There is a tone of panic in this recent Axios newsletter which should inspire a certain delight in every red-blooded American. It is, to be sure, inspired by a truly terrible event, the indefensible killing by Memphis police of a man named Tyre Nichols. But the true source of leftist panic is the realization that their ability to whip people (and particularly the business community) into a frenzy is waning.
Under the heading, "The shift toward silence," the newsletter's author gestures at the fact that, during the riots of the summer of 2020, which followed the death of George Floyd, nearly every major American company took a hardline position on the complex issues surrounding race and policing, many of them donating hundreds of thousands of dollars each in support of the "Defund the Police" movement among other questionable causes. But, laments Axios, their response has been more muted in the wake of Tyre Nichols' death. Here's just one of the examples:
The Business Roundtable, a coalition of CEOs from America's top companies, previously pushed for comprehensive police reform and in 2020 stated, “Corporate America cannot sit this one out." What they're saying, now: “We are disturbed by the brutality Mr. Nichols suffered and express our condolences to his family and community, and communities across the country grappling with senseless violence," a Business Roundtable spokesperson told Axios. "There's no public call to action, plan to reignite reform, and certainly no funding commitments."
Indeed, though one wonders how these would improve the situation. After all, the calls for action and reform of police training and tactics, as well as the corporate funding in the summer of 2020 didn't help Tyre Nichols escape death at the hands of five black men.
But why hasn't the corporate response been more righteously fulsome? The author (citing "experts") gives four suggestions: Power dynamics ("Companies are not facing public and internal pressure to make external statements"); Economic uncertainty ("Many tech companies have gutted their DEI departments in response to economic strains."); ESG pushback ("Recent pushback from activist investors and legislators at the state and federal levels have caused businesses to become more skittish on ESG initiatives."); and Fatigue.
Is the halo wearing off?
The first explanation merely raises the question. WHY aren't they facing pressure to use their resources to exert more pressure on others? But the other three do address the issue, though not quite for the reasons the author thinks. The economic situation really is more precarious today than in 2020, and not just in the tech sector. Consequently, businesses are having to work harder to bring in revenue, and they are more concerned about not alienating potential customers with ham-handed political statements.
Relatedly, there really has been pushback on ESG, the scheme whereby businesses heavily invest in leftist causes from environmentalism to defunding the police, and pledge to avoid doing business with other companies that don't do the same. Though it is amusing that he blames "activist investors and legislators" for it. In fact, ESG was popularized by activist investors and legislators, and the pushback has come from people simply noticing what they're doing. And then fatigue: regular people are sick of companies sticking its nose into political debates, particularly when they don't have anything to add.
Now, it would be a mistake for us on the right to assume that mega corporations are back on our side. As Tucker Carlson would say, Big Business still hates your family. And Michael Brendan Dougherty rightly points out that the occupant of the White House makes a difference. There's less pressure on business right now than in 2020, but should Trump or someone like him retake the reins, Woke Capital would come roaring back. But, let's take the time to delight in our adversaries' anxiety. Heaven knows, they'll be attacking us on solid ground again soon enough.