Mobs move pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around sometime, you might miss getting trampled.

So, quick recap – OKCupid publishes a full-page ad targeting Firefox users encouraging them to pressure Mozilla to sack their CEO, Brendan Eich. Now, apparently, it’s OKCupid’s turn to face the mob they drummed up.

The machine must run. It consumes first those who labored most to build it. No exceptions.

Reap the whirlwind, saps.

Mozilla, mo problems

Well, that’s it for Mozilla’s momentary CEO, Brendan Eich.

Eich submitted his resignation, days after the dating site OKCupid suggested boycotting Mozilla with full-page ads shown to visitors using the Firefox browser.  This came along with several of Mozilla’s own employees tweeting that Eich was not fit to lead the company.

Was Eich a terrible coder? Did he embezzle? Trash a nightclub? Kick puppies for fun? Not that anyone can tell. What he did do, however, was donate $1000 in support of California’s Proposition 8 campaign, seeking to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

A lot of people thought that this was not in keeping with Mozilla’s commitment to diversity and free speech. In the end they celebrated these things by denying them to their own CEO.

I’m not going to open debate on whether or not his donation is de facto proof of being hateful or divisive. It may well be. It’s also beside the point. Eich helped found this company, he created JavaScript (which is kind of everywhere in computing and on the Internet), he obviously knew his stuff… and none of it mattered.

It’s not that hard a concept, and Shamus is on point about this – this is the sort of thing that, once loosed, lays waste everywhere. It is indiscriminate about its targets. I may as well quote a convo I was having on the Twitter:

When one works with a concrete goal in mind, one’s actions can be evaluated on whether they move the goal closer or further. Once the goal is reached, one can move to the next. But there is no goal in mind with something like this. Try having a conversation about what that goal is, whether we’re closer or further from it, and you won’t get a clear answer – except that if you even ask that sort of a question you’re a bad person, and that’s proof about how much farther we still have to go to get to the goal nobody can bear to have defined.

This is all by design. So long as one can be the one doing the deciding, it’s good times. Ever-wider areas come under this area where “The debate is over.” This is also the flaw, of course, because at any time one’s prior beliefs – even something that was innocent, something one never thought to be on guard about (because who could ever object?) – can suddenly fall outside of the boundary. Share a carefree joke with friends and, five years hence, that humor is a proof that you have secretly harbored wrongthinking the whole time, and those who shared the laughter are your new persecutors.

That’s the thing the deciders never realize: in the end the machine, once built, must run. If that machine is not designed to accomplish a particular thing, and upon completion stop, then by definition it will never stop running, and will always need fuel to consume.  At this point, those who fought hardest against its construction have already been dealt with – the machine’s very existence is proof that they’ve lost the fight. The first victims are always those who labored for the finishing touches, and who are always shocked and stunned at being tossed into the hopper. Surely they proved they were on the right side!

The unholy censors

Severian links through to an interesting (if brief) review and critique by Michael Brendan Dougherty of a collection of essays by Joseph Bottum.

I have not read Bottum’s work, and am only familiar in passing with Dougherty’s – primarily because he’ll crop up on ESPN from time to time writing about sports topics.  (I may have to remedy that, if for no greater reason than that he rocks a Quebec Nordiques t-shirt in his bio picture.)  In any case, I intend to branch off a bit here, because I’m more interested in something Sev wrote in his link-through:

It’s common knowledge among those who notice things that liberals are, on all matters except sex, censorious, moralizing, pharisaical little prigs.

To begin: I know that a good number of folks I chat with on Twitter and such self-identify as liberals, so I want to note something about the use of the term here.  At blogs where Sev and I interact regularly, there’s a lot of debate about whether the term Liberal or Leftist is the more appropriate when discussing the most radical examples of what is commonly called Liberalism or the Blue State Model.  I far prefer “Leftist” as the proper term for a few reasons I won’t go into here; I don’t want to be derailed on a side-issue.  Just roll with the term for now.  But I want to say this much: I know that a lot of you guys are not, in fact, sanctimonious or pharisaical.  OK – good – we’re gonna move ahead – sorry to slow you down -

I submit that the current licentiousness drowning our society is, in fact, an elaborate censorship.

People of this anti-human bent are censorious about sex, like they are censorious about everything else.  To be more precise, they are censorious about the true nature of sex in humans.  And the first truth about sex is that it unites people.

