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On Witch Hunts

In regards to the whole Brendan Eich’s purging from the Mozilla Foundation, Tam notes that we’ve engaged in a good bit of that type of thing in our community. In fact, a very sharp analogy to the Brendan Eich situation is one that had its genesis with this very blog. But I do think it’s a bit different. If Eich had been the CEO of a gay dating site, and had spoken in favor of Prop 8 in the media, and then his donations to anti-gay candidates was uncovered, I would, of course, fully expect the gay community to eat him alive. They’d actually be fools if they let that slide.

What happened to Eich would be more the equivalent to us discovering that say, Roku’s CEO had once donated a few thousand bucks to a pro-gun control PAC*. That would generally not register very high on our giveashitometer as a community. What we tend to get really outraged over are members of the community betraying us; we don’t like turncoats. For people who just disagree with us, we’re more likely to argue to the point our opponents are ready sharpen a pencil to gouge out their ears, or defenestrate their Internet router, than we are to try to ruin their personal lives. I wouldn’t say we’re totally incapable of the same kind of mob mentality, but I’d say on the whole, most of us don’t have time for that kind of crap.

* Just using that as a hypothetical example. I don’t even know who their CEO is, let alone his voting or donating habits.

26 Responses to “On Witch Hunts”

  1. Tam says:

    Roku’s CEO had once donated a few thousand bucks to a pro-gun control PAC

    …if Roku was located in Phoenix and billed itself as a shooter-friendly company to work for and offered subsidized range memberships to employees. Then there might be a bit more comment if it turned out the CEO was a closet anti. ;)

    • Sebastian says:

      Fair point :)

    • Sebastian says:

      Though, I’m not sure that would register very high on my own giveashitometer. As long as the company still offered those benefits I’m not sure it’s too much concern of mine if their CEO is secretly anti. Hell, I’d argue at that point we’ve got enough of a lock on the culture that we can afford a bit more live and let live.

      • Tam says:

        It doesn’t much register on my own give-a-shit-o-meter. I really have no strong feelings one way or the other about Mozilla and Eich; I don’t have much of a dog in that fight.

      • ” at that point we’ve got enough of a lock on the culture that we can afford a bit more live and let live.”

        Unlike homosexuals, who at any moment are going to be shipped to Auschwitz.

    • Except that Mozilla emphasized its inclusiveness and commitment to free speech. Except for speech that some people don’t like. This is not an apt analogy.

  2. I say that since this is the way things work, we should find every single person who gave money to anti-gun groups and defenestrate them as quickly as possible.

    The point of the Eich contretemps was to make sure that no one dared to give money to non-Leftist political campaigns ever again. We should do the same to anti-gunners.

    • Tam says:

      The point of the Eich contretemps was to make sure that no one dared to give money to non-Leftist political campaigns ever again. We should do the same to anti-gunners.

      Please quit lashing the Second Amendment cause to the mast of the S.S. Antiqueer, because that ship is sinking and I don’t want it taking my gun rights with it.

      • I don’t think I am. I do not believe that by adopting the tactics of these particular leftists that I am in any way making gun rights=anti gay.

        I do believe that if we do not strike the Left in the same way that they attack others that we may as well surrender. We should identify those who fund anti-gun groups (aside from the all but invulnerable Bloomberg) and go after them.

        • “Go after them” like somebody went after Thomas C.Wales? ‘Cause that is the spin-slur you will be facing in such an effort.

          I am all for publicly shaming them for the bigots they are, but anything too aggressive in that vein brings vulnerabilities, I think.

        • Yu-Ain Gonnano says:

          Putting you in the anti-gay group is, well, … new.

          I guess it all depends on what you think Zumbo’s sin was. If you think it was merely having a different opinion than his cohorts then I could see how you think the situations are the same. It’s not the mistake *I* think he made.

          If you have a problem with fruit, then apples and oranges are the same. If you have a problem with thick inedible peels that are difficult to remove then apples and oranges are very different. It isn’t hypocritical then to treat them differently.

    • RP says:

      I think the gay rights crusaders have limited themselves by marrying themselves to not only one party, but the progressive branch of that party. While the progressives have been riding high in the Age of Obama, that won’t last forever.

