Why you should worry about Bernard Eich’s persecution


The Social Media Inferno

Burned At the stake of Social Media Intolerance


James Hill via Compfight

On 5 April, I published this post, The Tail Wagging the Dog, on my other blog.

The post is about the lynching-by-social-media of Bernard Eich, CEO of Mozilla and his subsequent resignation.

He was pressured into leaving his post and the company he co-founded because he had made a donation to an anti same-sex marriage cause 8 years previously. A cause that was, at the time, supported by a majority of voters in California.

It is not my intention to reprint the whole post here, nor to debate the rights and wrongs of same-sex marriage. I give my own reasons for opposing it in the post. I accept that others have compelling reasons to support it, and suspect that many more are ambivalent but do not want to be seen as “anti-progressive” or homophobic by expressing an opinion. The arguments for or against, should be the subject of debate, not career ending character assassination.

Whether you are for or against same-sex marriage is not the point. What ever your view on this particular subject, if you have the slightest spark of independence, any desire to think for yourself, a modest trace of discernment, in your character, sooner or later you will be out of step with the thought control rabble.

Over the last few days, I have been observing reaction to the effective destruction of Mr. Eich’s career. The favourable response to my post, the flood of negative publicity from many other commentators – some known for their liberal views and the intensity of the debate, convinced me that the this lack of tolerance by the very people who demand tolerance for minority views, needs more attention.

The potential for this lack of tolerance and attempt to suppress all other opinions, carries huge risks for the continuation of our Western societies and especially for those of us who are striving to lead extraordinary lives, who are determined to improve ourselves and our lives. Those of us who do not want to remain part of the mindless herd, numbly following the latest trend in social media. Those of us who are prepared to persevere and have the resilience to do, say and write about what is right.

A good article in Hot Air by Ed Morrissey today examines the issue and raises the frightening spectre of absolutism. That article also provided a link to the Mozilla feedback website where a graph showing the level of negative comments tells the story. Negative comments peaking close to 7 500 on April 4, the highest it had ever reached and then almost doubling that figure to over 13 000 on April 7.

A different take was apparent from Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times as quoted in Slade :

“That’s the argument: Each company has a right—indeed, it has a market-driven obligation—to make hiring and firing decisions based on “values” and “community standards.” It’s entitled to oust anyone whose conduct, with regard to sexual orientation, is “bad for business” or for employee morale.

The argument should sound familiar. It has been used for decades to justify anti-gay workplace discrimination.”

The problem is, that right is only permitted for liberal views, ask any employer who has been accused of discriminating against homosexuals, minority races, firing an overweight employee, or who refuses to hire male applicants in a female environment or vice-versa, if his or her rights were upheld.

My concern, and the reason for publishing a post about it here is that I believe it goes way beyond the rights or wrongs of same-sex marriage, minority rights or homophobia.

It is the beginning of mind control by social media, the 21st century equivalent of the Nazi propaganda that resulted in the holocaust, the murder of 6 million Jews, WW2 and the millions who died in that conflict. It has chilling similarities to the start of the communist purges in the former USSR that killed additional millions, many by starvation.

It has parallels in the genocide in Rwanda, religious and ethnic conflict in other parts of Africa, including the murder of thousands of Matabele people by the ruling MaShona tribe in Zimbabwe. 20 years later, the economic ruin of the same country after the illegal seizure of white owned commercial farms. The ongoing murder of Christians and Muslims by each other in the Central African Republic, Nigeria and elsewhere.

What has happened to the art of debate to settle what, in the grand scheme of things, should be less controversial topics than for example, territorial and property disputes.

We have arrived at a situation where a minority has managed to intimidate the majority into submission, truly the tail wagging the dog. Political correctness gone overboard.

A giant leap backward for mankind.

The article “The Culture of Shut Up” by Jon Lovett in The Atlantic makes a good case of supporting that title, it also has a link to an article by David Brooks in the NY Times where he proposes that we do not have a leadership problem, but a “followership” problem.

