In a free society, people can unite in their business ventures even though they might be far apart in how they view the world generally. Startup culture thirty years ago had a decidedly American flavor. Today, it does not because the world is big and diverse and because entrepreneurs today who do startups come from all sorts of cultures and backgrounds. Surely, those who come from such divergent backgrounds hold differing political and religious views. Some are conservative, others liberal, still others apolitical. Some are theists, others atheists. The variations are many but one thing is certain: not all people think alike on political, religious, or social topics. These are issues that inherently will divide.
What happens, then, when people attempt to set political, social, or religious tests as criteria for who can hold important positions in a business organization? Well, it gets about as ugly as it can get, just as such tests proved ugly when used historically by, say, Christians to exclude Jews from holding important positions in society or to punish atheists for not holding to some prescribed creed.
One might say, "this is different" because we are not holding to an arbitrary creed but rather to fundamental principles that ought to govern all humanity. Well, that is precisely how those who sought to impose thought control in other eras rationalized their conduct. "Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party" is a question that destroyed many careers as the blacklists proliferated back in the 1950s. That was indeed a repulsive set of events by which many innocent persons were hurt and today our national conscience wishes it could take back the damage done to them.
So why is this any different? It is easy enough to whip oneself up into a lather over Ms. Rice’s policies if one disagrees with them but what about the half of America (or whatever significant percentage) that does not. And why should this be relevant to board service?
Politics, religion, and social worldviews divide people and have no place as limiting tests in a business environment. Scolding and finger-wagging was bad enough coming from a first-grade teacher trying to promote sanctimonious values back in the 1950s. Do we really want a counterpart agenda now setting rules for who can be a founder, who can be an investor, who can be a director, who can be a CEO, or who can otherwise take a prominent role in the startup world? The answer should be an emphatic no.
Principle is more important here than a particular outcome. What happens with Ms. Rice is not the issue here. What matters is upholding the abiding principle (precious in a free society) that people can hold divergent views on such topics as politics, religion, and society without being punished for their views in a business context. People can and ought to be able to unite to form great companies without having to compare notes on how they voted in the last election or some similar matter having nothing whatever to do with whether someone can add value to the venture. This is central to startup culture. Let us not lose sight of something so basic.
I hope this extends to opposing the Obama administration, which has continued and extended war, torture, and the patriot act. If the tech community dumps anyone from any party who supports these policies, that's awesome.
Marissa Mayer at Yahoo, Mark Benoiff at SalesForce, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt at Google all gave large contributions to Obama, who extended the patriot act, defended bush torture, and maintains a 'kill list' that took the life of an american citizen without trial. None of them are getting this kind of outrage.
I would love it if they were! I'd love it if we held these tech leaders accountable for the horrendous policies their supported leaders have put in place. You can't say you value your users' privacy and then give money to candidates who don't share that value, unless you say "but these other policies that he supports matter more to me" - and then fine, give us a list of what you value more than protecting my privacy. Show me where I fall on this list of yours. A president who decides he supports gave marriage when it's poitically convient is not as important to me as a president who insists on defending my privacy.
So far this looks to be partisan. I hope it isn't. To be honest, I miss having GWB as a president, because then the smart people were all outraged at the horrible stuff the president was doing. Now the president is still doing the same horrible stuff, plus some new stuff, but the smart people aren't as upset anymore.
I have simplified my life, reduced my consumption, don't own a car, grow my own food, try to avoid using Wall Street whenever possible when I do make purchases. I'm trying to create a very local life, this has allowed me to believe I'm being consistent with my core values. Oh yeah, I'm much less political than I was 10 years ago.
A. a campaign donation
B. starting an unjust war that killed hundreds of thousands and destroyed a society
I agree people should oppose wrong-doing by both parties and not be partisan about it, but not all sins are the same and they do not all require the same response. I don't Obama and Bush are the same, unless the criteria is a binary has/not sinned (in which case all Presidents -- and you and I -- are the same).
I do agree that Obama has done many wrongs.
Of course it does. That's the logical conclusion. Why wouldn't it? There isn't any informed person in 2014 who is unable to realize Obama has been worse than Bush as far as torture and war go.
Please remind me how many wars did Obama start based on fake intelligence.
Obama may not be the president the world hoped he would be, but Bush is on a whole different league. If the US is much less secure today than it was before 9/11, you can thank Bush and his cronies (Rice included) for that. That situation also severely limits what your current president can do.
If you hate Bush, you need to hate Obama, or you're simply an unreasonable hypocrite. This isn't up for debate.
I hate neither. Bush was grossly incompetent. Spectacularly incompetent. Dangerously incompetent. Again, Obama is a huge disappointment, but I suspect he, under less grim circumstances, would have been a much better president than he is now. In so many ways, his hands are tied. A president - any president - is limited in his actions to what's legally and politically possible and that severely restricts his actions. Even with his hands tied, Obama is light years ahead of his predecessor.
He should do more, such as prosecuting the torturers. We will see if he releases the key information in the Senate report. But I wouldn't call him worse.
One battle at a time.
The type of blackballing practiced by this campaign is similar to the kind of blackballing that ousted Brendan Eich. It is also a slippery slope.
Slippery slopes are dangerous. At each step of the way, you can reason about your present decision and easily justify it. Add all the steps and the picture is suddenly not so pretty. That is where the parent comment author aimed its reasoning.
You can only reason about slippery slopes by taking the long view; seeing where the slope leads to. Your comment takes the short view.
The perpetrators of the Iraq war and the Patriot act have been able to avoid repercussions for their actions. I find this very distasteful because of my strong feelings about what these actions have done to my country. I believe it should've been obvious that the Iraq war and the Patriot act went very much against the core values of my country. I like to think I am taking the long view in that I'm hoping this reaction might influence similar decisions in the future and shape the values of this country in a way that is more consistent with where they were before the Bush administration. This can only happen if elected representatives believe there will be repercussions to making very disastrous, anti-American decisions.
This has contributed to my belief that our current political system has failed we the people, even though it is operating exactly as intended. I was fooled by Obama's first campaign but quickly realized he's no different. I don't know what the answer is but inaction is too boring. I'm trying to reduce the amount of money I send to Wall St believing that they are behind many of the gov's ills. I'm also trying to reduce general consumption as much as possible believing that the taxes we send and lobbying by corporations pumped into the federal government are also at fault. My goal is to see a drastically reduced Wall St and federal gov without blaming R or D.
I always upvote well written comments, regardless of my personal agreement with the view. I loathe this face of Hacker News I'm seeing today.
I'll upvote each and every 0 or -1 comment that is well written (as in: not a one liner, not a joke, presenting an opinion). It's my small effort towards the Hacker News I like, where quality of writing is valued instead of herd mentality.
I can't see your point. Which is natural, as you haven't explained it.
Is qualifying the present situation as a slippery slope central to my argument? What if the present situation is not a slippery slope. Is my argument false? It isn't:
One comment takes a long term analysis and tries to determine if we are in a slippery slope. The reply ignores the long term view and looks at the particular situation.
Looking at the particular, short term situation is ineffective for determining if we are in a slippery slope. (this sentence is the crux of my argument)
If you want to boycott any company that has politicians on their board, that's one thing. To boycott Dropbox because of Rice is absurd. She is an incredibly smart, talented, and connected person capable of doing a good job on their board.
