Why Are the Wealthy ‘Woke’?
Why Are the Wealthy ‘Woke’?
What do Nike, Pepsi, Lego, Disney, L’Oreal, kfc, Pfizer, Comcast, FedEx, Home Depot, Verizon, Google, Starbucks, Papa Johns, Coca-Cola, Morgan Stanley and Deloitte all have in common? They are giant, hard-to-ignore businesses. What’s more: They have all supported Black Lives Matter, the lgbt movement or the racial justice movement—or all three.
Meanwhile, their executives travel the world in private jets, lecturing people about the dangers of climate change. Organizations such as Davos and the World Economic Forum promote programs of thinly disguised communism. Billionaires donate to radical politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
If you want to avoid giving your dollars to companies that support radical-left causes, good luck. More and more big businesses and big businessmen are pushing the woke agenda.
Aren’t corporations supposedly right wing? Why have so many moved so far left?
The impact of big business and big businessmen on our society is enormous. They are playing a leading role in driving the world down this road.
The Bible has a lot to say about the decline in modern society’s moral standards. It discusses our politics and politicians. Thus, it is unsurprising that it also has a lot to say about our modern businessmen.
Part of the reason for this political shift left in the business realm is self-interest. In general, businesses try to appeal to the relatively young. If young people have a job, they likely have more disposable income than a pensioner, and if they become loyal to your brand at age 20, they have many years of purchasing ahead. The 2020 Pew Party Identification Survey of 12,000 registered voters found that 54 percent of millennials (ages 24 to 39) lean Democrat, whereas only 38 percent lean Republican.
It’s no coincidence, then, that businesses that have shifted furthest to the left have the youngest customers. For example, people under age 34 make up 43 percent of Nike’s business; 89 percent of Starbucks customers are under age 40.
Businesses also tend to appeal to urban consumers. Those in big cities visit Starbucks more often. And 62 percent of urban-registered voters lean Democrat, compared to just 31 percent Republican. The New Republic wrote that businesses shifting left are “just opening their eyes to how important political involvement is to their profits” (April 30, 2018).
Young, urban workers are not just target customers, they are also target employees. Businesses competing to hire young people entering the workforce shift politically left to increase their appeal.
But some brands, like Gillette, have moved left even against the preferences of their target consumers. Why?
Leftists are working hard to politicize the marketplace, aggressively targeting businesses that transgress their standards. In today’s political climate, those on the right have little interest in persecuting businesses. So for businesses, it’s the left they need to appease. They aren’t so keen on left-wing ideas such as high taxation—so they promote the ideas that hurt them little.
“Corporate activism on social issues isn’t in tension with corporate self-interest on tax policy and corporate stinginess in paychecks,” wrote Ross Douthat in the New York Times. “Rather, the activism increasingly exists to protect the self-interest and the stinginess—to justify the ways of ceos to cultural power brokers, so that those same power brokers will leave them alone (and forgive their support for Trump’s economic agenda) in realms that matter more to the corporate bottom line” (Feb. 28, 2018).
Douthat called the new state of affairs “the Peace of Palo Alto, in which a certain kind of virtue-signaling on progressive social causes, a certain degree of performative wokeness, is offered to liberalism and the activist left preemptively, in the hopes that having corporate America take their side in the culture wars will blunt efforts to tax or regulate our new monopolies too heavily.”
Does all this sound a bit too cynical? Consider the left-wing causes big business supports. When did you last see one of these companies stand up for lgbt rights in Iran? Or to speak out against slavery in China? Doing the latter would hurt their supply chains. So Nike, Apple and Coca-Cola lobbied Congress to allow them to continue to use Chinese concentration camp inmates. Pharmaceutical giant Gilead sponsors homosexual pride parades—while charging over $2,000 a month for an anti-hiv drug. Signaling their support for the lgbt movement is much cheaper than lowering the price of a drug that would predominantly help those in that community.
Look at just how targeted these supposedly altruistic social efforts are, and it’s not hard to recognize the monetary motivation behind them.
