McCarthyism with a Politically Correct Smile

by Tom Wolpert on April 5, 2014

Brendan Eich, resigned under pressure as CEO of Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox web browser, after two weeks because of a political donation in 2008 in support of a California Proposition to ban same-sex marriage.

Perhaps I should begin this piece with a loyalty oath.  “I am not now, and never have been, a member of any group that seeks to impose its political viewpoints on anyone else who is now politically correct or fashionable.”  Hopefully my quarters in the soon-to-be established political re-education center will be comfortable.   The work which I will be given (but what will that be?) to help me focus my thoughts on the needs of our Glorious Politically Correct Leaders will be satisfying.   Mr. Eich will shortly be called to testify before the California House Committee on Politically Incorrect Activities (popularly known as Hotel California, courtesy of the Eagles song).  Mr. Eich will no doubt be joined by fellow conspirators against the social peace (fellow travelers with the Koch Brothers, no doubt) dubbed as the Silicon Ten by the media.  All have been denied jobs in Silicon Valley for some time.

The questioning will probably follow along the lines of the Harry Reid Act of 2016:  punishing anyone who “with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of any social arrangement, including any marriage or other partnership activity, cohabitation or relationship,  prints, publishes, advocates for, gives money to, or privately holds unacceptable thoughts about the duty, right, necessity, desirability or propriety of offending anyone who currently is identified with, or has to the right to wear, a duly-sanctioned Politically Correct Badge.”  First and foremost, the penalty is immediate dismissal from employment and a bar to further employment anywhere where Politically Correct standards are enforced.

The penalties are significant:  Apart from loss of employment, other punishments and penalties include the following:

Title II.  Internal Deportation.  Anyone convicted of an offense under this Act may be punished by forcible removal from either of the coasts of the United States, and sentenced to an indefinite terms of internal exile in a state which has no visible mountains, borders no oceans and has no professional sports teams.

Title III.  Politically Incorrect Registration.   Mr. Eich will be required to register his status, his address,  his party registration and give a bi-weekly accounting of the television shows he watches and the internet sites he visits. Certain internet sites which may be politically harmful to his development will be blocked.  He will be fingerprinted, and have a small microchip planted in his head to ascertain that he is not thinking any politically incorrect thoughts.   He will identify the activities in which he intends to be engaged and any organization to which he intends to donate money.

Title IV.  Mandatory Participation in the Two-Minute Hate.  At least once a month, anyone punished under this Act must appear at a local library, and under the supervision of a librarian, post and comment favorably on the latest article or Op-Ed piece in the New York Times trashing the Koch Brothers.  If a time comes when some other person or group occupies the place of the Koch Brothers as Harry Reid’s favorite whipping boys, then anyone punished under this Act shall post and comment favorably on the inevitable articles and op-ed pieces in the New York Times trashing him, her, it or them.  At least once a year, anyone convicted under this Act will remind everyone in how much contempt he holds Sarah Palin.  Anyone convicted under this act will never, under any circumstances, utter the name of Rush Limbaugh or any part of it, including innocuous statements like ‘I was in a r**h to get the job done.’   The expression of skepticism over Global Warming shall be an additional offense under this section.  Since the standards of Politically Correct thought are fluid and dynamic, the conduct, speech, or thought which may be criminalized under this section may be modified, expanded or re-interpreted at any time.

Title V.  Certain Defenses Barred.  Generally, it shall be sufficient for conviction if anyone, anywhere, wearing the Politically Correct Seal of Approval, is offended.  Use of the word “Diversity” or protection of Diversity shall never be a defense under this statute.  The word “Diversity” shall never mean diversity in connection with opposing political viewpoints.

A partial transcript of the hearing in the Hotel California is available:

Interrogator:  Mr. Eich, are you a member of a group, or have you donated to a group, which seeks to oppose the rights of everyone to marry? For example, Proposition 8 here in California?