I am boycotting Dropbox not because Rice is on the board, but because the board voted in favor of her joining. After this I simply don't trust any high ranking official at Dropbox to be the user of their products.
To me it just shows that Dropbox isn't as important and has easier replacements than the other companies we are talking about. It would be impressive to convince people to stop using something that doesn't have a good alternative. It just feels a little hypocritical to be gung ho I'm boycotting this company (that I maybe didn't use that much and has 7 easy replacements) but I'm doing it because I'm all about ethics and Condi is terrible.
And no, it's not hypocritical. The more boycotts and outrage at tech companies for ethical reasons, the better. Baby steps.
EDIT: Tbh, after thinking about it, I must clarify: No, not equally. Though I think nsa revelations will have some profound negative effects in the long term, starting a war on false premises is worse in my books.
Have you ever tried living without search engines? It's tough. Have you hosted your own email? It's a hassle and emails get lost constantly.
What if I want to boycott the phone companies? Should I quit using a cell phone?
That's really the point though. This only shows that Dropbox is easily replaceable, and the others aren't. It doesn't show that people suddenly become more principled.
For me, an anonymous person living in the Netherlands, it feels like these things happen whenever a republican president is elected. The world expects this, goes along with it, and personally I'm afraid of what will happen when the first republican president post-Obama is elected.
Giving dr Reece this much heat is unfair and missing Grellas' very important point: just like freedom of speech is very important to a free press, freedom of political beliefs are very important in a free market.
Hindsight is great and all, but sometimes whether or not a war is necessary can't be seen at the outset. If Saddam had a nuke (and believe me he was certainly trying to get one even if he didn't have one yet), everyone would have considered the Iraq war to be necessary and Bush wouldn't be universally hated. Also, I find it interesting how much sentiment has changed since 2001. After 9/11 everyone was scared, and everyone wanted to find the people responsible and anyone who helped them. 13 years later nobody seems to remember that. The Iraq war was overwhelmingly supported at the beginning. Apparently people just wanted it to be over in 2 weeks.
To me it seems that there is not clear pattern, the most I can get out of it "if there is a president, then we might go to war"
That's great. According to wikipedia, we've been in 117 wars in 238 years. I'd say you're pretty much right on there.
According to this  the US has been in ~117 wars (if I counted right) in 238 years.
It's not that I disagree with you in terms of the consequences of the actions of the Bush government, but boycotting Dropbox is like hitting a "Like" button on Facebook to "cure cancer".
I think it provides incentive to not be a part of the bizarrely hated Bush administration. Since he's unlikely to be president again, it won't have any effect at all.
The more it happens, the more powerful it will become. Imagine Google appointed James Clapper to their board. Don't you think there would be a response?
It would only be news if was consistent and applied to everyone. Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo, etc all supported Obama, and the things he's done with the NSA are at least as bad as what Rice did. Dropbox and Rice are getting fallout because of some bizarre hatred for the Bush administration and not some newfound resolve to be ethical at all times. Yes Google would have fallout for appointing Clapper. They wouldn't have any from Hilary Clinton or Joe Biden or Obama himself, which would be the real equivalents to Dropbox appointing Rice. FWIW, Google also can't appoint Keith Alexander.
I agree with you that all of these people should have their political records examined when they join corporations. Supporting this action is a starting point to have this become a more widely used tool.
This woman is directly and indirectly responsible for destroying hundreds of thousands of lives. That should somehow reflect on her resumé, shouldn't it?
Now she's being placed in charge of people's personal data. That's not just bad politics, it's bad ethics, and it's bad business.
Criminal punishments are imposed by courts. Things that may arguably be crimes can also have non-criminal consequences.
> Does a majority of users get to decide if you've done something wrong enough to disqualify you from a board?
No, usually that's the existing board that has that authority.
Users, individually, get to decide if the company has done something (including, inter alia, appointing you to the board) that makes them unwilling to do business with the company.
It means that a bunch of people who once thought they were somehow above or apart from politics find that they are not, and that the things that happen in the world constitute news of real interest to hackers. That's growth.
It's also misleading to talk about this as an issue of ideological purity. People talk about purity when the politics of the public figure in question are not extreme enough. The problem is that she helped start a war that killed rather a lot of people, none of whom are now able to lend their voices to the discussion, and those who wish to remember those people are obliged to speak on their behalf. You don't mind her politics, and that's cool. But no one's forcing me to pay Dropbox anything. So I won't anymore.
Exactly right. Everything we build has a political dimension. Every dollar or euro we spend is a vote.
We have the knowledge, we have the skills, we have the power. But as long as we compartmentalize life and work, others use our talents for evil.
The HN community has always held strong beliefs about political issues, but what did we do about it?
It's time to exercise our power and ensure our money and our skills are used for worthy purposes.
The problem is that "the HN community" doesn't have unified beliefs about nearly anything. There are people who are violently for and against: higher taxes, lower taxes, affirmative action, race-neutrality, abortion choice, life, fracking, nuclear power, wind power, birds, etc. If we declared that we couldn't work together despite differing views we'd quickly find that we're each an island. There is no single "hacker news" political view. We are comprised of atheists, baptists, catholics, jews, muslims, sikhs, janes, buddhists, and nearly every other group you can think of. Some are rich, poor, and in the middle. Old young and retired. You are free to use your money however you want, but it is not the "HN community" view.
We don't need unanimity. We don't have to agree on every issue.
But we do have incredible power, because we're the ones who know how to build things and make them work. Those who would do evil depend on us to do our part.
I won't participate. I will deploy my talents and money against wars of choice, the police state and institutional theft.
We may not all agree, but the HN community is disproportionately interested in these issues, and has the ability to do something about them.
Its the bane and blessing of all social groups. As they get larger, people get exposed to / interact with lots of viewpoints that might not have originally been part of the core. To some level this is good, as it broadens horizons and enhances discussion. At the extreme, it all becomes bland, vaguely funny photos of animals (mostly cats).
Its why community generated sub-forums / sub-reddits are kind of genius / kind of crap, as they let folks go off and sub-fracture as far as they want until the discussion matches whatever their internal worldview is. Of course, then nothing challenges their internal worldview.
Real Life Democracy forces you to work with your political opponents. Website Democracy forces everyone to think the same, or leave.
If that were true then arguments on the Internet would be rare.
For example, you've got Huffington Post vs Dredge Report. If you've ever visited the "conservative side" of the internet, you'd recognize it as totally night-and-day compared to the side that us (typically) liberal technocrats view.
If there's any irony, it's that she did more harm to American values than did Sadaam.
So is cancer.
HN really isn't the place for political discussions. It's even in the guidlines.
Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon
OK, yeah, they're fun in a way; and I've made the mistake of participating in a few myself (largely NSA stuff). But the thing is, there are plenty of other forums for discussing politics. There's no real reason for discussing politics here unless it has a specifically technical aspect to it.
All this political talk has poisoned Hacker News for me. It has been a constant onslaught. Instead of a focus on building cool stuff, Hacker News is becoming a location for internet activism.
Waaait a minute.. Now I get it. These sly HN activists are forcing you to go into political threads, read them and participate in the discussion and you don't have time left for reading about cool stuff. Damn these poisonous activists!