There’s another reason for big business to support radical-leftist causes: Big business and the radical left both love big government.
Left-wing politicians continually publicize the fiction that business hates regulation. True, your local accountant, baker, electrician, hardware store owner and restaurateur all hate regulation. But not big business. Why? Big businesses can afford to hire lobbyists to shape regulations. They can hire experts that help them ensure compliance with the most complex and labyrinthine of red tape. And if a government regulator comes after them, they can hire lawyers and buy influence to push back. But all these options are far out of reach for small businesses. Regulation also stops potential competitors before they ever get started.
The upshot is, the more regulation, the less competitive the market becomes for the corporate giants. So even in countries known for being “free market” and “free enterprise,” big business is devoted to big government.
The total money spent by registered lobbyists rose from $2.4 billion in 1988 to a peak of $3.5 billion in 2009 during Barack Obama’s first year in office (figures adjusted for inflation). And this was just the official, registered spending.
On average, an estimated $3.7 million is spent lobbying each member of Congress each year.
This lobbying creates a lucrative revolving door. Ex-political advisers can make a lot of money selling their services to businesses, helping them navigate the laws they just created. Here’s one case in point: Jake Sullivan helped President Obama negotiate the Iran deal. He then got a job helping big business trade with Iran, using his intimate knowledge of the deal he helped craft. Now, Sullivan is back in politics as President Joe Biden’s national security adviser.
At times, industries lobby to have regulations put in place that serve no benefit to customers, but which earn businesses tremendous profit. As the government encroaches deeper into more and more areas of our lives, more of these businesses stand to benefit.
Faking a Popular Movement
But not all business support for the leftist agenda comes from cynical self-interest. Many, especially among the super-rich, appear to be true believers. So they bring to bear their wealth, influence and experience in shaping governmental policy.
Roslyn Fuller tracked how this works for her article “The Billionaire Takeover of Civil Society” (Spiked, January 29). She zoomed in on one individual: Ebay billionaire Pierre Omidyar. He funds a huge network of nonprofits, none of which give any clear indication of being related to Omidyar or to each other. They have names like the Democracy Fund, Healthy Democracy and the MacArthur Foundation.
Fuller wrote, “If one accepts what ‘givers,’ like Omidyar et al, say, it becomes apparent that rather than participating in traditional acts of charity, like founding a hospital for the needy, they are attempting to engage in ‘social engineering’—that is, using their resources to artificially change the structure of society to what they think it should be. If successful, this would amount to an extreme circumvention of democracy, utilizing money not just to win elections, but to substitute paid or subsidized content for actual support, and thereby flip an entire political culture on to a different track by amplifying some voices and drowning out others.”
One group that receives funding from Omidyar, the Sunrise Movement, describes its plan to “take over the entire United States and all the institutions in it.” It “moved activists into ‘dorm-style Sunrise Movement Houses for three to six months’ in order to create leaders who had a deep level of commitment ‘for everything that would come afterwards’” (ibid). These leaders are trained to turn more people to the cause until they reach a critical mass.
“On one level, it is great that young people are taking part in politics,” Fuller wrote. “But on another level it is incredibly fake. The youthful participants aren’t so much being empowered as instrumentalized. After all, they are part of the portfolio of an investment fund that is using them to ‘shift power,’ with part of the strategy being to shame politicians for not being nice enough to hysterical children.”
But Omidyar doesn’t just fund activist groups. He funnels money into “research organizations” that describe themselves as “independent” or “nonprofit.” You presume them to be groups of scientists doing studies, but look deeper and you find that they are firms full of public relations managers and strategy directors.
Some of these “research organizations” produce “sample op-eds” that you can use to write your own, complete with facts and stats backing up the point you want to make. No wonder so much of the media sounds the same.
In addition to this, these different groups work together. For example, a billionaire-funded “independent research institute” publishes a study on “fake news.” The study recommends an “independent” fact-checking group. It turns out that the fact-checker is funded by the same billionaire—a fact it does not disclose.
