Itd be comforting if Nikes Betsy Ross Flag sneakers decision was the exception. Sadly it is not.
WASHINGTON D.C. (Texas Insider Report) In the 20th century most business leaders were predictably conservative. Big money aligned with their class allies in the party of property" and some of those elements still back Donald Trump and conservative causes. Left-wing politics were left to their unions academics and parts of the media.
But over the last 20 years or so most of the oligarchy whose firms are overwhelmingly non-union have embraced the rising tide of a progressive Social and/or Environmental Agenda.
Part of the new corporate mindset is uncompromising social progressivism. In the industrial era ruling classes paid at least lip service to the American Family but todays corporate leaders often demonstrate as little use for the traditional family and religion as they do for patriotism.
The clear majority of wealthy donors support the Democratic Party while vast majority of the ultra-rich foundations funded by the offspring of the Rockefellers and the Fords based on fossil fuels for Petes Sake now all tilt well to the left.
So deep-seated is gentry progressivism that a company like Nike quickly sides with a mediocre NFL quarterback who has worn socks showing police as pigs over an iconic image from the countrys founding.
This could be one way that company which relies on low-wage largely un-unionized foreign labor in what the Baltimore Sun called abysmal working conditions" can sell itself as politically correct.
It would be comforting if Nikes decision to ditch its Betsy Ross Flag sneakers at the behest of former NFL quarterback (and now-social justice warrior) Colin Kaepernick was exceptional. Sadly it is not.
The Gentrification of the Left
Increasingly many of our most powerful and successful U.S. corporations are all to eager to kowtow to the purveyors of political correctness such as those who compared the revolutionary banner to the Nazi swastika flag or that of the Confederacy.
Such corporate vigilantism" is particularly dangerous when according to one recent survey upwards of two-thirds of top CEOs see their responsibility is to shape society as opposed to say meeting simply the needs of shareholders. Such thinking is particularly widespread among those companies the five tech giants that now constitute the worlds five most wealthiest companies who dominate and in some cases exercise near monopoly control of key markets.
With near monopoly status these firms as tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel notes dont have to worry about competing with anyone" or alienating customers. Such lofty positioning encourages firms like Google as a new article in American Affairs suggests to rig the algorithms that control search to favor not just their commercial interests but also their ideological predilections.
Firms such as Facebook and Twitter also openly engage in de-platforming" conservative and other groups who offend their ideological sympathies.
Detached from Traditional Values
Gillette the razor company for example has produced ads that attack toxic masculinity." Similarly culturally PC approaches have been adopted by firms such as Audi Procter and Gamble Apple and Pepsi.
The corporate emphasis on cultural issues serves to give "street cred" to the ultra-wealthy but threatens to widen the gap between the corporate elite and those who still identify with the old values of family centrality the nation state and religion.
Allowing biological males to use womens restrooms a position embraced passionately by leading corporations is rejected by two-thirds or more of the population.
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis a tech mogul has backed sex education in public schools that essentially bans any talk of gender norms. Its likely few parents embrace the fashion of raising their children without acknowledging what is for the vast majority their biological reality.
A Risky Bet?
Wokeness backlash to which helped elect Donald Trump also could soon turn against the corporate elite itself.
Like the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages or the Communist Party in China in the 1960s the gentry-funded left is spawning extreme cults. Modern day childrens crusades" rise naturally from often hysterical notions about climate change and social justice promoted by the oligarchs in their media outlets and pronouncements. At some point these radicalized young people will rebel against the clean rich" who live on large estates collect fancy cars and fly private jets while asking everyone else to downsize and check their privilege."
This seems oddly reminiscent of Chinas efforts to control and monitor thoughts sometimes assisted by U.S. tech firms. Libertarian ideologues may see something different since these companies are not part of the state but Google already functions as a state within the state" creating what is calls machine learning fairness" that will produce the proper ideological results.
Whatever the fate of the moguls themselves the woke corporation challenges both to our democracy and the future free thought.
Rather than surrender control of information to these self-appointed curators we must answer the old Latin phrase quis custodiet custodes who watches the watchers? There needs to be a response before the woke oligarchs and their allies take all such thoughts off the net and beyond respectable conversation.
Joel Kotkin Executive Editor of NewGeography.com is the R.C. Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange and is Executive Director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism.