Divest and Decouple
Americans want to fight back against the ongoing socialist takeover of their homeland but feel powerless.
The public schools most of us are forced to pay for are utterly overrun by the left. Big banking is now instrumental in promotion of left-wing social goals. Our government seems more and more unresponsive to the will of Americans, perhaps because the vast majority of it is unelected and permanent. The media is saturated in statist doctrine. Our states are more and more electorally beholden to urban centers which are now predictably and hopelessly illiberal.
Among the means by which the left has accelerated all of this in short order is through their various divestment schemes, meant to both defund businesses and individuals who stand against their agenda and to simply strike fear into the hearts of quavering boards of directors. Today’s ultra-sophisticated (in the most Socratic sense of that word) ESG and SRI movements are the most inescapable incarnations of this grab for power. ESG is short for Environmental, Social and Governance and assigns scores to companies based on their adherence to the left’s vision in each of these areas. SRI is Socially Responsible Investing, a game that anyone with money can play and which Investopedia defines as, “An investment that is considered socially responsible due to the nature of the business the company conducts.” Ratings agencies already routinely assign ESG scores as do some brokerages, especially since 2020.
I’d love to discuss further the insidious nature of these socialistic power plays but the point is that these are sophisticated-sounding means for funneling money to firms in line with the left’s agenda and for curbing the profitability of any firm that resists. On the right, we’re a lot less adept at such things, perhaps because we don’t spend a lot of time on vast schemes to conscript the world into our goals. (Look at the difference in what right- and left-wing think tanks spend their time on.) But we’re increasingly left at a disadvantage as capital flows to spineless and compliant international banks, corrupt politicians and their special-interest cronies.
So what do we have left in our arsenal? And by “our,” I mean the everyday man or woman on the street, the types of Americans I met from coast to coast last year—retirees, farmers, fast food workers but almost universally, adherents of traditional American values. There are at least a few valid answers here including reference to our voices but here I’ll focus on our money. We do, in aggregate, have some power here still, simply in the personal choices of where to shop and where to invest. True, government forcibly takes much too much of it for its own nefarious purposes and has gutted the essential value of each and every dollar but we do still have some “buying” power. At the very least, we’re able to send market signals to which firms remain responsive. True, these firms are increasingly under ESG/SRI pressures but they will only move in one direction so long as this isn’t countered. It’s time for Americans to put the squeeze on.
So, how do we go about this?
Well, unlike the left, I’m not going propose a unifying scheme or protocols that need to be adhered to. This is an idea for concerned individuals to push forward, in unique ways that each of us can best determine. What follows is a list of ideas, pretty good starting points I think. It’s likely impossible to check off all of these (certainly I can’t claim that I do) but they’re worth setting up as goals. If we all made our best effort to divest and decouple from firms pushing a leftward agenda, the world could only be a better place. In a nutshell, let’s make “Go woke, go broke!” a reality.
First, stop using Big Tech! This first suggestion may in fact be the most difficult of the list. It is now virtually impossible to not use technologies that rely on Google, a known enemy of traditional liberal values. But you can give this some thought and do what you can to use alternatives to Google (plus YouTube), Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. (And yes, The Long March of Liberty still has room for improvement in this regard.)
Consider GiveSendGo instead of GoFundMe, PayPal, or Patreon.
Leave big media behind in favor of independent creators. Again, this is an area in which personal judgment is best applied rather than conformance to divestment protocols. Some entertainment sources are, by degrees, worse than others. The point is to simply send a signal that you won’t give money to those who hate you and your values.
Similarly, leave almost all of the mainstream news behind and don’t patronize any of the news sources Google points you to (if you haven’t left Google yet). We live in an unprecedented era of diverse and easily accessible news sources. Do your research and don’t go back to ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, etc.
So long as we have alternatives, we shouldn’t allow banks and other financial institutions to hold/use our money if they’re also a part of the ESG problem. When you pull it all out, be sure to drop a line and let someone in corporate know why.
This one’s easy: Don’t buy their books. And this one really is easy because the left and right increasingly speak different languages and live in different worlds. It’s very difficult nowadays to even relate to the ideas and motivations of most new books written by authors on the left.
Distance yourself and your money from institutions pushing the “unified” COVID narrative: COVID is an existential threat, masks and vaccines are vital and governments must do more to safeguard us.
Distance yourself and your money from institutions pushing the “unified” climate narrative: Anthropogenic climate change is an existential threat, control of carbon is vital and governments must do more to safeguard us.
Once a retail business has established itself as ideologically committed to “woke” leftist ideals, just shop elsewhere. It’s a big and diverse marketplace and there are always other places to get almost anything. I stopped shopping at Target several years ago.
Become an active (or activist) investor, divesting from woke companies to whatever extent you can within your personal investment portfolio and investing purposefully instead in the few companies that take a stand against the PC mob. Join the LRI movement today and push for Liberty Responsible Investing!
Coffee—I had to mention it. This is among the best of the finer things in life and the companies who sell it are among the worst of the “socially responsible” crowd. Starbucks should have been dropped long ago by anyone who just enjoys quality coffee but it’s a little more heart-rending to say no to some of the quality roasters who are out to save the world one equitable bean at a time.
Stop vacationing in socialist states; support states that support freedom.
Here’s a really tough one once you’ve warmed up with all of the above: Don’t work for companies invested in a woke, “sustainable,” socially equitable culture. Take your talent elsewhere. As the progression of the left’s power play continues in your workplace, you will have to either become compliant or leave anyway. Just beat them to the punch.
And here’s one from the realm of wishful thinking: Stop funding the government through income taxes and stop funding the public schools as well. These would be key to breaking the power that government now wields over us all but tax structure, protocols and enforcement are such that it’s nearly impossible to just stop paying. If you can figure out a good way to do it, please let me know. Find out about the work of Americans for Tax Reform and support it.
I suspect that liberty-concerned people can’t help but feel better about themselves and the overall situation if they’ve made some change and are on the way to making more. Most of these are not excessively difficult if we have the will to make the changes required. And I wonder, if we’re unwilling to inconvenience ourselves in these ways, how will we withstand the more heavy-handed persecution that’s surely coming? Certainly our would-be overlords long to assign us all ESG scores as soon as possible.
In fairness, there are a couple of dangers here too that are worth addressing. First, we risk limiting the diversity of our own ideas and point of view if we leave behind all of the left’s media, limiting ourselves to echo chambers. Secondly, we risk limiting our economic potential if we won’t play along with the big banks, big employers and big government.
In short, my own assessment of these risks changed during the COVID era. The left is now moving fast to consolidate power, tolerating no diversity of perspective even within its own ranks. I’m willing to take the chance that I might miss something as I turn off CNN, MSNBC, or NPR. I haven’t seen anything there that wasn’t predictably anti-American or venomous toward people like me lately. Donald Trump, it is said, uniquely realized that we are at war and when at war, one doesn’t ensure that he’s adequately thought through all of the opposition’s propaganda before assaulting their strongholds.
We risk limiting our vision and our wealth if we fight back as described. But today, we risk utter subjugation if we don’t act. Just ask our gentle neighbors to the north who had their last-ditch trucker’s protest for freedom broken up last winter and who are now on the verge of losing even more of their gun rights. It’s a progression.
We need to do these simple things before we can “Build Back Better”—not according to their vision but according to our own. Let me conclude by offering a single link to make it even easier to start:
Godspeed freedom fighter.