Senin, 14 April 2014

The awfulness of PC

No; not P.Chidambaram , the outgoing Finance Minister of India. The PC I refer to is Political Correctness. I have a healthy disdain for politically correct expressions, usually the pet infatuation of the Left.  But what happened in Mozilla, the company which puts out the Firefox browser, is nothing short of outrageous.

What happened was this. Brendon Eich was appointed CEO of Mozilla. Within 10 days he resigned. Or rather was forced to resign. Why ? Because there was a backlash against his contributing $1000 to a campaign in 2008 on a referendum on gay marriage in California . He donated to the campaign that sought to ban gay marriage. The donation was made 6 years ago. The "Mozilla community" objected to a guy who was anti gay marriage being the CEO. So he had to go.

This is political correctness at its worst . There is absolutely no merit in sacking him, or if you would like it "creating conditions that led him to resign". Consider the following arguments

  • The matter had nothing to do with his qualifications, experience or performance as CEO of Mozilla
  • In fact it had nothing to do with Mozilla at all and it was a private act by him. As far as I know, making a campaign contribution, even though the stance may not be to everybody's liking is not a violation of the law in the US.
  • He is not evangelising or actively lobbying for ban on gay marriage. All he did was make a donation to a campaign that reflects his personal views.
  • There is zero evidence that he would not treat gays equally in the company . If a law was enacted allowing gay marriage,  and if he then discriminated against gay couples, then he is performing a criminal act and will be prosecuted. There is not even an accusation that he proposed to do anything like that
  • The issue of gay marriage is not by any means a settled one in the US - this is a thorny social issue and there are lots of opinions for and against. The issue is coming up repeatedly in the Supreme Court. This is not an issue like say Nazism or Al Qaedaism where there is a near unanimous opinion.
  • Brendon Eich has never said (nor is he even being accused) that he is anti gay. He is only against gay marriage. There is not a shred of evidence that he has discriminated against gays in his career.
  • He is perfectly entitled to his personal opinion as long as he follows the law of the land and does not let a personal opinion be to the detriment of the company.

It is none of anybody's business, especially that of the Mozilla Board, to be dictating to anybody what his  opinion on non business matters should be . Companies should not be espousing for or against social issues. That is none of their business. They should simply follow the law . Social issues ought to be debated and pushed by individual citizens and enacted by elected representatives. Encouraging companies to lobby on behalf of social issues is the most dangerous step any society can take - look at the mayhem that political contributions by companies is causing in the US.

It is a crying shame that Brendon Eich has been forced out  by a bunch of PC obsessed fanatics. I may not agree with Eich's views, but I absolutely defend his right to have them. Isn't that what the definition of freedom is ?

Shame on you Mozilla.

Full Disclosure : This blogger is a dedicated user of Firefox and is considering abandoning that product !
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