Three Follow-up Thoughts on Mozilla and Eich

April 4, 2014

(1) The logic behind pushing Brendan Eich out of his job as CEO of Mozilla seems to be that his views were so polarizing that they made it impossible for him to lead the company. Fair enough, I guess. But if that’s the case for the Mozilla CEO, should it be the case of other Mozilla employees, too? It probably depends. For low-level staffers, I could see the company allowing them to have their own views on Proposition 8, because they don’t have any direct reports. But what about managers in the Mozilla org chart? If any of them supported Prop. 8, then their ability to lead their teams is surely untenable, too. If the removal of Eich was justified, then Mozilla really has no choice by to conduct an internal review of its employees’ political contributions, no? And if they don’t conduct such a review, and make HR decisions accordingly, then the Eich blow-up really can’t be seen as anything other than capitulation to the mob.

(2) It is kind of extraordinary that Eich chose to stand pat and face the consequences of his belief rather than reverse course and save his job. It’s not immediately obvious that Eich is any kind of culture crusader for whom this stuff is a primary source of intellectual or spiritual animation. (Though it’s certainly possible that we’ll learn that he has deeply committed beliefs.)

Yet Eich chose his conscience over his livelihood. As the same-sex marriage movement continues rushing headlong into its collision with religious and other freedoms, it will be interesting to see how big the group of heretics gets, and what its composition looks like.

(3) At the risk of sounding the obvious, anyone who values the Western, big-L, Liberal project probably ought to delete all Mozilla products from their devices today.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Galley Friend A April 4, 2014 at 2:39 pm

It’s telling that in this Farhad Manjoo piece I genuinely can’t tell if he meant to write “militantly tolerant” or its opposite: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/why-mozillas-chief-had-to-resign/?_php=true&_type=blogs&hp&_r=0

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mike shupp April 5, 2014 at 7:30 pm

No, liberals who aren’t using Mozilla should install it immediately!

And maybe conservatives also. After all, what principle is better established in American employment law than Fire At Will? Businessmen all know this basic principle, and courts in virtually every state in the union have enforced it. So now the Mozilla people have given us a pointed demonstration that the idea applies to all employees, from bottom to top. We should all be gratified.

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Nedward April 9, 2014 at 2:22 pm

I’m gonna channel Murray Rothbard here to add: YOU CAN’T TELL ME WHAT TO UNINSTALL

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