Unethical Quote of the Month: OkCupid

Not OK...

Not OK…

“Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience. Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid. Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.”

—Dating website OkCupid, calling for a boycott of Mozilla, including Firefox, its webserving software, because of the past political/social/religious views of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich

Full disclosure: 1) I use Firefox. 2) I detest boycotts,and 3) I am biased against them by nature, because they are almost always coercive, extortive, and unfair.

This statement, however, has more wrong with it than just its advocacy of a boycott.

The complaint is based on the fact that Eich gave $1000 to the effort promoting California’s Prop 8, the ballot initiative that banned gay marriage and was eventually ruled unconstitutional. That was six years ago, in 2008. Many, many Americans have changed their opinions about gay marriage in the last six years. “But Mr. Eich’s boilerplate statements in the time since make it seem like he has the same views now as he did then,” the OkCupid call for a boycott says. Make it seem? Economic boycotts aren’t trivial; if a group is going to call for one, it better make certain that its alleged justification is verified and valid.

Then there is this: “If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal.”

That’s misleading and untrue. Gay relationships are not illegal, and nobody is going to be prosecuted for being a gay couple united in a religious ceremony. The fact that gay marriage is not recognized by the laws of some states does not make it “illegal.” There is no law in California that says it is unlawful for gays to marry. If you are going to call for a boycott affecting the livelihood of others, you should have your facts straight, and should not mislead those you are trying to recruit into your ethically dubious project. Whatever his current beliefs are, I guarantee that Eich does not advocate making gay relationships illegal.

The liberal camp needs to have a little meeting and coordinate its positions. The Hobby Lobby challenge to the contraceptive mandate, currently before the Supreme Court,asserts that the owners of corporations dictate the corporation’s religious views. The opposition to this argument claims that only individuals, not organizations, have protected religious views, unless they are religious organizations. Firefox and Mozilla don’t have any views on gay rights at all, and can’t be presumed to have because one officer gave $1000 to support a ballot initiative six years ago. Punishing the company to hurt the CEO (who is not even the owner of the company, in Mozilla’s case) is exactly the kind of wanton shotgun justice that makes most boycotts ethically offensive. Innocent employees and their families get hurt. It is a form of extortion: “See things our way, or…hey, it’s a pretty nice company you have here! Be a shame if something were to happen to it…”

Is the objective to squeeze Eich out of his job? This is also unethical. Americans should be able to disagree publicly about policy and legislation, as well as participate in the electoral process, without adversaries trying to hurt them in unrelated spheres like their personal lives, jobs and business. The pro-gay marriage advocates have been particularly fond of these bullying tactics, despite giving lip service to tolerance when it benefits them. Will it advocate punishing citizens for their votes next? Tolerance extends to political speech.

For  OKCupid to seek to boycott a company and harm its employees because its CEO contributed a lousy thousand bucks six years ago to support a law that is already defunct is many things, all of them reprehensible: petty, mean, vindictive, irresponsible, intolerant, un-American, and dumb.

If I had to choose which company most deserved boycotting, OkCupid would be the easy choice.


Pointer: Fred (thanks, and we miss you…)

Source: Slate, Huffington Post



58 thoughts on “Unethical Quote of the Month: OkCupid

  1. Firefox, eh? Never tried it. Will today!

    (More than anything, I found the comment “we’re about creating love” offensive. That’s an oversell of your hookup site, if ever there was one.)

  2. Torches and pitchforks..nothing ever really changes. There is a call for a boycott of Rakuten, a company in Japan akin to Amazon. ‘They sell ivory!! Boycott them!’. If it’s from old ivory stockpiles, it’s perfectly legal, but of course there is no fact-checking. PETA activists dressed in body stockings protest outside KFC in Tokyo and Osaka with the claim that ‘KFC tortures chickens’, when they buy chicken parts from the same suppliers that sell to numerous chains. The dishonesty of most of these campaigns turns me off from ever participating. The end does not justify the means.

