brendan-eich-mozilla-firefox-squareBrendan Eich, Mozilla co-founder and creator of the JavaScript programming language, was recently appointed as Mozilla’s chief executive. Just one week later, however, he was pressured to resign.

His iniquity? Donating $1,000 in support of Proposition 8, a measure whose basic aim was entirely consistent with the beliefs of Barack Obama at the time.

To announce Eich’s departure, Mozilla quickly moved to clarify, offering a statement of faith of sorts, filled with all the right Orwellian flourishes:

Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech. And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard.

Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation, geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for all.

We have employees with a wide diversity of views. Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions in public. This is meant to distinguish Mozilla from most organizations and hold us to a higher standard. But this time we failed to listen, to engage, and to be guided by our community.

While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better.

With its unique blend of diversity-speak and passive-aggressive angst, the dance of Cultural Conformity isn’t easy to master. But oh, how glorious its artistry.

Mozilla can craft whatever company culture it prefers, of course. Bustiness are culture-makers at the core, and thus, conscience ought to guide such activities, from the bottom to the top and back again.

But in this particular case, and by these claustrophobic standards, it’s not entirely clear why other heads ought not to roll as well. This is not, after all, a specialized baker’s cake, designed for specific purposes of celebrating a particular type of ceremony in support of a particular view of sexual ethics. This is not your floralist’s wedding bouquet, carefully crafted to embellish a particular statement of belief with which you entirely disagree. This is an employee with convictions unrelated to the particular tasks involved, divorced from the surface-level economic ends and actions.

But perhaps a deeper and wider purge of Mozilla employees is already at hand, with “sexual ethics analysis” bumped up a bit in Strategic Plan 2014. If so, consistency FTW, I suppose.

It is, however, rather ironic that amidst all the pooh-poohing of the baker, the florist, and the photographer — whose complaints actually are bound up in the activities at hand – those very same critics casually proceed to make people the central thing. As the statement of faith clearly concludes, it is Eich who is the aggressor, and Eich who must be removed. The peace and tranquility of the interwebs is at stake, and influential proponents of archaic institutions mustn’t be allowed to stand in its way.

With such a bizarre and upside-down way of justifying such actions, one can’t help but suspect this is less about a distinct corporate conscience than it is about blind cultural conformity. But then one remembers that, in this case, conformity is the conscience, and there’s not a whole lot more going on “up there” than a raw fear of that looming Idol of Egalitarianism.

Lest we more “diverse” discontents forget, her appetite is eager, and her servants submissive.

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  • Rick Taylor

    “Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. We
    welcome contributions from everyone regardless of age, culture,
    ethnicity, gender, gender-identity, language, race, sexual orientation,
    geographical location and religious views. Mozilla supports equality for
    all.”

    It is the law of nature that requires every human to acquire external resources to survive. “We welcome contributions from everyone” is the crux of the situation. Equality is nice word until the debt mounts and the lifestyle dwindles. When the debt mounts; even good people turn bad.

  • polymath156

    Mozilla has been exposed for lack of principal and sound judgment. But are they any different that 100s of other big businesses?