Or maybe more to the point, those different front-pages attract a different category of people who stick around and become regulars. In either case, you get "scope drift".
Honestly, what this reminds me of is when Slashdot took a pronounced turn towards a more openly political "flavor" and developed a much stronger leftist bias and became what people were calling "SlashKos".
Can't you folks that want to talk politics just go somewhere else? There are tons of sites on the internet for that kind of discussion. Don't wreck one of the few that's good for tech and startups.
Don't get me wrong... the NSA story is absolutely important and the overall issue is something I'm passionate about. My question now (and should have been before) is "is this a good topic for HN"?
Edit: you piqued my curiosity, so I went back through my submissions for the past year or so. And yes, I did submit a few Snowden/NSA stories (I count around 10-12 depending on what you include as "Snowden/NSA related"), and some of those I would look back and say "Nah, not worthy". But by the same token, I think most people who bothered to go through my history would say that a small percentage of my submission are political or clearly off-topic.
Heck, the only Knuth related thing to hit Hacker News front page in months is only based on some political plea he sent to Condoleezza Rice.
It's way too easy to argue about politics on the net without any real effect--too fun, too easy, and too useless.
I do, and I like lobste.rs, but it's a little bit of a catch-22. Lobste.rs is more "ideologically pure" because the userbase is smaller, but that smaller userbase also means there is a lot less discussion going on at any given time. But I think we're clearly starting to see aspects of the "Eternal September" effect here, due to the user growth over the years. So what can ya do? sigh
It's way to easy to argue about politics on the net without any real effect--too fun, too easy, and too useless.
So very true. :-(
An article on some sort of political theory, on some philosophy of governance, etc. can lead to useful discussion. Having more systems articles on politics is something I wouldn't mind seeing on HN at all.
But, most articles posted (I believe--haven't run a report on it) do not seem to lend themselves to that sort of thoughtful analysis.
No, but it's pretty much bound to wind up that way. The effort to put forth a well-considered, nuanced, reasoned point of view is an order of magnitude more than that required for a snarky one-liner about "dude, like, the US is, like, totally not a democracy and stuff". Which means that the latter out-competes the former.
This particular pattern has been growing over the last decade or two. The politics in question are growing more extreme and the required level of political correctness demanded is also getting more extreme. One exception does not disprove the pattern.
I think it's one of the side-effects of living in a society where so much information is available. In the past, we could know the politics of people in our immediate surroundings, but we also had to take our relationship into account. We might be acquainted with politics on a larger scale, but the people behind it were much more distant.
Now, we can be exposed to any and every political viewpoint out there, frequently whether we were looking for it or not. The kinds of politics we can be exposed to aren't just local and we're surrounded by a sea of strangers, all clamoring for our attention.
The natural reaction is to filter out the things we don't agree with and with so much political noise, we have to do it vehemently, just adding more noise. Or we can take another route, which is just to let someone else do the thinking for us, and there are people all too willing to step into that role.
Even though I lean left, I don't think Eich was the wrong choice for CEO. His religious beliefs didn't really have much to do with the job. I could probably work for the guy and disagree with him all the same, but it wouldn't matter - that would not be the nature of our work together.
Dr. Rice is another matter entirely. Her entire legacy under the Bush administration disgusts me. I would gladly chauffeur her to the doors of the World Court for her involvement in what I thoroughly believe are war crimes. Furthermore, her beliefs on privacy and security being subservient to the needs of the state are almost equally as disgusting to me.
I really hope Dropbox will reconsider adding her. I'm sure they can find someone else to fill their needs to work with foreign governments who is far less engaged with the state apparatus destroying our personal liberties.
It started with conservative christians. Now that the most undesirable element is gone, the purges have expanded to anybody who isn't as extreme as the loudest member. As time goes on, the required politics have gotten more and more extreme. There's no evidence of this trend slowing down or stopping.
Unless the views that "unite" them are repulsive. If Rice's viewpoints were the polar opposite and we were all jumping on the bandwagon to boycott dropbox because they didn't support torture enough, would that be "growth"?
Of course not.
You don't like Rice's views on this issue, and want to convince people-- including the HN community-- that she was wrong on this issue, and that her views on other issues (warantless wiretaps, etc.) are dangerous for a business like dropbox. Moreover, you don't want to support dropbox now that Rice is a board member. Fine. But to claim that just because we all (or at least most of us) disagree with her views, that in and of itself means that we're "growing" as a community is genuinely dangerous-- because at some point, most of us are going to be wrong about something, and arguing on ideological merit is going to be the only thing that can "save" us. Simply saying that "we all agree, and that's growth" will just ensure that we're all wrong forever.
Everything you've so passionately stated with such deep concern can be summarized as, "Let's not persecute people in the startup world for their political beliefs."
I would agree with that statement, however it is entirely irrelevant in this case-- the first three items in that article were entirely non-political. Inciting a war on false pretenses, aiding the administration in violating the Geneva convention, and violating civil liberties via warrantless wiretap have nothing to do with Democrats vs. Republicans.
These things aren't controversial political stances, they are international crimes. People are outraged at her appointment to Dropbox because there's a large body of evidence suggesting that she's a war criminal, not because she's a Republican.
Domestically, we've somehow decided that the Iraq war is a moot point, something better left in the past. But internationally, where our former president has actually been convicted of war crimes in absentia, you can't just lamely pretend that this is just a matter of "different strokes for different folks."
It's comforting to frame this as a political issue rather than a criminal one, because the alternative is too exhausting and frightening to grapple with. Unfortunately, none of the perpetrators of these war crimes are ever likely to face charges and be tried in court. But at the very least, we can prevent these international suspects and convicted criminals from enjoying high-paying careers in the private sector.
For the record, even though I am staunchly in favor of marriage equality, I did not agree with the witch hunt surrounding Brendan Eich. That was a political issue; it should be easy for you to tell the difference.
I can only presume a large chunk of the SV and HN commentariat would have considered the most important thing about the 50s and 60s black boycotts of segregated businesses in the US south was the "victimisation of business owners."
I wonder if it is really top-voted.
Similarly, someone has to set the laws for war as well, to define what a "war crime" and "false pretenses" are.
Everyone believes his or her point of view, that one specific version of war crimes is correct and above the realm of politics. Ultimately though, everything is "different strokes for different folks". Abortion? Killing unborn children, or denying women's rights?
Who has convicted any of George Bush, Condoleezza Rice, etc. for war crimes?
And who ultimately gets to decide and enforce the actions of an international court? Whoever has the biggest army. "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter". No one has a big enough army to put Americans on trial for any war (bet it Vietnam, Korea, Kosovo, Iraq)
The one thing I agree most with is that Rice's actions are far more substantial and far-reaching than Eich's. On her imaginary resume somewhere is presumably "Secretary of State" and everyone's mental bullet point of "Iraq War" - that is part of her professional career and she should be judged upon that for job fitness. As offputting or not one may consider Eich's actions (what if it were not gay marriage but some other minority position in the tech world, say pro-life or anti-marijuana legalization he had donated to?), his were pretty much completely separated from his professional career.
