it doesn't), I'm not going to cry persecution. That's just democracy.
Same thing with the market. Conservative views on marriage equality are now fringe, and especially so with the younger people who matter most to marketers. So the free market they worship has turned against them. They can cry about "McCarthyism" all they want, but this is just market forces at work.
Given that it's a free market, conservatives should feel free to start up a competitive product, a browser for haters. It could have built-in bookmarks to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck ... maybe call it Bookmarks for Bigots. You know what? I'll let them work out the details. They could be headquartered in Mississippi, which could protect them from the gays, and I'm sure they could tap into that state's deep educated STEM workforce to staff up the venture. (Never mind). And if they need someone to run it?
Well, I hear Brendan Eich is available.