    • FYI: Biting into an Original Recipe drumstick in front of such protesters and saying “Mmmmm… You can tell this one died extra slow… MMMMMMMMM” really annoys some of the PETA folks…

  3. Why is this a surprise?

    The supporters of gay marriage have been using various rationalizations for their thuggish, coercive behavior towards those who disagree with them, ranging from small business owners of establishments like Elane Photography (New Mexico), Sweet Cakes by Melissa (Oregon), Arlene’s Flowers (Washington state), and Masterpiece Workshop (Colorado) who wish not to be forced to take part in same-sex weddings, to the donors who supported Prop 8 (Heritage Foundation documented the thuggery here: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2009/10/the-price-of-prop-8), to the law firm that formerly employed Paul Clement (Who had agreed to defend DOMA after the DOJ wouldn’t), who resigned after that firm cravenly caved in to the pro-gay marriage bullies, to the treatment of Carrie Prejean by the likes of Perez Hilton and others, to the illegal release of unredacted Form 990s filed by the National Organization for Marriage.

    One look at the methods, like the under-handed actions of the new Virginia AG, in collusion with the plaintiffs seeking to overturn the 2006 vote of 57% of Virginians who did NOT want gay marriage, and Vaughn Walker’s unethical conduct in the Prop 8 trial, and the unethical comment from OkCupid is just not surprising. Thuggery, coercion, blacklisting, and thought control have long been accepted tactics of supporters of gay marriage.

    They’re features, an intended aspect of gay marriage, aimed at making any observant Catholic, Evangelical, Eastern Orthodox Christian, Mormon, Orthodox Jew, Muslim, or other religious tradition that doesn’t support same-sex marriage a de facto outcast, not bugs. If such thuggery, coercion, blacklisting, and thought control were bugs, then legislation like that vetoed by Jan Brewer in Arizona would not have been controversial at all. The fact that it was spoke volumes.

    I was born in the afternoon, but it wasn’t yesterday afternoon. Supporters of gay marriage have shown themselves to be intolerant of opposing views, willing to throw out First Amendment protections of religious freedom and against the state coercing expression in the name of their agenda.

    So, to repeat the question I asked earlier, Why are you surprised when OkCupid does stuff like this?

  4. Color cynical, but I wonder how much of this is inspired by a nasty petition that was careening in the wild yesterday. That wasn’t credible, either. And by making a fuss, they may be hoping to raise their reputation against their competitors. It just doesn’t smack to me of taking a stand on any principle, and so lowers the potential of using the site to zilch. Not because of their stand but by sounding like a latecomer to a lynching. If Eich shows he still believes and is going to act on those beliefs, that is a different matter, but this is jumping the gun.

    (I’ve used Firefox for a long time, and have seen no compelling reason to change. Realistically, most of the software people use of theirs is already free, so it won’t affect their bottom line.)

  5. Most pro-same-sex marriage advocates (or at least the most vocal ones) are soi-disant “progressives.” And unfortunately, most “progressives” seem to sincerely believe that those who do not share their views regarding the world are not simply mistaken, but evil people. As such, they not only completely fail to see the hypocrisy of their own intolerance and bigotry, but believe it morally permissible, perhaps even morally demanded, to ridicule, vituperate, and dehumanize anyone who says or does anything that’s at variance with their idea of “social justice.”

    Thus, it becomes understandable how a company like OkCupid could throw all sense of integrity or civility out the window and say something like: “Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.” How else could anyone – much less a website that’s supposedly “for creating love” – so insouciantly insinuate that tens of millions of Americans who may hold different beliefs (even the straw men ones that OkCupid imputes to them) are its “enemies” who deserve “nothing but failure?”

    I agree; it’s not surprising, but it sure is upsetting.

    • those who do not share their views regarding the world are not simply mistaken, but evil people.

      And then there are people like me who actively seek to re-enforce those notions… 🙂

    • I can’t say that’s limited to “progressives.” One of my biggest irritants about discourse today, whether political, ideological, or what have you, is the bizarre notion that those who disagree with you are bad actors with evil designs, deliberately trying to mess things up and make them terrible. And yet, the people who are sure that the other guy is secretly evil always seem to rationalize their own side’s problems as mistakes, or errors, or minority views, or misunderstandings.

  6. The pro-gay marriage advocates have been particularly fond of these bullying tactics, despite giving lip service to tolerance when it benefits them. Will it advocate punishing citizens for their votes next? Tolerance extends to political speech.

    Such a thing would create a huge backlash against the gay rights movement.

    • The commentary on the articles announcing Eich’s departure essentially says just that, that you are free to hold whatever views you wish, but the minute you act on wrong ones, particularly if they impede someone else’s equal rights, i.e. donating to a group that opposes gay marriage, you deserve whatever consequences fall on you.

  7. Pingback: Unethical Quote of the Month: OkCupid …. Queers just never learn. Must be something in the water. | Victims of Gay Bullying

  8. A few points of relevance: One — Eich is the CEO of the Mozilla Corporation, which is a subsidiary of the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation. Yes, it’s the subsidiary that coordinates releases of Firefox, but really.

    Two — Firefox is free and open-source. The Mozilla Foundation is funded primarily by royalties from Google, not anything to do with the browser.

    So it’s a /useless/ boycott as well as a problematic one.

    • Perhaps it wasn’t so much an earnest call for a principled boycott as it was a calculated publicity stunt. They foisted a one-day inconvenience on Firefox users to loudly affirm its support for “equal rights for gay couples.” Let’s surmise the possible responses of the various audiences.

      1) People who don’t want/need to use an online dating service – Those who oppose SSM and/or “social justice” mob tactics are annoyed. Those who support them are indulged. Result: No impact on OkCupid’s bottom line either way.
      2) People who want to use an online dating service – Those who oppose SSM and/or “social justice” mob tactics are annoyed. Those who support them are gratified. Result: OkCupid might have obtained new users in the latter group. More importantly, they would have strongly to appealed homosexual singles for whom online dating might be the most feasible or practical way to find love.
      3) Existing users of OkCupid – Those who oppose SSM and/or “social justice” mob tactics are annoyed. Those who support them are delighted. The cost to the former users to renounce OkCupid in counter-protest might outweigh the benefit if they are pleased with their service. Result: Small chance of OkCupid losing users either way.

      All in all, especially in today’s cultural climate where being a strident, pompous, and Machiavellian public crusader of “gay rights” is in vogue, it seems like OkCupid made a pretty smart business decision, ethics be damned.

  9. Pretty weak boycott. Eich is also responsible for Javascript, so clearly, they should be boycotting most of the modern web while they’re at it.

  10. I agree with everything that’s been said here but one: That boycotts are inherently illegitimate coercion or blackmail. True, especially recently, they’ve been used by ill-informed individuals pushing agendas that aren’t really connected to the issue they are protesting (Think Colbert), but I think that just means those examples of boycotts are unethical, not the category itself.

    Unofficial boycotts happen daily, commonly referred to as “poor customer service causing people to get pissed off and leave” or some variation thereof. It’s voting with your dollar, with an element of education. “This is how the company pissed me off, and I feel that you shouldn’t shop there either.” It requires a conscious choice by other perspective boycotters. If the issue is frivolous, it would probably be very hard to get people to actually participate (think Colbert).

    Taking the stance that a boycott is inherently coercive and includes an element of blackmail to a logical conclusion infers that taking a moral stand is unethical. The boycotters have a duty and responsibility to present true information, but once that test is passed, it’s on.

    • But an individual consumer voting with his or her dollars is NOT a boycott; by definition, a boycott is organized, which means that it is coercion, vengeful, and extortive: do what we say or else, or, as in this case, “we don’t care what you do, what you once did is all that matters.” Individual “mini-boycotts” don’t demand anything: the choice is the company’s. Why is this happening, and do we want to change?

      • “Why is this happening, and do we want to change?”

        If I thought it was morally wrong to keep chickens in cages that restricted their movements, or keep calves in slings so they couldn’t develop muscle texture, and I found out a company was doing those things, I don’t think it’s unethical to not shop there, or to educate people about the actions of that company, or to protest that company.

        If the company decides that they have a serious PR problem and changes, that’s a choice, and if they decide the PR problem isn’t large enough to justify a change, that’s a choice as well. Is there an element of coercion there? Perhaps, technically. But the standards that make that coercion, would call into question a purchasers choice to shop with their morals, because any discriminating based on those morals would be coercive.

