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Michael Swartz / April 16, 2021

The Woke Try to Avoid Going Broke

If you take them at their word and ignore the long con, America’s corporate leaders may seem sensible.

A statement signed by the titans of business and an accompanying newspaper ad buy are the latest in a series of overtures by corporate leaders to show their sudden willingness to suspend belief and fall for the hype concerning Georgia’s revamped voting laws. Or any other state that cares about election integrity, for that matter. Despite President Joe Biden’s oft-repeated lies, we haven’t actually retreated to the days of Jim Crow, of course, but a number of A-list corporate entities would have you believe Georgia reinstituted the poll tax while simultaneously disenfranchising thousands of minority voters, denying them even the basics of life while they stand in line to vote.

The funny thing is that we can agree with at least part of the premise. “We should all feel a responsibility to defend the right to vote and to oppose any discriminatory legislation or measures that restrict or prevent any eligible voter from having an equal and fair opportunity to cast a ballot,” these corporate do-gooders write, apparently not realizing that Georgia expanded voters’ opportunity to do so but also took steps for ensuring more ballot security. The statement “is simply empty virtue signaling,” claim the editors at National Review, and to an extent they’re correct. Even so, empty virtue signaling to some serves a purpose to others, and that’s the real lesson to be learned here.

Placing a two-page newspaper ad in the two most reliably elitist organs of the Left — The New York Times and The Washington Post — isn’t a message to the public but a message for big government. And that signal is that corporate America is ready to play ball with progressives and the Biden administration. “Republicans have criticized corporate moves to boycott Georgia,” adds National Review’s Zachary Evans, but what have they done besides warn about “serious consequences” for corporations if they don’t stop?

The editors of The Wall Street Journal recalled a lesson taught over 40 years ago in a recent editorial: “We aren’t saying … CEOs don’t also have some higher motives, and self-interest is no sin in our moral lexicon. The point is that corporations look out first and foremost for their own interests, and that often means collaborating with government for narrow purposes that aren’t always in the public interest.”

Unfortunately, “often” now seems to be “always.”

Virtue signaling by large multinational corporations in this and many other cases indeed has a couple of purposes. First, it gives corporations a little bit of a fig leaf when they act in a manner that their friends on the Left may not like, whether it’s companies taking advantage of slave labor in China or working to keep unions out of their facilities. But, much more importantly, having the government and big business working in tandem means it’s much harder for upstarts to break into their exclusive clique.

It’s not difficult to see how this alliance can become an advantage for both sides. For just one example, workers winning the “Fight for 15” at the state or federal level won’t be so bad for the big boys who can absorb the increased labor costs thanks to their efficiencies of scale, but it can be devastating to a small business where labor costs make up more of their expenses. Those small businesses are the companies that will be laying off workers when the minimum wage increases.

Think of it this way: If big business weren’t so willing and eager to help the slim Democrat majority in Congress, it would be all but unworkable. Recall how little Republicans could get done in Congress in President Donald Trump’s first two years as these “woke” corporations weren’t giving them much in the way of assistance — despite the fact that cutting taxes benefited them greatly.

The unholy alliance between corporatists and corrupticrats has been around for decades, and the four-year scare it had between 2016 and 2020 has convinced it that this time it needs to slam the door on Liberty for the working class, beginning with the preservation of a corruptible voting system like the one we saw in Georgia.

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