Same thing with Mozilla and Eich. This isn't about someones free speech - I don't care if you are a sexist racist zoophile, until you start using power (be it capital or influence) to further those views and hurt others in the name of those beliefs. I'll have all the debates you want and consider you just fine and just thinking from a different perspective until you start doing real damage.
Here is an example: I have racist relatives, but I don't disown them for their beliefs or prejudices. I'll have all the debates and conversations with them on the topic that they want, as long as we both understand we are just engaging in debate. But the day they started donating to the KKK (or more appropriately I find out they are doing it, I can't make rational choices without complete information) I would never speak to them again and disown them, unless they apologized and admitted their wrongs and the suffering they caused. And I'd tell all my other relatives my beliefs and why I do it, and ask them to do the same.
There's a lot at stake here, which is why people are reacting so forcefully. What kind of values does the SV community have? What kind of values do Y Combinator and HN have? People are coming here because HN and Y Combinator very much helped make Dropbox what it is, and if that creation is now paying and giving prestige to a person who has gravely harmed the world, for bad reasons, a lot of people will object and are objecting to that.
A free society has the right to determine what it values. I hope our community decides to value ethics and humanitarianism. One way we can express those values is to speak out against companies that help criminals launder their reputations.
This is a total straw man. The comment you are responding to does not mention "free speech" once.
The point is: you are part of a significant, vocal group that is enjoying using its clout to blackball public figures from the tech industry over certain political views that are only held by a minority in tech. Should any of your views ever put you distinctly in the minority, you will understand why the precedent you are setting is a dangerous one.
Dropbox is being held accountable for associating with a person who has committed certain political actions that had immediate and far-reaching negative consequences on local and global scale.
"In a free society, people can unite in their business ventures even though they might be far apart in how they view the world generally."
This is in contrast with what the author sees as the harrowing implications of user outrage about Rice: ie., an un-free society in which people cannot unite. He describes "rules" as if the mob is somehow enforcing a tyrannical reign over businesses like dropbox.
I'd say it differently: I'm part of a significant, vocal group that has strong opinions about the ethics of its members. This isn't "us against them," it's us holding ourselves to higher standards. The problem isn't that we disagree with Rice. The problem is that when given power she repeatedly took actions that harmed both the united states and the world that many other people knew at the time she shouldn't have taken.
Edit: if what you are saying were true, there wouldn't be any free speech issues in any country besides the United States.
Clearly that is not the case.
What I said was free speech and the First Amendment aren't the same thing.
Are you claiming that they are? If you are, we can have a debate. If not, there's no issue here to debate.
I've found that conversations with people who do that kind of thing are almost never a productive use of my time.
Rice has clearly demonstrated that she favors sharing information with the government and law enforcement if they claim that they need that information, by any means necessary. It seems both reasonable and proper that those who would prefer Dropbox to hold a stronger position on the privacy of their customers would see this as an ominous sign.
Eich's defenders have been quick to spin this as an ideological thing, when at its core, it really isn't.
If someone from ideological group A dislikes something from group B and calls that out, then it's "discrimination against private views", and wrong and evil and "an ideological thing".
But if someone from group B calls out group A, then it's "documented actions" which are the cause and suddenly it's absolutely okay to lock group A out of polite society on those grounds.
Lucky for group B they have this absolutely objective, unquestionable standard for discrimination and intolerance, be it "documented actions", or whatever else is convenient at the moment. Groups A' and B' over a different issue can disagree all they want, and both of those views are acceptable in polite society, but if you're in group A then, by god, that's just not okay; that's objectively wrong!
It starts simple. "Racism is objectively wrong, and holding racist views absolutely means you should be locked out of polite society." Ohkaaay.... I can't disagree with that per se (which just goes to show how deep this problem goes). Then "sexism is objectively wrong, and holding sexist views means no CEO position for you!" Well.... I suppose that's a good thing, right? "Believing in God is objectively unacceptable." Uh, guys? "Voting Republican just shouldn't be allowed." And there you go.
I'm not saying it's a slippery slope we should never step on, because I've been brainwashed by society to absolutely agree with the first step—I've been raised to think racism is objectively wrong. Society is wearing away at my views on the second position; eventually I'll have to agree with that or go the way of the dinosaurs, and I know I will go with society, because that's what people do, whether we want it or not. But this is exactly how things like "Jews just aren't human" get started. Sure, it doesn't look like that now; surely discrimination against LGBT is something we should get rid of any way we can, right?
No. Intolerance will never achieve tolerance; discrimination will never achieve non-discrimination; punishing thoughtcrime will never achieve freethinking. To think otherwise is just, well... objectively wrong.
In this case, I'm saying that "Rice may enjoy expressing her professional opinions to newspapers, etc. as part of her job function. I dislike her professional opinions and fear that she may actually believe them, thus degrading the privacy that I enjoy as provided by Dropbox. For that reason, I will stop using Dropbox, Mailbox, etc."
The only additional piece that I was trying to get across was that, with Eich, we had little insight into this thought process, motivations, etc. The only bit of information we had was the knowledge that he had donated the money and the amount (as far as I know). With Rice, on the other hand, we're talking about a position she publicly held as part of her job function; we have interviews, press releases, etc. To me, it seems a bit more reasonable to think that she may bring some of these opinions to bear in her role as a Dropbox board member.
There is not only no evidence to suggest that ludicrous extremes like the one you posed are anywhere near happening, the evidence (at least if we're analyzing the existing pattern) points in the complete opposite direction.
But this is exactly how things like "Jews just aren't human" get started.
Stop it. This is not only unhelpful, it's pandering to a completely absurd fear.
The pattern is a bright, unmistakable line, and the massive majority of people I see complaining about it are attempting to make an excuse for bad behavior in one way or another - thinking that certain actions shouldn't have any consequences because of this irrational (or is it?) fear that they'll be next.
Sorry, we left that world behind the moment we entered the information age, and trying to haul it back is ludditism at its finest.
Actions have consequences whether or not anyone likes it.
The moment a movement to deny rights from Jews or whatever starts up with any seriousness and with any level of mainstream acceptance, I'll be right there with you asking "WTF?!" - but in the meantime, let's stop trying to compare intolerance of harmful actions to intolerance of someone based on what they are. Tolerating evil makes you at least a little complicit in it.
Not only are they not the same thing, but the motivations in play are lightyears apart.
> let's stop trying to compare intolerance of harmful actions to intolerance of someone based on what they are
Again, this just subscribes to the view that when group A is intolerant, that's "intolerance of someone based on what they are", or whatever the big evil thing is now; but when group B is intolerant, that's okay, because they had a rational/moral/[other brand of objective correctness] basis for that intolerance. All this amounts to is "yeah, intolerance is evil, but when I do it then it's okay". That's just ignorant. The motivations are exactly the same: you believe B so strongly that anyone who believes/expresses/does A just shouldn't be allowed to exist.
Someone truly bigoted toward LGBT individuals could just as easily say, "it's their actions which are harmful" (and in fact that argument is used by various people and organizations); which just goes to show that your position is one of true bigotry, just one which happens to be supported by the outspoken minority at the moment.
See my last statement: intolerance will never lead to tolerance. It absolutely doesn't matter whether it's group A, B, C, or Z; whether they're claiming rational, moral, religious, or political justification; whether it's intolerance of actions or beliefs or existence; whether it's systematic or occasional; whatever. Repeat after me: intolerance will never achieve tolerance; discrimination will never achieve non-discrimination; punishing thoughtcrime will never achieve freethinking.