        Boycotts are an organized group of people with similar morals that take issue with what an individual, or company is doing, And choose to educate people about the reasons they aren’t supporting the individual or company, and encouraging other people to do the same. So long as the information given is truthful, it isn’t unethical. Does that make a tyranny of the minority from the majority? Only so long as the minority wants the majority’s money. If the boycotee did not want the boycotters money, boycotts would be ineffective.

        • Nope. You publicize what is wrong, if something is, and let people, and the company, make its own decision. Boycotts are extortion, and undemocratic, with zealous minorities causing disproportional harm. Moreover, they involve unjust collateral damage to innocent employees who have no say in the company’s management and policies. They should be used, if at all, only in extreme circumstances. Usually, they are just tools of extremists.

          • I’m unclear on where you draw the line between ethical and unethical here. I think that Company X does something that is horrible, so I don’t shop there. But I also think it’s important they know why, so I tell them why I’m not shopping there. I realize many people don’t know about their conduct, so I publicize the bad conduct. Many other people also stop shopping there and tell them why. Does it become unethical if I say “Hey, I stopped shopping there, you should too!”

            Because I can’t force anyone else to join my boycott, and I really don’t see the difference between individuals publicizing their problems with the company and making the decision not to shop there for those publicized reasons, which you say is OK, and labelling that conduct a “boycott,” which you say is bad.

            • You use power and threats to rob others of a legitimate choice. It is up to the law to stop illegal company activity, and legitimate open, marketplace forces to stop allegedly unethical ones. Boycotts distort the market forces, and democracy.

              Too many people sign petitions and join boycotts just to go along with the mob. The method invites abuse.

              • I don’t disagree with you that the method invites abuse, or that some people join in because the mob seems to be right- but I don’t see where the line is. One person protesting a policy and withholding business is clearly a perfectly accetable market force. If he tells his best friend and the friend is likewise outraged and protests and whithholds business, it’s still the friend making that decision for himself.

                I don’t know how you differentiate between the legitimate market force of individuals withholding their money and protesting a business practice, and the illegitimacy of a “boycott” other than the label.

                • Really? “Organized” is your clue. People join boycotts because of who asks them as much as or more than because they care about the issue. That makes them excessive and unfair.

                  • So if I were to say “I’m not going to shop at Wal-Mart any more and I wish you’d join me” it’s OK, but if someone sufficiently famous says it then it’s not OK? Or is there some magic number of people that shouldn’t all agree on the idea? Or does it become unethical when some group publicizes it to its members and a bunch of them also agree?

                    You seem to have this concept that a “boycott” is some monolithic organized thing, but then you say that natural market forces are OK. So I’ll ask again, what’s the difference between an “organized boycott” and a bunch of individuals deciding to withhold money from a company?Those individuals are going to get attention, they’re going to talk about what they’re doing, and others may become convinced by their actions. You’re talking about a distinction without a difference when you say that “organized boycotts” are somehow wrong but marked forces are OK.

                    • There IS a distinction.

                      I don’t know how much more self-evident “organized” market behavior is compared to “free” market behavior…

                      The only quibble you’ve raised is how big a boycott is, but rating unethical behavior based on it’s scale sounds a lot like consequentialism or at least the “It’s not the worst thing” rationalization.

                    • Everyone who participates in a boycott has come to the free decision to do so. Using the word “organized” is just a scare word tactic. Pretending that the threat of a boycott is not a factor businesses deal with in a functioning free market is shoving yoru head in the sand to find a reason to claim that the tactic you don’t like is an absolute wrong, rather than just distasteful to you personally.

            • I think where Jack is getting hung up on, and I apologize if I’m wrong. But I think the difference in his treatment is scale. It’s OK for an individual to vote with his dollar, complain to the manager in hopes of getting remedy, and tell his friends about the situation, but when you gather enough like-minded people together to do the same en masse, it becomes coercion. I just can’t make that distinction. Or maybe I’m hung up and missing some key element.

              I get that perhaps a majority of boycotts are ill informed, but that just makes the ill informed boycotts like the one we’re commenting on unethical, not the practise. It’s like news commentators or bloggers, the majority might have biases towards spectacular items, laziness, or political parties, but that doesn’t make them all biased.

