The Growing Consumer Revolt Against Woke Ideology
Authored by Jeffrey A. Tucker via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
It’s likely true: No executives at Anheuser-Busch knew what the Bud Light marketing people were planning when they decided to deploy an absurdist and deeply offensive transgender TikTok influencer to sell their beer. But soon after it happened, public disgust became rather obvious. The crisis began, but for weeks, the company was in denial.
Finally, the CEO made a statement that only infuriated people more, simply because it wasn’t an apology or even an honest admission of anything that was happening. It had that sterilized and robotic quality we’ve come to associate with government statements that pretend that all is well when everyone knows it isn’t.
Two weeks ago, the line about Bud Light on the streets was that the consumer protest would run the news cycle and then disappear, that the protests were limited to the “far right” and “conservative activists” but that most consumers don’t care either way. Every story in the mainstream media said the same thing. They further suggested that if you don’t drink Bud Light, you are likely a dupe of dangerous fanatics.
But here we are three weeks later and finally, the company stepped up again to address the growing meltdown. They put both the vice president of marketing and her boss “on leave,” which one supposes is a way of firing them while minimizing the legal liabilities and the sense that the company was facing a real crisis.
“Given the circumstances, Alissa [Heinerscheid] has decided to take a leave of absence which we support,” an Anheuser-Busch spokeswoman wrote in an email to The Wall Street Journal. “Daniel [Blake] has also decided to take a leave of absence.”
I just love that “given the circumstances” line.
This move of course has satisfied no one, fed the news cycle even more, and further entrenched the consumer boycott that has spread to all the company’s brands.
Do you see what is happening here? We are watching the rise of genuine consumer awareness and hence sovereignty. The public is finally fighting back.
Only a few years ago, politics was pretty well kept out of economics and marketing. We could have our differences over ideology but they didn’t invade our commercial spaces. For decades, if not centuries, the market has largely operated outside of the poison of politics, or at the very least, large companies pretended to be neutral in order to maximize their public reach.
When you go to the Cheesecake Factory, no one cares what you believe and no one tells you what you have to believe. It’s been the same in every commercial space since the late Middle Ages: the consumer is the king in this realm, and politics doesn’t belong. The advance of this system represented a major change in social structures the world over. It meant that wealth and power came not from conquest and exploitation but rather service to fellow human beings.
By the late 19th century, the advances of consumer sovereignty and meritocracy replacing aristocracy seemed largely complete. During this time, too, humanity experienced and enjoyed the greatest flurry of innovations in human history, seemingly all at once: the commercialization of steel, the rise of electricity, the mass availability of internal combustion and flight, the telephone, and spreading of wealth to all classes. It wasn’t politics that did this but the people’s power of the market economy. This reality has always been a major annoyance to the ideologues who believe that political agitation should invade the whole of life.
Much of this has changed with “woke” ideology, which is the latest iteration of the deeply dangerous fanaticism that the personal must always be political. The slogan was bandied about in the 1960s but failed to capture commercial institutions, which continued to be governed by mundane concerns about the public’s desire to get products and services at a good price.
But with a series of small steps and then big ones, the marketplace has become seriously politicized, with consumers conscripted by various causes. The advent of ESG and DEI movements are major parts of the putsch of fully invading the commercial world. Companies have to get a high rating or else see their stocks delisted by powerful securities advisories. It was all an attempt to force the marketplace to serve political priorities above all else.
Much of this has taken place without the awareness of the public. We’ve largely gone about our business without realizing what was taking place beneath the surface.
But in recent years, consumers have been stunned to see what is really going on at these companies. As their management layers ballooned and cheap credit seemingly gave them a license to pursue politics over quality products and services, they have made major efforts toward twisting company culture in political directions.
They started putting ideology over profitability, especially in the hiring of top management positions. They favored the protected, privileged, and Ivy-educated over people within the company who actually understood the customer base. And they did this with brazen acts of racial and gender tokenism that punished competence and rewarded political loyalties.
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