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Corporate America’s Strategy Of Mob Appeasement Will Destroy it, Just As It Always Has

Miami riots. Photo by Mike Shaeen/Flickr.

For decades, corporate America vainly hoped that money, press releases, and choice divestments could virtue-signal them out of the mob’s cross-hairs and even hurt their competitors. None of it saves them.


Twenty-six years ago, Morgan Stanley hired Marilyn Booker as their first diversity director, charged with overseeing corporate efforts from the firm’s New York City headquarters, a 685-foot, glass, Times Square skyscraper. Ten years ago, Booker left that post to work in their financial wealth management division. Seven months ago, Booker was fired.

But that was before video aired of George Floyd’s death, and spreading, national protests escalated into riots, violence, church burning, monument defacing, and occupations. How quickly things change. Now Booker is leading a group of black women in suing the company that employed her for a quarter-century, charging that the firm systematically discriminates against black employees.

The suit comes after a notably active week for the investment bank’s activism. Since Black Lives Matter blasted back into our Alzheimer’s-addled news cycle, Morgan Stanley’s chief executive, James Gorman, committed $25 million to a new internal “diversity” effort, sent $5 million to the NAACP, promoted two black women, and sent an email about it all to staff. For his efforts, he was personally named in Booker’s lawsuit.

But Morgan Stanley is not uniquely stupid for empowering an activist whose sole job was to call them racists. For decades, corporate America has launched similar efforts in the vain hope that money, press releases, and choice divestments could virtue-signal them out of the mob’s cross-hairs and even hurt their competitors. None of it saves them. On the contrary, moves to embrace the mob have placed corporations more clearly in their sights than they were before.

At root is the reality that corporations are cowardly, and there’s a reason for that. While conservative consumers are adept at patronizing companies that support their worldview, a la Chick-fil-A, they rarely target private industry for blatant Democratic partisanship. Liberal consumers and their media enablers, on the other hand, will boycott a company for the slightest connection to the slightest transgression.

Over the past 30 years, this has taught corporations like Nike that attacking conservatives has no consequence, while pushing left-wing values has no detriment. Until now.

We’ve seen this sort of suicidal partnership before — and recently — with the secret alliance between environmental radicals and energy companies. First, the energy companies went after their competition in the coal industry, with firms like Chesapeake Natural Gas sending more than $25 million to the Sierra Club. Now this is the model, and at the moment, major oil companies like Exxon are funding a Republican-staffed carbon tax effort that would disproportionately hurt their smaller competitors.

The list goes on, but one thing remains constant: Soon enough, as company after company and job after job are forced to climb to the guillotine, the corporations paying the bills get closer and closer to the front of the line.

The left employs this tactic because it works. And part of why it works is that Wall Street capitalists and corporate leaders think its better to pay homage to the mob, feeding it employees, executives, and competitors and hoping this will satisfy the demands. It doesn’t, of course, and won’t ever.

Now the mob is both inside the door and at it, its supporters running H.R. departments and manning diversity posts while boycotting, threatening and suing from outside. While they could once count on their friends in the GOP to help them out, they no longer have any real friends in the party. If executives don’t stand up for themselves now, no one will. And the scaffold is calling.