Unsatisfied with ruining the career of Drupal developer Larry Garfield over his private sex life, social justice warriors within the programming community have started another witch hunt against LambdaConf speakers. They’ve targeted Ed Latimore, an African-American physicist and heavyweight boxer who spoke at this year’s event.
The Colorado-based programming conference has been resistant to efforts by leftist activists to push a censorious “Code of Conduct” designed to silence speakers over ideological and political views that do not align with the progressive left. Last year, they campaigned to ban Curtis Yarvin for his “neoreactionary” political views.
Latimore has also written about relationships, where he explained the importance of knowing what you want out of it before committing yourself to one. Leading the charge against the physicist is Sonia Gupta, a Denver-based lawyer-turned-software developer who accused Latimore of being a “misogynist.” She cited a small portion of the article, taken out of context, as an example of his “hateful views.”
Latimore’s article represents his view on relationships, which one may agree or disagree with—but they should have no bearing on his attendance at a tech conference. It’s not a reason to exclude him from the community, or challenging his platform at technical events.
Gupta, who admits that she is a “woman who’s new to tech,” says she “couldn’t have imagined that a major tech conference would invite and avowed misogynist to speak.” She continued her tirade against the conference over the following days, repeating last year’s claim that they hosted “white supremacist” Curtis Yarvin. “There is a nasty trend of bigotry in tech already, and they are endorsing it,” she wrote.
Her tweets prompted other social justice warriors to join the campaign against LambdaConf for having Latimore as a speaker. Adrienne Leigh, a communist activist who describes herself as a “vile little Bolshevik” on Twitter, compiled a dossier of Latimore’s “problematic” tweets. Leigh was previously banned from the social justice-driven AlterConf. Diversity activist and AlterConf creator Ashe Dryden claims Leigh is stalking her.
The activists aimed their ire at John De Goes, LambdaConf’s founder, for publicly defending Latimore. De Goes has been a favorite target of progressives for his refusal to adopt the social justice “Code of Conduct” designed by Coraline Ada Ehmke, preferring instead to develop a Code of Professionalism (FCOP) that prohibits political censorship.
Spearheading the attack is Rein Henrichs, who says that LambdaConf is “structured as a tax avoidance scheme” for De Goes and his family (a claim that was first forwarded by Christie Koehler); and Google employee Matthew Garrett—both male feminist allies whose complaints about the event went viral in the programming community. Garrett has been particularly vocal in his opposition to the FCOP in arguments with De Goes.
Garrett’s interactions with the social justice website RationalWiki prompted mentions of De Goes and LambdaConf in an article about the Neoreactionary Movement, which defames the event as a “rallying point for the alt-right.” It’s worth noting that an overwhelming majority of LambdaConf attendees identify as liberals.
De Goes tells Heat Street that he identifies as “strongly liberal on most issues. I’ve never voted for a Republican president.”
“Tech events and open source projects have been weaponized by extremists to persecute anyone who expresses a ‘wrong’ view in their personal lives,” De Goes says. “I’ve taken a strong stance that professional communities shouldn’t discriminate on the basis of people’s personal lives. They should ensure professional behavior, but not get into the dangerous business of researching and screening people’s beliefs to ensure they pass an ideological purity test.”
“Most objections to these tactics have come from conservatives, but in my case, they come from a liberal, which is even more threatening to radical left extremists,” he continued. “I want most of the same things they do, but I don’t think destroying people’s careers is how we get there.”
It’s no surprise that many of the ringleaders behind the attacks against De Goes and LambdaConf are professional diversity consultants whose jobs are threatened by their inability to bully him into silence. Efforts to resist their bullying poses a threat to their business model, which is nothing more than a protection racket built upon the platform of social justice.