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Political Views

I just read a couple of messages about people shooting down a post about one community member's political views on Planet Mozilla.

I'm shocked once again how everything not conforming to "elite" far-left-wing views is being seen as rude, backwards, and unacceptable.

This is one reason why I post less and less in public at all about my personal views, as due to often not conforming with what is seen as being "cool" and "hype" in the left-wing standards apparently being in place widely both in the country I live in and the communities I tend to be part of online, I tend to get bombarded with negative statements every time I open my mouth about anything except my work.

Being open is to a large degree about accepting that other people have different views, even on controversial topics, tolerating their views, and requiring other people to change those to be able to work in the same community with them.
Unfortunately, it's is often those who insist most to call themselves "open" who seem to not be able to accept that.

That's what I find most sad about this discussion. Unfortunately it also means that people will not learn a lot about my personality on this blog - contrary to Gerv I don't have the stamina to be shot down on every controversial view I might take here (and note that I'll not even take a stand on either side of the topic he's writing about - I'll claim I know too little about the specific case to make any determination).

Entry written by KaiRo and posted on March 7th, 2012 15:52 | Tags: Planet, Politics | 14 comments | TrackBack


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Joshua Cranmer

I remember back during the 2008 presidential election when I wrote a blog post about why I wasn't happy with Obama being elected. I got some complaints about why it had been posted to planet... despite there being, IIRC, no fewer than three posts earlier that were pro-Obama without quite the vitriol.

Considering that planet.mozilla.org is a veritable firehose of information, how hard is it for people jut to ignore the posts they don't want to read? I can understand people objecting to political posts, but if you're going to do so, be equal-opportunity and object to the ones you agree with as well.
2012-03-07 16:25


What if a community member posted something horribly racist or anti-Semitic? What if they used their blog to advocate for a legal ban on interracial marriages?

For many people, what was posted was on exactly that level.
2012-03-07 17:53

Al Billings

No one is censoring anyone. We're asking that homophobic remarks denigrating members of the community be sent to Planet. People can post whatever they like on their blogs. That doesn't mean that their every opinion belongs on Planet.

Your "left wing" comment is a smokescreen.
2012-03-07 19:20



starwed, Al:
IMHO, people are entitled to even have those views and express them. Discuss those with them in public, where, it belongs. Don't force them to go underground with those views and make secretive groups filled with hatred because they fell they can't talk about their views in public. The only way to convince people to let go of hatred is to show and discuss it in the public.
Censoring their views from the public is just as racist as you claim those people to be.
2012-03-07 19:50


The issue I take with the post is not that it expresses homophobic views. (So far I have yet to see anything at all convincing me that there are reasons for that post other than homophobia.)

While I disagree with someone being homophobic, it's their right to be a homophobe, as it is their right to be racist or sexist, plenty of people on the internet are. That generally doesn't piss me off.

What pisses me off is the fact that he posted something asking for political action against gays and lesbians.

I'm all for free expression, it's the call to action I oppose. Otherwise I'd just write off Gerv as another nut on the internet.
2012-03-07 22:20

Ricardo Palomares

I've just browsed the first four or so comments to Gerv's post and his own replies, but I can't see the aggressive tone you seem to describe Gerv would have suffered.

I don't have a problem with people posting about his religious or political ideas on the Internet, but I firmly think that Planet Mozilla is not a place for it, and it doesn't matter if the post talks about forbidding marriage for homosexuals or encumbering Obama. Planet Mozilla is for technology and the open web, not for other topics. Gerv shouldn't have labeled his post to be fed by the planet.

And to be consistent with the previous paragraph, I won't comment here about the ideas expressed by Gerv, just in case someone reads this comment through Planet Mozilla. :-)
2012-03-07 23:11


@Al Billings
Those opinions were not homophobic, that is the point. Gerv wasn't denying homosexual their civil or human rights.

We must distinguish marriage as a legal institution providing couples with various rights and privileges, from marriage as a cultural construct and a symbolic ritual.

The UK already has the former available to gay couples - it's called civil partnership. As far as I can see, Gerv isn't opposing it at all; he just says its name is orthogonal to the issue of equality and it doesn't have to be called marriage. And he is right, of course. It doesn't matter from the civil rights standpoint if the UK has separate institutions for gay and straight couples, as long as they are functionally equivalent. Equality doesn't have to mean sameness.