              • I’m trying to recall a boycott that I thought was fair and ethical. There are some: boycotting companies that use slave labor or child labor in foreign countries, for example—then boycotts reach what the US laws do not. Political boycotts, like punishing Chick-Fil-A for an opinion rather than policy is unethical. The problem with the gay marriage issue is that it is a political issue that many view as human rights, which nudges it into gray area. However, as long as it is being addressed politically, it should be treated as a political issue that a citizen should be able to make up his or her own mind about without losing s paycheck or a job.

                • Animal rights people boycotting KFC for their chicken habitats? I don’t agree with them, but that’s not a requirement for it to be ethical.

                  If someone is making statements that are obviously homophobic, it’s not a stretch to infer that there’s a glass ceiling for people who are openly gay. I might have misunderstood your point, but if you’re trying to say that because the acts the companies have taken are political, and being legislated on, we can’t apply ethics, I reject your statement. If someone is doing something unethical, and they lose their job, they shouldn’t be surprised, right?

                  I don’t care whether the issue is political, personal, or completely unfounded: If Ms. Smith wants to try to organize a boycott against Safeway because her cucumber was wilty, it is not unethical for her to do so unless she lies about the reason she is attempting the boycott. She is an idiot, and people won’t credit her boycott, but it isn’t unethical.

                  • Inflicting economic harm on a business is not like throwing a spitball. I don’t see how you can excuse a punitive and coercive measure (persuasion, when not used as a euphemism for coercion as in “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse”, is very different) so blithely. So Ms Smith get to wreck a business if her contacts and resources are sufficiently strong, out of vengeance, retribution, pure nastiness and a warped sense of justice, and that’s not unethical to you?

                    Rethink that, please.

                    • I can’t think of an example of a boycott that actually wrecked a business. I think you give their ability to destroy far too much credit. Properly used, a boycott is a market force that brings companies more in line with their consumers needs. If Ms. Smith actually gathered enough support, maybe Safeway would look at sourcing fresher produce. More likely, people would laugh at her and she’d go home after an hour. People that join the boycott should agree with the boycott, and if they do, organized or not, there is an issue at hand, and a decision the company has to make.

                    • Consequentialism. Their intent is to either wreck the business, or use threats to bend another to do their bidding. Unethical. The fact that it may not work is irrelevant to ethics. People who organize boycotts, like people who ask you to sign petitions, couldn’t care less what their allies believe or understand.

                    • I’m thinking that perhaps we’re thinking about boycotting as different things. I don’t think the goal of all boycotts are to destroy a companies or people. This might be a no true Scotsman type of argument, but I think an ethical boycott would be about policies in that company, as opposed to beliefs of individuals inside the company. I’m not saying all boycotts are ethical, I’m saying they’re not inherently unethical. And you even gave examples agreeing with me earlier.

                      Cause them financial harm…. Sure. But, this is where we get back to the idea of scale. Voting with your dollar by shopping elsewhere does an amount of financial harm. So the difference between an organized boycott and an individual voting with their dollar is…. That in a boycott, there’s enough people involved where a company might actually feel the sting of their customer’s displeasure, as opposed to just ignoring them.

                    • Of course people can participate in boycotts for unethical reasons, that doesn’t make the concept itself unethical. Wars are frequently started for unethical reasons, and even wars that begin for good reasons may be continued unethically, fought in by unethical individuals for terrible reasons, or lead to unethical acts. Should that, then, mean that no war is just?

                    • Not a bad comparison! War and boycotts are both force, both designed to make someone or something do what they don’t want to. It’s not a bad comparison, and wars are ethics-free activities. They exist where no ethical means will work. War is a an illustration of the ethics incompleteness theorem, extreme ends justifies the means utilitarianism that is only justified when it can’t be avoided without worse consequences.

                      Unilateral war can never be justified ethically. War as self-defense or to rescue innocents, or to discourage a predator, can be justified. Are there boycotts that are the only way to achieve necessary ends? In ethics, doing the minimum harm is important, as well as respecting the autonomy of all parties.