Mr. Eich:  It’s unfortunate and tragic that I have to instruct this committee on the basic principles of Americanism.

Interrogator:  That’s not the question.  The question is – did you give money to support Proposition 8?

Eich:  I am framing my answer in the only way in which an American citizen may answer.

Interrogator:  Then you deny it?  You deny having donated money to prevent gay men and women from marrying?

Eich:  That question invades my privacy.

Interrogator:  You have no right to invoke privacy rights here.  Privacy rights are not for you.

Eich:  I have no obligation to answer questions to a government committee about my private political beliefs.

Interrogator:  You are under oath, sir.  Do you realize that?  You have been brought before this Committee pursuant to the power of our subpoena.  Do you understand that?

Eich:  I do, sir.

Interrogator:  Then I ask you again, understanding that a refusal to answer is civil contempt, punishable by an indeterminate period of confinement until you purge yourself of contempt:  Did you donate money to a group supporting Proposition 8?

Eich:  I have already had my political activities broadly reported, without my consent.  Why must I answer again, when you already know the answer?  Why do you need to know who donates to what political group?

Interrogator:  To the best of your knowledge, who else donated money to support Proposition 8?

Eich:  I don’t know.

Interrogator:  What other groups did you donate to?

Eich:  I won’t answer.

Interrogator:  To the best of your knowledge, who else is involved with you in opposing the rights of gay marriage?

Eich:  I can’t answer.

Interrogator:  We have heard enough from you sir.  Officers, take Mr. Eich away.  I will not read you your Miranda rights, because you are not under criminal arrest.  You are being held for civil contempt.  So it doesn’t matter much that you have been rightfully fired, and Mozilla is to be commended for upholding the norms of a decent society – you weren’t going to work anyway.  We’ll deal with you later.  Next witness, please.




Now that I ventilated my sarcastic ire, with my imaginary reporting, I will make a more serious comment on the firing of Mr. Eich.  There is no end to economic retaliation against employees of private companies who hold the wrong political views and donate to the wrong political party.   It is worthwhile to summarize the recent, notorious history we have had in this country in connection with such conduct, ironically, concerning again the state of California and employment in the motion picture industry.  The Hollywood blacklist was a group of screenwriters, actors, directors, musicians, and other entertainers who were denied employment because their personal politics were in sympathy with the American Communist Party or ‘progressive’ political causes.   Ten writers and directors were cited for contempt of Congress for refusing to testify before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1947.  It isn’t a far step from firing Mr. Eich to calling him to identify his fellow contributors to a political cause which the Directors of Mozilla are unfriendly towards, and California legislators are hostile towards.  The basis for compelling the Hollywood Ten to testify, and their reluctance to do so, was often centered around their unwillingness to ‘name other names.’   The firing of Mr. Eich is where this conduct begins – you hold the wrong political views, so you may not be employed.  The imaginary transcript above of Mr. Eich’s testimony before an imaginary Committee of the California legislature is based on the real transcript of the testimony of John Lawson before the House Committee on Un-American Activities.   We have danced to these tunes before.  It was a bad idea then, and it is a bad idea now.

If we were to assume, for the sake of discussion, that the controversy over gay marriage was a kind of religious debate, then allow me to quote John Locke, from his Letter Concerning Toleration:

The toleration of those that differ from others in matters of religion, is so agreeable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to the genuine reason of mankind, that it seems monstrous for men to be so blind, as not to perceive the necessity and advantage of it, in so clear a light.  . . .  No private person has any right in any manner to prejudice another person in his civil enjoyments, because he is of another church or religion.  No violence nor injury is to be offered him, whether he be Christian or pagan.   Nay, we must not content ourselves with the narrow measures of bare justice:  charity, bounty and liberality must be added to it.  . . . If any man err from the right way, it is his own misfortune, no injury to thee: nor therefore art thou to punish him in the things of this life, because thou supposes he will be miserable in that which is to come. 






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