Monday, April 07, 2014

No Homozilla

Conor Friedersdorf:

Mozilla says, "While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the web. So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better." Again, Mozilla's actions will undercut tough conversations by making fewer people willing to engage in them. If you believe that an open, robust public discourse makes the world better, as they purport to, they've made the world worse. This action is a betrayal of their values, not a reflection of them.

I thought this part was particularly funny. Not just the fact that, in practice, this "we need to have a conversation" trope is a favorite squishy saying of people who would rather do anything but have a conversation, but the idea that the web has somehow improved the quality of our conversations. This is exactly why we need the web, for the unlikely chance we might ever be able to talk like adults!

Anyway, unless you count the few times I've been called a fag for having long hair or being taciturn and introverted, I don't know what it's like to be gay, obviously. Maybe it's not for me to say how anyone should feel or act about a situation like this. Choire Sicha would seem to agree there, but Andrew Sullivan is also gay, and he vehemently disagrees with this whole episode, so I think they cancel each other out, leaving the floor to me, right? I'm pretty sure that's how this works.

Though it may be easy for me to say, I still think these are valid philosophical principles in general: Be magnanimous in victory as much as possible. Don't seek to settle scores or humiliate people for having chosen the wrong side of a fight. Be wary of acquiring a taste for ostracizing and exiling people who opposed you. When you're racking up one court victory after another — the sorts of institutional achievements that matter — you can afford to ignore some ignorant reality TV star. When public opinion is decisively swinging in your favor, you can refrain from vindictively punishing people who pose no actual threat just because you can. When you have substance, you don't need symbolism.