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After decades of corporate cheerleading, conservatives are learning a critical lesson: Big business is not your friend. In the past, Pride Month has come and gone with little pushback from the American right. The celebrations get larger and more explicit, companies switch to rainbow logos and issue statements of support, and a few weeks later, GOP politicians argue for the next round of corporate tax cuts.
This year is different, however, as the rapid push to advance radical gender ideology onto children has awakened parents to the dangers of the trans movement, which has simultaneously been pushed to the front of the wider LGBTQ+ coalition. Bud Light and Target have already seen steep profit losses due to their elevation of transitionist propaganda, as effective boycotts from red America decimate their bottom line. Companies like the North Face and Kohl's are also feeling the heat due to their shameless attempts to push Pride-themed merchandise onto children.
While it is encouraging to see effective action being taken by conservatives, populist movements have a habit of losing focus and dying out unless they are used to achieve more durable transformations inside institutions, and it is worth stopping to understanding the forces at play that keep those kinds of lasting changes from occurring.
The wokeness of brands like Bud Light or Target is nothing new. In fact, the beer maker has been offering Pride-themed cans for many years, but public consciousness can be focused by the particularly brazen acceleration of what was already an ongoing process. Once red America became focused on the radical gender propaganda printed on the side of a familiar beer can, their eyes were suddenly opened to a revolution that had been happening all around them for decades.
The Bud Light phenomenon is doing for corporate grooming what remote classes during the pandemic lockdown did for critical race theory and public-school gender indoctrination. Busy parents who dutifully sent their children to the local public school for an education were not truly aware of what their kids were being taught until they were forced to listen to classes during the lockdown. That realization sparked protests at school board meetings and eventually gave birth to a parental rights movement that successfully passed bills in a number of states banning CRT and gender theory indoctrination in public schools. Conservatives are now having a similar experience with woke capital, which is making a phenomenon that was already ubiquitous impossible to ignore.
Success is essential and drives a popular movement forward, but the momentary exuberance it brings on can also dissipate quickly if it is not properly focused. As Target’s losses blow past $10 billion and Bud Light’s market share sinks like a rock, conservatives intoxicated by the thrill of successful collective action have sought additional companies to boycott.
The options are plentiful, as almost every major corporation has fully dedicated itself to venerating America’s new state religion and has invested heavily in celebrating the most holy month of Pride. But the long-term success of these boycotts requires focus, and the instinct to identify and include the next big woke corporation threatens to end the effort before it has even begun. Both Target and Bud Light are facing financial consequences, the kind of serious losses that cause corporate leadership to panic, but neither have bothered to apologize, much less take any substantive action to repair the relationship with their customer bases.
These woke corporations have chosen ideology and elite favor over those who actually buy their products and can only be shaken from that position by the prospect of financial destruction. Real victory in these situations looks like what the left gets when progressives put pressure on a company: Your political friends are hired, your enemies are fired, money is donated to your patronage network, and human resources trains employees never to cross you again. These corporations may choose to go out of business before bowing to the demands of red America the way they cater to the whims of blue America, but that is a theory that should be put to the test.
In either case, dividing focus diminishes the chance of success and increases the likelihood of popular energy dissipating before any meaningful victory is won. Pick one or two companies and maintain pressure. Do not spread the effort so thin that it falls apart.
As the ability of conservatives to perceive the wokeness deeply embedded in the organizations around them increased, they started to notice something alarming. The progressive ideology was not just present in trendy retailers, sports teams, and public education, but in organizations that presented themselves as conservative as well.
Many Fox News viewers were surprised to learn that the network’s human resources policy surrounding transgenderism was indistinguishable from any other member of woke capital. It was also discovered that Chick-fil-A, a fast-food restaurant beloved by conservatives for its promotion of Christian values, has a vice president in charge of diversity equity and inclusion. That executive, Erick McReynolds, has pledged to embed the DEI agenda into everything the corporation does. Some will point out that both corporations have shown sympathy for leftist social causes in the past and that makes these developments unsurprising, but it is important to understand the much deeper structural cause that drives even the most conservative company to enact these policies.
Jeremy Boreing of the Daily Wire seemed to inadvertently highlight the problem while discussing a controversy surrounding the television show “The Chosen” on Twitter. “The Chosen” is a popular series depicting the life of Jesus that has gained a large fan base of conservative Christians. The show drew unwanted press, however, after footage revealed a Pride flag that had been displayed by one of the employees on set. Boreing correctly pointed out that while the makers of the show may disagree with the employee, labor law and civil rights law prohibit the company from refusing to hire individuals based on those views. Similarly, attempting to reprimand or terminate the employee for displaying such a flag at work would likely trigger a multimillion-dollar lawsuit and enough bad press to end the production.
The same laws should protect Christians in theory, but in practice, companies can and do refuse to hire employees who vocally support traditional views on marriage or sexuality. Corporations also regularly put existing employees through struggle sessions informing them about how unacceptable their religious views are and aggressively fire any employees who do not conform to the latest round of brainwashing.
Companies are not woke just because it is profitable or popular. CEOs do not advance progressive ideology just because they are secret Marxists or even because their financial futures are tied to the leftist corporate blackmail known as ESG scores. All of those concerns are certainly a factor, but capital is woke, first and foremost, because it is required to be by law. It is literally illegal for companies beyond a certain size to refuse to implement woke doctrine, no matter how conservative the company itself may be.Andrew Breitbart was right about many things, but his often-repeated maxim about culture is incomplete. Politics may be downstream from culture, but culture is downstream from power. As long as failure to comply with trans pronouns and DEI requirements will bankrupt a business, corporations will only become more woke, despite the protests of their customers. In a battle between legal compliance and consumer outrage, the law will win every time, and this lesson is the one conservatives must learn if they are to stop the woke revolution from consuming every American institution.
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Auron MacIntyre is the host of “The Auron MacIntyre Show” and a columnist for Blaze News.