If you truly believe that the way to tolerance is through intolerance, feel free to explain to me how that works; but in the meantime, well, in the way that society has taught me so well, I demand that you take your objectively intolerable ideas elsewhere. (See how that works?)
[1 Up until "Tolerating evil makes you at least a little complicit in it" and what comes after; because at that point it just turned into incoherent drivel/propaganda.]
In fact I would strongly reject moral relativism as it relates to forming one's own views and beliefs and guiding one's own actions. However, the point is we cannot use those same axioms as ideological litmus tests. In order to achieve a free and tolerant society—and it's left to question whether this goal is laudable, but within this context we must act as if it is, since that's the framework we've decided to work within—we have to allow other members of our society to have different axioms, or indeed to be moral relativists or what-have-you.
Tolerating intolerance means tacit acceptance of it.
Sorry, but if you and I can't agree on this one fundamental principle, we have nothing further to discuss. You're attempting to equate two things which are inherently not.
I demand that you take your objectively intolerable ideas elsewhere. (See how that works?)
I refuse. See how that works?
Of course they do.
Voting with our wallets is almost the only democratic right remaining to us lowly consumers these days. Choosing which companies to support directly impacts the sort of society we build.
>> Do we really want a counterpart agenda now setting rules for who can be a founder, who can be an investor, who can be a director, who can be a CEO, or who can otherwise take a prominent role in the startup world? The answer should be an emphatic no.
Who's setting rules? People are saying 'if you take on this person, whose views I disagree with so very fundamentally, I can no longer have any trust in your organisation meeting my needs'.
There is nothing at all wrong with this.
"What matters is upholding the abiding principle (precious in a free society) that people can hold divergent views on such topics as politics, religion, and society without being punished for their views in a business context."
In a free society, is business the most important thing?
This is not about simply holding "different political views". In fact, the article doesn't mention political ideology (except to dismiss it as its rationale). This is about actual actions taken, some of which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, torture, and the destruction of fundamental American principles.
So, your comment, which frames it as some sort of thought-policing or ideological litmus-testing in the startup world, is entirely misleading. Instead, what you are effectively doing is taking exception to the idea that she should face any consequences for her actions.
In fact, there are many who feel that she is guilty of war crimes and should be tried as such. No matter where you come down on that issue, it is difficult to argue that it is completely unreasonable. So, as far as Ms. Rice is concerned, perhaps she should be grateful that the consequences of her actions are so thoroughly muted as to only potentially cost her a board seat.
At the end of the day, asking people to vote with their dollars as to whether they want to support a company that has a relationship with someone whose actions they find deplorable (and possibly illegal) seems completely reasonable.
Nobody is saying there ought to be a law. They are exercising their freedom peacefully and lawfully. You should celebrate that even when you disagree.
Dropbox is free to hire Ms. Rice. Everyone else is free to shun them for it.
Dropbox news is HN fodder. The political nature of Ms. Rice's reputation does not make the topic any less relevant to HN.
The linked page talks nothing about Rice's views, it talks about the way that she has used her power in this world, and what the outcomes have been.
If you're advocating that the business context should be somehow special, a place where people should be free of the consequences of their actions in other realms, I'm going to have to disagree with you.
With this appointment, I have no faith that the Dropbox Board of Directors see their role this way.
I'm not saying that's what they'll do, but we don't know either way do we?
...it's a duck.
Let's try a similar but different example to see how this works in practice. The SEC enforces laws on Wall St. There's a revolving door between Wall St firms and the SEC. Do you believe this leads to better enforcement?
As to the rest, people can, should, and do judge leaders in business and politics by their worldviews. That is how democracy and free speech operate. If your customers want to express their opinion about a CEO's views and the potential insecurity of their product or the immorality of things going on behind the scenes, they have every right to boycott and publicly protest. This is especially considering that HN users are a good representative sample of Dropbox users and the technically literate, while the "rest" of America are unlikely to be affected either way. In fact, protest and boycott are the ONLY powers Dropbox customers have to address the problems they see, so denying them this power by shame or nostalgia for an American Flavor is decidedly unAmerican.
To give a less politically-charged example: I refuse to eat at Jimmy-John's Sandwiches because the owner/creator is a known poacher of endangered animals. You're telling me that I should ignore that because his political view is that preserving endangered animals is less important than hunting sport, and that's irrelevant to the business. Well to me a sandwich is less important than making a statement.
On the other hand, no company should be legally prevented from willfully hiring or appointing whomever they can get. But to say that everyone should avert their eyes as long as the decisions appear ethical from the outside is ludicrous.
Some corporations care only for profit, others are concerned about the responsibilities implied by their success and influence. I want to support the later and not the former. I don't see anything unreasonable about that.
Who a company hires in a leadership role is inevitably a reflection of their values. It hints at what they will prioritize and how they will use the money I am paying them. Putting Rice on the board strongly suggests that they don't care what she believes, they only care about profit. Or, worse still, that they agree with her.
I don't want to support a corporation that is for profit alone, nor one whose values are at odds with basic human rights.
*edited for grammar and wording
If Dropbox board of directors is fine to sit in the same room with the person who was connected with patriot act, iraq war, massive surveillance and torture, I, personally, don't want to have anything in common with such board and such top management and the products they make.
As for the "politics" of it, "Are you, or have you ever been part of the surveillance state?" is not a question about one's political views. It is more like the question in Germany "Were you a Stasi officer or informant?"
I'm kind of floored that anyone in our industry would appoint a former Bushevik at all.
2 stepped down because they had other stuff to do, the other 1 because of something that is not prop-8 related.
I think we should not forget about this slide:
so basically this move, in my opinion, just means that dropbox has been added to that very list and there is no point in using other providers shown as an alternative (e.g. google) or even just hope that dropbox will care more about privacy after she steps down eventually.
It's what the move symbolizes. If there is someone on board who pushed for warrantless searches/taps/etc and someone who probably would be in favor of PRISM and was in favor of past other programs, then I don't want to be affiliated with that company. And Rice was a public figure who spoke about the Patriot Act, searches, doing things in the name of "national security", wars, blacklisting etc.
That makes me question the person's morals, and shakes my belief in how the company will be run if someone on the board has these kinds of morals and will be making decisions that may affect my data and my person.
I think the problem here is that it is more than just holding divergent views. Rice was a major contributor in planning/executing the Iraq War which majority of Americans have opposed in the long run. Not to mention the number of civilian casualty just because we thought they had weapons of mass destruction.
Anyone is free to hold any views they want. But their actions based on those views have consequences.
Your last paragraph rings true. But this is so far removed from simply allowing a business person to contribute to businesses, in spite of their political, religious, and societal beliefs. This is a person who was instrumental to the patriot act. More than that, Dropbox, which at its core, is a decentralized store of information, now has a member of the board who was instrumental in implementing the capacity for governments to peep into information without warrant.
This goes much further than simply allowing a person to hold different beliefs than ours. This is about a person, who has implemented legislation that has taken away fundamental rights of individuals, and who is now a member of the board of a go-to app for plenty of individuals and businesses.
