Stop Appeasing Stupidity

At the Coffee House:

I wonder if the people behind this have any idea of the dark road they’re leading us down. In the United States, a well-funded group called Color of Change has, for some years, pressured major companies into supporting left-wing causes with the threat of public shaming; indeed many if not most big companies do fund progressive causes, whether same-sex marriage campaigns, pro-amnesty groups, gender-neutral bathrooms or even Planned Parenthood. Not only are their upper echelons Democrat-leaning but it costs very little for big firms to throw a bone to a lobby group, since they’re far more worried about the possibility of monopoly investigations or tax rises.

But what about those millions of consumers who don’t share those progressive views, who would like to buy a coffee without knowing the money is going to something with which they profoundly disagree? Well naturally they can turn to 2ndVote, a conservative group which informs consumers about the companies they are funding and, by implication, makes those corporations pay the price. Indeed, lots of US firms are explicitly quite political, as can be seen by the group’s websitemost are progressive, but there are also quite a few explicitly conservative ones to mop up that share of the market.

And yet, as much as I like the idea of buying my lunch from someone who shares my values, this is a really, really bad road to go down. The whole miracle of capitalism, as Voltaire famously observed in his visit to the London Stock Exchange, was that it was able to break down barriers by enabling people to trade with those of a different worldview. Yet in the US political differences have evolved into political sectarianism, with the internet fuelling division as surely as the printing presses sowed hatred in 16th century Europe. And when goods stop crossing ideological boundaries then it’s only a matter of time before something else does.

Read it all there.

What do you think?