      Many people are expecting the GOP to control both houses of Congress in less than a year. They may have a titan running for POTUS in 2016, but they have no Plan B. People in their late 60s frequently suffer devastating health issues. Or maybe Hillary gets caught up a scandal the media can’t ignore. Putting all of your eggs in one basket leaves you very vulnerable. If the electorate gets sick of Obamacare, gun control, or any progressive cause, gay rights sinks along with them.

      We shouldn’t do what they’ve done. I don’t want gun rights tied to other conservative issues, and I don’t want gun rights riding solely with Republicans.

      • Or maybe Hillary gets caught up a scandal the media can’t ignore.

        Unless there is a different Chosen One, Hillary could eat a live baby on national TV and the media would ooh and ahh over her.

    • No, we really shouldn’t. There are certain standards of respect for civil discourse that a free society should allow.

    • 1. The morality of that seems very questionable. Why lower yourself to the level of gay activists?

      2. Gun rights people don’t have the fanaticism or the media support that the gay activists enjoy.

  3. RP says:

    I don’t know much about the workings of gay issues in politics, but I’ve wondered if us gun people could learn from them. Evangelical Christians constitute 25% of the population, while gays make up 2%. Yet somehow the social conservatives are losing ground and have been for quite a while. The success of the gay activists over the last generation is amazing. Its especially astonishing given how obnoxious they are in their witch hunts.

    Can anyone recommend any good reading on the subject?

    • Two major reasons why a small sexual minority has been so successful:

      1. Consistent and relatively subtle use of their dominance of the news/entertainment media to get their message out that homosexuals are just like everyone else, or maybe even a little more clever, nice, and concerned. If only conservatives really wanted to win! They could make money AND change minds.

      2. The willingness to never forgive, and never forget. Eich contributed to a campaign in 2008; in 2014, destroy him.

      Back in the late 1980s, I asked some questions of gay activists about what seemed to me to be a counterproductive involvement of North American Man-Boy Love Association in the various gay pride parades. I was, at that point, pretty open-minded about the subject. I had grown up with the “if it feels good, do it” mentality of 1970s California. The attempts to get me fired from jobs, the continual harassing and obscene phone calls to myself and my children, the threats of violence — they made quite an impression on me. Many people just give up in response to this sort of homofascism and decide that it is easier to pretend that it isn’t a big deal.

      California Gov. Wilson vetoed a sexual orientation antidiscrimination law in the 1980s. The continual heckling by gay people at EVERY EVENT that he spoke to for the next two years finally caused him to sign the bill the next time. He had other things to care about.

      Gay activists have convinced me of something that the homophobes could not: there’s something seriously broken there.

      • RP says:

        From a gun rights perspective, I really think this is worth hashing out. There are practically infinite case studies out there in the form of countless other single issue advocacy groups. There is much that can be learned from taking a look at them.

        Regarding your first point, anti-gunners have as much support from big news media and Hollywood as the gay activists. I’d argue that the anti-gunners have received considerably more support. How has the gay crowd been able to exploit that so much more successfully than the gun grabbers?

        Regarding your second point, and I hesitate to make this comparison, but I think us pro-gunners share that ability to be outraged and go after people. Of course we’re not out to destroy our enemies personally and turn an opposing opinion into a crime against humanity. But I think we’re good at turning anger to action. I believe Sebastian has made the point that we’re better at punishing pols who have crossed than we are at preventing them from reaching office in the first place. I wonder if the NRA would do better to get people pissed about laws already on the books and focus less on fear mongering over future gun control.

        • RP says:

          Now that I think more about this, are the anti-gunners truly worse at exploiting the friendly media? Or are there other factors that make it impossible to compare? The differences mainly being in the opposition each of those groups face.

          Lots of people have gone from anti-gun or neutral on guns to being pro-gun. I bet a lot of people reading this blog have gone down that path. On the other hand, being a social conservative is usually tied to being a certain kind of Christian. The number of people finding Jesus in a conservative church is dwarfed by the number of people buying their first AR-15 or Glock.

          SoCons just simply aren’t going to see major growth in their ranks, regardless of the media. So their hold on mainstream opinion is vulnerable to being chipped away at. In contrast, gun rights proponents have massive capacity to grow (as has been demonstrated). I think our growth and the spread of pro-gun sentiment more than cancels out anti-gun preaching in the media. The gays can incrementally change mainstream perceptions through the media, but anti-gunners can’t do that because we’re kicking their asses in growth in mainstreaming.

          Does this make any sense?

