How Our ‘Woke’ Cultural Marxists Are Building a New Berlin Wall
I asked a rhetorical question last week:
Should we really be shocked now to learn, from the lips of Mark Zuckerberg, that the FBI directly interfered in the 2020 election? That it told him to censor all news of the Biden Crime Family’s backroom deals with Communist China — simply by pretending that it was “Russian propaganda”? And of course, he obeyed, with a smile.
Today the private sector and its institutions, traditionally the bastions of independent thinking and modern “liberal” tolerance, have been transformed into enforcers of narrow, bitter dogmatism, only too likely to cooperate with actual government crackdowns on religious, intellectual, or political dissent.
Evidence for that assertion is everywhere, so abundant that I could exhaust the reader with dozens, then hundreds of instances. Thick books have been compiled documenting the political takeover of billion-dollar corporations via campaigns conducted as promoting “diversity,” “social responsibility,” and “environmental, social, and governance” (ESG) goals. The most recent and complete is Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam, by Vivek Ramaswamy.
Such political takeover campaigns redirect trillions of dollars of wealth and massive social influence away from pursuing value for shareholders, toward seeking power for “stake-holders.” The latter term is a political invention, which can include everyone from employees at the company, to all in the “community” where the business is located, or where it sells products — or even every person on earth, who may be affected by the company’s “carbon footprint.”
Returning to normal human language, the ESG movement is not content to use the State to protect the public against unjust “externalities” (or costs) imposed by companies on the public. That’s far too messy and potentially democratic.
Instead of regulating business conduct via representative institutions that debate and pass public laws, ESG campaigners seek influence over the board rooms and corporate offices via targeted pressure campaigns, often using social media shaming tactics. In case you’re wondering why all the furniture companies, food stores, restaurant chains and ride share services you use seem to have suddenly embraced the LGBT movement, to the point of celebrating “Pride” month with a vigor nobody would dare display for Christmas … this is how that happened.
Companies that resisted, such as Chick-fil-A, soon found themselves convicted of “hate” and slandered in the media. Law firms that represented President Trump, or other conservatives, found themselves threatened with boycotts and forced to withdraw. Republican lawmakers such as Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, who raised questions about the dubious 2020 election, were threatened with disbarment by activists in their local bar associations.
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This is totalitarian conduct, designed to chill dissent and silence debate, even if its practitioners aren’t openly working for the government or some totalitarian party. It’s a political purge, conducted according to Gramsci’s model instead of Lenin’s. The use of the FBI or Department of Justice to terrorize individual Christians or conservatives is only the most public and clumsiest tool in the arsenal of today’s intolerant left.
Let me cite just a few of the most alarming and recent instances of private sector totalitarian conduct, of the kind that lays the foundations for a lasting, suffocating tyranny on the part of the government when its leaders decide that the time is right.
Silencing Half the Country
The phenomenon of social media “cancellation” and censorship is so well-known that I don’t need to document it here. The fact that a former U.S. president, Donald Trump, has been banned from most social media companies is enough to prove the case, but sadly he is far from an outlier. Best-selling authors, prominent doctors, and countless principled Christians and conservative activists have found their accounts suddenly suspended, their content deleted, from Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, and other applications — seriously impairing their freedom to take part in American public life, all thanks to decisions made in secret by anonymous employees who are answerable to no one.
Meanwhile, Islamists who call for jihadi violence, Satanists who gleefully blaspheme America’s largest religion, and advocates of sexualizing small children, continue to spread their messages without any censorship.
How many thousands of businesses, and hundreds of churches, gleefully cooperated with the forced vaccination of tens of millions of Americans? Imagine if instead businesses led by pro-life zealots threatened to fire women who aborted their children. The outcry on behalf of “medical privacy” and “physical autonomy” would have been deafening. But most businesses and religious leaders in America meekly complied with vaccine mandates, setting an ominous precedent for future attacks on our liberty via our livelihoods.
How many thousands of businesses, and hundreds of churches, gleefully cooperated with the forced vaccination of tens of millions of Americans? Imagine if instead businesses led by pro-life zealots threatened to fire women who aborted their children. The outcry on behalf of “medical privacy” and “physical autonomy” would have been deafening.
Doctors who opposed mass forced vaccination, and promoted what they observed were effective treatments to save advanced COVID patients, such as Ivermectin and hydroxochloriquine, weren’t just banned from social media. Some got sued by their hospitals (for instance, my cardiologist, the highly-honored Dr. Peter McCullough), or saw their medical licenses challenged.
