Companies must be held accountable. When they carelessly and callously wield their power to strike out at the American people, they must be made to feel pain. Not simply nagging second thoughts or embarrassment, but real pain: pain in their wallets, in their boardrooms, and in the offices of their general counsels.
It’s a tactic the American left long ago mastered. Boycotts and sponsorship threats have been a hallmark of their activism, but with rare exceptions, conservatives have failed to catch on. If a company bucks them, the left won’t hesitate to use the power of government, from regulation to the Internal Revenue Service to the Environmental Protection Agency, to frighten them into subservience.
“Government is a gun!” the modern American right’s libertarian streak tells us. “Don’t aim it at your opponents,” the warning goes, “or it will soon be used on you.” Makes sense in theory, but of course nearly every chance the left gets it turns the power of government on the rest of us and pulls the trigger.
Over the past year, we’ve seen government pressure campaigns and vindictive investigations and prosecutions evolve into police raids on defiant businesses and churches. It’s well past time we can say enough: The non-aggression principle is a nice theory — but it’s a theory that doesn’t stand up against vicious and unscrupulous opponents. And it’s long past time our elected politicians use the powers they have to protect their constituents from the powerful and wealthy private interests who have so casually set us in their sights.
The American corporate leaders of today are woke. What might once have begun as simple profit-seeking, more influenced by fear of left-wing boycotts than conservative scolding, has long-since evolved into full-fledged devotion to the new ideas.
What might once have simply been callous and self-interested business practices is now a new religion. The corporate titans of today have total faith in their new morality. They have bought into the woke religious priority, and it animates them to such a degree that they truly do believe they are serving the cause of right, of making the world anew.
Our old capitalist economy was once vibrant, creating a Chamber of Commerce model of geographically diverse business owners who had ties to cities in the Midwest, the South, the West — all over the country. With the rot of industry and the rise of tech and finance, our economy has increasingly come to be dominated by coastal elites with few or no ties to the heart of the country.
These men wield outsized dominance, and they are woke. Further, they aren’t just the young and usual suspects like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, but also old titans like Michael Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, Jeff Bezos, and the dozens who want to be just like them.
There are ways to beat them, of course. While corporate politics might seem fun, and the little men of human resources and public relations get to hold a lot of sway, accountants and lawyers still hold the real power in these companies. So how do we do it?
Shame isn’t working. Congressmen, senators, governors, and even customers’ statements, no matter how righteous, are having little impact. Just take a look at the companies that spent millions on Super Bowl ads calling conservatives racists. They were subjects of ridicule among right-thinking people for days. That was just a few months ago. Can you even remember which ones they were? Which ones called me a racist again? I’m pretty positive Jeep ticked me off, but it’s getting foggy.
Companies like Major League Baseball, which have moved from simple insult to punitive action, are also immune to reason. Moving the All-Star game to Denver, Colorado, a state that rightly has stricter election integrity protections than Georgia, doesn’t seem to faze the league’s brass at all. Perhaps they might next move the game to China; a market they love, where there aren’t any election laws to ruffle their dresses.
Their feigned moral protest against the Peach State is a pretty little lie, but it won’t look so pretty anymore when it shows up on a spreadsheet at a corporate shareholder or board meeting. How can we do that?
Boycotts will be tough, even if they roll right off the tongue. If you live in a hub for Delta or United, you’re very likely going to fly them, even while they grow increasingly belligerent against conservatives. Our airline options can be limited, and if you need to get somewhere and don’t have unlimited time or resources, well, you’re going to choose what’s easiest and most affordable.
If you drink Coca-Cola, a product made by a company that frequently condemns conservatives, you might switch to Pepsi, but how many will follow? That doesn’t matter anyway, boycotts are softball. Americans worried about the corporations lobbying against the citizens’ interests need to hit businesses where it really hurts them. We need to pick up that old weapon they call government.
According to the Department of Justice, “Most of the major carriers worldwide have joined one of three international airline alliances” — alliances that have been permitted to fix prices by antitrust exemptions granted them by the Department of Transportation. Multiple Republicans have floated stripping these exemptions from airlines.
It makes sense, and DOJ has found it would even help travelers. But to our purposes, it would hurt these companies that seek to hurt us, and would make it clear that when they alienate Americans, they alienate themselves.
For all its profits and all its pride, Major League Baseball is just another little government-protected piggy. While they make billions in profits, Americans have shoveled billions out of our own pockets in the form of subsidies and municipal bonds since 2000 alone.
Municipal bonds, which are basically government-backed bonds that aren’t federally taxed and come with interest rates far below the levels the rest of us pay, are supposed to build things like roads, public libraries, and other projects towns and cities might want. Roads and public libraries, some might notice, aren’t the kind of places that will run you $300 to take the kids for some hotdogs and a game.
Any of us can buy into these bonds, but not a lot of us can get them — that is, unless you own a professional sports team. It’s a sweet deal if you can get it. Maybe the league shouldn’t. Maybe an organization that bills itself as America’s pastime, where we all come together, sing the National Anthem, eat their $12 hotdogs and put politics aside, should not forget its place in our society — and all the little allowances we’ve permitted as part of that place.
But how about for the rest of us who aren’t politicians? What can we do? Well, have you been hauled into mandatory meetings for either junior employees or overpaid windbags to tell you the color of your skin makes you a bad person? A lot of folks have, and that right there is what the lawyers call “a hostile work environment.” It’s a legal term. It scares the boss. Use it.
Let’s see how long this party lasts when the pain these companies so carelessly inflict on Americans rolls right back uphill. Let’s see how long it takes the lawyers to call downstairs and ask exactly why 25-year-old staffers were berating their colleagues at a mandatory white privilege seminar. See how long the reign of the little tyrants in the HR office lasts when an internal class action slips across the general counsel’s desk upstairs. They sure can dish it out, but let’s see how long they can take it.
What we’re seeing is the most powerful people in our country, from Hollywood and Silicon Valley to Wall Street and the commissioner’s desk, launching open war on Americans who are less wealthy and influential than they are. Christians, conservatives, the white working poor, our state legislators — these are their targets. We are the targets.
Companies that have long taken advantage of our laws, carving out special nooks and crannies not available to the rest of us, think it’s just fine to turn around and attack and penalize Americans who even meekly try to protect our children from activists’ experiments, guard our elections, and save women’s sports.
They think there are no consequences. They think they’ll get away with it. It’s time to show them otherwise. It’s time to punch back.
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