I remember talking with a neighbor back in 1970 or so, telling him how my wife had written this blistering letter taking Sears, Roebuck to task for their immoral and incompetent handling of our account. He said, “That’ll show ‘em.” If you are truly an Imaginative Conservative, you will understand that he was right, despite being sarcastic. Where is Sears now? Helen’s letter probably threw them over the edge.
This came back to me this morning as I was reading Fr. Schall’s lovely little essay on The Catholic Thing about skepticism, and came across a link to 379 companies that filed friendly briefs to the Supreme Court on behalf of homosexual marriage. My first thought, as an Outraged Conservative, was to write letters even more blistering than my wife’s letter to Sears. But, discovering that Apple, Comcast, Facebook, Google, and Verizon were on the The List, it seemed that perhaps I should look for more imaginative ways of dealing with the essential amorality of major corporations.
Aha! Boycott them! Well, boycotts hurt—but only when one has the capacity to hurt. I will do this to Alcoa, AT&T, Barclays, Barnes & Noble, Capital One, CBS (except for their golf coverage on TV), Coca-Cola, Delta Airlines, Dow Chemical, General Mills, Hewlett-Packard (although they once were heroes), Miller-Coors (their beers are lousy), Starbucks (I’ve been waiting for a reason to boycott them), and Xerox (despite the fact that the man who built their empire was Joe Willson, the exact name of my youngest brother, who never worked there). No harm, no foul. That’ll show ‘em.
The list appeared in the Huffington Post, the creation of the remarkable Arianna Huffington, who when I met her many years ago was in a trendy conservative phase, one of many trendy phases she has managed to parlay through modestly trendy good looks, modest talent, superhuman ambition, strategic marriage, and a truly great sense for the next trend into great wealth and modest influence. The HP, of course, wants us to applaud the companies on The List. I wish to call them what they are, and to say joyfully that if I were to have the right button to delete them all, there would not be even the slightest twinge of conscience.
That not being the case let me just alert the more imaginative among my conservative friends. Do you really want to support J. P. Morgan Chase or Morgan Stanley or Marriott International any more than, for example the IRS or the Department of Education? How about Pepsico, Proctor & Gamble, or Walt Disney in addition to the EPA or the FDA? The only place on the list is The City of Ann Arbor, Michigan; to paraphrase W.C. Fields, “I’d rather be in Hillsdale.”
There are sports franchises on The List. The San Francisco Giants is no surprise, but how about the New England Patriots? Can you imagine Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady sitting down and saying “Employers are better served by a uniform marriage rule that gives equal dignity to employee relationships?” Or, “Allowing same-sex couples to marry improves employee morale and productivity?” We have crossed through the looking glass. Arianna must be proud.
Books on the topic of this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore.