Harvard University Management Professor Arthur Brooks admonished corporate leaders to reject the bullying of woke employees and focus on their bottom lines rather than involve themselves in culture war battles.
During an interview with CNBC anchor Joe Kernen, the former president of the American Enterprise Institute observed that only a slim subset of the population desires to politicize major institutions. “One of the things that we need to tell CEOs that they are really not aware of … 3% of your employees are activists instead of working, and they’re blowing up your Slack channel right now demanding that you get involved in a culture war and make political statements,” he remarked. “Don’t do it! The rest of your employees are feeling bullied as well.”
Brooks cited a survey showing that 93% of respondents hate the divided status of the country. Referencing the recent acquisition of Twitter by Elon Musk, a move the world’s richest man intended as a mechanism to advance freedom of speech, Brooks added that those who do not hate the divided national conversation are the same people who subscribe to absurdities such as “if you buy a Tesla, it means somehow you believe in hate speech.”
“It’s time for us to say, ‘I will not be conscripted into America’s culture war.’ We’re going to make good products, we’re going to help people, we’re going to lift each other up,” Brooks said.
Several corporations have been severely reprimanded by the marketplace for their ventures into social activism. Entertainment conglomerate Disney denounced legislation in Florida that prohibits instruction about sexual orientation and gender identity for students between kindergarten and third grade, ultimately causing the iconic company to lose trust among some consumers. Disney CEO Bob Iger remarked in footage obtained by Manhattan Institute fellow Christopher Rufo that he regrets Disney entered the battle over the statute.
Earlier this year, an exclusive poll from The Daily Wire showed that American investors would prefer that companies commit solely to the maximization of profits rather than causes favored by executives. Although 29% of respondents agreed it is a “good thing” for companies to leverage their financial power for political or social means, 58% said it is a “bad thing.”
Kernen noted that he now sees social media users calling people white supremacists for supporting Elon Musk or defending the principle of free speech. “We have to disregard it,” Brooks commented. “Something like 15% of Americans are actually involved on Twitter. A very small percentage of them are producing the overwhelming amount of tweets about politics, but it gets disproportionate coverage because it’s so outrageous. This drives out the people who want to have ordinary conversations, talk about the news, have non-controversial opinions.”
Musk reported that new user inflow and the amount of time users spend on Twitter each day have soared under his leadership, even as a significant number of advertisers pause campaigns or entirely suspend their relationships with the platform following pressure from activist groups. “Elon Musk is quite correctly trying to address the fact that there was too much censorship that was all going almost completely for one political point of view, and he’s trying to balance the equation,” Brooks added.