        • Geodkyt says:

          Um, because, media frenzies and loud claims by the most voiciferous of pro-gay-rights types, maybe it indicates that, quite simply, the “homophobia” of America isn’t really as severe or widespread as we keep being told? Perhaps, there simply isn’t as much push-back against gay rights in the general population, and jackasses like Fred Phelps aside, being “antigay” just isn’t a “cause” for anyone?

          I don’t personally know anyone among my friends, family, and associates (past or present), who has ostracized and cut off contact with one of their friends, family, or associates, because they found out that person was gay. (It happens, I know; but in my rather wide and philosophically diverse corwd, I haven’t seen it once.) Not even those that had VERY strong feelings against homosexual conduct, or who admitted to being generally homophobic (in the actual meaning of the word – “gay fearing”).

          And it’s not like I have lived in some queerfrei zone where homosexuals are almost unheard of – I run with a pretty eclectic crowd, and always have. LOTS of open homosexuals in many of the subcultures, and plenty in some of the supposedly homophobic subcultures (like the pre-DADT military).

          Yet I have seen, and experienced family, associates, and even people I considered friends, absolutely freak out and cut off contact with me and other “pro-gun” types upon realizing we not only believe in preserving the Second Amendment, but we feel it covers more than Granddaddy’s double barreled duck gun. Nor have I seen anyone take major flack from anyone but a progun activist for being antigun. (When’s the last time you have heard of someone – outside the gun industy or press – being fired or “encouraged” to resign, for being antigun?) There is also definately a statistically signficant, organized, socially acceptable, antigun crowd.

          And I wouldn’t consider “gunnies” to be some horribly oppressed minority. . .

      • echo says:

        As opposed to little old us, who still have forum posts floating around saying “hey, are we still boycotting S&W?”…

    • benEzra says:

      @RP,

      You are implicitly making the following assumptions:

      (1) That all or most evangelical Christians believe that preventing GLBT couples from obtaining civil unions, marriage, or equal treatment under the law is a fundamental tenet of their faith.

      (2) That all or most evangelical Christians who believe that GLBT individuals are sinning also believe that using the police power of the state to prevent or punish sin (as opposed to preventing people from infringing the rights or property of other people) is a valid use of that power.

      (3) That the 75% of the population who *aren’t* evangelical Christians will remain neutral whenever evangelicals start wielding the law to enforce conservative Christian morality.

      In my observation, none of those things are true, especially #2 and #3.

      In this country, we tend to be somewhat skeptical of moralists in this country, but we tend to be *very* skeptical of moralists using the police and the courts to enforce their views. Correcting those excesses may happen fairly quickly (see Prohibition, Alcohol, or the quick backlash against the AWB) or it may happen slowly (see cannabis prohibition, blue laws, contraception prohibition, bans on differing-melanin marriage, and the Comstock laws, which hung around way too long).

      And FWIW, I don’t want my gun rights lashed to the mast of that sinking ship either.

  4. aerodawg says:

    Isn’t there a saying about becoming what you hate? Even if there isn’t, I find it mildly amusing that people who will rant and rave about McCarthyism and the hollywood black list given the slightest nudging have in effect become McCarthyists and black listers…

  5. Frank says:

    Does anybody know if Zumbo donated to either pro or anti gay marriage organizations?

    Does anybody care?

    A writer for a gun mag came out against popular guns. That is what got Zumbo canned, not for any other issues.

    Eich got let go for other issues, not for promoting some other browser over Firefox.

  6. Jake says:

    FWIW, Gay Cynic has a good post on this issue from the pro-gay-marriage side, including why his appointment to such a high level position in a company that officially prides itself on accepting gay relationships managed to get so many people so highly pissed off.

    Eich donated a $1,000 to the pro Prop 8 campaign – a campaign that in television, print media and radio strove to use every vile stereotype of LGBT folks as pedophiles, corrupters of children and neither capable nor worthy of meaningful relationships.

    The proponents of Prop 8 gave us a campaign based in hatred, fear and bigotry. One that not only pushed through a constitutional amendment designed to ensure second class status for LGBT folks in California – and as a happy bonus push the cause of civil rights for LGBT folks back by decades. [emphasis added – Jake]

    Seriously, if you pay someone to call me a pedophile, I’m bloody well going to still hold it against you six years later. And that’s not even considering the rest of it. So I’m not surprised others held a grudge and acted on it when given the opportunity, and I can’t really find fault with them for it.

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