If you’re internet savvy, you know him as the creator of Java Script, the ubiquitous programming language, and you know him as the co-founder of Mozilla, which developed the Firefox browser. That makes him somewhat of a tech legend, and his legend will only increase with the release of his new browser, called Brave, which includes some cutting-edge enhancements. (More on that shortly.)
You’ll also remember his name if you’ve been following the culture wars, since Eich was forced to resign as the CEO of Mozilla in 2014 because he committed the cardinal sin of donating $1,000 to California’s Proposition 8 in 2008. (Proposition 8 was the pro-family bill that limited marriage to the union of one man and one woman.)
“How dare he act in such an unenlightened way!” said his enlightened employees at Mozilla. “How dare he be so small-minded and exclusivistic!” said his broad-minded and inclusivistic peers. (Sarcasm fully intended.) “Surely a man like this is not worthy to be among us at Mozilla.”
In reality, in all his years at Mozilla, no one had ever accused him of acting in a bigoted way, and the influential gay journalist Andrew Sullivan commented that “there is not a scintilla of evidence that he has ever discriminated against a single gay person at Mozilla” and so the whole episode “should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society.”
But the outrage against Eich was too intense, and he was forced out. So much for tolerance and diversity.
What makes this all the more ironic is that in 2008, when Eich donated his $1,000 (a paltry sum when compared to the millions given to gay activist causes by tech leaders like Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Tim Cook of Apple), candidate Barack Obama unequivocally stated that, for him as a professing Christian, marriage was the sacred union of a man and woman, and he rejected gay marriage outright. (At least, that was his public stance.) The majority of California voters supported Proposition 8 as well, meaning that Eich took the same position as did incoming President Obama and the majority of Californians who voted.
But in the hyper-PC world of Mozilla, Eich’s support of natural, male-female marriage was utterly intolerable. Homophobes like Eich must go.
There were, to be sure, a number of prominent gay and straight leaders who voiced their opposition to this, calling for truly tolerant attitudes and signing a “Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Dissent” document. But the reaction against them was harsh.
As expressed by gay activist John Becker, “But our culture doesn't treat other forms of bigotry with ‘respect’ and ‘tolerance.’ To the contrary, prejudices like sexism, racism, and anti-Semitism are overwhelmingly regarded with revulsion and scorn -- because society has rightfully decided that these toxic social evils deserve to be shamed and stigmatized, and that sexists, racists, and anti-Semites no longer deserve a seat at the table of civil discourse. The lesson of the Brendan Eich controversy is that the public is increasingly ready to add homophobes to that list.”
Yes, Becker continued, “if Brendan Eich had donated to a white supremacist or neo-Nazi group, would you make similar pleas for ‘serious consideration’ of and ‘vigorous public debate’ about the merits of those ‘dissenting’ views? Would you work so hard to uphold the fiction that two morally equivalent sides exist on issues like racism and sexism and anti-Semitism?”
“Or is it just homophobic bigotry that deserves this special form of ‘tolerance?’”
Put another way, unless you celebrate and support all the goals of LGBT activism, you will be branded an intolerant bigot, and if you dare to support a conservative family cause, you will be outed, shamed and deprived of a livelihood, being deemed no better than a racist, a Nazi, or an anti-Semite.
Thankfully for Brendan Eich, despite this serious professional and personal setback, he continued to ply his trade, now functioning as the CEO of Brave Software and the developer of the new Brave web browser, which blocks those ever-present internet ads and trackers greatly enhances web browsing speed. And how appropriate that it is named Brave!
You can download it for yourself on your computer, tablet, or smart phone at Brave.com. (I already downloaded it and am quite impressed with how it works. And it’s absolutely free, of course.)
Give it a try, and show your appreciation to Eich for being brave enough to keep doing what he is so gifted at doing, despite being faced with a flood of intolerance and bigotry within this so-called enlightened, high-tech industry.
I think you’ll like the logo too: a neat looking lion, majestic mane and all.