More back-and-forth over Mozilla's termination with extreme prejudice of its insufficiently gay-affirming CEO. Over at Skeptic Ink, the Prussian quotes a colleague...
What has anything about Eich's story to do with laws or the constitution? Either Eich chose to resign because of negative PR, or was fired. Both are private actions made freely by people or entities who have the right to do that. What happened was an expression of freedom, not a curtailment.
...and begs to differ:
Imagine the counter-case. You're broadly supportive of gay marriage and you make a minor donation to a pro-gay marriage cause. Next week, you are hauled up in front of your boss, a conservative Christian, and told, "Sorry, we can't have chaps who promote degeneracy around here" and promptly sacked.
Sound good? Would you say "Oh, that's just an expression of his freedom"?
I don't think analogies like that work with the left any more. As they see it, the difference between firing an anti-gay guy and firing a pro-gay guy is that the anti-gay guy is bad and deserves to be fired whereas the pro-gay guy isn't and doesn't. You could complicate it for them - the pro-gay guy is fired by a Muslim. But, until that starts happening on a regular basis, the western left is increasingly comfortable with the notion that core western liberties have to take a back seat to more fashionable rights, like anti-racism or "marriage equality".
A more utilitarian argument is that advanced, apropos "campaign finance reform", by Robert Samuelson:
Free speech's second function is less understood. It buttresses the political system's legitimacy. It helps losers, in the struggle for public opinion and electoral success, to accept their fates. It helps keep them loyal to the system, even though it has disappointed them. They will accept the outcomes, because they believe they've had a fair opportunity to express and advance their views. There's always the next election. Free speech underpins our larger concept of freedom.
I expressed the same thought somewhat less elegantly a few weeks ago:
I've always been in favor of freedom of expression, but lately I've become a free-speech absolutist. It takes all sorts to make a world and I've met a lot of them over the years, and I can stand pretty much anything anyone says about anything â€” until someone says to me, "You can't say that." At which point my inclination is to punch his lights out. I do this not just because I'm a violent psychopath with a hair-trigger temper, but to make the important point that in societies where you're not free to speak your mind â€” to argue and debate â€” the only way to express disagreement is through violence.
I write this north of the border, at the end of a provincial election campaign fought between people who don't even agree on what country they're in. That's only possible in societies with free speech: In Samuelson's words, "it helps keep them loyal to the system", to the extent that they're willing to work within that system in hopes of eventually departing it. The Crown and the rest of the constitutional order is secure enough to indulge such provocations.
The fact that "climate change" is not secure enough to tolerate dissent helps explain why it's going nowhere. Serial litigant Michael E Mann spent much of today getting hysterical about being called "hysterical", and complaining of its implication that he was "unmanly" and "effeminate". He might as well get used to it. The one-party state of Climatestan is over, and the more he insists that there's only one true way the more hysterical he sounds. Granted, he's in good company:
Some of the utterances of the warmists are preposterously specific. In March 2009, the Prince of Wales declared that the world had "only 100 months to avert irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse". How could he possibly calculate such a thing? Similarly, in his 2006 report on the economic consequences of climate change, Sir Nicholas Stern wrote that, "If we don't act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least five per cent of global GDP each year, now and forever." To the extent that this sentence means anything, it is clearly wrong (how are we losing five per cent GDP "now", before most of the bad things have happened? How can he put a percentage on "forever"?). It is charlatanry.
Thus, my old boss Charles Moore reviewing Rupert Darwall's new book, The Age Of Global Warming:
The origins of warmism lie in a cocktail of ideas which includes anti-industrial nature worship, post-colonial guilt, a post-Enlightenment belief in scientists as a new priesthood of the truth, a hatred of population growth, a revulsion against the widespread increase in wealth and a belief in world government...
These beliefs began to take organised, international, political form in the 1970s... The G7 Summit in Toronto in 1988 endorsed the theory of global warming. In the same year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was set up. The capture of the world's elites was under way.
Mann's hockey stick secured that capture - more than any other single image of the turn-of-the-century transnational climate alarmism. But that era is over. As the headline to Moore's piece puts it, "The Game Is Up For Climate Change Believers." Mann can certainly sue me into financial ruin, but no matter how many people he succeeds in getting banned or silenced the wider game is, indeed, up.
Defendant Mark Steyn opted not to appeal the denial of the motions to dismiss the amended complaint. Rather, Mr. Steyn has filed an answer and counterclaims and has expressed his intention to move forward with discovery, regardless of the fact that his co-defendants have opted to appeal.
Indeed, I have. So what's Dr Mann's position? Well, it's a two-part response.
On the one hand, he's in favor of his proceeding with discovery against me:
The fact that Mr. Steyn has not appealed the denial of the motions to dismiss counsels further against a discovery stay. Mr. Steyn, like Dr. Mann, has made clear his desire to have this Court resolve this lawsuit and to move forward with discovery immediately. As such, there is no reason for this Court to delay discovery further.
On the other hand, he's totally opposed to my proceeding with discovery against him:
While Dr. Mann agrees with Mr. Steyn that discovery should move forward on Dr. Mann's claims, discovery cannot move forward on Mr. Steyn's counterclaims.
Oh, my. You do surprise me.