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Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Woke Capital Isn’t a Game

Conservatives need to stop treating virtue signaling as if it didn’t matter....

This summer corporate American cheered on BLM and Antifa as they burned our cities. Now, Twitter and Facebook openly censor information, while Nasdaq asks the government to sanction their stringent new diversity mandates. These news items hammer out a familiar beat, offering a clear glimpse into our future. It is long past time to get smart on what this phenomenon truly represents. 

 Older conservatives and leftists entertain two different, but related, misconceptions that make it difficult to see how the structure of these corporations drives woke culture. Many people like to believe that woke capitalism is insincere posturing. H.R. blather protects the company from lawsuits, woke ads build goodwill with progressives, and companies will use minority lending programs to create CDO products. Big deal—underneath it all, business remains the cold world of profit-seeking rationalism. Advertising is manipulative by its nature, therefore the most conspicuous examples lead people to believe that corporate America’s leftist positions are insincere. Purportedly, business only cares about the bottom line, and corporate America’s new persona is cynically dependent on how it impacts profit. 


But Twitter’s and Facebook’s actions clearly prove this wrong: they cannot be explained in terms of profit. Nor is it the first time this has happened. In 2019, corporations openly opposed democratic self-rule by refusing to work in Georgia when the state passed restrictions on abortion. This was despite Georgia’s pro-business policies. Who cares if that was a publicity stunt? 


It’s important to note where this radicalism is headed. When the company CoinBase asked its employees to keep politics out of the workplace, the former CEO of Twitter Dick Costolo stated that he would be happy when “me-first capitalists” get lined up and shot in the “revolution.” Now, The New York Times is writing hit pieces against CoinBase. Multi-millionaires LARP as Bolsheviks, while the GOP continues to confer sainthood on people who openly fantasize about their slaughter. 


The people who work at these companies do, in fact, hate you. Their sincerity or depth of principle is irrelevant. Those who fret about the inconsistency or inauthenticity of today’s neo-totalitarians have spiritually surrendered, saying, in effect, “that KGB agent who dragged me to the Gulag and stomped on my face was so cynical. Probably hasn’t even read Marx’s Capital.” Conservatives who unreflectively champion “pro-business” policies without reference to their holistic impact on American life and culture simply work to fund people who hate them. And so to fight the new totalitarian menace, it will be necessary to rethink the institution that historically kept business interests in check: the labor union....

Republicans must stop funding people who hate them, and instead build political infrastructure that actually helps their voters.