Banks Banning Christians
Sam Brownback is no barn-burning extremist. He’s a one-time U.S. senator and governor, and ambassador at large to the U.N. for religious freedom. Yet he took to the pages of The Washington Examiner to call out one of America’s largest banks for political bigotry:
Testifying before the Senate last month, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon spoke eloquently of what a wonderful country we live in and about the freedoms we enjoy.
I am concerned that his bank fails to live up to such lofty ideals. He referred to religious freedom as a “foundational belief,” but his bank recently decided to close the account of the National Committee for Religious Freedom, a nonpartisan, faith-based nonprofit organization dedicated to defending the right of everyone in America to live one’s faith freely.
The NCRF is a diverse organization representing people from every faith and walk of life. Our bipartisan National Advisory Board includes members who are Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Latter-Day Saints, and Muslim. …
[T]hree weeks after opening our nonprofit business checking account, we received a letter notifying us that Chase had decided to “end their relationship” with the National Committee for Religious Freedom and that our account would be closed. The bank actually closed our account before we received the letter.
We were surprised at being canceled by Chase. When our executive director called to see if this was an error, he was informed that “a note in the file read that Chase employees were not permitted to provide any further clarifying information to the customer.”
Why the cancellation ? Why the secrecy and lack of transparency? Why was Chase hiding its reasons and intentions for closing the account of a client that seeks to serve the public good and defend religious freedom for every person in America? After all, in the words of the bank’s CEO, religious freedom is a core value that forms part of the fabric that binds us together as a country. So why cancel an organization that exists to protect the most foundational of core American values?
When Chase closed our account, it triggered a chain reaction that led to other financial service accounts being closed and caused the fledgling organization to experience unexpected operational and financial challenges. Thankfully, we were able to open a new account at another bank.
The decision to cancel the NCRF was described by multiple Chase employees as one from the “corporate office.” It was initially explained to us by someone at the Chase corporate office that the decision was final and nonrevocable.
To this day, the NCRF does not have a clear reason as to why our account was closed after only three weeks. We certainly hadn’t made any transactions in that short amount of time that would have triggered any regulatory red flags.
What shocked and surprised me the most was when someone from Chase eventually reached out to our executive director and informed him that it would be willing to reconsider doing business with the NCRF if we would provide our donor list, a list of political candidates we intended to support, and a full explanation of the criteria by which we would endorse and support those candidates. [emphasis added]
A Backdoor Registry of Gun Owners
So one of America’s largest banks is using its power to fight the First Amendment. Equally ominous are the moves of other major financial institutions to imperil the freedoms guaranteed by the Second:
Twenty-four Republican attorneys general sent a letter to Visa, Mastercard, and American Express Tuesday warning them to drop plans to code and compile gun sales in America.
Breitbart News reported that the credit card companies were under pressure from New York Democrats — including New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) — to recategorize gun sales so they could be flagged.
On September 10, 2022, Visa caved to Democrat pressure and agreed to recategorize gun sales, giving them a special code so they would stand out from other sporting goods or general merchandise purchases.
Mastercard and American Express capitulated to Democrat demands as well.
In a letter dated September 20, 2022, and addressed to the CEOs of Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, 24 attorneys general said in part:
‘The new code will not protect public safety. Categorizing the constitutionally protected right to purchase firearms unfairly singles out law-abiding merchants and consumers alike. First, efforts to track and monitor sales at gun stores would only result in vague and misleading information. This categorization would not recognize the difference, for example, between the purchase of a gun safe and a firearm. Nor would it capture firearm purchases made at department stores, resulting in arbitrarily disparate treatment of “gun store” merchants and consumers.
‘More importantly, purposefully tracking this information can only result in its misuse, either unintentional or deliberate.’
As The Republican Daily warns, this new system “essentially creates a gun registry that the government can use to track gun owners and their purchases. Using data collected by private companies could be a way for the state to monitor legal and responsible gun owners.”
Given the hand-in-glove cooperation of major corporations with the overweening efforts of blue state governors during the COVID panic to control their citizens’ every movement, we have every reason to fear that these large, publicly traded companies subject to ESG pressure campaigns would turn over such a de facto database to the federal government without complaint or resistance.
Instead of being imposed from the top down by the government, as Leninists did in the Eastern Bloc, today’s cultural Marxists are acting on Antonio Gramsci’s plan. They are building the new Berlin Wall from the ground up, brick by brick.
John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Catholicism. He is co-author with Jason Jones of “God, Guns, & the Government.”