As more American companies cave to the Woke Mob, many conservatives are wondering how to make sense of it all and how to have our voices heard. Americans for Limited Government News spoke with attorney Justin Danhof, General Counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research, for answers.
ALG News: The trend of investing in so-called environmental, social, and governance (ESG) companies is growing. Companies are rated based on their carbon emissions, diversity on their board, among other factors. Many companies seem to be bending over backwards to show their ESG credentials. What do you make of all this? Where did this all come from?
Justin Danhof: It’s coming from pretty much every political direction except from the right. ESG is just cover for liberal policy and politics. That ratings system that the leftwing groups have imposed on large companies in America is so bad that these companies now have entire divisions that work year-round responding to survey questions and rating questions to have a high ESG score. Conservatives and the conservative movement are not sending questionnaires to companies to see where they fall on our values. These companies are only hearing from one side that’s part of the problem. The left knows that politics is all downstream from culture. They know if they can win the culture war, they can win the political battles. That’s how they’ve been so successful.
ALG News: The ESG trend seems to be part of a larger cultural shift. What is your take? How will this cultural shift affect the competitiveness of US companies?
Is America headed for a recession?
Justin Danhof: It’s going to put us on par with Europe. Elizabeth Warren and her ilk want the “Europeanization” of American businesses. Since at least the end of the Civil War, America has been the place to come and do businesses. It’s part of American exceptionalism. We were a place that had a lot of freedom for businesses. We will lose that if we go down a European model. Because ESG, at the end of the day, imposes a greater cost of doing business. And they’re going to be passed on to the American consumer.
ALG News: With the rise of ESG investing, shareholders have become less important than stakeholders. What is going on here? Where did that concept come from? And what is the difference between a shareholder and a stakeholder?
Justin Danhof: A shareholder is someone who has invested in a company by buying shares of stock. A stakeholder can be anyone. In 2019, the Business Roundtable [an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies] put out a new statement of purpose for corporations. They switched from a shareholder focus to a stakeholder focus and then they listed all stakeholders that they were going to care about. They put all those stakeholders above the shareholders. The stakeholder model of capitalism is absurd. They’re saying they’re responsible to everybody, responsible to the environment, responsible to this whim or that whim, whichever way the wind blows. In reality, what it means is these corporations will advance the interests of whichever stakeholders they prefer. And we know that that’s the political left. They ignore conservatives.
ALG News: How does ESG relate to the corporate tyranny that is out of control right now and how can everyday Americans fight back?
Justin Danhof: Corporate tyranny will not end well because you can never satisfy the beast. When you start carrying water for the political left on water two or three issues, they’re going to come back and ask you to carry their water on 300 issues. More than 1,100 major American companies are trying to overturn Georgia’s new election integrity laws. Corporate tyranny and cancel culture are coming for anybody who has right-of-center thoughts, beliefs, or values. Conservatives need to employ the same tactics, with the same ferocity that the left does. But I don’t think boycotts are effective. It is better to simply call the company’s customer relations or investor relations, if you are an investor, and express your views. Don’t just post complaints on your social media pages, post your views directly on the sites of the companies you are targeting. Having that kind of constant engagement with companies is how the left has succeeded, both as investors as activist groups on the outside. And that’s what the right needs to start doing and need to start doing pretty darn quickly because the Woke Mob is running amok. We’ve got to push back in large numbers, and constantly.
ALG News: Where can people go for more information on how to fight back?
Justin Danhof: Go to Stopcorporatetyranny.org to get resources and tools to have your voice heard.
Cross-posted with The Daily Torch
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