"Mozilla believes both in equality and freedom of speech. Equality is necessary for meaningful speech," Baker said. "And you need free speech to fight for equality. Figuring out how to stand for both at the same time can be hard."
I heard a lot of this stuff during my free-speech battles in Canada. The country's chief censor, the late Jennifer Lynch, QC, was willing to concede that free speech was certainly a right, but it was merely one in a whole range of competing rights - such as "equality" and "diversity" - that needed to be "balanced". What the "balancing" boils down to is that you get fired if you are an apostate from the new progressive groupthink. Underneath the agonized prose, Mitchell Baker is a bare-knuckled thug.
~It's the thuggishness and bullying that ought to disgust people, even those who support gay marriage. My final appearances at National Review Online were a spat with my editor, Jason Lee Steorts, over "two jokes one can no longer tell on American television" that I quoted in a column on Phil Robertson's suspension for "homophobia". First, Bob Hope, touring the world in the year or so after the passage of the 1975 Consenting Adult Sex Bill:
"I've just flown in from California, where they've made homosexuality legal. I thought I'd get out before they make it compulsory."
Second, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin on stage in Vegas throughout the Sixties and Seventies:
Frank: "How do you make a fruit cordial?"
Dino: "Be nice to him."
Mr Steorts thought my resurrection of these ancient "slurs" was "derogatory" and "puerile":
People who used them in different times need not be regarded as monstrous, nor must the canon be censored; we could instead feel good about having awoken to a greater civility and make generous allowances for human fallibility.
Yeah, just like Brandon Eich "awoke to a greater civility" yesterday morning. What Mr Steorts especially disliked about my column was "the slur in its borrowed concluding joke". Which was:
How do you make a fruit cordial?
Be nice to him.
But isn't that what's just happened to the Mozilla guy? Nobody's asking him to have a genuine conversion. The gay enforcers don't care if, somewhere deep down in his heart he still believes marriage is the union of a man and a woman; all that matters is that he's not allowed to say so in public. Billions of people around the world believe as Mr Eich does, and they shouldn't be allowed to say so in public, either - not if they want to keep their jobs. I'm currently trying to fund my own free-speech battles at the DC Superior Court through sales of my book Lights Out, personally autographed copies of which are exclusively available through the Steyn store - if you like the squaresville hardback edition, that is; but, if you're part of the Mozilla set, you can also get it on Kindle, Nook and Kobo, at least until those outlets ban on it on the grounds of "respect" and "inclusion" and "balancing" free speech with "equality". On page 181 of Lights Out, I write:
Most Christian opponents of gay marriage oppose gay marriage; they don't oppose the right of gays to advocate it. But increasingly gays oppose the right of Christians even to argue their corner. Gay activists have figured that, instead of trying to persuade people to change their opinions, it's easier just to get them banned.
Those words are not as old as Frank and Dean's gag, but sad to say they're likewise prescient. And that's why, pace Mitchell Baker, what happened to Brandon Eich is not an "equality" issue but a free-speech issue.
~By the way, let's not forget how all this targeting of "homophobic" contributions started. The IRS leaked "traditional marriage" donor lists to the gay enforcers at the "Human Rights Campaign". America has a corrupt government - so corrupt that many Americans now think it entirely normal for the state tax collector to target the regime's political enemies. I don't, and for the last year I've called for the abolition of the institutionally corrupt IRS and its replacement by an agency with far more limited powers appropriate to a free society. Surprisingly few Republican candidates seem interested in joining that campaign. But the IRS' wholesale corruption is a free-speech issue, too: it's about using state power - the threat of audits and, ultimately, asset confiscation - to get you to shut up. And the alliance between the IRS and the gay enforcers is a foretaste of where things are headed. If your confidential financial information can be leaked to those who want to take you down, why should your medical information or your vote by "secret ballot" be any more secure?
~Meanwhile, serial litigant Michael E Mann takes time out of preparing for the forthcoming Mann vs Steyn trial of the century to ReTweet the following:
Michael Mann isn't really a scientist. Oh, yes, I'm sure he still dabbles in it now and then just to keep his hand in. But the bulk of his energies are devoted to getting people who disagree with him fired, banned or silenced. Real Nobel Prize winners (as opposed to fraudulent self-garlanded ones) don't do that. But every day Dr Mann is demanding that someone be shut up.
~I don't want to live in the world of "greater civility" that Michael Mann and Mitchell Baker are building for us. Oh, to be sure, it's technologically exciting: There will be a thousand different apps on which to download Jessica Alba warning you about Antarctic sea ice. But there'll be only one Thought App. And it will come pre-installed.
And eventually there won't be any Jessica Alba apps, either. Because a society that imprisons opinion as tightly as Mann and Baker demand is a society that will cease to innovate, and decline.