Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Why the Conservative War on Woke Capital Is Doomed To Fail

I would go further than this analysis by Soave and argue that “woke capitalism” IS conservatism at this point if by conservatism we mean someone that wants to defend the interests of the existing ruling class and political status quo. Those who oppose “woke capitalism” from the right are reactionaries, i.e. those who want to “turn back the clock,” with the question being one of how far back to set the clock. The George W. Bush-era for some, the Reagan era, the 1950s, the 19th century, the antebellum period, 1776, the Reformation, the Middle Ages, or Roman Empire for others.

By Robby Soave, Reason

It will be coopted by regulation-loving progressives who oppose capitalism, not wokeness.

Conservatives feel besieged in the culture war. Large corporations that previously seemed at least somewhat ideologically more sympathetic to Republican views have moved openly left. Amazon, Starbucks, American Express, and countless other big businesses criticized Republican efforts in Georgia to restrict voting rights, and Major League Baseball (MLB) moved the All-Star Game out of the state.

In response, conservatives are considering retaliation: Republicans might strip the MLB of its antitrust exemption and repeal certain tax breaks. The intellectual leaders of the new political right also occasionally discuss loftier schemes: breaking up large companies like Amazon entirely, taking away the broad liability protections enjoyed by Facebook and Twitter, and various legislative remedies.

The problem for the opponents of “woke capital” is that many of these proposals would either fail outright or cause worse problems than the ones they intend to solve. For instance, vesting the federal government with enhanced power to split apart massive tech companies on antitrust and anti-monopoly grounds—an approach favored by Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.)—would do little to tackle the issue of social media sites censoring conservative users. But it would expand the state, empower traditional media, and in general harm the profits of private businesses, which is probably why it’s a strategy beloved by progressives in the mold of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.).


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