We Need a Federalist Society for American Businesses

After a wave of progressive jurisprudence in the 1960’s and ’70’s led to an America that made the “Death Wish” and “Dirty Harry” movies seen like feel-good romps, conservative legal minds decided that something had to be done to counteract the influence of liberal activism in American courts.

That something was the Federalist Society, an organization formed by students at prominent law schools in order to promote and advocate for legal conservatism and constitutional originalism. In the following decades, the Federalist Society served as the citronella candle to the pestilent swarm of judicial activism, most effectively by cultivating a deep bench of conservative judicial candidates and getting them appointed by Republican presidents. Many apprehensive conservative voters were comforted by Donald Trump’s promise that his judicial appointments would be guided by the Federalist Society, and rightly so.

But just as liberal judicial activism was a tool for implementing policies that could never win a vote, now woke corporate activism is being used to implement policies that could never win in court. Liberal judicial activism is still a thing, but it’s less of a sure thing thanks to the efforts of the Federalist Society, et al. So activists have shifted their focus to a new arena: the formerly controversy-averse corporate boardroom.

It used to take some real pressure to force a corporation to do something stupid enough to alienate its own customers; Al Sharpton usually had to make a personal appearance. But now, not only are they doing those stupid things regularly, of their own volition, they’re hiring people to help them come up with even more and stupider things.

HR and marketing departments have been overrun by functionaries and consultants who are on a daily quest to out-woke each other. Millions of dollars and man-hours (or hours that identify as male, if you prefer) that could otherwise be directed to productive use are instead being poured into the bottomless maw of Diversity & Inclusion departments and Privilege Awareness Training, never to be seen again. Coca-Cola and Disney are just a couple of the more recent examples of corporations that are subjecting their employees to levels of brainwashing that the most progressive San Francisco public school administrator could only dream of. And businesses don’t have to win elections or lawsuits to implement this indoctrination, either; they can just impose it on workers held captive by fear of losing their jobs.

But imposing liberalism on the employees doesn’t just affect the business itself. Once the corporate culture is in the thrall of grievance activists, that culture spills out into the surrounding world in a million little ways: their products, their advertising, their vendor relations, and on and on. After you spend a few years leaning on middle managers to demonstrate their woke bona fides, you end up with brainstorming sessions where everyone at Kellogg’s decides LBGTQ Pride Flakes is a good idea for a kids’ cereal, and then parents all over the country are forced to answer questions they never thought they’d have to answer in the cereal aisle.

Much like the earlier progressive takeover of the judiciary, a lot of the wokification of business is happening because there’s no organized resistance. Why should there be? Most Americans just expect business to do what business does: focus on making money while occasionally pretending to care about me as a person. All that commercial happy-talk about “building our communities” and “working for a better tomorrow” just kind of fades into the background as long as they’re providing a quality product at an affordable price.

But in the modern business world the happy-talkers are running the show. There is a clear, focused, strategic effort to push American business, and all its attendant influences, to the left. Therefore, we need an opposing strategic effort to push back. Just like those law students realized we needed a Federalist Society to actively promote the idea of an impartial judiciary (which doesn’t seem like something you should have to actively promote, but it is), we have to realize the need for an organized push to actively encourage business to focus on business (ditto earlier parenthetical aside).

How would such an organization go about doing that? A few ideas:

Hold On to Business Schools

Business schools tend to be the last parts of a university to go completely mad. We need to make sure it stays that way.

Business students should learn time-tested principles for running a business rather than fashionable politically correct catchphrases. Conservative business educators need to make a priority of cultivating business leaders who will lead by those principles even when under cultural pressure to do otherwise. They should emphasize “shareholder capitalism” over the newly vogue “stakeholder capitalism,” which basically means giving control of your company over to people who will suffer zero consequences for their terrible decisions.

Conservative businesspeople who are currently working in the private sector need to consider going into business education, thereby multiplying their influence into the next generation.

Infiltrate with Internships

A Federalist Society for business should work to find and place strongly conservative interns, and prepare them to be an influence in the woke corporate culture. This would have to be done, while not totally cloak-and-dagger, at least on the down-low enough to slip past any reflexive resistance. Even the wokest companies aren’t inclined to turn down free labor (I understand that Uyghur reeducation camps have near 100% employment), but they might balk at accepting interns who intend to stand around acting conservative.

They would do normal intern things, of course: make copies and fetch coffee and get real-world job experience that would look good on their resumes. In that sense it would be a normal, mutually beneficial corporation/intern relationship.

But the interns would also very intentionally try to spread a conservative infection in the company, simply by presenting a different perspective to coworkers they encounter in day-to-day interactions—openly pointing out the flaws in critical race theory in a mandatory company seminar; being the one person on the Slack channel who will say that the new girl in accounting is actually a guy in a dress. The only thing they would have to lose is a job they’re not being paid for anyway. In the meantime, they could move the Overton Window of acceptable discourse for conservative full-time employees who might be more hesitant to speak up.

Buy Enough Interest in Influential Companies to Make a Ruckus

The great thing about public companies is that they’re public — anybody can buy stock in them. And stock equals votes at shareholder meetings. You don’t have to have a majority of shares to rock the boat, either; not even close.

If an organization could provide an umbrella under which conservative shareholders could pool their votes, then a 10 or 12 or 15% share of ownership could change the agenda of board meetings. Depending on how active other people with voting shares are, it might even be enough to get a couple of friendly board members elected.

Leftist agitators certainly don’t make up a majority of equities investors. So, much like in politics, their strategy in business depends a lot on the indifference of the regular people. And also much like in politics, a lot of corporate shareholders just don’t show up to vote. A concerted effort to create a voting block of conservatives who already own stock could completely change a company’s political inclinations. There just has to be some organizing force for shareholders who are primarily interested in the value of their investment going up rather than if there are enough pictures of trans women of color on the company website.

Do Something

The default conservative attitude of laissez-faire toward businesses will no longer hold up against the relentless bombardment of political correctness. Especially at this point in the evolution of American culture, when inconceivably huge corporations have such an outsized influence, people who crave control of the culture aren’t going to sit idly by and let business do business.

Public condemnations and boycotts against corporations that push woke leftism aren’t nearly enough, because we’re dealing with people who don’t care about our opinion of them, and they’re willing to sacrifice short-term profits in pursuit of the higher goal of cultural domination. A Federalist Society-like organized conservative resistance is needed if we’re going to keep every American business from becoming a branch office of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

If you think it’s too late for something like this, it’s certainly understandable given the numbingly depressing drumbeat of news stories about corporate excursions to the far fringes of woke delirium. But consider the state of legal thought when the Federalist Society was first formed in the early 1980’s, and what an influence they’ve had since then. We’re playing a very long game. Or rather, right now we’re watching a long game being played, and it’s time we got into it.

Leave a Reply