A recent political statement made by the CEO of Levi Strauss is likely to see the denim company torn apart just like the pair of jeans on the company’s iconic label.
Chip Bergh, the San Francisco-based company’s chief executive, announced the creation of the Safer Tomorrow Fund, an initiative aimed at “working to end gun violence in America."
“You may wonder why a company that doesn’t manufacture or sell guns is wading into this issue, but for us, it’s simple. Americans shouldn’t have to live in fear of gun violence. It’s an issue that affects all of us — all generations and all walks of life,” Bergh wrote in an op-ed published by Forbes.
Bergh concedes that taking a stance on such a socially divisive issue will drive some customers to purchase his competitors’ products. He believes advocacy of gun control is worth the potential loss in revenue. In his article, Bergh justified his move to financially assist the disarming of Americans:
As president and CEO of a values-driven company that’s known the world over as a pioneer of the American West and one of the great symbols of American freedom, I take the responsibility of speaking up on the important issues of our day very seriously. We can’t take on every issue. But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to the issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work. While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option.
Including the Safer Tomorrow Fund, Bergh announced a total of three programs the 165-year-old company will develop to achieve its goal of eliminating the right to keep and bear arms. The following description of the planks of the platform was provided by Bergh on a website devoted to the cause.
First, the aforementioned Safer Tomorrow Fund. This effort will direct the spending of “more than $1 million in philanthropic grants from LS&Co. over the next four years to fuel the work of nonprofits and youth activists who are working to end gun violence in America.”
Next, there’s the Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety. This part of the plan includes a partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety, as well as several high-profile business leaders, including Michael Bloomberg. Bergh writes that this claque of gun grabbers “believe that business has a critical role to play and a moral obligation to do something about the gun violence epidemic in this country.”
Did you get that? Levi Strauss and Co. insists that disarming Americans is a “moral obligation.”
The third head of this monster is called “Employee Support.”
“We are doubling our usual employee donation match to organizations aligned with our Safer Tomorrow Fund,” Bergh explains. “Additionally, we’re encouraging employees to utilize their five hours a month in paid volunteer time to get more politically active.”
Levi Strauss will now “encourage” their employees to spend their time off volunteering for those organizations active in the grassroots effort to eliminate armed violence by eliminating the only inert element in the commission of such an act: the gun!
Despite spending millions of his customers’ dollars and hundreds of his employees’ hours, Bergh insists he’s not here “to suggest we repeal the Second Amendment.” In fact, Bergh boasts, he’s a “former U.S. Army officer” and as such he took an oath to support the Constitution.
That said, he adds, he agrees with the statement made by retired four-star general Michael Hayden: “There are some weapons out there that frankly nobody should have access to. And actually, there are some people out there who should never have access to any weapons.”
So either Bergh’s definition of “oath” and mine are very different, or he doesn’t understand the plain language of the Second Amendment: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Shall. Not. Be. Infringed.
In case Bergh is unfamiliar with the now uncommon ultimate word in that famous sentence, here’s the definition provided by Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
“Infringe [in-frinj] verb: to encroach upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another.”
And, just in case, here’s the definition of “encroach:” “to enter by gradual steps or by stealth into the possessions or rights of another.”
So the Second Amendment — which Chris Bergh insists he doesn’t want repealed and has sworn an oath to protect — forbids the taking of gradual steps toward violating the rights of another person.
But that is exactly what Bergh and the clothing company he heads is spending the money it makes from customers to accomplish in America.
Finally, Bergh claims that with regard to his company’s drive to disarm Americans, “History will prove this position right.”
Let's be blunt: No history won't show that!
First, there isn't evidence that gun-control laws reduce violent crimes or murders: Countries with very strict gun-control laws such as Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa have murder rates vastly greater than the United States, and in the United States, cities with the most onerous gun-control laws have the greatest ratios of murder per one hundred thousand people in the country. Meanwhile, in U.S. prisons, where criminals are under lock and key and video surveillancce, murder rates are greater than in countries in Europe. On the other hand, in parts of the United States with lenient gun laws, homocide rates are comparable with the European countries always lauded as gun-control successes by liberals.
Violent crime is largely a creature of culture: When the U.S. government welfare system gave more money to unwed mothers than wed ones, the result was fatherless families and youth in gangs. High criminality and murders were the result.
In fact, in states around the country where residents have been allowed to defend themselves by carrying concealed weapons, crime has dropped, not risen.
Second, even (honest) left-wing researchers found that gun-control was ineffective, as we noted in our article "Getting Rid of Guns":
Both the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control — anti-gun groups — set out to find the most useful gun-control measures by scrutinizing the world’s gun-control laws. Both came to the same conclusion: Not one gun-control measure in the world actually reduced violent crime and murders. None. The New York Post had this to say about the report by the Academy of Sciences: It issued a 328-page report entitled Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review on gun-control laws in December 2004, “based on 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, a survey that covered 80 different gun-control measures and some of its own empirical work [and] the panel couldn’t identify a single gun-control regulation that reduced violent crime, suicide, or accidents.”
Here's a short historical observation from one of our own forgotten Founding Fathers, St. George Tucker, that Bergh should read before he calls history as a witness of his anti-gun agenda: “Wherever … the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”
Image: Screenshot of a Levis ad