Therefore, we should look at marriage as nothing else than a cultural and/or religious ritual. How we define it is purely a matter of tradition, with no bearing on equality or civil rights. It is an open question and I can sympathize with arguments from both sides.

Historically, the custom of marriage has been defined as a union of a man and a woman - that's just what it is, period. Interestingly, it isn't necessarily a product of historical discrimination of homosexuals, as even in societies where homosexuality was completely accepted, like ancient Rome, marriage was exclusive to heterosexual couples. Now, we may of course choose to redefine the term and make it more general. However, by doing so we would lose some of its connotations, which involve celebrating the unique relationship between a man and a woman, as well as procreation. I understand why many people are attached to this symbolism. Opposing the change is an intellectually defensible position which can be held by a perfectly tolerant person, religious or not. I think it is deeply unfair to call such people homophobic.

I find it disappointing to see so many smart people in the community having such a black-and-white take on what's an extremely nuanced topic, basically browbeating anyone who doesn't share their view by lumping them in as bigots.

So yeah, I agree with KaiRo that many left-wingers have perfected the paradoxical art of acting intolerant under the pretense of defending tolerance.
2012-03-07 23:37


Personally, I did not find Gerv's post offensive, (I am gay) however I did find it in appropriate for planet. Gerv appeared to be under the impression that there was no way to self filter planet posts.
All I ask of planet posters, is that you self improve planets signal to noise ratio. I follow plenty of political blogs, I don't need to read them on planet.
2012-03-08 00:32



Planet is about people, not about topics or work. I find it inappropriate that a number of people do not federate their whole personal blog to Planet Mozilla. There might be a place for a work-only planet, but I don't want to read it. I want to read about the people in our community, with the whole spectrum of their thoughts, emotions, and activities, uncensored and unfiltered. If you want something else, you probably don't want Planet Mozilla, but some other collection of posts. Maybe http://planet.mozilla.org/projects/ instead?
2012-03-08 12:48

Mysterious Andy

from US

From a "leftist"
@ancestor (and by extension @Gervase Markham):

I recognize the internal consistency of your argument against gay marriage; I used to make the same argument. It took me years to get past what amounted to knee-jerk homophobia brought on by a lifetime of religious indoctrination.

Try this: Make the same argument, but substitute "bi-racial" for "homosexual". Roll that around a bit and see how it feels. It's the same language used to defend segregation and "anti-miscegenation" laws in the US until about a generation ago.

It boils down to claiming "separate but equal" is good enough. It isn't.

As I see it, unless you are willing to declare only English Christians should be allowed to marry people (i.e. give the CoE a monopoly on "marriage" in the UK), you're arguing inconsistently. If Hindus, atheists, and Jedi can get married, you've already acknowledged that people with multiple gods, no gods, and professing a belief in a Sci-Fi religion are just as entitled to "marriage" as Christians.

Explain how gays (whom several religions are more than willing to wed) differ.

Quoting you: "So yeah, I agree with KaiRo that many left-wingers have perfected the paradoxical art of acting intolerant under the pretense of defending tolerance."

Your argument boils down to "I don't want people telling me I can't tell them what they can and can't do." The GOP has been using that same reasoning to play the victim for years, and it's no less disingenuous today than it was when the Moral Majority first tried it on for size.

I am very tolerant of beliefs, opinions, prejudices, etc., and everyone's rights to express them. I have no such tolerance for acts of oppression, though, no matter how they are couched in terms of "defending cultural norms" or "religious freedom".

I don't care what your god told you; you don't get to force me to live by its rules. This is true for all variations of "you", "me", and "god".


Quoting you this time: "I'm shocked once again how everything not conforming to 'elite' far-left-wing views is being seen as rude, backwards, and unacceptable."

I'm center-right by most European standards, but if you want to label me a far-left-wing elitist because I recognize the inherent equality of all people, that's fine. As I said, I'm big on freedom of speech.

Call me a leftist all you like. I'm still right.
2012-03-08 22:36

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