The desire to reshape society is now commonly talked about by the super-rich. The World Economic Forum famously started talking about the “Great Reset.” Klaus Schwab, one man pushing hard for this “reset,” writes in Covid-19: The Great Reset: “At the time of writing (June 2020), the pandemic continues to worsen globally. Many of us are pondering when things will return to normal. The short response is: never. Nothing will ever return to the ‘broken’ sense of normalcy that prevailed prior to the crisis because the coronavirus pandemic marks a fundamental inflection point in our global trajectory.” This man sees the disruption to all of our lives this past year as progress toward some twisted socialist utopia.
It’s no surprise to see many in business acting on their commitment to reshaping society by backing Joe Biden for United States president. In October 2020, cnbc wrote that the Democrats had “crushed” Republicans in fund-raising, “fueled, at least in part, by Wall Street executives.”
In Time’s shocking admission of election interference, “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election,” the author described the role big business played in the most recent elections: “There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from ceos. Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans. The pact was formalized in a terse, little-noticed joint statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and afl-cio published on Election Day. Both sides would come to see it as a sort of implicit bargain—inspired by the summer’s massive, sometimes destructive racial-justice protests—in which the forces of labor came together with the forces of capital to keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy” (February 4).
Business leaders were worried about “economy-disrupting civil disorder,” wrote Time. They reached out to radical left-wing groups to ensure the mob got what it wanted.
This approach kicked into overdrive after the January 6 “insurrection.” Stripe stopped processing payments for the campaign. American Express and JPMorgan Chase said they would no longer donate to candidates who supported the “insurrection” or voted against confirming President Biden’s victory in the Electoral College. An insider reported that Goldman Sachs had a similar, but quieter, policy. Deutsche Bank announced plans to distance itself from President Trump.
Then, as Biden chose his administration, his links with the radical left and big business became even clearer.
BlackRock manages more assets than anyone in the world: the equivalent of $8.7 trillion. Bloomberg characterizes it as the “fourth branch of government.” As the government prints money to keep the economy afloat, BlackRock is an essential partner, managing that cash.
The company has a revolving door relationship with the Obama-Biden administration. BlackRock investment executive Brian Deese was a senior adviser to President Obama. He now leads the National Economic Council under Mr. Biden. Adewale Adeyemo was Obama’s senior international economics adviser, then chief of staff to BlackRock’s chief executive and is now deputy treasury secretary for Mr. Biden. Michael Pyle who worked in the Obama administration, has become BlackRock’s global chief investment strategist and will now be chief economic adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris. More than a dozen people went from the Obama administration to BlackRock.
No business has ever had this level of influence in the United States Treasury, not even Goldman Sachs.
Even some on the left are concerned with the level of power BlackRock now has. “BlackRock needs to be broken up and regulated,” director of research at the American Economic Liberties Project Matt Stoller said. “BlackRock ceo Larry Fink knows this, so he’s been storing hack Democrats on ice so they can go into the Biden administration and make sure that doesn’t happen.”
BlackRock chairman Larry Fink is an enthusiastic Democrat. In January 2017, he sent an open letter to over 1,000 ceos urging them to “respond to broader social challenges.” He encouraged them to follow the examples of businesses that cut ties with the National Rifle Association and praised examples like Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, which responded to a mass shooting by quickly announcing policies against selling guns to customers under 21.
As a business, BlackRock will support radical-left projects when it suits them. They made a big show of their plan to stop investing in any company that makes more than 25 percent of its revenue from coal. They are less proud of the fact they are the world’s largest investor in fossil fuels—due to their heavy investment in the oil industry (though, interestingly enough, not in the Keystone Pipeline).
But these close ties to government have also brought Fink great returns. Since 2004, his company has hired at least 84 former government or central bank officials. That is how you become the fourth branch of government.
And once you’re in, all kinds of doors open up. Ex-BlackRock executives are big fans of trade with China. And with Biden in office, BlackRock is readying some major deals with Beijing.