*By business-as-usual, I'm referring to your statement -- that someone can freely practice business no matter what acts they've committed, or wrongs they've perpetrated on humanity.
It's about preventing people to rise to power who are in favour of crimes against humanity such as hate and suppression against certain demographics (gays) or killings of hundreds of thousands thousands of people, just as if they were in favour of other crimes against humanity such as racism, slavery or freedom of speech.
1) Is there any belief or action not directly related to someone's job that should disqualify them from their position?
2) If the answer to #1 is yes, does this specific issue cross that threshold?
3) Does the answer to #1 change based on their position within a company, e.g. a regular employee vs a CEO?
I've seen well-reasoned arguments for many different combinations of those opinions, and I have a lot of respect for most of the combinations I've seen, e.g.
- Even if a white separatist contributed money to a campaign to revive "separate but equal" Jim Crow legislation, we shouldn't oppose their employment if they have a history of working well with all co-workers/employees in a diverse company.
- Some political beliefs/actions would disqualify someone, but gay marriage equality is not (yet) beyond the pale, especially given the high percentage of Americans who hold the same beliefs.
- Gay marriage is indeed an issue that should reasonably factor into employment positions, but only for a select few leadership positions such as CEO due to the disproportionate power within a company held by people in those few positions.
What makes these debates problematic is people talking past each other without realizing they're debating different questions. This gets worse because each of the 3 questions I listed have many sub-categories.
Since grellas' posted about question #1, I hope people recognize that and tailor their responses to the argument he is actually making, in the spirit of "colleagues trying to reason out the truth together". Because he argued for employment to be belief-neutral, I'll summarize the three arguments I'm seeing on these threads which are relevant to that specific question:
1) Past behavior is a signal for future action, and Rice's position on the Board of Directors sends an unacceptable signal about how seriously Dropbox takes privacy. Even a person against boycotts based on political or religious beliefs has strong reason to oppose Rice's appointment to the Board.
2) Rice is a war criminal who happens to have not been prosecuted. Refusing to do business with a company who appointed a criminal who'd committed equivalently-serious-but-non-political crimes and escaped prosecution wouldn't raise any eyebrows, so why should this?
3) All people have a responsibility to discourage behaviors which are provably detrimental to the functioning of a well-ordered society. General litmus-testing of beliefs (or even actions) causes more problems than it solves, but Rice's behavior was so far over the line that we are morally obligated to marginalize her and all of her colleagues who behaved similarly during the Bush administration.
I'm not sure whether I agree with any of the above arguments, but I respect each of them, and I hope that either Hacker News figures out how to debate them civilly or that the moderators pull all stories like this off the frontpage.
I think grellas comment was tactless. He used his karma to publish a largely meta argument, ignoring the debate as well as the link and not responding to anyone else afterwards. This isn't "colleagues trying to reason out the truth together" to me. It's also indistinguishable from the type of comment you would post if you wanted to derail the more specific discussion. Often because your viewpoint lacks good arguments.
It's completely relevant to the debate though and not de-railing, when it directly addresses the point of boycotting Dropbox for something political. Our society is becoming more polarized on these issues and (internet) forums of self-selecting ideologies and subgroups contribute to this. Going boycott is one weapon in an arsenal of political expression - now how often should people use it? (The next level of course is street protest, institutionalized ideology, and the extreme is fighting a war over it).
If we used a boycott at every opportunity, at every disagreement, where would we be? Would Christians, Muslims, and atheists ever do business with each other? Would pro-lifers and pro-choicers be able to open their mouths without calling each other baby murderers/misogynists? He's basically saying, draw the line closer to where the overall population is, so society can function without imploding. And we generally go about this on an everyday basis. Geographical self-segregation also tends to help. It's a moral cognitive dissonance, but one that people draw various lines for. My theory is those who have a more logical/black and white and less socially influenced conception (which may be more common in geeks) have a harder time squaring with this cognitive dissonance.
If we used a slippery slope argument at every opportunity, at every disagreement, where would we be? Would we be able to buy milk for fear of the veritable avalanche of milk we may end up buying in the future? Could we stand the idea of going to work one day under the contemplation of spending the next thousand years, every day, going to work?
Boycotts are not new. They are not novel to Eich's situation and it working is not a sign of a Brave New World in which every person boycotts every other person.
If I'm wrong, and in ten years I can't talk to you because I have a beard and you don't, please feel free to say "I told you so," but in the meantime this kind of argument is just ridiculous.
The entire debate is on when a boycott is appropriate and grellas is arguing to draw the line farther than the current one that's solidifying in tech. Cynically, it just has to do with fitting in with your group politically, be it SF tech or Southern Baptist (no Planned Parenthood donations there) and the point is - what happens when you're in the moral minority? Because Rice chose to enter an SF tech company rather than a random American one, there is way more backlash.
Ultimately, the Rice situation/backlash has a far stronger business case rather than a pure political boycott, due to objections of surveillance/digital security for cloud providers (hence the entire host outside of America movement). Here I mainly focused on the meta-debate about boycotts, and I suppose grellas decided to comment on the broad pattern given the original article's major headlines about the Iraq War.
Just like war is not universally wrong, neither are boycotts - it's just the degree to which we ask whether they are justified. Vietnam, Iraq, Gulf War, Korea, they were all controversial - and not in a "0.1% of the crazy population controversial", but rather "front page of TIME, Economist, BCC" controversial
in the moral minority where people in positions of power think torture is a-okay?
I think you'll find yourself shit out of luck regardless of your past choices in boycotting or not.
It does, however, have a tiny influence on the chances of actually finding yourself in this unenviable position in the future.
> I think grellas argument is so flawed that the only reason to make it and upvote is as distraction and current best defense while the dropbox team works on something more believable.
This is some kind of conspiracy to distract HN, because... DropBox fears HN? And grellas has been hired to carry it out by commenting?
> Principle is more important here than a particular outcome. What happens with Ms. Rice is not the issue here.
I get why you'd see that as trying to derail more specific discussion, and why you'd disagree with that statement in general. However, I see it as part of a good-faith argument that blocking employment based on political beliefs (or even actions) is generally harmful to society, even if we feel we have valid reasons in a specific case.
1) Refusing employment based on beliefs has been historically bad, e.g. Christians refusing to hire or do business with Jews, and blacklists for suspected Communists. Such things are in fact SO bad that they outweigh any/all good that might be done by applying such filters in cases where we feel they're justified.
2) Startup culture specifically is about joining together diverse people to build great things. Even if we stipulate that filtering out business leaders with "bad" political beliefs had some benefit, there's disproportionate harm done by the startups that will not succeed because they handicapped themselves in this way.
I'm not sold on either of those arguments, though I think they both have merit.
However, this argument is misleading because the featured article is very particular about specific actions by this person and dismissing them based on those grounds, not because Rice belongs to any particular group and attributing all properties and beliefs of that group to her. For instance, while she is responsible for war crimes and torture, we're not automatically assuming she holds the same beliefs as, say, Pol Pot.
Same goes for Brendan Eich, though donating $1k to anti-gay legislation is arguably somewhat less evil than actively supporting and authorizing the torture regime of the world's biggest military power. There's really not a lot of wiggle room there.
