The Tiers of Woke Clowns

Vivek Ramaswamy is not a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant but he is a man and he did some ‘splainin. It’s not a good sign that it was necessary on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal. Skepticism tends to be looked on with skepticism these days—popular culture is always ripening the harvest for confidence men.

The subject of Ramaswamy’s piece is another enlightened scheme for saving the world—from what we will all find out–as the vision unfolds. This time it goes by the Newspeak name “stakeholder capitalism.” The term is supposed to mean that righteous corporations will be raising the stakes above mere profit for shareholders. What it looks to be saving us from, as Mr. Ramaswamy is wont to point out, is that ever-present peril to democracy known as “one man one vote.”

A new, improved corporatocracy now has plans to look out for you–a guy with no stake in the company–just like Bill O’Reilly does. What kind of fascist could have a problem with that? It’s not like the last few generations have been immune to clandestine arrangements—engineered in opaque conclaves—to fix our broken world. The question is, if any of them are working, who are they working for? People who dare to question high flying priorities—under a banner of noblesse oblige that nobody voted on–are frequently heaved to the political kitchen bin. Anybody who can’t tell the difference between a CEO who stands for goodness itself, and a televangelist making the same claim, might not be employable once Mom and Pop’s finally get wiped out. Where’s the downside of that? What could Vivek, who is a CEO himself, be thinking? Against the Left: A Ro... Rockwell Jr, Llewellyn H Best Price: $3.00 Buy New $8.00 (as of 03:22 UTC - Details)

“It is puzzling that stakeholder capitalism is now viewed as a liberal idea. Many liberals who love stake-holder capitalism abhor the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in Citizen’s United v Federal Election Commission because it permits corporate money to influence elections and thereby implement corporations’ values. Stakeholder capitalism is Citizens United on steroids: It advises powerful companies to implement social goals their CEOs want to push. Society created companies to provide goods and services that consumers want, not to push social values that only a subset of people agree with.”

The trouble with corporate “values”, which go above and below the bottom line, is that the process always involves depriving common people of choices. There’s little doubt that a vague commodity known as
“equality” will be topping the stakeholder agenda. We have all learned from college that that lofty slice of cake isn’t served on the cheap. In 2015 Paul F. Campos wrote on the pages of the NYT “If over the past three decades car prices had gone up as fast as tuition, the average new car would cost more than $80,000.” Why? Because it seems, it is impossible to make our world more “equal” without bossing more and more peasants around every day. As Campos points out:

“Interestingly, increased spending has not been going into the pockets of the typical professor. Salaries of full-time faculty members are, on average, barely higher than they were in 1970. Moreover, while 45 years ago 78 percent of college and university professors were full time, today half of postsecondary faculty members are lower-paid part-time employees, meaning that the average salaries of the people who do the teaching in American higher education are actually quite a bit lower than they were in 1970.

By contrast, a major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.

Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.”

Imagine then, how much more equal we will be by the next time tuition doubles? Is there anyone naïve enough not to recognize “stakeholder capitalism” as a corporate reflection of this academic trend? Mencken told us: “Whenever you hear a man speak of his love for his country, it is a sign that he expects to be paid for it.” Do you really want to support a grandiose scheme you aren’t even aware of in the price of your widgets or whiskey? Are we supposed to believe that gushing corporate execs will be giving up mansions and Maserati’s to ensure widespread contentedness and social amity? Isn’t it all the more likely you’ll be charged top dollar to have standards you may loathe shoved down your own throat? Meanwhile, corporate powers ever more remote continually dilute the value they deliver. Anyone mistaking a corporate do-gooder for a parasite might be in for a good, old fashioned doxing and de-platforming. Stakeholder capitalists have every intention of raising the stakes of free speech so high that they are the only ones left at the microphone. Consumers will be expected to listen…not be heard.

People obsessed with equality barely ever notice how enlightened values create new intractable castes in society. I don’t trust Bill O’Reilly, Lloyd Blankfein, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Bacow to look out for me. I’ll place enormously more confidence in more avenues of free expression available to the widest possible audiences. When our material safety is at stake it’s our liege lords who persistently merit the utmost scrutiny. Why is it that the ultra-equalitists always prefer arrangements the other way around?