First of all, here is Will Shetterly’s take on the matter, with which I pretty much agree.
The issue, for those who don’t know, is that Orson Scott Card, who has consistently expressed homophobic opinions, and supported anti-gay laws, is doing some Superman comics for DC, and some people are trying to get him fired.
I need to be clear: unlike Will, I am not 100% against censorship. I can easily imagine circumstances where I favor it. The press (in the broadest sense of the “the press”) is a weapon, and in a war, you use all the weapons you have, and attempt to deny weapons to the enemy*. My opinion on censorship, therefore, flows from this. In a revolutionary crisis, I would be delighted to deny the enemy the means to spread his ideas and organize counter-revolution. In the meantime, I support free speech and oppose censorship because the forces that would prevent the enemy from speaking can easily be turned around on those I support, and, as I am convinced I’m right, I have no fear of battling in the arena of ideas. It is practical question.
In this case, there are many things that bother me, in various degrees. For one, what is happening is that people are attempting to deny someone his livelihood on account of his beliefs. That’s been done before. And because it was done by the Right before is exactly why the Left ought not to do it now.
Here is another aspect: Card wants to deny Gays the right to marry. I oppose him on this, because I believe the right to marry is a basic human right. But there are other human rights as well. People, are you aware of how many Libertarians and Randites there are in the SF/F community? Tons. And it is my sincere opinion that these people, if they get their way, will deny far more rights to far more people than Gays being unable to marry. Their policies favor the absolute crushing of the working class, and all means whereby the workers can resist attacks on their living standards and basic rights. To me, that is exactly what those philosophies are: justifications for brutal attacks on the entire working class, in defense of unfettered profit for a tiny minority.
So why is it no one is organizing a boycott of Jerry Pournelle, John Ringo, &c &c? No one is, including me. Nor am I in favor of doing so.
Because when you deny someone a living because of his beliefs, you are denying a basic human right. And we do not defend human rights by sacrificing those of others.
That’s what the enemy does. Let’s not do it ourselves, all right?
ETA: When I speak of the policies of Libertarians and Randites, I am speaking of where I believe those policies will lead, not necessarily of the desires or intentions of those who subscribe to them.
*Seriously. I have fantasies of traveling back in time and explaining to W.T. Sherman that, however much he hates the press, by his actions he is simply handing weapons over to the Confederates; that it’s no better than returning cannon to them after capturing them. Of course, he wouldn’t have listened.