The Modern Liberal Inquisition

The only Inquistion I approve of is one involving Mel Brooks.
The only Inquistion I approve of is one involving Mel Brooks.

History repeats itself.

It is a curious phrase, that certainly contains some truth, but is often misused.  However, sometimes, you cannot deny the practical reality of this simple statement.

The Spanish Inquisition started around the 12th century, in a goal to purge the Catholic Church of heretics.  It persisted in its quest of eliminating all types of supposed secularists, proven or not, well into the end of the Middle Ages, ultimately mutating in form to eliminate all forms of enemies of the Church, from accused sorcerers and witches, to simply our garden variety Jew or Muslim.

We have seen modern equivalents of the Inquisition, in many shapes and sizes.  Some are religious, others are secular, all are political. We have seen this pattern repeat across the globe, as one group or another tries to vanquish the threat of evil from our midst.

I wonder if we are beginning to see something similar in modern liberalism today.

The curious case of Brenden Eich comes to front pages today.  Eich is a successful IT entrepreneur.  Best known for creating Javascript and being critical in the formation of Mozilla (the company that created the popular Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client), he was recently elevated to the role of C.E.O. of Mozilla.

Little did he know he was passing through the doors of hell into a progressive firestorm.

Why did this happen? because of a relatively innocuous $1,000 donation to group pushing for California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 measure that sought to prevent same-sex unions from being recognized as civil marriages.

Yes.  The firestorm was regarding a small donation made six years ago.

Progressives, as they are wont to do, were outraged, and instantly began a campaign to oust Eich.  They formed protests and websites to unite the forces of good against the evil that is Brenden Eich.  Heretics must be vanquished, after all.

Make note of the fact that not a single employee of Mozilla or anywhere else had ever complained of Eich’s behavior. No one, either during his time a COO or in his current role of CEO, ever stated he behaved in anything but the utmost professional manner.  Homosexual colleagues had nothing but good things to say about the man.

Of course, facts are irrelevant to the progressive mob.  He had to go, in order to purify the souls of society.

Eich decided that enough was enough, and the silliness needed to come to an end, so he resigned from his post on Thursday.  I doubt that this is much of a burden for Eich, who is likely quite wealthy.  But Reihan Salam notes that even at this late date, if Eich had recanted his position, he probably could have held on to the job. Eich refused; and for that, I think he should be heralded for holding to his beliefs, which is so rare these days. Salam notes:

Agree with him or disagree with him, Brendan Eich was willing to pay a price for his beliefs. In the grand scheme of things, the price certainly wasn’t as high as that facing, say, Galileo. But would you do the same thing?

Famed editorialist Andrew Sullivan chimed in as well:

He did not understand that in order to be a CEO of a company, you have to renounce your heresy! There is only one permissible opinion at Mozilla, and all dissidents must be purged! Yep, that’s left-liberal tolerance in a nut-shell. No, he wasn’t a victim of government censorship or intimidation. He was a victim of the free market in which people can choose to express their opinions by boycotts, free speech and the like. He still has his full First Amendment rights. But what we’re talking about is the obvious and ugly intolerance of parts of the gay movement, who have reacted to years of being subjected to social obloquy by returning the favor.

As for the progressive inquisitors, they gleefully proclaimed success at the purging of this heretic, with little understanding of the gross hypocrisy and overall intolerance of their crusade.  Their church is now cleaner and purer for the victory; what else matters?  Sullivan again:

Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. 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. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

It is funny how many liberals, in discussions I have had in the past day or so, are bigoted enough to presume they know my position on gay marriage. Time and again, because I defend the free thoughts of another American, I am presumed to share in his beliefs.  Liberals have now reached the certainty that their way is the pure, unadulterated truth of life, and that any other path is sinful and must be purged, at all costs.

Sound familiar?

The ever-growing intolerance of liberals in America is disconcerting.   That their voices now has such force as to cause the firing of a CEO of a major company is disturbing to say the least.  Apparently American Progressives are ignorant of the true meaning of tolerance, acceptance, religious liberty, and most important, the concept of freedom of speech. Those are all secondary values to the modern progressive movement, secondary to their faith-based cause of ‘moral purity’.  Nothing ever goes out of style, so dig around your closet and pull out your Brown shirts, America.

What most Americans, like myself, actually believe is in freedom for all, equal access and opportunity, but also the fundamental belief of freedom of thought and speech as well as the freedom to be free of oppression. These are essential tenets critical to the American ideal.

Let us stipulate that conservatives in the past have not been free from this kind of behavior.  Neither have past liberals.  This cycle of stupidity continues endlessly.  However, it is stunning to watch a community that honestly fought for tolerance and acceptance for the past several decades becoming so clearly intolerant and unaccepting.

What the majority of us who believe in freedom of thought and speech do from this point on is open to debate. I think most of us feel inherently that something is amiss when a CEO is fired not for an inappropriate action while on the job, but a personal political line of thought he followed six years prior.  The ability to punish someone not for actions but for thoughts is the definition of a type of inquisition; a fascist tendency where all must conform, at serious cost, or be accused of heresy. Sadly, that is apparently where the progressive cause in liberal America exists today.

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