When U.S. Steel ignored President Kennedy’s plea to keep prices down, he said, “My father always told me that all businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it till now.”
That’s how I feel about the CEOs who made a noisy show of quitting President Trump’s business council a few weeks ago. As if the business council meant anything. What was it, in reality, other than an exercise in crony capitalism? And what would have been the benefit to the country of getting advice from the cronies-in-chief?
President Trump said, “Above all else, we must remember this truth, no matter our color, creed, religion or political party, we are all Americans first.” You would have thought that was a more than adequate expression of social solidarity, but that didn’t stop Merck’s CEO from objecting to expressions that “run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”
Then there was JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon piously telling us that “it is a leader’s role, in business or government, to bring people together, not tear them apart.” But how was choosing a side between right- and left-wing fascists going to bring people together?
And in an act of hypocritical point scoring, Intel’s CEO suggested that “scoring political points [be put] aside” in order to “focus on what is best for the nation as a whole.” As if hearing inflammatory and racially divisive rhetoric from America’s one percenters would benefit the nation “as a whole.”
But it was Starbucks’ Howard Schultz who exposed what was really going on here. “The bigotry and the hatred and the senseless acts of violence against people who are not white cannot stand. Not in this country.” Got that, folks? If you were a Trump supporter, you hated African Americans, and were probably a Nazi to boot. No pretense here about bringing people together and healing the nation.
Makes you want to belly up to one of their baristas, doesn’t it?
But here’s my favorite act of corporate self-serving under the pretense of performing a public service. Not wanting to let a good tragedy go to waste when it can be capitalized upon to advertise last month’s up-grades, Uber emailed me on August 17 to let me know that they were “horrified by the neo-Nazi demonstration that took place in Charlottesville.” Oh, and by the way, I might want to check out their brand new support app. “Now more than ever we must stand together against hatred and violence,” the email read.
The attempt to squeeze money out of a tragedy is revolting, of course, and so is the moral posturing, the courageous stand against the Nazi threat. Move over, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the White Rose, we’ve got Howard Schultz and Uber, folks who aren’t afraid to tell us they don’t like Hitler. And for their profiles in courage, they get the congratulations of the Washington Post.
What it comes down to is a nasty form of passive aggression. First, it implies that if they are against fascism, then Trump and his supporters must be fascists. No evidence mind you, just a sly and hideously false innuendo to which even Joe McCarthy would not have stooped. It’s like the Black Lives Matter people, who by their slogan want to tell you that nobody else thinks black lives matter.
Second, all this virtue signaling is, above all, meant to normalize the violence committed in its name by the likes of antifa, BLM, and as many as 50 or more such groups. Kerensky said “no enemies on the left” just before Comrade Lenin gave him the heave-ho, and no enemies on the left is what Schultz et al. are saying. Trump properly blamed the violence on both sides, and if the crony capitalists have a problem with that it’s because they don’t want to condemn alt-left violence.
This is what the Post seems to be telling us. It published several puff pieces about how noble the antifa goons are, including in an article by antifa-apologist Mark Bray on August 20. All the antifa folks want to do is “preemptively shut down fascist organizing efforts before they turn deadly.” Right, as if a speech by the flamboyantly gay, Catholic Jew Milo Yiannopoulos might turn deadly in the absence of masked antifa thugs throwing gas, feces and urine-filled projectiles.
In a sense, antifas can be seen as uber-libertarians, the ultimate self-help advocates harboring a serious distrust of the state. According to Bray, they’re “autonomous anti-racist organizations” who “reject turning to the police or the state” to stop speech they don’t like, preferring instead to rely on various homespun methods, such as dropping a potentially blinding chemical into the ventilation system at one of the inaugural balls last January. Unlike “alt-right trolls who joke about gas chambers,” antifa actually tries to re-create them. In the days after Trump’s inauguration, antifa set off a Kristallnacht in downtown D.C., as it roamed the streets setting cars on fire and shattering plate glass windows, including a Starbucks window.
The CEOs who endorse the insidious distinction between good and bad murderous gangs are concerned only with their bottom lines. Whatever happens, they want to be around to turn a profit, and they don’t care about what happens to our democracy and way of life. After all, didn’t Siemens and Mercedes thrive in Nazi Germany?