The radical left has the support of big government, big media, Big Tech and also big business. The Trumpet has written extensively about how the Bible prophesied the rise of the radical left. So it’s not surprising that these same scriptures have a lot to say about the wealthy.
Many of these prophecies are in the book of Amos, which is an end-time book for the people descended from ancient Israel, most notably America. The Anchor Bible Dictionary states, “Amos decried the social injustice, the oppression of the poor, and the lack of any moral or ethical values on the part of the rich and powerful. According to Amos, the spokesman of [God], Israel was a violent, oppressive and exploitative society. The poor had to sell themselves into slavery to pay off trivial debts (2:6; 8:6). The rich falsified weights and measures (8:5) and traded dishonestly (8:6). Even the courts, the last bastion of hope for the poor, were corrupt. Judges were bribed to cheat the poor out of what little they had (2:7; 5:10, 12). In fact, Israel was no longer capable of acting with justice (3:10; cf. 5:7, 24; 6:12). Truth and honesty were now hated (5:10).”
How much of this appalling behavior do we see today? Businesses manipulate the system to get ahead. Our entire economic system is built on encouraging people to buy what they cannot afford and to ensnare themselves in debt.
Meanwhile society goes deeper and deeper into practices abhorred by God. Isaiah 57:5 describes our people today: “Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?”
“Anciently the Israelites sometimes physically sacrificed their own children,” writes Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry. “Today we sacrifice our youth spiritually when we give them no uplifting vision. We sacrifice them to sexual lust and fornication. The Internet alone does $10 billion to $13 billion worth of business in pornography every year just in America! It is the most profitable online business. We also sacrifice our children to demoniac music, drugs and greed. In the nations of Israel, this is done even before our youth are taught to use their minds! They get so hooked on coveting that they never even learn about the wondrous potential of our God-like minds!” (Isaiah’s End-Time Vision).
Mr. Flurry wrote this before the lgbt movement really took off. Now businesses are going along with or supporting a movement that destroys our children’s future. It fills them with warped ideas about marriage and family, destroying their potential to have a happy life and making it much harder for them to have a relationship with their heavenly Father.
2 Kings 14:26 prophesies of the same time period as the book of Amos. It states that “the Lord saw the affliction of Israel, that it was very bitter: for there was not any shut up, nor any left, nor any helper for Israel.”
How did the wealthy respond to this affliction? God condemned them as those who “lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David; That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph” (Amos 6:4-6).The modern descendants of Joseph in Britain and America are being afflicted. But the wealthy are comfortable and unconcerned.
God doesn’t merely condemn those who actively support this affliction; He condemns those who tolerate it, who go along for the sake of a quiet life or for the sake of protecting their business. This is a warning to all of us. A great many distractions and pleasures are available even to those who are not super-rich. Any of us can get caught up in self-interest and not be grieved for the destruction going on around us.
But some of Amos’s warnings are directed specifically at the super-rich. Amos 3:15 is directed at those with “winter houses” and “summer houses” and “houses of ivory”—those with a number of luxurious properties.
In Amos, God exposes a system that is corrupt on every level. It exposes a false religion, flawed politics, corrupt judges, and an economic system content to use that corruption to make money.
The only solution, God says, is to tear it all down. Amos 6:7 says that “they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.”
Our society, too, is on the brink of being torn down—unless we make major changes. There is no soundness in it anywhere.
But Amos also contains a picture of a new society about to be set up: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt” (Amos 9:13). This future society will be fabulously wealthy. But unlike the wealth that came before, it is based not on extortion, but on obedience to God and His law.
The few verses at the end of Amos give us a different picture. This isn’t someone idly consumed in pleasure. While the book of Amos condemns those who get rich on the backs of others, ultimately it gives us a picture of the hard labor of the individual farmer bringing him bountiful rewards.
This is the only solution for us today: an entirely new society and system. In some ways, the super-rich are right to see the need for a change from the system as it is today. But it won’t come about by their doing. The book of Amos shows us that it will take God’s intervention in world affairs to set it up.