                  • My point was, though, that KFC doesn’t have chicken habitats. They buy chicken parts in bulk from the same company that supplies Taco Bell and Olive Garden (I checked), so what is ‘KFC tortures chickens’ but a huge lie? Throwing paint on SUVs (which have emission standards that all vehicles past a certain date of manufacture are in line with) is another kind of dishonesty, when city buses, dump trucks and ships pollute far more. We’re falsely led to believe that if we just rid the world of SUVs we’ll be A-Ok. A good bit of this is about money and hurting those that have it, like burning luxury housing and scratching or throwing paint on big cars. The rest seems to be attention-seeking. I’ll believe PETA is serious when they picket outside the chicken suppliers’ offices. It won’t get them on the news, though, would it?

                • The problem with the gay marriage issue is that it is a political issue that many view as human rights, which nudges it into gray area.

                  Then people should know what a human right is. One essential feature of a human right that it is deeply rooted in our nation’s history and tradition. Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702 at 710-719 (1997) But no such history and tradition supports this asserted right- not any writing from the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Americasn Revolution, or even the American Civil War. Indeed, the mere novelty of the claim is sufficient to refute it.

              • It seems like he has a hang-up about the word “boycott.” There’s one person voting with his dollar, and then there’s this big scary monolithic mob-justice “boycott” that is somehow organized and bad, and just this hazy kind of area between the two, from what I can tell. There’s no way to tell the difference in that in-between area, which leaves it open for the call to be made on the basis of “this one seems fair, so it’s a market force. That one seems to be too popular with uninformed people and isn’t really fair, so it’s an unethical boycott.”

        • I am appreciating both your and Jack’s comments here. Your dialogue reminded me of the incident at a gas station when one of the Negro League baseball teams stopped to fill the tank on their team bus. (The story was told by someone who was on that team.)

          One of the team members was future major leaguer Jackie Robinson. Some of the team needed to use the men’s room. The white gas station owner initially refused to let the men use the men’s room, until Jackie led the way by saying, essentially, “Okay, let’s not buy any gas here; let’s go down the road and get gas someplace else.” The bus fill-up was probably the biggest single sale of gas that station might see all that day. So the owner capitulated, and grudgingly allowed the team to use the men’s room.

          I think what Jackie did there was one ethical, effective threat of a “spot boycott.” Yes, it was organized and coercive. But the threat was nevertheless ethical, and so would have been the refusal to buy gas, had the situation come to that.

          • I disagree. It wasn’t coercive, it was persuasive. It was of the form “Do this for us, and we will do this for you” rather than “Do this for us, or else we will do this to you” Declining to buy gas there wasn’t harmful to the owner, no matter how much he wanted that purchase, unless you also count just driving by because they didn’t need to refill in the first place as harmful. Coercion, by definition, requires the use of force or threats. There may be edge cases, but that one is pretty clean. There are acts of persuasion I find unethical.

            That’s generally how I feel about boycotts, although those get a little grayer depending on how they get other people to also refrain.

            • See, I think you’re arguing semantics. Persuade and coerce. One sounds more insidious than the other, but they both involve a conversation where one side tries to get the other to do something.

              “I am not going to do business with you because I disagree with your morals, and I’m going to educate other people in the hopes they do the same, unless you publicly change your mind” Is either persuasion or coercion, but is not unethical in my mind. The boycottee has an option: They want the boycotters money, so they concede, or they stick to their morals, understanding that they will lose the boycotters business.

              I posit that a boycott, done properly is absolutely a market force. They only become unethical when the people organizing the boycott are dishonest, or uninformed.

              • Why does everyone act like semantics are unimportant? Words are what we use to communicate. If you use a word that means something other than what you intend, you communicate the wrong idea. Your intentions don’t matter, only the words actually used.

                Lest anyone get the wrong impression, I’m not pretending that I never use the wrong word although I’m much better writing than speaking, but I’d like to have it pointed out when I do. I think using words carelessly is corrosive to social harmony because not everyone will pick up on what the speaker intended.

