While Mr. Eich initially defended his $1,000 donation, stating that his politics did not affect his performance as an executive officer, the pressure apparently got the better of him. The situation was greatly exacerbated by popular dating website, OkCupid, posting an incredibly insipid statement replete with straw-man arguments, diversionary tactics, and woeful inaccuracies. Had the issue not centered on so called "gay rights," OkCupid would be found guilty of fascism and a violator of the 1st Amendment.
Below is the full text of OkCupid's statement, which can also be found here. Text in bolded font is my emphasis, of which I will base my counterarguments.
Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.
Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.
Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.
If you want to keep using Firefox, the link at the bottom will take you through to the site.
However, we urge you to consider different software for accessing OkCupid:
Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari
Let's start with the obvious straw-man in the form of the "equal rights" argument. First, making a modest financial contribution to an official state proposition by which residents are offered the ability to debate its merits can in no way be deducted as an attack on equal rights for any demographic category of Americans. If such an argument was valid, then the majority of Californians would logically be considered "attackers of equal rights" since Prop 8 was initially passed by the support of 52.24% of the constituency. Second, the concept of equal rights for gay couples is in and of itself a straw-man argument because the pursuit of marriage has always been available (barring the era of anti-miscegenation laws) to anyone wishing to marry a person of the opposite sex : the internal feelings of sexuality (whether homo, hetero, or other) of the marrying partner bore no relevance towards the technical appropriation of the marriage. A gay man has always had the same right to marry a woman (assuming the woman's consent) as any other man, gay, straight or otherwise.
Another frustrating element with OkCupid's statement is that the rhetoric of equality serves as a diversion away from the real issue. And just what is the real issue? Mr. Eich financially contributed to an organization that was in support of a divisive state proposition, a decision that offended many people. When put in that light, the now former chief executive's "crime" seems awfully moot. People will always be offended by a difference in argument : so what? America was founded under the principle that mere offense was not justification for censorship and certainly not for the destruction of an innocent man's reputation simply because he was on the other side of the political spectrum.
Finally, I take extraordinary issue with OkCupid's completely egregious statement that had Proposition 8 not been repealed by the California State Supreme Court, 8% of the relationships that they cultivated would be deemed illegal. Nowhere does the dating site quantify the timing of the "8% relationship." In other words, were they cultivated pre-Prop 8 or post? But that's just a mere technicality. The core argument is the insinuation that supporters who voted in favor of Prop 8 did so under punitive motivations, that they were seeking to invalidate the rights of gay people. Nothing could be further from the truth. As stated in my first counterargument, gays have always had the right to pursue marriage. Second, gay marriages would not have been found illegal if Prop 8 had passed because essentially, there would have been no such thing. Prior gay marriages would lose their official recognition as marriage and instead be shifted to the designation of civil partnership. No rights are taken away and nobody would be going to jail.
This concludes my counterarguments against OkCupid ; however, I'm not done! In order for true equality to take place in America, we must impose the restriction that all parties must be allowed to present their opinions through the forum of civil discourse without fear of reprisal. In the case of Mozilla's CEO, Mr. Eich did nothing wrong other than to exercise his freedom of speech in a publically recognized and government endorsed medium. Attacking his reputation and pressuring him to resign simply because he exercised personal democracy is an affront to his civil rights and harkens back to the painfully unjust era of Jim Crow laws.
I would also urge OkCupid to repudiate its statement on the matter : it is filled with a hateful, fascist tone that forcefully demonstrates zero tolerance for opinions that conflict against their company's endorsement and is behavior that is unbecoming of a free nation. I also regret that there is an increasing number of people who are calling out for blood, seeking the very worst in humanity and wrecking the lives of people and their families for a mere infraction, or in this case, a perceived infraction.
Let me be 100% clear that I stand in full support of Brendan Eich and that I am extremely disappointed in Mozilla's lack thereof. This story is not just one of an innocent man receiving an unjust punishment, but rather, this is an attack on free market capitalism. Competition is the core ethos of capitalism, and as such, necessarily involves duality. One cannot have capitalism unless there are competitors. Likewise, there cannot be political discourse if there is no one to discourse against.
I may not be in favor of Mr. Eich's full repertoire of social opinion ; nevertheless, as citizens of a free country, he must be allowed the right to maintain and express those opinions. They may be found to be dishonorable, distasteful, or just plain wrong, but so long as he does not infringe on the capacity for others to exercise their rights and their response, Mr. Eich is innocent and has done nothing wrong.
I also believe that the vitriolic attacks against Mr. Eich will discourage and even stymie the nuanced creativity that capitalism needs to thrive. I personally enjoy Mozilla due to the fact that it provides an alternative to the silent hegemony imposed by Microsoft and Google. I'm sick and tired of running web protocols that are specifically aligned to best suit the ever restrictive and maddening guidelines demanded by the elitist alpha dogs of the internet. Mozilla provided a fresh change of pace and I for one believe that this is due in no small part to the corporate culture of free thinking that was allegedly apparent before Mr. Eich's ouster.
A blog post from Mozilla's executive chairwoman stated that the company "...prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it. We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: It’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves." That different standard I thought was the ability, and most importantly, the courage to go against the grain, to fight against incredible odds and to provide the billions of internet users a workable and competent alternative, the ultimate expression of choice and individuality that we Americans are so fond of verbalizing but are so afraid to materialize.
Instead, we are left with a weak and pathetic acquiescence. The shame, as it turns out, is not in voicing an unpopular opinion, but in never standing up for one.