News Ian O'Doherty

Thursday 2 October 2014

Scalped on the altar of tolerance. Great work, gay lobby

Published 07/04/2014 | 02:30

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Mozilla chief executive Brendan Eich stepped down from his role on Thursday.
Mozilla chief executive Brendan Eich stepped down from his role on Thursday.
Andrew Sullivan has expressed his disgust at the way Eich has been treated
Andrew Sullivan has expressed his disgust at the way Eich has been treated
Simon Cowell has announced that this year The X Factor will accept entrants from the age of 14
Simon Cowell has announced that this year The X Factor will accept entrants from the age of 14

So, picture the scene – you're a computer expert who is widely hailed by your peers as outstanding in your field.

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Unfortunately, you have been found guilty of a thought crime that goes against the orthodoxy and therefore you must be banished.

That sounds awfully like the despicable fate suffered by the great Alan Turing, the genius who cracked Enigma and was, as his reward, persecuted for the simple fact that he was gay.

Fast forward half a century and we have a not dissimilar example of establishment hostility to transgressive views being used to take a man down.

This time, it's a code writer rather than a code breaker. Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, who created the Firefox browser, was forced to step down on Thursday, at the behest of an intolerant and ignorant group of bullies who think they have a right to decide what views are acceptable.

Rather than being gay, he is a victim of gay bullies because he made a $1,000 donation in favour of California's controversial Prop 8, which would have made gay marriage illegal.

The writing was on the wall ever since the dating website OKCupid started to harass Firefox users who visited its site with a pop-up which said: "Mozilla's new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples.

"We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid...

"Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame and frustration are our enemies."

If the above statement doesn't chill your blood then you need to start brushing up on your history. And before the lynch mob get on the hobby horses and shriek with outrage at such terms as 'gay bullying', how else to describe the hounding of a man who made a legitimate political donation?

Is destroying a man's career because he holds conservative views more acceptable than destroying the career of a guy who holds liberal ones?

Is bullying for one cause bad, but bullying for another cause good?

If Eich was drummed out of his job because he had donated to a group which supported gay marriage, would people have been so quick to tell him that he was an 'enemy' who deserved to be so publicly defenestrated?

This story gets to the nub of why the gay rights lobby is doing itself incalculable damage with a series of posturing, preening own goals that have nothing to do with fostering tolerance and understanding, but are more about a spiteful and bitchy desire to demonise anyone with a different point of view.

Of course, I would say that. After all, when I had the temerity to point out that a bloke wearing a dress while debating gay rights has as much chance of being taken seriously as a member of the Monster Raving Loony Party appearing on Question Time, I was accused of the usual litany of modern thought crimes: homophobia, intolerance, bigotry and, my personal favourite, 'being unhelpful' – as if it's the job of any columnist to 'help' any cause.

But the only intolerant bigots on show in the Firefox case are the likes of the people from OKCupid, and the people who have gloated over Eich's misfortune, who have revealed their true colours in all their nasty glory by referring to a conservative as 'an enemy who deserves nothing but failure'.

For the record, and not that it matters, I would write the same piece if Eich had been forced out by the evangelical Christian Right as opposed to the evangelical homosexual Right who, ironically, are more similar to their 'enemies' than they would like to admit. This case has absolutely nothing to do with sexual orientation and everything to do with blowhards and bullies wielding power and ruining lives simply because they can.

But it's not just intolerant straights who feel that way. Andrew Sullivan, the refreshing free thinker who happens to be both gay and conservative with a small 'c', was equally repulsed by the venom directed towards Eich and described it as a "scalping" before adding: "If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out."

So, is Sullivan some sort of traitor to his tribe?

Or is he simply man enough to know an injustice when he sees one and isn't prepared to stay conveniently quiet just because the victim of the mob doesn't share his world view?

That's a question that some of Ireland's more tedious gay rights campaigners would do well to ask themselves, as well.

NON-SMOKERS – WHY NOT TRY BEING HONEST, FOR ONCE?

Just in case you felt you just weren't being hassled enough by Nanny, Cork TD Jerry Buttimer has come up with a wizard idea – completely banning the sale of cigarettes in pubs and nightclubs, as well as banning the general sale of tobacco after 6pm.

He made this deranged suggestion in his role as a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children – but neither health nor children have anything to do with pubs or nightclubs. They are, after all, places where like-minded adults congregate, ideally without some interfering Dr Feelbad wagging their finger at you.

But leaving apart the obvious, unworkable idiocy of the idea, which will only further fuel the coffers of the criminal gangs who now make as much from dodgy fags as they do from drugs, why don't the anti-smoking brigade do us all a favour and just lay their cards on the table?

So, Jerry, you came up with idea, now give us a straight answer – do you ultimately want to see smoking banned in this country?

Let's forget about legislation by stealth, why not try a little honesty?

A crazy idea in this country, I know.

But the people deserve to know the ultimate goals of those who would reduce an adult's freedom to make their own choices.

NICE ONE SIMON...

As you may have noticed, Simon Cowell has announced that from now on, The X Factor's age limit has been lowered from 16 to 14.

Because sometimes, I suppose, exploiting a 16-year-old just ain't enough....

Irish Independent

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