I can have a candid discussion with people who think that any immigrant should be shot at the border. I will disagree with the person, but everyone is allowed to have what ever political belief they want. However, once they start shooting people, a line is crossed and candid discussions is no longer an option. Those action would also cause repercussions, which has nothing to do with political, religious or other form of believes.
Customers of a business care about who sits on the Board and exercise their right to take their business elsewhere.
It sounds like the whimper of someone who stands to gain from a Dropbox IPO.
"There is only one boss-the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." - Sam Walton
Yes, he can fire Board members too.
Rice is a different story I guess. You have to decide if you think #2 is right or not. I don't happen to think she is but I can see why people are hesitant for her to be on the board.
Right, we definitely had (at least) two different signals about how Eich would behave as CEO with respect to LGBT employees. And how he behaved in practice is arguably a much stronger signal than his political donations, especially when coupled with his statements of support for Mozilla's inclusive culture and promise to maintain it.
The strongest counterarguments I've seen go something like this:
- Eich was never previously in an executive leadership role; being CTO is important but not in the same way as CEO. So his past behavior is less of a signal than his supporters would have us believe, especially since we don't know about every interaction he's ever had with his LGBT colleagues.
- It's easy to accept that Eich had no plans to e.g. try to roll back domestic partner benefits for LGBT couples; with Mozilla's current culture, that would have zero chance of happening anyway. But given his political donations, are we 100% sure that he wouldn't be in favor of it if the culture shifted? If not, then it's reasonable to oppose him as CEO.
- Even if we expect zero policy changes driven by Eich's beliefs, as CEO he would be making decisions about people's roles within the company. It's reasonable to be concerned about how fair-minded he would be, particularly if someone felt they were being marginalized.
I'm not sold on these arguments, but I think they're sincere and I cringe every time someone categorizes them as a "witch hunt".
1) Should an employee be held accountable for his/her political beliefs. (Heck no.)
2) If someone with different political beliefs than I runs a company, will I boycott it? Ex - Owner of Whole Foods is against Universal Healthcare, so I'm boycotting, though I approve of him running the company. In such a case we support our ideologies through capitalism.
3) Should someone who runs a technology company - a multi-billion, multi-national that shapes our future and impacts our daily work lives & culture - should someone who actively holds and acts upon prejudice be allowed to run such a powerful company? No.
That third one is important - and somewhat scary - to consider. We've crossed a threshold. Large technology companies - and many startups - are literally creating the future. We are shaping the world in a way that goes way beyond the capacity of companies in decades past. There is a far greater responsibility to consider.
Dropbox is a company who exists to enrich their shareholders, and has customers, not community members.
That's the fundamental difference here.
I'm happy to see mozilla rise above bigotry and get Eich out and I hope similar happens to Rice.
It's one thing to have your private opinion, I'm not calling for stormfront.org to be shut down(as extrememly disgusting as it is). It's another thing to put action to your opinions in the form of taking others' rights away(prop8) or wiretapping/murder/torturing people. It's time those of us in tech stop pretending we live in a vacuum without politics and make sure we send a clear message that we are(should be) very much against discrimination based on race/gender/orientation or gross human rights violations.
Someone higher in this thread said that Mozilla is not like Dropbox because it's a "community" and he came to say that Mozilla is a "money making entitiy" just as much as Dropbox.
He never said or implied anything about "only bigots being capable of running a successful business".
If we are to assume anything from what he said, is that whether the CEO is a bigot or not is beside the point.
nerfhammer wrote "Mozilla wouldn't exist without a search bar that defaults to a search engines that pay them back a share of resulting ad revenue", responding to you in order to support what burntroots said (that Mozilla is also a corporation, a money making entity, etc).
So that was "his point" as well -- in support of burntroots' argument.
What's difficult to understand? And where did anybody said that "only bigots are capable of running a successful business"?
(former Mozilla employee here)
That's a pretty serious claim, and more a matter of opinion. Depending on the situation, one could point such a charge at any person who was in a position of authority in a government of a nation that was fighting a war, if one were so inclined.
Shouldn't a person's status as a war criminal depend on whether they've actually been charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced?
The US doesn't recognize or allow jurisdiction by international organisations that try for war crimes, such as the ICC.
So if we're going to follow your definition, US politicians would be immune to war criminal status.
> Depending on the situation, one could point such a charge at any person who was in a position of authority in a government of a nation that was fighting a war, if one were so inclined.
Not really. It's entirely possible to wage war without committing war crimes. In fact that's part of the reason why the term even exists as defined by the Geneva Conventions and the ICC.
Regardless, the US has committed war crimes in the "War on Terror". The following link lists a couple of situations and events that have factually happened and fall under the definition.
Then there's Condoleeza Rice's role in this:
No, not really. After all most war criminals are never tried, especially if they are on the winning side.
People can have and state their opinions. It's not like recent history is that obscure for someone not to be able to come to a conclusion.
Personally, I know I have a lot of political mis-givings about appointing Ms. Rice, but that's not the main reason I would feel uncomfortable working under her direction in a technology company. I would probably be more concerned about her lack of fore-thought and poor decision-making. I would be concerned about my ability to trust her.
I know that I, and quite a few others in the tech community have a political bias, but even looking past that, there are many business-related reasons to feel that this is a wrong choice.
You seek to unite people, but for what purpose? I have yet to see business interests or _especially_ 'startup culture' tackle the real inequities and tragedies of our time. Startup culture is good at addressing the lifestyle issues of well off technophiles, not at preventing war, or justly distributing food or housing. (I am interested to see if Watsi can do anything better than Doctors Without Borders, or if it is just more focus on individuals rather than statistically significant outcomes). We ought to be looking for ways to transcend the limitations of business practices and reassert moral claims.
Note that people asking for Eich and Rice to get out of their lives aren't asking for government intervention or any formal rules set in place. If dropbox or mozilla want to lose their massive user base and keep profitable amoral corporate clients, that's fine, we'll leave them alone. If the economy eventually bifurcates and passionate progressive people replace large swaths of infrastructure with open, democratic organizations that seek to distance themselves from the corporate tradition I think it would be an enormous boon to the species.
Are we so adrift that we can't create a strong distinction between McCarthyism/Jewish persecution and asking our leaders to be cautious to war/pro-marriage? You actually see these positions as interchangeable and arbitrary? Should we simply abandon any moral or aesthetic position and let capitalism run its course?
Most of the negative comments on this thread are about her actions, not her ideological purity. The criticisms focus on her role in the Iraq War, 9/11, Katrina, not her political affiliation. Critics are outraged that the candidate hired for her decision making ability has a record of making very poor decisions that had severe deleterious effects.
>It is easy enough to whip oneself up into a lather over Ms. Rice’s policies if one disagrees with them but what about the half of America (or whatever significant percentage) that does not. And why should this be relevant to board service?
Ms. Rice has expressed support for warrantless wiretapping and mass surveillance. Many users are concerned that these views are inappropriate for someone working at a company that hosts our data.
>Politics, religion, and social worldviews divide people and have no place as limiting tests in a business environment. Scolding and finger-wagging...
Her support for mass surveillance is very relevant to Dropbox's business.
