Administrative State

From Bake Sales to Boardrooms, ‘Woke’ Is Good For Business


- July 2nd, 2019
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Historically, Republicans have been known as the “party of the rich” making them the “oligarchs” and “fat cats” of American politics in the eyes of many voters. It was never true, but Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren talk as if even the caricature were still current. Tired clichés such as this one are almost as old as they are.

That’s right. The wing tip is on the other foot. The richest Americans today work in Big Business, Big Tech, high finance, university administration, and government bureaucracy—all of which increasingly are dominated by an “educated” class that hails from America’s universities or, as Dennis Prager properly calls them, “leftist seminaries.”

Increasingly, these fields have come to mirror the identity politics that dominate classrooms. Students spend years thinking about “diversity” issues like feminism and LGBT rights in the “correct,” which is to say, the dictated manner. When they graduate, they take hold of America’s institutions and corporations, and impose their lesson plans on the under-schooled masses they suppose they are divinely entitled to rule.

It’s a two-pronged approach. There are woke fundamentalists who insist on conformity because of their sincere belief in “tolerance.” Then, there are the number crunchers who know that this particular brand of woke culture is good for business. As Tucker Carlson has noted, the smart kids in the ruling class tend to work as corporate executives or finance (the number crunchers); the dumb kids become the priests of conventional morality (now “wokeness”) in the media.

In recent weeks Netflix has suggested it might discontinue filming in Georgia because its governor recently passed a bill that would outlaw abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. NBC Universal, Walt Disney, AMC Networks, CBS, Showtime, Warner Media, and Viacom could all be next. This would be a mean a loss of revenue to the tune of millions in corporate tax dollars.

The CEOs of 180 Fortune companies also signed a letter condemning Georgia’s bill. Their reasoning was chillingly clear: “When everyone is empowered to succeed, our companies, our communities and our economy are better for it.” In other words, women who terminate their pregnancies are more productive in the workplace because they are less distracted by the demands of childcare. If more women abort their babies, companies won’t have to pay as much in maternity leave, either.

This is not the first time America’s corporate overlords have exercised the puritan/number cruncher interest model on our unwitting population. Thanks in large part to Big Business, the public view of same-sex marriage has altered drastically, moving from the fringes of public opinion to the ultimate expression of public virtue.

When Arizona signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law in 2014, all businesses were deemed free to exercise their religious liberty with regard to sexual morality. Immediately, the Campaign for Human Rights voiced intense opposition to the bill. Their primary reason? “This bill is bad for business.”

Soon, sociologist Darel Paul notes, Verizon, American Airlines, Apple, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Arizona Tech Council released letters and issued phone calls to advise against the bill. RINOs like John McCain joined the chorus, as well as Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Only a few months later, Paul continues, Indiana passed a similar religious liberty law. That is, until Salesforce, Eli Lilly, Cummins, the Indiana Pacers, and the NCAA threatened to leave the Hoosier State. Religion was now just a “cover for bigotry.”

Even Mike Pence had to tone down his original support for RFRA.

This year during Pride Month, corporations have signaled their virtue in no uncertain terms; just look at the sponsors for this year’s pride parade in San Francisco. The LGBT community has moved from bake sales to boardrooms.

As with abortion, we have the puritan/number cruncher model at work. Some have correctly reasoned that public advocacy for LGBT rights is good for business—after all, the LGBT community has a buying power of nearly $957 billion with a median income $63,000 above the average household income of heterosexual couples. Some, however, are true believers who are committed to coercing the agenda—angry activists who work as middle managers in corporations, or as pundits in the media, or with cushy jobs in nonprofit rackets like the Human Rights Campaign or the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Today’s oligarchs think normal Americans will fold to their radical agenda because they control the corporations that give us so much wealth, comfort, and happiness.

In a sense, they might be right. Most people do not have the stoic courage of Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado now going through the courts for a third time in defense of his religious liberty. He has lost nearly half his business as a result of this harassment.

While it is good to stand with the brave few who dare stand up to the progressive menace (who among us has made the ultimate sacrifice of canceling Netflix?), there are other strategies conservatives should begin to consider.

One should begin by asking why Netflix was ever in a red state like Georgia in the first place? The answer: low taxes, low regulation, and a lucrative Area Standards Agreement.

While states like California and New York have hired legions of bureaucrats to turn their lands into a progressive paradise, it is notably difficult for companies like Netflix to live under their tax and regulatory regime. These companies pledge fealty to progressive pieties, but they are required to swim in the sewer down in Georgia if they ever wish to cut a profit!

This is in contradiction of their alleged pieties which easily could be exploited by the flyover states. Georgia—and all the other states who may soon come under threat from corporate boycotting (Idaho, perhaps)—should form a compact with each other, disallowing any corporation from working there if they ever plan to flout boycotting power over acts of sensible self-government.

This week, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey showed how this might work with his response to Nike’s capitulation to Colin Kaepernick’s demand the company cancel its special edition Betsy Ross sneaker. Ducey promised to revoke all the incentives the Arizona Commerce Authority offered Nike for locating in the state. If Nike wants to play the game of “woke capital,” surely its executives would have no objection to the people of Arizona playing back.

The message should be clear: if your company wants to insist on California pieties, you can pay the California price.

Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

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