Climate Czar Kerry: Emissions From Agriculture Must be “Front and Center”

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Farmers and ranchers who assume that their main job is to produce food to feed hungry people stand corrected. John Kerry, the Biden administration’s special envoy on climate, wants to enlist them in the global struggle to combat the “climate crisis.”

“A lot of people have no clue that agriculture contributes about 33% of all the emissions in the world,” Kerry said during his May 17 keynote address at the Department of Agriculture’s AIM Climate Summit. “We can’t get to net zero, we can’t get this job done unless agriculture is front and center as part of the solution. So all of us here understand the depths of this mission.”

“Food systems themselves contribute a significant amount of emissions just in the way we do the things we’ve been doing,” he continued. “With a growing population on the planet – we’ve just crossed the threshold of 8 billion fellow citizens around the world – emissions from the food system alone are expected to cause another half a degree of warming by mid-century.”

“Needs Innovation More Than Ever”

“This sector needs innovation now more than ever,” Kerry went on. “We’re facing record malnutrition at a time when agriculture, more than any other sector, is suffering more than ever from the impacts of the climate crisis. And I refuse to call it climate change anymore. It’s not change. It’s a crisis.”

“We need economic, social, and policy innovation in order to scale adaptation of these technical solutions and get them into the hands of the folks in the fields of small farmers on a global basis. This is the promise of AIM for Climate Summit.”

Farmers won’t have to wait long for the “innovations” Kerry mentioned to come their way. The Biden administration has already pledged to take an “all of government” approach to address the “climate crisis,” and they mean business. Every agency of the federal government – from the Pentagon and HUD to the energy and agriculture departments – are pouring taxpayer-supplied resources into ever-expanding climate programs. The Department of Agriculture is already exhorting farmers to adopt “climate-smart” policies when it comes to producing food. It is even dangling “climate-smart” grants before agricultural groups to get them to change their ways and grow food the way John Kerry and his ilk want them to do.

Though the Department of Agriculture has yet to elaborate on what it means by “climate-smart,” it most certainly entails the agricultural sector severing ties to fossil fuels, either “voluntarily” or through coercion in the form of regulations. But because of natural gas’s role in making fertilizer, the government-forced transition will be a messy one. Farmers in places as far apart as Sri Lanka and the Netherlands were ordered by their respective governments to shrink their carbon footprint by reducing their nitrogen emissions. Protests in the Netherlands have been widespread, and in Sri Lanka, the government was overthrown, with the president forced to flee the country.


This article was published by CFACT, The Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, and is reproduced with permission.

WaPo Accidentally Admits ‘Zuckbucks’ Were Used To Turn Out Likely-Democrat Voters In 2020

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Elon Musk shared a Federalist article on Twitter this week that detailed how “Zuckbucks” were used to influence the outcome of the 2020 election, and leftists are livid.

On Tuesday, the Twitter CEO linked to an October 2021 article, written by Federalist contributor William Doyle, that examines how Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave hundreds of millions of dollars to nonprofits such as the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) and the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR) leading up to the 2020 presidential contest. CTCL and CEIR then poured these “Zuckbucks” into local election offices in battleground states around the country to change how elections were administered, such as by expanding unsupervised election protocols like mail-in voting and the use of ballot drop boxes.

Notably, Doyle’s article examines how these grants were heavily skewed toward Democrat-majority counties, essentially making it a massive, privately funded Democrat get-out-the-vote operation. Organizations such as the Capital Research Center have also released detailed analyses on the partisan distribution of these funds.

While Musk simply referred to the article as “interesting,” that was apparently too much for Washington Post columnist Philip Bump to handle. In response, Bump penned an article titled, “Musk shares baseless election claim with millions of Twitter users,” in which he attempted to smear the Twitter CEO and discredit The Federalist’s article.

“This is a common way in which Musk elevates right-wing rhetoric. He’ll often engage with fringe voices by declaring their commentary to be “concerning” — suggesting it’s just something worth mulling over,” complained Bump in melodramatic fashion.

But then Bump openly admits the purpose of “Zuckbucks” wasn’t to help election offices “promote safe and reliable voting” during the Covid outbreak, as CTCL and CEIR originally claimed, but to increase voter turnout in Democrat-majority areas.

Much of the analysis in the Federalist article centers on the idea that these investments were larger in more-Democratic counties, using that as a peg for the argument that the investments were partisan and critical to Biden’s success.

