Warning to Corporations: Your Business Is Not Virtual Signaling

Written by Michael Cummings on September 7, 2018

On the individual level, when you give to someone in need – whether via your church or charity — do you brag about it? In general, I think most people don’t, and those who’ve given blood or donated to a cancer-fighting cause and donned the sticker or pink ribbon are doing so because they feel good about having done good.

When people brag about their charity, while sometimes eye-rolling, it’s generally harmless. After all, being generous to a good cause and bragging about it helps society infinitely more than doing nothing and being quiet about it. From a clothing donation to the hospital with the benefactor’s name emblazoned on the building’s exterior, it’s always better to do good – even if you’re a little vain about it.

Yes, I’m aware of Matthew 6:2: “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” All things being equal, however, I think Jesus prefers action over intention.

What about corporations?

Let’s define a for-profit organization’s goal: To make a profit. Every action taken by all representatives of a corporation must be dedicated to either saving money or making money. Otherwise, the company’s stakeholders – owners/employees, investors, stock holders – will take their time, talent, and treasure elsewhere.

Profit is good. Profit means more research and development to improve products and services. It means helping more people solve problems. It means hiring more people. It means higher commissions and bonuses. It means good benefits including medical insurance. It directly translates to food on the table for the families of employees, and providing for those families’ futures. For your leftists, it also means more in taxes.

But when companies like Nike, Levi’s (recent anti-gun push that will do nothing and a stupid “don’t wash your jeans to save the planet” campaign), and hordes of others dip their toes or swan dive into virtue signaling, they’re getting the wrong message that image means more than their product or service. Puffing up their chests and saying, “Look at how much we care. We are good people. You should buy more from us.” is playing a dangerous game with their paying customers.

As Jordan Peterson explains, corporations who jump into politics are inviting a hungry bear into their house who, for the moment, hasn’t decided to eat you yet [my comment at the end]:

“People who are doing this at the corporate level will rapidly get their comeuppance … If you’re operating within a capitalist environment like let’s say the executives and management of Qantas, who are being paid disproportionately well, you don’t also get to be a social radical. And you don’t get to salve your conscience for receiving a pay cheque that’s 300 times the pay cheque of the average worker by pretending you’re a social revolutionary. It’s an appalling sleight of hand.

“In addition, you don’t get to invite the radical leftists into your corporate utopia without opening the door to a major fifth column. If you are naive enough to think that the demand of the radicals for the transformation of your company is going to end with a few requests for language transformation then you’re a complete bloody fool.

It’s staggering to me to watch the corporate elite types kowtow to the radical Marxists. They do it to virtue signal or because they’re feeling guilty or maybe because they’re facing genuine pressure and don’t want to stand up against it. But they’re playing a game that will punish them intensely.

In the early 1970s when it became absolutely untenable for anyone with any moral intellectual pretensions to be on the side of the Communists … the same doctrine went underground and transmuted into this postmodern dogma that completely dominates the humanities and social science end of the university curriculum and increasingly plays a determinative role in the legislative process at every level of government in the West [and in all of free enterprise]. It’s the same old wolf in new sheep’s clothing.

Concentrate on your product or service. Make it better than anyone else. Deliver it with the best customer service in your industry. But if you choose to participate in social identity politics, don’t be surprised if your customers turn their backs.

Image: CCO Creative Commons; Excerpted from: https://pixabay.com/en/angel-wings-love-white-angelic-427478/

Michael Cummings
Michael A. Cummings has a Bachelors in Business Management from St. John's University in Collegeville, MN, and a Masters in Rhetoric & Composition from Northern Arizona University. He has worked as a department store Loss Prevention Officer, bank auditor, textbook store manager, Chinese food delivery man, and technology salesman. Cummings wrote position pieces for the 2010 Trevor Drown for US Senate (AR) and 2012 Joe Coors for Congress (CO) campaigns.