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Get Woke. Go Broke?

By Wallace Bruschweiler

According to a Rasmussen poll released on January 24, 2023, under the title “Get Woke, Go Broke?” what matters most to 87 percent of Americans is product quality. A majority of those polled want corporate officers and their boards to focus on making their products safe, effective, and more affordable. Not spending their time “virtue signaling” about how “woke” they are. Or, riding their “wokeness” to invitations to trendy cocktail parties in Georgetown or on NYC’s Upper East Side.

Arguably, there is a difference between boycotting certain “virtue signaling” products and simply choosing not to buy them anymore because you, as a consumer, think management is paying more attention to being “woke” than to product quality, safety, and value.

So, if one is put off because that pretty Native American Princess is no longer on the butter carton, buy some other brand. If the welcoming smile of the lady on the pancake box is gone, buy a different brand. If your favorite little chocolate bits go “woke,” buy something else. Or, better yet, save your teeth from sugar-caused decay.

Mind you, there is nothing wrong with the concepts of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (DIE). Applied fairly, they are quite laudable. For example: How wonderful if college faculties were more “diverse” by “including” more conservative professors among the faculty for a change. Or, not punishing professors for having a different interpretation of history from others. (Surveys show liberal professors outnumber conservative professors by a ratio of 12 to 1.)

And no one should be excluded because of race, religion, or ethnic origin. Unfortunately, some think Equity means “free stuff” at taxpayer expense in exchange for no work. In other words: perpetual welfare. But, as U.S. Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) says, “Welfare should be a bridge. Not a parking lot.”

Moreover, racial quotas are a very bad idea. Professor Thomas Sowell, himself a person o color, says racial quotas have done more harm than good for people of color. Who among us, of all colors, has not wondered if someone appointed or even elected to high office got there due to merit or solely due to skin color, gender, or sexual orientation? Quotas provide a mental shortcut to being dismissive of others.

An unfortunate side effect of quotas is that they attach a stigma that cannot be detached. For example: In 1960, Major League Baseball attached an asterisk to Roger Maris’ home run record because it took Maris* more games to break the previous home run record set by Babe Ruth.

If “woke” CEOs would like to “virtue signal” their support for our military veterans and for the elderly in general, how about spending some effort to make the cooking instructions on their cans and other packaging more readable? Or, how about finding ways to make packaged goods easier for the physically challenged to open? It should not take a pair of garden shears or a saber saw to open a package.

Manufacturers should stay in their own lanes and leave the politics to the voters and to the politicians who are fully capable of messing everything up, all on our own.

Suggested reading: Black Rednecks and White Liberals by Thomas Sowell, 2005. Preferential Policies by Thomas Sowell, 1990. Econ Journal Watch, September 2016. Free to Choose by Milton and Rose Friedman, 1980.

©2023. William Hamilton. All rights reserved.