I have lived as a minority under a brutal totalitarian regime in Zimbabwe, believe me it was not a bed of roses. More frightening was that the regime did not become brutal and totalitarian overnight. The regime was put in power by the interference of outside interests and allowed to flourish while Western governments which should have known better,  turned blind eyes to rigged elections, corruption, widespread intimidation and small-scale serious violence.

Over the years as the regime got away with higher levels of bad behaviour, the move to total control was ratcheted up until it became the nightmare it was and still is.

It’s time to wake up and make a stand for freedom of expression and the right to stand for what is right without having to fear character assassination, career destruction or being burned at the stake of social media intolerance.

What do you think?

Peter Wright

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  8 comments for “Why you should worry about Bernard Eich’s persecution

  1. Roberta
    April 10, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    You don’t have to convince me. I agree with everything you wrote. America is now where Germany was right before Kristallnacht. I am scared. I fear for my beloved country. We need people and leaders to stand up and speak out before there is another holocaust.

    • April 11, 2014 at 9:17 am

      I have written about the pendulum theory before, the swing between “Me” & “We” focused thinking. According to that theory, we are in the last stage of the “We” cycle. What we are seeing now are the symptoms of out of control mob mentality.

      It gives me some comfort to think that, according to that theory, in 9 years, we will be heading back to a more normal society which should endure for the remainder of our and our children’s generations.

      Let’s hope that we can survive those 9 years and that mankind learns from this so that our grandchildren and their children do not have to repeat the stupidity.

      • April 17, 2014 at 8:55 am

        Peter, I’m pretty sure the “we” cycle died in the early 1980s. Some of us want a healthy balance of the two. I wish I shared your faith that that would only take 9 years.

  2. April 17, 2014 at 8:54 am

    I’m unapologetically liberal – well, moderate, actually, but in today’s political climate, that’s what passes for liberal. I agree with you – in part. I may have to turn this into a blog post, fun as it is to hijack your comments and pretend it’s a blog post. 🙂

    What we have is two pots banging each other in a dark drawer, calling each other black. Both are right; both are horribly wrong. My dilemma is that we have a conflict between two things I, personally, hold sacred: human rights and free speech. Democracy vs. oligarchy. These are pitted against propaganda, uninformed opinion, religion, democracy vs. money, and obviously partisan politics. Which really is B.S. when it comes to human rights and free speech, neither of which should be dependent on any of those things. NOT in the U.S., at any rate – this is what, perhaps, distinguished us from other, older nations. This notion that we would not tolerate PERSECUTION over certain things, mainly personal things, such as our chosen relationship (and, by extension, lack thereof) with God and with each other and with our government (which, in principle, derives from the CONSENT of the governed). That means we MUST tolerate some things, but it seems people have lost sense of where that line can be drawn – some thinking it can’t be drawn at all, and that we must tolerate all things, even when they are so diametrically opposed that they are in a fight to the death.

    I’m really tired of the people who do the MOST persecuting of others pretending to be the persecuted. It’s an old, tired, pathetic act that has to stop. I suspect that the ones who most readily invoke the spectre of Hitler have studied history the least; they use symbols and propaganda easily, but accord and peace demand deeper thought and dialogue. I do have serious concerns that we are – in some ways – headed down a similarly dark path, but it’s a different path in a different era.

    • April 18, 2014 at 4:06 pm

      Holly, I am as unapologetically conservative in many ways as you say you are liberal. However in others, we sing the same song, even if to a slightly different tune sometimes.

      Perhaps the biggest problem is that in this age of instant and pervasive communication, we have lost the ability to debate and can only condemn that which we do not personally like.

      You may continue to hijack my comments and pretend it’s a blog post as often as you like, I always appreciate being hijacked by brilliant writers.

      Replying to your earlier comment, I believe that the pendulum will swing back and that some sense of balance will return for two reasons:

      Firstly, the human species has survived for thousands of years. Ice ages, floods, plagues, droughts, wars, crusades and persecution have come and gone, but we are still here, more numerous than ever.

      Secondly, my late father who would have been 100 last month told me in the 60s when I was still a teenager that not much of the “hippy” stuff was that new, just more public than when he was young. So a lot of what we are agonising over today, has been agonised over by earlier generations, just more privately.

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