I disagree strongly with your supercilious characterization of the outrage as an example of close mindedness and bigotry. I believe that you made your post in earnest but it is hard not to see it as malicious. Your fatuous attempts to classify the outrage about the hiring of a supporter of mass surveillance, torture, and the Iraq War as similar to the oppression of minorities and the blacklisting of suspected Communists in the 1950s is so outrageous that it is offensive.
Ms. Rice is not a founder, and she is not being persecuted for her political views. She is disliked because of her actions, not her views, and your failure to distinguish between the two is troubling.
Yes, indeed, I will hold it against her. Her morality is abhorrent, and it, frankly, is wrong to think that it should not have broader consequences for her living in society.
I think that if we got rid of this idea that "it's only business" or "she did what she had to do" or any of these other little slogans that allow us to dismiss antisocial behavior outside of the context in which it occurred, then we would be revoking some sort of implicit permission that so many seem to be willing to grant to people who wish to do bad things.
Sure, the Iraq war was a trillion dollar mistake, but that's just money. Live by the sword die by the sword and all that. A lot of Americans have a Christian upbringing, whether or not they ultimately believe in God. Torture is what Satan does -- that's the Satan, the personification of evil. This is the rock bottom of the moral scale.
This is mildly insulting. You know of course that the problem isn't who Ms Rice voted for in the last election "or some similar matter"; the matter is very dissimilar.
This downplaying of stakes isn't fooling anyone; it's unclear to me why you're even trying.
Surely you don't believe Eichmann should have been judged solely on his organizational skills? My 'violation' of Godwin's here is entirely intentional. This woman commited crimes against humanity different in no way other than scale from those that were prosecuted at Nuremberg.
I'm giving my data to a company to hold. They appoint someone who has no problem spying on my personal data and using it for their own _political_ ends, who has no strong concept of privacy? I dislike their ethical conduct. I'll be taking my data else where, thanks.
I don't inherently disagree with her politics, I disagree with the ethical clash. It's a social contract: I'll give Dropbox my data if you promise to be kind with it, and then they appoint someone who doesn't give a fuck about that concept.
Bad ethics should be called out as so, in this case I think hiding behind "politics" is a bit of a cop-out. It's not inherently liberal at all to make a case against Rice, in fact many conservatives would do the same.
Techies are trying to figure out how to have an actual impact that affects the people and institutions in power. And are discovering that with a bit of creativity they can upend some of this.
I, personally, think these boycotts are good things. People are voting with their money and that actually gets attention. And, it is also subject to vote; those who disagree can spend their money there and oppose the boycott.
Both capitalism and democracy at work.
Technology is not just "business". We are building the very fabric of future civil societies. There is, in my opinion, no other area of human endeavor today that requires greater care and reflection than "technology".
The 'HN party line' that this is just "business" is socially irresponsible.
Or is it just that you personally consider that the past actions of Ms Rice weren't a big deal, and that you don't understand why anyone would feel differently?
But holding people responsible for their questionable political views happens all the time; in 2010 Rick Sánchez was fired for calling Jon Stewart "a bigot". Once. Outside of his regular show. Were you upset then? (Maybe you were, I don't know; but it seems you should have been.)
These things are not about politics or religion. This is about willfully and intentionally hurting others.
Please stop representing this as being merely about the personal political or religious views of the people involved. This is about people who either have, or had the intention of inflicting very real pain on others.
Others that include our friends, our families, our neighbors. People have every right and reason to protest putting these people in these position, and it has nothing to do with political intolerance.
There is nothing to be gained from asking a person to step down over their past political beliefs and actions, other than engendering fear and heightening mistrust among people with different points of view. It also happens to be illegal to fire employees over their beliefs in many states.
Tolerating difference and changing minds can enact positive social change, destroying the heathens does little.
Rice was one of the architects of one of the largest human atrocities in the past 50 years.
It stopped being politics around the time that the first concentration camp was built in Iraq after the US invaded.
I don't know, I guess it's that free citizens voting with their wallets is not at all similar to powerful governmental figures conducting an oppressive inquisition?
We've all been learning that large technology companies cannot escape politics -- whether it's Edward Snowden's revelations or Turkey's ban on Twitter. Seeing this conversation here may have less to do with a changing Hacker News culture and more to do with a realization that technology & politics are intertwined.
If this was the past CEO of Enron, no one would care about his political, religious, or social believes. He would be unsuitable because what he has done (or said as in the role of Enron CEO).
What matters is upholding the abiding principle (precious in a free society) that people can hold divergent views on such topics as politics, religion, and society
Board Member 1: Do we really want to business with Bob? Isn't he pro-slavery?
Board Member 2: Of course we do! His cotton production is the cheapest in the country!
I am not looking forward to the future where no one shares any opinion they may or may not have due to this type of blacklisting.
OTOH I wonder why people are so upset about perspectives of snooping on their data stored in DropBox and its likes. If the data can be snooped on, it will be, should the powers that be decide so.
I suppose that you consider any data you store in a public cloud also public, and not expect much privacy. The only way to store data in a private way on machines you don't control is to store it encrypted, and never trust the encryption key to anyone. This is how SpiderOak works, for instance: they are incapable of disclosing any clients' data even if they badly wanted to.
Could you please elaborate on how that makes me childish? - Maybe I misread your comment.
Also I found your last sentence somewhat ironic, because yes, we live in a world were lots of people actually die from wars originated by disagreements. I'd say that's worse than tragically childish.
Am I not allowed to blacklist her because of that? I'm sure the people she's indirectly killed would blacklist her. No?
I don't think people's hearts are in the wrong place. I think most people try to do good. I also think that the behaviors in question are trading small short term good for catastrophicly massive long term harm.
Edit: Yes, also downvote people you disagree with. This will also encourage more open discussion.
Judge ideas and actions based on their merit rather than whether they line up with current trends.
I, for one, will upvote any well written comment I find at zero or negative values here.
I don't care if I agree with the comments or not, I don't like this face of HN. I vote comment quality, not content.
You mean like people that complicit with the death of thousands of people and don't get the benefit of the doubt because they were lying to everyone all along?
However, it has to be the other way around from DH. He is going to modify the image and the charisma of his company… and it may have negative consequences in his company (as we can see in the article and in these posts) and he will have to accept them like some people will stop using his service. If you hire someone who is going to make you lose some clients and stain your image… you better hire another one… there are plenty of people able to work in that position with a record as good as Ms Rice without all that suppose cr*p beneath them.
I think big companies shouldn’t mix with politicians with controversial records… even though they do...
Interfering with the "community" system is such a slippery slope and we are apparently watching another one of these revealing moments.
Whether or not you are for or against her other activities, they are irrelevant to her position as director. But taking data without warrants? That is something that is directly relevant to Dropbox's core product.
That's not a matter of 'free opinion', it's a serious warning for clients of the company, that there is a new director that is personally responsible for expanding surveillance and authorising the taking of private data without due process.
Would you like Hitler on board of directors? Sure, he invaded half of Europe, Asia and Africa, then there is holocaust.
On the other hand he will guarantee mad money for your company. We are talking IBM money, Hugo Boss money, VW/Mercedes/Bosch money.
SCREW the dead, we are rich baby!
I've been considering moving out to SF from the Midwest, but this very thread has me reconsidering things.
I'm not interesting in being hung from a lamppost if I happen to accidentally blurt out a conservative opinion in a moment of forgetfulness.