Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mozilla Offers a Glimpse of the Future

Jonathan Tobin at Commentary has written a fine piece highlighting the hypocrisy of the left concerning the Brandon Eich firing at Mozilla. Here are some highlights:
Though some are a bit shame-faced to do so, some liberals have decided that punishing individuals for their personal politics is OK because those who hold opinions contrary to their own are not only wrong but so hateful that their mere presence undermines the efforts of those associated with them.

That this is rank hypocrisy is so obvious that it barely needs to be said. If, say, a liberal business executive were to be ousted from a similar position at a Fortune 500 company because a lot of the shareholders or executives at the business didn’t like the fact that he or she was a supporter of gay marriage or had donated to prominent liberal candidates for office, you can bet your stock portfolio and your mortgage payment that the mainstream media and every left-wing pundit in creation would be anointing such a person for sainthood rather than twisting themselves into pretzels in order to justify Eich’s defenestration, as so many have already done.

That Mozilla’s employees and board members actually think it is consistent with American values or even “freedom of speech” (in the words of the company’s disingenuous announcement of Eich’s departure) to hound out of their midst someone who, though a supporter of gay rights in other respects, may disagree with them about marriage or support conservative candidates says something awful about such a group.

But if that’s how they feel, then it’s their right to do so even as many on the outside of their cozy left-wing bubble enclave jeer at a version of “inclusiveness” that demands ideological conformity.
Elsewhere in his piece Tobin notes that the argument has been advanced that Mozilla is a "special case," that it has a special culture, and that the employees at Mozilla are not acting thuggishly by burning at the stake, so to speak, a man whose political and religious views are not consonant with their own.

But then what of Hobby Lobby which is being coerced by the government to pay for insurance coverage for abortifacients against the convictions of those who own the company? Why are liberals not willing to grant Hobby Lobby the same exemptions they're willing to grant to Mozilla?
By claiming, as they now do, that the special culture of Mozilla requires it to root out all unbelievers in gay marriage or supporters of conservatives, but deny that Hobby Lobby has the right to protect its particular culture or the beliefs of its owners, liberals are ... engaging in hypocrisy. It would be nice if liberals were sufficiently self-aware of their inconsistency to cause them to “recant” and grant Hobby Lobby—which has an individual business culture just as special as the one at Mozilla—the same respect it demands for the Torquemadas who rule the roost in the high-tech sector. But I’m not expecting that to happen. The real problem here isn’t hypocrisy but a liberal mindset that views conservatives as not merely wrong, but evil.
A friend sent me a couple of quotes that he thought, and I agree, to be apropos this current controversy. The first is from Rene Girard who says that it is in Christianity that the drive for human sacrifice — endemic in all the paganisms, and reborn in modern ideologies — is extinguished. For it is in Christianity that God sacrifices Himself for men, instead of men sacrificing each other for their gods.

There certainly is a yearning for human sacrifice to the gods of political correctness in the modern secular left. Just ask Phil Robertson, Dan Cathy, or Brandon Eich.

The second quote is from the novelist Flannery O'Connor: “In the absence of faith now, we govern by tenderness. It is a tenderness which, long since cut off from the person of Christ, is wrapped in theory. When tenderness is detached from the source of tenderness, its logical outcome is terror. It ends in forced labor camps and in the fumes of the gas chambers.”

Indeed, one gets the uncomfortable feeling, reading some of the commentary surrounding the Eich case, that it's not the left's moral scruples which constrain them from putting dissenters into reeducation camps and gas chambers but merely their lack, at least for the moment, of sufficient political power to do what they wish they could do.

I think both Girard and O'Connor are right. Society is like an island built out of the raw materials of a Christian worldview in the midst of a sea of barbarism, cruelty, and intolerance. When the dikes are torn down, and the sea rushes in then civilized behavior, including compassion and respect for others, will be swept away. George Orwell famously described what that future will be like in his novel 1984:
There will be no curiosity, no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always — do not forget this, Winston — always there will be the intoxication of power, constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.