Virtual Voices
Brendan Eich
Handout photo
Brendan Eich

In defense of Mozilla

Business

Mozilla, maker of the Firefox web browser, has taken a lot of heat this month for having its CEO, Brendan Eich, resign under pressure on April 3. And yet, Mozilla was within its rights to want a CEO who shares the organization’s worldview. We want Christian businesses and nonprofit groups to be free to hire executives with a biblical worldview, so Mozilla should have a parallel freedom.

Tension between organizational and individual liberty is inevitable. Hobby Lobby’s liberty to say no to abortifacients does in a small way restrict the liberty of its employees (although they can readily obtain them in other ways). The liberty of any organization to have a code of conduct restricts the liberty of an employee to do whatever he wants—which is why a private enterprise economy should have lots of options. (Under socialism, a boss can insist on “my way” because he doesn’t have competitors who can offer dissidents a highway to alternative havens.)

This is not to say that it was right to view Eich, a computer world George Washington—he created JavaScript, a programming language web browsers use—as if he were Adolf Eichmann, the German Nazi who was a major organizer of the Holocaust. Only a few years ago, “blacklist” was a nasty word among liberal thinkers, but now many advocate lynching those who won’t toe their line. It’s good that a few thoughtful gay advocates like Andrew Sullivan opposed the mob.

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Happily, we’ve decided as a society that racism is not allowable (and we can hope that reverse racism is on the way out). But we’re better off—and Christians, as a minority, may particularly benefit—if companies and nonprofit groups have a diverse character. If America is still a melting pot, many Christians will melt. We should try to maintain a civil society in which groups can set their own standards for leadership. Some we’ll like, some we won’t, but we’re better off with variety than a government-imposed uniformity.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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