Profits Imperiled by Youthful Politics

In his quest for a home in an area devoid of virtue-signaling signs, Free Enterprise Project Deputy Director Scott Shepard is also looking for someplace where the kids will keep off his lawn.

He wasn’t always this way. He grew into it. Just like the kids he wants off his property now will follow his lead and similarly want their lawns clear of future generations.

But what is really bugging Scott is that this common evolution of personal priorities and preferences seems to be lost on today’s corporate leaders. Their desire to placate the woke generation, he warns, could pose dire consequences to the American economy and future opportunity and prosperity.

In a Townhall commentary, Scott calls out CEOs for succumbing to the will of “agitators” within the company rank-and-file who “don’t give a hoot about corporate profits” and who will “send their customers stomping” away as they hector management into helping them pursue their “woke” agendas. Scott says the assumption that millennials are “irreparably woke” and will never change is just plain dumb; if history is any judge, this is hardly ever the case:

Only a moron in a hurry could swallow this argument for even a moment. Who has not heard the old saw, usually ascribed to Winston Churchill (but that he may have adapted from Disraeli), that “any man under thirty who is not a liberal has no heart, and any man over thirty who is not a conservative has no brains?”

But we need not look back so far. The evidence is all around us.

The hippies of the Age of Aquarius, most of whom are still amongst us, transformed by 1982 into the yuppies of the Reagan Renaissance. Fourteen years of living with the consequences of their own youthful beliefs – the civil decay and economic deterioration that resulted from the ever-encroaching statism of the late ‘60s and ‘70s – ended that generation’s naïve fancies of youth and left them supporting smaller government, less regulation and more liberty.

The case will be the same again.

Yet the “performative wokeness [that] hamstrings corporations” is currently on full display. Citing the worlds of entertainment and professional sports “because the wokeness in these industries has been so obvious,” Scott notes the disastrous ratings declines for the Emmys, the NBA and the NFL. These ratings injuries are self-inflicted by misguided leaders who embrace political messages because they feel they must in order to cater to the youth and their workforce.

“It would be folly of the firing sort,” Scott writes, “to make long-term corporate decisions on the presumption that this generation will be the first never to shift across the political spectrum as it ages and learns.”

Before jumping feet-first into a sea of uncertainty by catering to the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda of the left, Scott suggests that CEOs remember instances of their own misspent youth:

Remember, corporations: the millennials are only beginning their earning and spending power, because they’re only beginning their careers.

By the time the massive wealth transfer the ESGers keep touting has occurred, the scales will have fallen from their eyes. And they, like their elders today, will have little time for companies that let themselves be discommoded by the underinformed radical poses of youth.

And stay off Scott’s lawn!

To read all of Scott’s commentary – “Woke Companies, Stop Pandering to Millennials’ Socialism Phase” – at the Townhall website, click here.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.