                • Semantics aren’t important. When there isn’t a difference in meaning or outcome between two terms, but you try to discredit an argument by arguing semantics, you are doing nothing but muddying the water, and that isn’t useful. The difference between “persuade” and “coerce” doesn’t change the meaning. And it definately isn’t “corrosive to social harminy”.

                    • Jack, I think you made the point I was meaning to make with Phlinn. The white gas station owner was *coerced* to let the black men use the restroom, against the owner’s preference as he initially indicated. But only that owner knows whether he was *persuaded* to agree that letting the black men use the restroom was the right thing to do – or, whether the owner was allowing the restroom to be used despite his allowing it remaining in conflict with the owner’s concept of right and wrong. All we can see from the outside looking in is, for that moment, that sale of gas became more important to the owner than the racial segregation.

                  • You may want to look up the definition of semantics. If there is a difference in semantics, there is a difference in meaning. Because that’s what semantics is about. Sometimes, the differences between words don’t affect much or aren’t actually well defined. Persuasion and coercion is NOT one of those cases, as Jack noted in his response.

  11. There is one other techniciality regarding Proposition 8. Mozilla was not a party to Perry v. Schwarzenegger. As such, it is not bound by the court’s judgment. Federal district court decisions are only binding on the parties of the litigation, and has no precedetial effect on other courts. See Gasperini v. Center for Humanities, Inc., 518 U.S. 415, 430 n.10 (1996). , Starbuck v. City and County of San Francisco (9th Cir. 1977) 556 F.2d 450, 457, fn. 13, Hart v. Massanari, 266 F.3d 1155, 1171 (9th Cir. 2001) , Bank of Marin v. England, 352 F.2d 186, 189 n.1 (9th Cir. 1965), Martin v. Wilks, 490 U.S. 775 (1989), Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 395 U.S. 100, 110 (1969). See also United States v. Windsor, dis. op. of Scalia, J., at 5, No. 23-307 (2013) (noting that district court rulings have no precedential effectg on other courts)

  12. To your list of factual errors in OkCupid’s post, Jack, here’s another one: the 8% figure they cite. Gay rights advocates used to regularly claim, and still do when they think they won’t get called on it, that the percentage of the population that is gay was 10%. That has been refuted often, at length, and convincingly enough that is has been replaced by the 8% figure. The current best estimate by scholars is between 3% and 5%, depending on how one defines gay and/or lesbian.

    • To be fair, OKCupid wouldn’t be referring to the number of homo/bisexuals in the population, they’d be referring to how many of their users connected with each other in same-sex relationships. Having created and cancelled dating profiles before, I can tell you they usually ask you “Why are you leaving?” and “I found a partner” is a choice, along with the sub-question of whether you found that partner through the site or not. So if the site is being honest at all, they are basing the 8% figure on some metric of how many of their users entered into relationships through the web site, although the number would no doubt be subject to error (hence “roughly” 8%)

  13. I should probably add that Mozilla is a non-profit. It’s kind of stupid to boycott a non-profit based on the views of its CEO.

  14. Just thought you might like to know, Eich did in fact resign, and the commentary on the articles setting forth that is raining down hatred on him as someone who deserved it, a hater, etc., and the rather chilling statement that “equal rights is not a debate, you either support it or you’re an ignorant bigot,”

    • The way the media and legal elites back the agenda of the gay rights movement, though, such bullying is not only approved, it is required in the name of tolerance.

        • This is my prediction on how it will go: Humanity’s modern way of life will be disrupted suddenly, globally and severely by a catastrophe of nature – a Coronal Mass Ejection, or some other unprecedented “space-weather” or geological phenomenon like a supervolcano or tsunami swarm. In the ensuing global chaos, those groups most skilled, or otherwise adept, in “re-constituting forces” will include the sexual minorities in the more highly developed, pre-catastrophe technocracies, owing to their well-developed and proven effective social and political organizing. Their inherent advantages in seizing power and control within the remnants of societies will go to their heads. “Otherly” forces among the remnants will revolt and overpower the ruling minorities, with resultant deeply (and almost certainly, heavy-handedly) conditioned revulsion to permitting “those kinds” from “ever” regaining dominance. (But of course, history always repeats.)

          Well, I think that is a realistic prediction, at least.

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