Contra Mozilla

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Tolkien's Warning about Mordor Still Applies

A few months ago I warned that we shouldn't get too excited whenever Moloch and Satan bicker. Tolkien's warning from Return of the King should suffice as warning to us:

The big orc, spear in hand, leapt after him. But the tracker [orc] springing behind a stone, put an arrow in his eye as he ran up, and he fell with a crash. The other ran off across the valley and disappeared.

For a while the hobbits sat in silence. At length Sam stirred. 'Well, I call that neat as neat,' he said. 'If this nice friendliness would spread about in Mordor, half our trouble would be over.'

'Quietly, Sam,' Frodo whispered. 'There may be others about. We have evidently had a very narrow escape, and the hunt was hotter on our tracks than we guessed. But that is the spirit of Mordor, Sam; and it has spread to every corner of it. Orcs have always behaved like that, or so all tales say, when they are on their own. But you can't get much hope out of it. They hate us far more, altogether and all the time. If those two had seen us, they would have dropped all their trouble until we were dead.'
I bring this up, because it is a rather frequent occurrence. A more recent example might be this hit piece by the progressive rag Mother Jones. The gist of the article is that the CEO of OKCupid--one of the organizations which played most prominently in getting Brendan Eich to resign over his $1000 donation to support California's Proposition 8 ballot in the 2008 elections--was himself a political donor to a pro-life and pro-family Congressman from Utah. Said CEO, Sam Yagen, has since fired back that the donation was purely political, since the man in question was a the time the ranking Republican on the House committee overseeing the internet and intellectual property.

Needless to say, Mother Jones considered this a bad thing, though the hit piece masks the contempt for his having donated to a pro-life and pro-family politician by masquerading behind a concern for fairness and consistency:

Of course, it's been a decade since Yagan's donation to Cannon, and a decade or more since many of Cannon's votes on gay rights. It's possible that Cannon's opinions have shifted, or maybe his votes were more politics than ideology; a tactic by the Mormon Rep. to satisfy his Utah constituency. It's also quite possible that Yagan's politics have changed since 2004: He donated to Barack Obama's campaign in 2007 and 2008. Perhaps even Firefox's Eich has rethought LGBT equality since his 2008 donation. But OkCupid didn't include any such nuance in its take-down of Firefox. Combine that with the fact that the company helped force out one tech CEO for something its own CEO also did, and its action last week starts to look more like a PR stunt than an impassioned act of protest.
Indeed. And, if this is the extent of Mother Jones' interest--they did print an excerpt of a response from Mr. Yagen whose apparent point is to exculpate him of the charges of having supported a pro-life/pro-family politician 10 years ago--then that's a good thing, I suppose. But I suspect that consistency and fairness are merely the more convenient tools at hand for bludgeoning a man whom fell afoul of the progressive party line--and this, many years before it was official progressive dogma.

What we are witnessing is a secular, progressive inquisition. But unlike the supposedly religious inquisitions--whether run by Catholic monarchs in pursuit of heretics, or Protestant magistrates in pursuit of recalcitrant Catholics, or Puritan in search of witches--the progressive, secular inquisition will not offer the chance for "repentance", whether past nor present. It is enough to have at some point openly supported the other side.

A Catholic understands a heretic to be somebody who obstinately persists in a distortion or outright rejection of a truth (e.g. dogma) after the issue has been settled by the Church. For the progressive, the heretic may be a person who held the wrong opinion before the "right" opinion was ever settled. While the Protestant might in principle allow for an error in judgment, especially one which has long since been quietly abandoned, the progressive inquisitor will demand public abjurement of private opinion. The supposedly conservative (because republican and anti-Communist) McCarthy went after people believed to be communists, and the supposedly liberal (because progressive and "pro-gay") modern inquisitors will ferret out the ordinary citizen who acts--or has at some point acted--with what he believes to be the best interests of the country, or indeed of the civilization, in mind.

It has long since been true that the Leftists do not believe in tolerance. Increasingly, they don't even believe in acceptance. Soon, celebration of the cause du jour will not suffice: the fact that it wasn't supported or celebrated thoroughly enough from an early enough stage will be enough to be called before this inquisition. Repenting and recanting may not be sufficient to buy leniency from their tribunals, even if both have been undertaken long before any suspicion of heresy--let alone the trial for such--has occurred. I always anticipated there to be purges on the Left, though I had fully expected those to come after they had destroyed the lives and livelihoods of those of us who opposed them from the start.

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