But that argument is easily countered. CTCL’s investments were often in heavily Democratic areas — because those areas often have lower turnout rates. If you want to increase turnout, the smartest place to try to do so is places where turnout is lowest. In the United States, that’s often lower-income communities and communities that have high populations of Black and Hispanic residents, two groups that often vote heavily Democratic.

In trying to explain away the disparities in “Zuckbucks” distribution, Bump instead admits a Democrat get-out-the-vote effort is exactly what happened. While Zuckerberg’s donations to CTCL and CEIR were marketed as just a good-faith initiative to ensure Covid didn’t disrupt local election administration, House Republicans later discovered that less than 1 percent of CTCL’s 2020 funds were spent on personal protective equipment.

“The argument has gone from: Private funding from CTCL for election administration offices was only meant to help the elections run smoothly,” to “CTCL poured money into Democratic strongholds to boost turnout and that’s a good thing,” tweeted Jason Snead, the executive director of the Honest Elections Project.

Whether they realize it or not, Bump and the Post are admitting the main purpose of “Zuckbucks” was to boost turnout among voters in Democrat strongholds. It’s a remarkable fact that, for once, the Post got right.

This article was published by The Federalist and is reproduced with permission.

Debunking Another Misleading Green Energy Study

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

A popular talking point among green energy evangelists is that gas, oil, and coal are, in large part, successful because they are highly subsidized. Wind and solar, so the argument goes, would win in a fair fight, but, alas, the playing field is far from fair. But the supposed data they are drawing on to come to such a conclusion is misleading and geared more toward generating headlines than good policy.

A primary source used to back this claim up is a working paper presented by a group of International Monetary Fund authors titled “Still Not Getting Energy Prices Right: A Global and Country Update of Fossil Fuel Subsidies.”

The paper claims that hydrocarbon-based fuels—like gas, oil, and coal—enjoy $5.9 trillion in subsidies annually. Though often presented in the media as an IMF paper, it is specifically not an official publication of the organization but rather a working paper that is meant to, according to the IMF, “elicit comments and to encourage debate.”

Well, here is your debate, IMF.

As is often the case with so-called academic studies, the top-line number here makes for a much better headline than it does a basis for public policy. Indeed, even a cursory look into how the study came to its fanciful conclusions shows how misleading it ultimately is in general and how trivial it is for the United States.

There are three basic problems with the study.

First, it so broadly defines “subsidy” as to be completely meaningless. In fact, the study states that only 8% of its reported costs reflect actual, direct subsidies. The rest predominantly comes from the amorphous “undercharging for environmental costs” that supposedly occur from the extraction, refining, transportation, and use of fossil fuels. Such environmental costs include “underpricing for local air pollution” (42%) and “global warming costs” (29%). What’s left goes to the equally tenuous congestion and road accidents costs (15%) and forgone tax revenues (6%).

Though characterizing any of these so-called indirect subsidies as a pro-hydrocarbon bias is problematic, we will focus on the undercharging environmental costs, which are divided between global warming and local air pollution, because they represent the preponderance of their calculations.

The problems with the global warming number are many. For example, there is virtually no evidence that man-made global warming is having any costly impact on today’s world. The real costs, if one buys into global warming alarmism, come in the future—thus the study relies on the extremely tenuous and theoretical social cost of carbon calculations.

As my Heritage Foundation colleague Kevin Dayaratna has pointed out, the use of the social cost of carbon is so unreliable that it is virtually useless as a basis for public policy.

Second, the study presents its overall findings in global terms when the numbers only have meaning at local and regional levels. For example, the largest contributor to its bottom-line number is local air pollution. Putting aside the fact, as my colleague Travis Fisher points out, how easy it is to cook the books and exaggerate the assumed costs of things like small particulate matter in the air, the other problem is that regional variances for local air pollution are so immense that any broad policy conclusion, such as “tighten local air pollution standards,” would be irrelevant.

It would make no sense to apply the same policy response in the U.S.—where local air pollution levels are very low and getting lower—that you would apply to countries in the East Asia and Pacific region, where, according to the study, local air pollution levels are high. The study undermines its own credibility by presenting a cumulative, global number that serves no purpose other than to inflate its bottom line.

And third, the study provides no accounting for the massive contribution to human flourishing that has resulted directly from the use of hydrocarbons. This is perhaps the biggest problem with this study specifically, and the modern environmental movement more broadly.

