After revelations that Brendan Eich, former CEO of the non-profit company Mozilla, had supported Proposition 8 in California (a campaign that was particularly odious and bigoted), I tweeted this:
What has puzzled me in all of this is the belief that there is one set of rules which must be followed, that judgement and context don’t matter. For certain issues, such as slight differences in the marginal tax rate, going full-out is ridiculous: there’s an issue of proportionality–not everything is ELEVENTY HITLERS!! But judgement also needs to be applied.
The Dixie Chicks opposed a disgusting, murderous war of choice that distracted the U.S. from stopping Al-Queda and that also harmed long-term U.S. interests. History will judge, if it hasn’t already, that they were right and their conservative critics were wrong.
Brendan Eich opposes gay marriage and supported a cruel and defamatory campaign. Having grown up in a part of the U.S. where religious justifications were used to oppose interracial marriage (especially white women ‘marrying out’), I really don’t care if he sincerely believes this. He is wrong. I don’t care about his justifications. Here too, history will be a harsh judge: Eich and his co-travelers were bigoted and cruel and attempted to deny people civil rights others freely enjoy.
One of these things is not like the other. Judgement matters, procedure not so much.