Ross Douthat points out the moral defect being exhibited by a corporation and a university in the New York Times, which happens to be identical to that previously demonstrated by a writer’s organization:
In both cases, Mozilla and Brandeis, there was a striking difference between the clarity of what had actually happened and the evasiveness of the official responses to the events. Eich stepped down rather than recant his past support for the view that one man and one woman makes a marriage; Hirsi Ali’s invitation was withdrawn because of her sweeping criticisms of Islamic culture. But neither the phrase “marriage” nor the word “Islam” appeared in the initial statements Mozilla and Brandeis released.
Instead, the Mozilla statement rambled in the language of inclusion: “Our organizational culture reflects diversity and inclusiveness. … Our culture of openness extends to encouraging staff and community to share their beliefs and opinions. …”
The statement on Hirsi Ali was slightly more direct, saying that “her past statements … are inconsistent with Brandeis University’s core values.” But it never specified what those statements or those values might be — and then it fell back, too, on pieties about diversity: “In the spirit of free expression that has defined Brandeis University throughout its history, Ms. Hirsi Ali is welcome to join us on campus in the future to engage in a dialogue about these important issues.”
What both cases illustrate, with their fuzzy rhetoric masking ideological pressure, is a serious moral defect at the heart of elite culture in America.
The defect, crucially, is not this culture’s bias against social conservatives, or its discomfort with stinging attacks on non-Western religions. Rather, it’s the refusal to admit — to others, and to itself — that these biases fundamentally trump the commitment to “free expression” or “diversity” affirmed in mission statements and news releases.
This refusal, this self-deception, means that we have far too many powerful communities (corporate, academic, journalistic) that are simultaneously dogmatic and dishonest about it — that promise diversity but only as the left defines it, that fill their ranks with ideologues and then claim to stand athwart bias and misinformation, that speak the language of pluralism while presiding over communities that resemble the beau ideal of Sandra Y. L. Korn.
It was precisely the same pattern of behavior with the SFWA. The rhetoric was fuzzy and muddled, and the accusations were incoherent. No actual reason was ever given for the purging of the nameless member; if I had not announced the identity of the expelled member on my blog, no one outside the inner circle of the organization would have even known who had been successfully targeted for removal by the SFWA president and his obedient Board.
The reason for the deceit is twofold; it is first necessary to preserve the self-conceit of the individuals involved. They do not wish to admit that they are hypocrites who are failing to live up to their professed ideals. It is no different than the reason priests who commit child abuse, teachers who have affairs with their students, and con men who perpetrate frauds are reluctant to confess to their misdeeds even after they are caught red-handed; they are ashamed of their idealistic failures and seek to hide those failures from the knowledge of those who will judge them for it.
And second, the self-deception is vital because admitting their failures means sacrificing the moral high ground in criticizing other organizations and losing their ability to hold other organizations accountable for doing the same thing they are doing.
Both reasons are why it is vital to continue to flaunt their actions in their faces, without mercy, until they admit what they have done and make an open and public choice between their supposed ideals and their ideological dogma. SFWA thought it was marginalizing me by purging me from its ranks, but instead, they elevated my stature, increased my readership, delineated the ideological lines in SF/F, and handed every critic of their dishonesty and dogma an effective weapon to use against them until they either a) come out of the closet concerning their ideology, or b ) correct their self-destructive course.
I think the interesting question to ask here is not why these organizations are behaving in this morally defective fashion, but rather, why now?