As a follow up to last week’s post about the politically correct bullying of former Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich, this caught my eye earlier this week:
DROPBOX UNDER FIRE FOR APPOINTING CONDOLEEZZA RICE TO ITS BOARD
Cloud storage firm Dropbox has had to contend with a user backlash over its decision to appoint Condoleezza Rice to its board of directors. The appointment was announced at the same time as the company’s new Carousel app, but users are concerned about Dr Rice’s associations with wiretapping and government surveillance while part of the Bush administration.
Many customers have started linking to a Drop Dropbox website which calls the appointment “problematic on a number of deeper levels.” Pointing towards Dr Rice’s perceived part in starting the Iraq war, authorizing wiretaps and legalizing the Bush administration’s torture program, the site concludes: “When a company quite literally has access to all of your data, ethics become more than a fun thought experiment.”
First of all, it should be noted that if there’s any issue bigger for Silicon Valley types than the gay rights thing, it’s the concerns over the NSA and spying. This may or may not be a big deal to you, but for techies it is huge, and for techies whose livelihood depends on things like privacy, encryption, and accessibility, it could not be bigger.
Condoleeza Rice is far more attuned and acclimated to the rigors of political correctness than Eich, but it’s still the tech industry, which slants very hard to the political left. Rice may be perfectly content to ignore the arrows from liberal political bullies, but what about the rest of Dropbox’s leadership? Presumably, they saw a whole lot of positives in bringing Rice on board in the first place, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to assume at least some degree of political heat would result. The big question is exactly how hot will it get for them. Will they throw Rice out to engender favor with Silicon Valley uber-liberals, or will they stand fast with their original decision?
Here’s why this article caught my attention. A sudden and striking – and very witch hunt-like – ouster like Eich’s can happen once, and will catch people’s attention, though there are relatively few who will take action. If it happens a second time shortly thereafter, it gets a whole lot harder to explain as anything other than a deliberate attempt to politically bully and blacklist those who don’t share a preferred viewpoint. If a second effort is made and fails, then it will go a long way toward curtailing a third effort, and likely end all signs of a trend developing. If a second effort succeeds, however, then we have a disturbing new trend that will cause all sorts of problems with political discrimination at the highest levels of corporate America. Eich was the first, now Rice is the second. What will happen to her in the coming weeks? I think the answer will be very telling for a great many people, both inside and outside Silicon Valley. I think it will speak loudly to the kind of culture that America is willing to accept, and give a clear signal to witch hunters just how far they can push the envelope.
We shall see…