The truth is that human well-being has skyrocketed in terms of wealth, health, and life expectancy since the Industrial Revolution, which was fueled by hydrocarbons. No statistic demonstrates this more clearly than the fact that climate-related deaths are down a staggering 92% since the 1920s, when the statistic was first recorded.

Nonetheless, the IMF authors took the time to give us their number on the alleged subsidy costs associated with gas, oil, and coal; so, in the spirit of fairness, a look at the benefits associated with fossil fuels seems appropriate.

Let’s break it down, and for the sake of consistency, all numbers will be adjusted to 2019 dollars. Prior to 1700, per capita gross domestic product (the sum value of all goods and services produced within a nation’s borders) in the West stagnated at around $955 per year. Today, the average North American can expect a per capita GDP of around $66,935.

While historians and economists may debate at the margins, most can agree that two things were key to this astronomical rise in economic production. First was the spread of free enterprise (thank you, Adam Smith), and second was the broad availability of affordable, scalable, and efficient energy (thank you, hydrocarbons).

For hundreds of years, people in Western nations made around $955. Then they started using coal, then oil, and then natural gas. Now, Americans make around $66,935. So, the average income, one could argue, has increased nearly $66,0000 as a direct and indirect result of hydrocarbons (using the same rationale as the study authors). That’s a big number, for sure.

Of course, the study authors took their localized numbers and globalized them. For the sake of comparing apples to apples, let’s do that for the United States.

There are approximately 331,900,000 Americans today. Had we stayed on the same GDP trajectory that we had been on for hundreds of years prior to the use of hydrocarbons, we would have a GDP today of around $316,964,500,000. Subtract that from 2022’s GDP of approximately $22.24 trillion and you get $21,926,692,686,448! That’s nearly $22 trillion in a single year in increased economic output and wealth due to free enterprise and the use of hydrocarbons.

Now, to be fair, let’s subtract the $5.9 trillion ($5.5 trillion in 2019 dollars) in alleged direct and indirect government subsidies for so-called fossil fuels that the working paper cites, which, remember, is a global number; it’s not just limited to the United States. When you subtract those alleged subsidies from the increased economic output, you still get over $16 trillion in direct and indirect benefits from hydrocarbon use. And that’s just for the United States—globally, the benefits would be immensely more!

Oh, and by the way, the environment—despite what the authors suggest—is getting better and better all the time, even with those pesky local pollutants that they pin 42% of their costs on. While some regions of the world do have work to do, the United States shows that gas, oil, and coal use and economic growth do not dictate poor air and environmental quality; and, indeed, Americans have enjoyed ever increasingly clean air for decades.

On its face, my benefits of hydrocarbons calculation could look like a version of the same screwy math used by the IMF working paper. That would be a fair critique. The point is, however, any broad assessment of the alleged costs of using coal, oil, and gas must also be paired with the immense benefits those fuels have brought all of society. When that is done, the only logical conclusion is that these fuels have made the world a better place for all of us, and any contention otherwise is about as valuable as a solar panel at midnight.


This article was published at The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

What Is Going on in Katie Hobbs’ Office?

Estimated Reading Time: < 1 minute

What is going on with Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs? Key staffers are leaving, including her chief of staff, whose resignation was effective immediately. Our friends at RedState had it first, but the Democratic Arizona governor who narrowly beat Republican Kari Lake in 2022 seems to be sharing something with Vice President Kamala Harris: staff turnover. Some departures were admittedly warranted, like her press secretary who tweeted a violent image regarding fighting ‘transphobia’ on the day of the Covenant School shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, where a transgender shot and killed six people. Yet, the core of her office is now gone. Brittany Sheehan had more:….

“On Thursday, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs announced that Allie Bones, her Chief of Staff and decades-long friend, had resigned. Hobbs expressed her well wishes for Bones’ future endeavors. The resignation is effective immediately, and the Governor’s Office plans to announce a new Chief of Staff next week. Prior to becoming Chief of Staff to Gov. Hobbs, Bones served as Assistant Secretary of State for four years. 

This comes as a wave of other departures pile up, including the resignations of Hobbs’ Communications Director, Deputy Communications Director, and Legislative Affairs Director. Insiders in the state capitol suggest that Bones’ exit represents a loss of confidence in the governor’s leadership…..


Continue reading this article at Townhall.

The Philosophy Underlying DEI

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

Neetu Arnold recently wrote an article about the ways that colleges and universities are preparing for a “post-affirmative action era” by developing “strategies for universities to continue racial discrimination through facially race-neutral approaches in admissions and beyond,” the goal being to “achieve diversity-related goals without triggering legal scrutiny.” This is very important journalistic work.

