“Don’t ban equality — It’s time for companies to stand up for reproductive healthcare,” reads a “letter” advertisement published in the New York Times on Monday. The full-page ad was organized by the National Abortions Rights Action League (NARAL), Planned Parenthood, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), through a coalition of 180 executives of corporations that oppose restrictions on abortion.
NARAL tweeted its approval. “Leaders from over 180 companies who employ a workforce of more than 100,000 in a range of industries made a strong show of support for reproductive health — including access to safe and legal abortion.” NARAL’s president, llyse Houge, praised the executives for “taking a stand on behalf of their employees, customers, and communities.” (Apparently unborn children are not part of their communities.) “We encourage the entire business community to join us in protecting access to reproductive health care in the critical months and years to come.”
Planned Parenthood’s sentiments were similar. “More than 180 CEOs have banded together to publish a letter in a full-page ad in today’s New York Times calling for an end to abortion bans and declaring their opposition to these attacks on reproductive health care.”
The ad asserted, “Equality in the workplace is one of the most important business issues of our time,” adding, “when everyone is empowered to succeed, our companies, our communities and our economy are better for it.”
The ad continued, “Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, threatens the health, independence and economic stability of our employees and customers. Simply put, it goes against our values and is bad for business. It impairs our ability to build diverse and inclusive workforce pipelines, recruit top talent across the states, and protect the well-being of all the people who keep our businesses thriving day in and out.”
Among the 180 corporation executives who put the weight of their companies behind the pro-abortion ad included Amalgamated Bank, Birchbox, The Cut, Catbird, The Muse, Unity Technologies, Sustain, Lesbians Who Tech, New York Media, Fur, Smash Strategies, Bantam Tools, and Beautiful Now.
While none of the 180 corporations appear to be among the nation’s largest, the ad by corporate executives is representative of a trend in American business — the use of the corporate platform to promote a left-wing cause. In contrast to the conservative image that most Americans have of corporate America, the reality is much different. In the past, corporations would steer as far away from politics and social issues as they could so as to avoid distracting from their product and services. After all, prospective customers have all sorts of political, religious, and social views, and companies did not want to unnecessarily lose paying customers.
Many of today’s corporate executives, however, look at their position at the top of their business as an opportunity to advance their “progressive” political ideology.
As the chief executive officer (CEO) of a corporation, it was believed that the CEO held a fiducial responsibility to make as much money as possible for the company, and not to alienate any potential customers. That no longer appears to be the case with many American corporations, who now place the advancement of a liberal social and political agenda above making profits, to be distributed to the shareholder. (In a particularly egregious example, Target stores decided to open its women’s restrooms to biological males who are “transgender” — men who identify as women — despite this policy resulting in the loss of customers.)
Corporations are legal entities that are allowed, under the law, to operate as a person separate from its owners. This gives the business certain advantages not enjoyed by sole proprietorships and general partnerships.
The late Milton Friedman addressed the issue of business corporations — theoretically in business to make money for its owners, the stockholders — participating in activities that add little, if anything, to the “bottom line.”
Friedman asserted, “There is one and only one social responsibility of business to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays in the rules of the game, which is to say, engages in open and free competition, without deception or fraud.”
Friedman’s position challenged the idea that is quite popular today, that corporations have some sort of “corporate social responsibility.” According to Friedman, corporations regularly spend corporate profits on activities that should have gone to the shareholders. Friedman particularly targeted “charitable activities” such as contributions to universities. “Such giving by corporations is an inappropriate use of corporate funds in a free-enterprise society.”
The corporation was, according to Friedman, a morally neutral legal entity created for the purpose of maximizing returns for the shareholders.
It could be argued that contributions to universities and other charitable causes by corporations are “good public relations,” and lead indirectly to more profits and thus more dividends for the shareholders. But once the principle has been established that the purpose of the corporation is not to make money — but rather to be “socially responsible” — it is not surprising that this leads to the use of the corporate model to advance the progressive agenda with corporate involvement in issues such as immigration, abortion, gun control, and the transgenderism. To many liberal CEOs, it is “socially responsible” to use the power and wealth of their company to push for abortion on demand.
It is widely understood that fields of “study” in colleges and universities such as sociology, history, political science, and the like attract lots of liberal professors. Most Americans would be shocked at the high percentage of liberal professors who populate the teaching of business classes on the campus. We are now reaping the results of many years of progressive indoctrination in the business colleges.
For a non-incorporated business, such as a sole proprietorship or a general partnership, to involve itself in politics or other social causes is one thing, but considering that a corporation model is simply a creation of the law, is another.
It is likely that the leftist lurch of American corporations is going to continue, and we can expect an increasing number of well-known American corporations to use corporate dollars to push for all sorts of leftist causes. Contrary to what many Americans think, free enterprise is not necessarily a highly valued principle in much of corporate America. Sadly, for many corporate executives who did not create the company, but are simply managers of a company built by someone else, it makes little difference to them whether they are employed by the company’s shareholders, or by the government.
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