Send a signal that could penetrate boardroom doors
CONSERVATIVES MUST GET OVER their infatuation with big business. In many instances, corporations are our worst enemies.
In late December, The New York Times Sunday Magazine ran a story, "Washington Discovers Christian Persecution," that contained an odious example of Wall Street's nonchalance on the subject.
"I suspect there are those in this town who think, incorrectly, that China is the new evil empire," said Willard A. Workman, who handles international affairs for the United States Chamber of Commerce.
Workman added, "China is not unique in the world in having some interesting views on religious-freedom issues."
The National Socialists are not unique in the world in having some interesting views on religous-minority issues. Bull Connor and the Birmingham, Ala., police are not unique in the nation in having some interesting views on how to handle civil-rights demonstrators.
If Workman were honest, he would have confessed: "Look, we don't care how many Christians the Chinese communists put in chains, rack or tenderize with cattle prods for practicing their religion. Some of our members are making money in China. Nothing else matters."
However, it should not be assumed that a bottom-line mentality is business' only political sin. Popular mythology notwithstanding, the Left has no better friends than in the corporate suites.
The Capital Research Center does a periodic report on the charitable giving of Fortune 500 firms ("Patterns of Corporate Philanthropy"). Its latest survey showed that, in 1993, for every $1 these giants gave to conservative organizations, they donated $4.07 to liberal and left-wing interest groups.
Companies like Anheuser-Busch, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America and Exxon cram the coffers of big-government/anti-family groups like the Children's Defense Fund, Planned Parenthood and Greenpeace.
Apparently, no cause is too loony for corporate support. In 1993, People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (the lunatic fringe of the animal-rights movement) hauled in $4.29 million from corporations. Ingrid Newkirk, PETA's charming president, has compared barbecuing several million chickens annually to the murder of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.
Business funding of liberal causes extends to referenda campaigns. From California's historic 1978 Proposition 13 to the California Civil Rights Initiative of 1996, corporations have lined up behind high property taxes, racial quotas, Clintonian morality and other aspects of the assault on traditional America.
CCRI, which abolished racial and gender quotas in state employment and education, is a case in point. Pacific Gas & Electric, Wells Fargo and the California Business Roundtable were among the corporate champions of quotas.
Their officers and directors, who will never have to worry about losing a job or promotion to a less-qualified candidate for diversity's sake, were more than willing to sacrifice someone else's opportunity.
This is not an overall indictment of the business community. Generally, small businesses are more inclined to sanity than their pumped-up counterparts. That's why the National Federation of Independent Businesses is far more supportive of conservative legislation than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
There are large corporations whose money underwrites free-market politics and traditional values. Eli Lilly and Domino's Pizza (whose chairman contributes to the pro-life movement) come to mind.
They are the exception. The indefatigable Gary Bauer, head of the Family Research Council, observes, "Particularly multinational corporations no longer think of themselves as American and, as a result, no longer feel a particular loyalty to American values."
On the other hand, nationalism tends to reassert itself in times of crisis -- as when a corporation makes a bad foreign investment and is in need of a taxpayer bailout.
This state of affairs will continue until big business is made to pay a price for its politics.
From libertarians to the pro-family movement, the right invariably answers calls for help from corporate America when its interests are threatened by proposed hikes in business taxes, new regulations and the like.
What if we didn't take the call? What if we abstained and let business
why? Then corporations could look to their friends in PETA and Planned
protect their interests. Here's a signal that might just penetrate those
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