Brendan Eich, gay marriage and moral self-licensing

Moral self-licensing. When you think to be morally superior, you don’t respect anymore who has different views, and you feel it’s acceptable discriminate, insult and boycott. It’s typical in the overshooting phase.


I agree with the same-sex marriage, but that’s not the topic of this post. Let’s talk about freedom.

A free man, Brendan Eich, made a donation to support a ballot in California to ban same-sex marriage. In 2011. When even Obama didn’t have a clear idea about this subject. After a couple of years he became the CEO of Mozilla, but was forced to resign because of that donation. I see MANY issues with this.

  • How acceptable is a model where an individual can see his career (and life) damaged by what he thinks? How free will be a person to express his opinion against same-sex marriage when he could face a damage to his personal life by what he thinks? Obviously we are not talking about prison, nobody is going to be jailed for this in US (while in UK you get arrested if you say “God hates sin”). But you can face consequences for your business. I repeat the question: how free you will think to be in such position?
  • Personal views were totally insignificant regarding the professional position. I mean, how his view about gay marriage can affect the management of Mozilla?
  • There are some germs of market manipulation in all this. In a free market situation, people choose the best product based on some price vs performance trade-off. Now we are putting into the equation also some irrelevant personal views of the CEO. We are not even talking about boycotting a company because of its ethical behavior (in example like labour exploitation, etc…). We are talking about individuals opinions that doesn’t affect at all how the behavior of the company. Is a CEO someone who needs to think to raise the profit of the company he is managing or just a politician who tries to be politically correct?
  • This is a slippery slope. If we can boycott business driven by people that have views different from ours, then can we extend this concept to religion? Religion is an opinion, when a person adheres to a particular religion, that person chooses to believe in that religion. Moreover, opposition to same-sex marriage is indeed caused by religious beliefs. Can we say that a person is unfit to be a CEO as that person is Jew? Or because is a communist? Or because made a donation to save the Siberian Tiger while I hate  Tigers?

I think people start loosing freedom when they risk consequences because of their beliefs.

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