Who’s next to be ‘Eiched’? – Mero Moment, 4/8/14

This post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations.


Brendan Eich, creator of JavaScript, was CEO of Mozilla for all of 11 days. He resigned after relentless hounding over a $1,000 donation he made to California’s Prop 8.

Here is a name you won’t soon forget: Brendan Eich. Like so many other success stories out of Silicon Valley, Brendan Eich is a computer programmer who struck it big. He created a popular web browser language called JavaScript. In 1988, Eich co-founded a tech project that turned into the Mozilla Corporation that owns the web browser Firefox. Mozilla named him its new CEO on March 24 where he remained for eleven days when he unceremoniously resigned his position on April 3.

After two decades of brilliant work inside a corporation he built, what sort of scandal must have befallen Brendan Eich to get him to resign his post in only eleven days? What caused him to resign his prestigious job is that six years ago he donated $1,000 to Proposition 8 in California – and, for that high crime, homosexual activists drove him from office. In his resignation letter, Eich said, “Under the present circumstance, I cannot be an effective leader.”

You won’t soon forget Brendan Eich’s name because, no doubt, it will assume immortality in the political lexicon as a verb – as in, “You’ve just been Eiched.” One important lesson for the rest of us is to not cower in the face of political correctness but to fight back and stand up for what you believe. It doesn’t mean you won’t lose your job but it does mean you refuse to be bullied – Brendan Eich never apologized for his Prop 8 donation.

As someone who plays in this sandbox daily, I can tell you what really rubs me the wrong way. It’s not homosexual activists. I expect them to behave this way. I certainly don’t blame Eich. He did what he felt was best for the good of the company he built. My problem is with Eich’s corporate colleagues who didn’t have his back. Those people are the cowards who flame irrational protests. Furthermore, they’re hypocrites. In the name of pushing Eich out the door, they invoke tolerance and inclusiveness as their motivating principle.

Many homosexual critics of Eich maintain that his resignation is the legitimate product of the free market – customers have spoken and disapproved of his appointment, they say. (Of course, the truth is quite the opposite. Mozilla consumer metrics reveal huge unhappiness with Eich’s decision to step down.) But let’s remember how these progressive critics view the free market generally: They see nothing wrong with commercial transactions involving illicit drugs or prostitution. Of course, you’re going to think the free market was at work in Eich’s resignation if you can’t tell the difference between the sale of an orange and a woman’s body. As life itself, the free market is bound by a tightly knit moral and social fabric.

But the free market is nothing if not a marketplace of ideas. Racism used to be a significant idea in Western civilization, but better ideas ultimately prevailed. Traditional views of marriage and family are now competing with selfish individualism and the idealization of “nondiscrimination.” Folks, if nondiscrimination means anything, it means Brendan Eich should still have his job. Nondiscrimination in the workplace is built upon the notion that a person who is “otherwise qualified” for a job should be able to keep it notwithstanding his moral and political views.

Remember the name Brendan Eich. What’s happened to him can happen to you.

For Sutherland Institute, I’m Paul Mero. Thanks for listening.

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