Thomas Wictor

The timing should work out perfectly

The timing should work out perfectly

Dad was terrified of dying. To keep from thinking about it, he did a lot of incomprehensibly destructive things. In some cases Dad’s impact has waned with the passage of time. I’ll get to some of those in a minute. But not only am I not afraid of dying, the timing should work out perfectly. I’ll be ashes before what’s taking root in our country bears full fruit.

For all of you cheering it on? Woe to your children. Didn’t think of that, did you? Oh, well.

Today the CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, resigned because people were angry that he’d donated $1000 to an anti-gay marriage proposition in 2008. Whether you support or oppose gay marriage, here’s what happened: The Internal Revenue Service leaked the information about Eich’s donation to the Human Rights Campaign.

So, the government broke a federal law in the name of politics. Is that the sort of country you want? A banana republic, where the rule of law is nonexistent? Those of you celebrating Eich’s resignation: Do you want the government illegally leaking information about people you support? Would that be fine with you too?

There are plenty of gays who found today’s developments horrific. Andrew Sullivan is one.

Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us.

A Mozilla tweet illustrates the total lack of self-awareness that drove the furor over Eich.

No one should be persecuted for the beliefs they hold, no matter what they are, but they’ll be driven from their job at Mozilla.

Let’s pretend that the CEO of Mozilla had donated to a pro-gay marriage proposition, and the IRS leaked that information to some Baptist group. Then Baptists all over the country began demanding the CEO’s resignation, which they got. And then Mozilla piously said they believed that no one should be persecuted for their beliefs.

Imagine the global firestorm.

Well, imagine no longer, because someday the shoe will be on the other foot. When the government no longer follows the law, anything can happen. The people you oppose will someday be in power again, and they’ll do all the same things to you that you’re now cheering. When it happens, I don’t want to hear a single peep of complaint. Those who work very hard to achieve something should get it. You want a lawless government and mob rule? By all means you should have it.

Another reason I’m looking forward to my dirt nap is because today a Supreme Court Justice said the most nightmarish thing I’ve ever heard, and three other Justices agreed with him. In his dissent to the plurality opinion in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission—a case about whether or not political donations are to be considered free speech—Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the following.

Chief Justice Hughes reiterated the same idea shortly thereafter: “A fundamental principle of our constitutional system” is the “maintenance of the opportunity for free political discussion to the end that government may be responsive to the will of the people.” In Citizens United, the Court stated that “[s]peech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people.”

The Framers had good reason to emphasize this same connection between political speech and governmental action. An influential 18th-century continental philosopher [Jean-Jacques Rousseau] had argued that in a representative democracy, the people lose control of their representatives between elections, during which interim periods they were “in chains.”

The Framers responded to this criticism both by requiring frequent elections to federal office, and by enacting a First Amendment that would facilitate a “chain of communication between the people, and those, to whom they have committed the exercise of the powers of government.” This “chain” would establish the necessary “communication of interests and sympathy of sentiments” between the people and their representatives, so that public opinion could be channeled into effective governmental action…

Accordingly, the First Amendment advances not only the individual’s right to engage in political speech, but also the public’s interest in preserving a democratic order in which collective speech matters.

What he’s saying is that political speech should be protected only when it benefits “the public” and “the people” and results in “effective governmental action.”

Good luck, all you kids in your teens. I’m glad I’m not in your shoes. Four out of nine Supreme Court Justices agreed that someone (i.e. the government) needs to determine which political speech is to be protected. For the good of society. At the risk of using the fallacious debating technique of Reductio ad Hitlerum, I’ll point out how Point 24 of the Nazi Party’s political platform ends.


Things may not turn out as badly as I think. For you, I mean. I won’t live long enough to see the lights go out all over the country. And even if the lights go out, they may come back on. Dad spent the last three years of his life butchering all the plants on his property and mine. He did it to distract himself from the knowledge that he had cancer. Many of his victims are improving. This rosebush is back from the dead.

The lemon tree still has stumps where there used to be branches.

The grapevine has fully restored itself, which is incredible considering that one afternoon Dad removed every single leaf with shears.

The orange tree is in bad shape. Dad cut off so many of its branches that the trunk got sunburned.

The guava trees still haven’t recovered from their brutal mutilation. Each had almost two-thirds of its branches removed.

And the rosebush in my yard is still stumpy.

All of these plants are over a hundred years old. Instead of getting treatment for his cancer, Dad chopped up centenarian foliage. His denial was that of a kindergartener. Now he’s dead, while the trees and bushes live on.

There’s a cancer in our culture. It’s called “collectivism.” Both the right and the left are guilty of trying to collectivize us.

Fuck them all. I’ll resist it for the rest of my life. I hope the young people out there show the resilience of the ancient plants that my father tried to destroy in his refusal to face reality. People my age and older have made a dog’s lunch out of things.

But recovery is possible. Look at all that stubborn greenery!

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