Physically this is indisputable; as one moves through the physical to the mental and spiritual, it becomes easier to hide and mislead on this basic fact, but couples themselves know better.  In fact, sex is often enough the result of couples who catch each other’s attention for other reasons.  In situations where the physical is the primary motive, these other motives for spending time together frequently arise; those couples without these other bonds nearly always dissolve.  Sex also frequently leads to couples preferring each other to anyone else, and both expecting and promising exclusivity – a thing that could not happen if the physical bond were the only one to consider, since there are always times where one or both partner is unavailable sexually.  Also, sexual attraction naturally leads to people pairing off in as beneficial a match to themselves as they can arrange: not necessarily where the greatest sensual delights lie, either.  Nor is satisfaction in a lover’s relationship exclusively gauged by those couples as the greatest degree of physical sensation.  And it all leads to family units that people are willing to defend to the death against all comers.  A happy home is something worth protecting, and not surprisingly people will speak up about and oppose proposals destructive to that happiness – whether the family or the proposal are liberal or conservative.  People with families to protect unite across political and social strata to do it.

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Linking, blinking, and nod

So I made a few alterations in Ye Olde Blogrolle.

(I also picked up a bunch of E’s on sale at a discount typographer, if you couldn’t tell.)

Two of the newly-linked are sci-fi authors: Sarah Hoyt and John C Wright.  Ms. Hoyt currently has a Heinlein quote in her blog’s banner – part of a quote with which Mr. Wright takes issue in a post.  It’s fun to note that this doesn’t deter Mr. Wright, in his very next post, from then linking and discussing something written by Ms. Hoyt.

The third is, you guessed it, an author as well.  Unlike my other two blogrollees, Robert Godwin has actually made a sale at Chez Nightfly, though I regret that I have yet to finish One Cosmos Under God.  I do hope to correct the gap in my bookshelf as regards the other writers in question, whose blog posts argue well for their abilities.  Also, my apologies to Mr. Godwin, who has written a fine book – the failure to finish lies squarely on my shoulders.  I do note that it took me a few tries to get through GK Chesteron’s Everlasting Man, and that turned out all right in the end, so I’m certain I’ll make it at some point.

Spot the disconnect

Seen side-by-side on a bulletin board, the following bumper stickers:

  • When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty.
  • “Tea Party” sounds so much better than “Mob of racists and homophobes.”


Hockey Synchronicity

Tonight, the Dallas Stars retired the jersey number of the great Mike Modano.

To commemorate this, NHL Network played the game on March 17, 2007, when Modano became the NHL’s all-time leading scorer among US-born players; he scored twice to catch and then pass Joey Mullen for the career mark.

Lost in that was the captain of Dallas’ opponent, Kimmo Timonen, who scored twice to lead the Predators to the victory.

After this replay, the NHL Network went to the retirement ceremony, and then to the Toronto Maple Leafs – Philadelphia Flyers.  In this game, the Flyers’ Kimmo Timonen scored twice.

I find things like that to be quite fun.

Stop an insult

Blogfried Philmon (one of the writers here) coined the phrase “Stop an Echo.”  I think that they would really appreciate this post at Legal Insurrection.

It’s altogether fitting that Philmon now co-blogs at Rotten Chestnuts, since these two concepts are really sides of the same die – they both refer to falsehoods that somehow have become things that “everybody knows.”

By itself the concept is useful; you could argue that it is even indispensible.  There is simply no possible way that any meaningful exchange of ideas could go on if there was no large shared body of basic facts and concepts that were known to all parties beforehand.  We’ve all had the experience of talking at cross-purposes for what seems like an hour, astounded that what we’re saying makes no sense at all to the other fellow, only to be brought full-stop when we realize that a crucial bit of background is entirely missing, without which the other person has literally no idea what we could be talking about.  “My uncle died last week.”  OOOOOOHHHHHHH….

Imagine having to stop to revisit the meanings of every possible idea, fact, and theory influencing what you were discussing, and then think of how long a job that would be when you realize that those things all themselves rest on other information that then has to be revisited and discussed, and then think about how long that would all take if your partner then asked for documented evidence for it all?  We wouldn’t be able to ask for a cup of coffee without explaining that coffee typically comes in beans that have been roasted, so these beans should first be ground, which means taking the whole beans and fragmenting them to a coarse powder, and that this powder should be placed in a porous filter so that water can pass through it but the powder remains, and that the water should be heated to near-boiling, and that boiling means turning liquid into gas, and since we need liquid water it shouldn’t boil but it should still be hot, and that then the hot liquid water should be poured through the grounds in the filter and the resulting beverage should be collected in an empty vessel, and that once the vessel is full of this beverage it should be passed to us that we might drink it, and in exchange we will give you one dollar and fifty cents, because we use money as a convenient medium of exchange for our labor vis-a-vis goods and services, and one dollar and fifty cents of my labor is the equivalent of this beverage plus your time in making it and the cup you hand it to me in and etc. etc… and do you have any cream?


The problem comes when what everybody knows is, in fact, false.

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