The Canadian Red Ensign

The Canadian Red Ensign

Friday, November 22, 2019

Thoughts on Conservatism and Capitalism in the Wake of L’Affair Chic-fil-A

On Monday came the announcement that Chic-fil-A, a fast-food franchise that specializes in a sandwich with fried chicken as the filler and which can be found mainly in the United States, would no longer be making donations to the Salvation Army, the Paul Anderson Youth Home, and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. For several years now the restaurant chain has been under severe pressure from the Homintern to do just this. The alphabet soup gang’s complaint is that these organizations don’t agree with same-sex marriage. In this, these Christian charities are in agreement with Chic-fil-A’s founder, the late S. Truett Cathy, who was a devout, church-going, Southern Baptist, who taught Sunday School and insisted that his restaurants close on Sundays. Daniel Cathy, the son of the founder and the current chair and CEO, has also been an outspoken critic of the gay agenda.

Needless to say, Chic-fil-A’s announcement has generated a lot of discussion this week among those who would consider themselves to be conservative or right-of-centre. Some have focused on condemning the gay lobby’s strong arm, gestapo, tactics and its apparent goal of brutally silencing all who will not give it the affirmation it demands. Lloyd Billingsley’s The Menace of LGBTQ Bigots at FrontPageMag is a good example of this approach. More often, the criticism has been of Chic-fil-A itself for caving in. At least one commentator, Stephen Kruiser at PJ Media, has taken Chic-fil-A’s denial that its decision was a capitulation to the demands of gay activists at face value and argued for giving them the benefit of the doubt. Dalrock, in response, has called this a case of “conservative militant cluelessness” which he defines as a “bizarre conservative impulse to not only deny reality, but to actively work in the service of SJWs to ensure that others do as well.” All I really have to add to that is that about a decade ago, when the gay mafia first made Chic-fil-A a target, they were making fairly large donations to pro-family organizations that were engaged in active opposition to the LGBTQ agenda. That they long ago ceased to do so weakens Mr. Kruiser’s arguments since it appears that this latest corporate decision is simply the most recent in a series of capitulations to demands that have, as the demands of bullies tend to do, increased with each capitulation.

Of all the commentary on this news that I have read so far the most interesting has been that of engineer and novelist Francis W. Porretto at his blog Liberty’s Torch. Porretto approaches the subject from a fresh new angle, that of the question of whether or not businesses should make charitable contributions. He makes an ethical argument that corporate charity is immoral if the company’s stock is publicly traded and that if the company is privately owned, its executives’ private charity should be just that, private, both in the sense that it should come out of their own pockets rather than company funds and in the sense that they should follow the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and not trumpet their giving. This he argues, would make companies immune to the attacks of woke activists.

Porretto makes a strong case, although the protection his proposal would undoubtedly give corporations from attacks like the one on Chic-fil-A would not help some of the other businesses targeted by gay activists. Take an example that Porretto mentioned himself, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, the cake bakery in Oregon that was subjected to an anti-discrimination lawsuit in 2013 for refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding, and fined a crippling amount in 2015. While the refusal of the bakery’s owners, Aaron and Melissa Klein, to bake the lesbian cake undoubtedly falls under the category of “the prioritization of irrelevancies – social, political, or otherwise – in the operation of a business” which Porretto decries in his first paragraph, it is also a fundamental matter of conscience, the refusal to participate in something one deems to be wrong.

There is a different form of “the prioritization of irrelevancies – social, political, or otherwise – in the operation of a business” that warrants consideration. I refer to what has come to be known as “woke capitalism.” Woke capitalism is the mirror image of the Chic-fil-A controversy. In woke capitalism, it is the corporate managers who are the social justice warriors imposing their agenda of feminism, anti-whiteness, anti-Christianity and alphabet soup gang demands upon their companies, employees and customers/clients. It seems to be most prevalent in the large corporations of the entertainment and information industries, the reason why being fairly obvious – progressives would find control of these companies the most useful for disseminating their ideas – but it is by no means limited to them.

The rise of woke capitalism gives those of us who would consider ourselves to be traditionalist, conservative, reactionary, or otherwise right-of-centre, to reconsider the assumption that businessmen qua businessmen are our natural allies or, to put it another way, that our interests and business interests coincide. It also, of course, is reason for our progressive foes to reconsider their assumption that businessmen are their natural enemies.

These assumptions go back to the nineteenth century when the Left, which is to say the ongoing Modern revolution against Christian civilization, its kings, and its Church, began to identify itself with socialism. Socialism was the name given to a number of different theories and movements which arose, more or less simultaneously in the nineteenth century, which claimed to speak on behalf of those who had to rely on the sale of their manual labour to make a living and which placed the blame for their woes, and the woes of human society in general, on the private ownership of property. In socialism, the Right, which is to say the defenders of Christian civilization, its kings, and its Church, and capitalists or businessmen, both of which saw private property as a fundamental good and a basic element of civilization rather than the evil which socialism made it out to be, had a common enemy. Through the reasoning that the enemy of my enemy is my friend, this led to the assumption that capitalists were the natural allies of the Right.

There was always plenty of good reasons to reject this assumption, however. In the centuries prior to the birth of socialism the Modern revolt against Christendom, its kings, and its Church was primarily the work of merchants, traders, and financiers, in short, the capitalists. Indeed, capitalism, or more properly liberalism, which should not be confused with business itself but is rather the re-organization of state and society according to the principle that business interests should come first, itself an anti-Christian principle, began with the rejection, in Calvinistic thought, of Christianity’s traditional strictures against usury and the loosening of legal restrictions on such in states influenced by this theology. Furthermore, even after the Left embraced socialism, there were no lack of capitalists to be found to fund and finance socialism, even in its most extreme Bolshevist form. A number of perceptive traditional Tories such as George Grant and Sir Peregrine Worsthorne noted, in the second half of the twentieth century, that capitalism was a far more effective engine for producing the kind of radical social and cultural changes that conservatives loathe than socialism.

The Left has now moved beyond socialism to identify itself with an ever-growing consortium of fringe activist movements, each wackier than the one before it. Big Business, by jumping on board this bandwagon racing down the road to hell has produced the monstrous menace of woke capitalism. This might mean that the business class has collectively lost its marbles. Or, perhaps, they are finally, openly, wearing their true colours, debunking once and for all the notion that there is any natural affinity between their interests and those of the Right.

In which case, it is time for us on the Right to abandon an unnatural alliance and open up on Big Business full blast over how they through their Avaricious worship of Mammon have decimated small towns and the family farm, turned every community in the Western world into a clone of the next – same stores, same restaurant franchises, etc., completely destroyed the aesthetics of the landscape – which the Green movement, if it were genuine, which it is not, would focus on instead of their loony Apocalyptic nonsense about climate change – and turned everything into a commodity thus reshaping the world into the image of Oscar Wilde’s cynic who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Heaven knows they abundantly deserve it.

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