09.20.2011 0

Corporate Complicity and the Decline of American Greatness

By David Bozeman — Walmart is only the latest business giant to aid and abet the progressive culture that abhors capitalism.  The retail giant, which recently won dismissal of a class-action sex discrimination suit, has announced a Women’s Initiative, including the purchase of $20 billion in products by companies owned by women. Walmart will also institute training — for women — to work in factories and will donate $100 million in grants to non-profits that aid, you guessed it, women.

Never mind that the emergence of women in professional life has become such a phenomenon that websites and magazine covers pose the question ‘Are Men Obsolete?’ as http://today.msnbc.com did in 2010, to name just one of numerous examples.

Women outnumber men in colleges and universities, and some have suggested that the recession has actually harmed men, stuck in low-wage, blue- collar jobs, more.  But liberals Democrats still bank on the narrative of woman-as-victim, so the cycle of group identity and dependency rolls on.

To male business owners and young men entering the work force, sorry, you are not the victims du jour, whatever your commitments to quality and dependability.  And by the way, women comprise a slight majority of voters, so the progressives are no doubt proud of Walmart, for the moment.

Ideally, Walmart is free to operate as its stockholders see fit, but they are clearly catering to the dictates of political correctness fashion.  Alarmingly, today’s talk-show topics of liberal anguish quickly become the laws of tomorrow.  Concerns over cigarette smoke, salt and fatty foods have transformed New York City into an island nanny state thanks to the noble intentions of Mayor Bloomberg.  How long before the voluntary initiatives of Walmart become the legal mandates of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women?

And ultimately, does legislation reflect public concern, or is public concern a by-product of the legislative agenda?   Media concerns have become so intertwined with government that not even conjecture of chicken-or-the-egg proportions can yield a definitive answer.  There is no doubt, however, that the ultimate winner is the momentum of the collectivist mindset.

First Lady Michelle Obama recently joined Olive Garden restaurant executives to announce calorie and sodium cuts in their meals over the next decade.  So far, fine.  But the AP story hails the first lady’s commitment.  “She does more than use the bully pulpit,” according to a lobbyist for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, who notes that she works behind the scenes with industry and Congress to affect change.

If corporate America will not stand for its autonomy and advocate individual responsibility and market-based solutions for problems such as obesity, then who will?  Bloggers and citizen activists, perhaps.  Certainly not Warren Buffett and the Wall Street denizens who cozy up to the most anti-capitalist administration in history.

And, yes, the corporate embrace of liberalism’s agenda is no doubt as much a pragmatic survival strategy as a tacit endorsement, but that only underscores the enormity of the problem:  government is too big and its power should not elicit so much time and wealth from its citizens.

Walmart may well be seeking to avoid future litigation, but they are bequeathing to the next generation a culture of groupthink, grievance and dependency.  Strong economies reward excellence and do not artificially constrain or extol one group over another.

Where are the business leaders of today to make the practical and moral stands for individual initiative, customer satisfaction and risk-taking?  Perhaps they, too, are meeting with Michelle Obama and feminist groups?

Memo to Walmart:  to the progressive mindset, you are still low-brow, and once you accept their terms, you are another golden goose to fund their agenda.  And is that agenda antithetical to a free, capitalistic society?  In the word that used to adorn your store-fronts: Always.

David Bozeman, former Libertarian Party Chairman, is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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