If you’re reading this on Firefox, you can rest assured that your custom is not going towards any hateful, disgusting, evil people who might disagree with you on something.

Not now that Mozilla boss Brendan Eich has been forced to quit for supporting Proposition 8, the Californian bill opposing gay marriage. According to the BBC:

‘Mozilla’s executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker announced the decision in a blog post.

“Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it,” she wrote.

“We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.

“We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.’

I find her words chilling. Eich did not, as far as I can find and I’m willing to be proved wrong, say anything inflammatory or hateful, he merely disagreed with some people on an issue, one that did not even exist as an idea before the millennium. It was ‘controversial’ only in the sense that the media-Left use the word, to mean ‘ideas we disagree with and therefore deem beyond the pale’ (likewise ‘divisive’, another weasel word employed to dull the mind into submission).

One of the most socially beneficial things about capitalism has always been its ability to reduce intolerance and bigotry by enabling people to trade with people unlike them. Voltaire famously wrote of the London Stock Exchange that:

‘Here Jew, Mohammedan and Christian deal with each other as though they were all of the same faith, and only apply the word infidel to people who go bankrupt. Here the Presbyterian trusts the Anabaptist and the Anglican accepts a promise from the Quaker.’

It is because of its socially liberalising effect that Fascists hate capitalism. Of course campaigners in the past have used financial muscle to affect social change; Quakers and other Christian radicals refused to eat sugar while that product was made on the back of slaves.

But those boycotts were aimed at removing a social evil; they were not designed to impoverish people with whom they disagreed. If we all stopped trading with people we didn’t agree with, the consequences would be catastrophic.

The Mozilla ‘controversy’ is an example of the sexual revolution reaching revolution’s ugly stage; equality campaigners have torn down the Bastille of homophobia only to build Bastilles of their own.

In Britain there have already been people suspended from their jobs for opposing gay marriage, including a man in Trafford who was thankfully supported by the ever-consistent Peter Tatchell. Then there was the incident in which police held a Christian preacher for 15 hours without food or water after he was reported by a pair of boys. Some might find the idea of two males kissing offensive; some might find the preacher’s views offensive; what offends me is how little respect these adolescents have for our hard-won rights to speak our mind, and that they’re backed by the law. They sound like those horrible little kids the Soviets indoctrinated into grassing on their parents for being insufficiently enthusiastic about socialism.

And then there was last week’s Question Time, in which poor Caroline Farrow, a Catholic blogger from Brighton, was booed and jeered for daring to have a different opinion, amid a very hostile atmosphere. There are good arguments for and against gay marriage, but the standard and tone of debate on that programme was so cretinous my immediate thought was ‘no wonder Athens only managed 60 years’.

People in Britain and America are gaining a rather novel positive right, one that lots of people feel proud of, while losing a far, far more important negative right – the freedom to express their opinion without fear of arrest or harassment.

Tags: America, Equality, Freedom of speech, Gay Marriage, Internet, Mozilla, Peter Tatchell, Technology