Wokeness And Conservative Economic Power

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

As an observer of both the social scene and politics, it is interesting to see the reaction of Conservative Americans to two recent events.

One is the purported firing of Tucker Carlson from Fox News and the other was the transgender pandering marketing effort by Bud Light.  Related to the second, we could also add the parental revolt against transgenderism and the use of public schools to sexualize children.  In the latter case, parents are both moving their children out of public schools and becoming more active in local school boards.

For many years, the Conservative movement has been like herding cats.  The Left advances a radical agenda, and at first, conservatives seem to blink in disbelief and get knocked back on their heels.  By the time they regain their composure, debate the issue, and start to organize, the Left usually has solidified their position, and whatever they were pushing has become entrenched policy.

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Think tanks on our side of the political spectrum crank out thoughtful papers after the fact, legacy conservative organizers rake in money, and we continue to lose.  We never seem to successfully strike back.

The chief reason for the rise of Trump, DeSantis, and Ramaswamy is they are willing to fight and take on both political and cultural issues.   And, they often win! As these men have succeeded, Conservatives have started to feel more comfortable flexing their cultural muscles using economic boycotts. 

The Left always seems to be able to coordinate their efforts better than we have, largely due to the collectivist nature of their thinking.  For sure they have had their internal debates, but they seem able to patch them up quickly and seize the initiative.

Of course, it really helps when you control the media, the schools, network news, Hollywood, and all the other cultural levers of influence.  The Left has always been great and starting social contagion and getting people to want to fit in with what they are doing and isolate anyone who resists.

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It was amusing in the 1960s and 70s when everyone dressed like a hippy all the while professing their independence of thought.  The Left has been a master in setting cultural fashion since.

Conservatives usually are in a state of bewildered reaction.  I often think of William F. Buckley’s statement in the founding of National Review back in 1955 and his desire to stand athwart history yelling stop!  It is amazing how little has changed. And,  we haven’t stopped diddly squat, have we?  It has been quite a  slide downward since 1955.

If you look at the post-war history of the Conservative and Libertarian Movement, other than school choice, ending the draft, and electing Ronald Reagan; we don’t have much to show for our efforts.  We are still pretty much on the defensive although admittedly offering stiffer resistance.

What victories we have won seem like temporary political victories, but we rarely have changed cultural institutions in the direction we would like to see them go.  We are finally beginning to offer some competition to be sure, and that is good, but only on talk radio do conservative/libertarian views seem dominant.

Either the public does not hear our message, does not like our message, or we are poor salesmen of our ideas.  Which do you think it is?

This seems to be changing.  Almost like a school of fish or a flock of birds, Conservatives are starting to coordinate their cultural inclinations without any central political authority and without long delays for debate and consideration.  The tool of choice is the economic boycott, which might strike some as anti-market and hence contradictory to Conservative principles.  Not really.  It is simply exercising the economic choice NOT to do business with firms that attack your values.

We are starting to strike back and strike back hard.  

We admit, there is a risk in that.  It would be nice to consider all angles.  But in today’s world, the survival of the flock may have to rely on subtle political body language followed by swift action.

This has manifested itself in a catastrophic loss in business for InBev, the Belgian conglomerate that owns Bud Light, and Fox News, a genuinely conservative news network. 

News reports indicate key executives from the beer giant have been fired and the firm is spending millions in new marketing to try to staunch the bleeding.  They apparently think they can undo the damage by hiring some Republican lobbyists.

Oddly, social media, which has largely been hostile to conservative ideas, has played a large role in this reaction, both with speed and intensity.

In the case of Bud Light, the eruption of satire on social media about their transgendered spokesgirl/man/whatever…and other reactions, is a marketing nightmare for the company.  It is doubtful they can ever resurrect that brand.  As one commentator put it, Bud Light is a fake beer being promoted by a fake girl. But don’t worry, InBev is a monster that controls about 224 brands of beer.

I recently attended a function that offered an open bar and the comments about Bud Light were both hysterical and powerful.  Something had shifted almost instantaneously without much thought or any central coordination.  People are done with that brand…forever.  Deep down people felt they must strike back in the only way they know how.  Don’t buy.

If corporations want to go woke, they will go broke.  It doesn’t make good business sense to alienate over half the country.  Let executives express their political opinions on their own time and on their own dime.

It took quite a while for Bed Bath Beyond to fade after shunning My Pillow, but the reaction time seems to be shortening dramatically.  Some like Nike have hardly felt our anger. Others like Apple and Microsoft are protected by monopoly status.

But who among us cannot go without Bud Light for the rest of our lives?  Wherever there is competition, let the woke go broke.

In the case of Fox News, we have run several videos by Megyn Kelly going through the numbers and we advise you to view those videos for details.  Suffice it to say, it has been a dramatic 50% or so decline in viewership.  Cancellations of Fox Nation have also been torrential.

This is a shame in a way, because of all the news networks, Fox has been the most receptive to conservative-leaning talent.  All the remaining conservatives on Fox have been harmed as well because Tucker brought eyes to the network.  Unlike InBev, Fox does not have hundreds of brands under their label.  Their brand has been Conservatism, which was completely unserved by the other networks.  That was the insight from Roger Ailes that made Fox successful.  Has management at Fox forgotten that?  Yes, it would so appear.

This reaction is a necessary way of telling Fox that Conservatives don’t feel like being the “controlled opposition” even though they appreciate that Fox has helped spread conservative views. We are not a captive audience.  And, when Fox gets terribly out of line, we simply will spend time on other Conservative sites. 

Judging my own reactions, I will watch less of Fox for quite a while.  I want them punished but not destroyed.

I will watch more videos and podcasts and will follow Tucker wherever he reappears.

In both cases, it demonstrates that executives at both firms just don’t understand their customers and don’t understand the frustration and anger that Conservatives currently feel.  And it also shows that increasingly, Conservatives are getting over their hesitancy in using raw economic power. 

There is a large and varied independent media growing.  The Prickly Pear is part of a larger movement of decentralized news and opinion sources.  We hope you will spend more time with us until Fox makes some kind of concession, fires those responsible,  or makes some other move we can applaud.

Soon, The Prickly Pear will be offering our readers a variety of podcasts besides our articles and videos.

Like InBev, Fox will survive.  But both have severely tarnished their brands and conservatives are making them pay for their betrayal.  But the speed and ferocity of the reaction must now be noticed in the executive suites of every corporation.

We may finally be at peak wokeness and a slow retreat will begin.  The blowback has been just too costly.

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