But I’m not a journalist; I’m an academic philosopher. So I want to tackle a different question: why should we expect colleges and universities to remain committed to identitarian discrimination, of the sort rationalized and implemented nowadays under the aegis of “DEI” (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)? Granting that this is the case, that higher educational institutions are so committed, it is important to understand how they are going about and will go about implementing this commitment. But why is it the case in the first place?

This is a question I can answer, having extensively studied the philosophy and theory underlying the politics driving these policies. There are two reasons, the first philosophical and the second sociological:

  • DEI is philosophically and ideologically core to the postmodernist identitarian leftism (PIL) which is hegemonic in academia and increasingly in the culture at large, and which drives government, academic, and corporate affirmative action as well as everything else associated with “wokeism” or “woke leftism.”
  • DEI is now a bureaucratic industry, from college campuses to corporate HR departments and from entertainment to government, and bureaucracies naturally grow rather than shrink absent external intervention—especially when the funding is there, and the money has absolutely poured into DEI from all quarters, from billionaires like McKenzie Scott to the Biden administration.

The sociological point is both less interesting and can be made more quickly, so I’ll start with that. According to Forbes, “Business spending on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives has skyrocketed in the last decade. It’s estimated the global market for DEI reached $7.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to double by 2026.” According to a 2021 report, “[o]rganizations across industries are making diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) a priority—with 79% planning to allocate more budget and resources in 2022.” In 2020, the National Institutes of Health launched a program that will “give 12 institutions a total of $241 million over nine years for diversity-focused faculty hiring,” while National Science Foundation “funding for so-called ‘anti-racist’ themes more than tripled from 2020 to 2021.”

At many colleges and universities, DEI statements are a mandatory part of job applications, and it has become common practice to “adopt explicit diversity ‘advocate’ or ‘champion’ policies” that place “someone on a search committee whose sole job is to highlight DEI priorities.” Not to mention that virtually every higher educational institution now has a DEI office, nor the proliferation of for-profit DEI consultancies. According to one report, “DEI staff listed by universities totaled 4.2 times the number of staff who assist students with disabilities in receiving reasonable accommodations, as required by law,” with the ratio at UNC being “13.3 times as many people devoted to promoting DEI as providing services to people with disabilities,” while at “Georgia Tech, there were 3.2 times as many DEI staff people as history professors.” Similarly, the DEI office at Yale’s School of Medicine has sixteen staff members, making it larger than their History of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics & Data Science departments, while the University of Michigan has 142 DEI employees costing $18 million annually.

Given the money poured and pouring into DEI and the iron law of bureaucratic expansion, it seems safe to say that DEI is here to stay for some time, even if popular sentiment were to turn against it. However, the more fundamental reason we can predict DEI to survive and grow, at least as long as PIL continues to dominate the political left, is philosophical and ideological—for DEI merely formalizes the core idea of PIL.

PIL is the result of both theoretical and empirical developments in the 1980s, especially, though with roots in the post-WWII era (in particular, in the emergence of French postmodernism and German critical theory and their initial reception in Anglophone academia in the 1960s). On the empirical side, there were the various empirical failures of socialism and communism, culminating in the fall of the Berlin Wall, which discredited the political vision of “classical Marxism” in the eyes of many on the left. On the theoretical side, there was the rise of what I have termed “anti-metaphysical” postmodernist philosophy and critical theory.

Postmodernism is “anti-metaphysical” in being anti-essentialist, anti-universalist, and anti-foundationalist. Essentialism is the view that things have fixed essences or sets of essential properties that determine what (kind of thing) they are, in contrast with inessential properties that can change without the thing undergoing a change of kind. Universalism is the view that some theoretical entities have universal validity, or validity across contexts. And foundationalism posits that some truths are basic, such that less basic truths depend on the more basic ones for their validity.

In contrast, postmodernists tend to claim that these phenomena (essences, universal truths, and theoretical foundations) either don’t exist or are contextually relative social constructions. For example, a “cultural relativist” postmodernist would claim that Aristotle’s definition of the human being as essentially rational—a claim about an essence that purports to universal validity and serves as the foundation for further claims, e.g., ones about human virtue—is at most only valid within the context of the Western tradition.

This makes PIL incompatible not just with traditional liberalism, which is full of “metaphysical” claims, but with classical Marxism as well. For classical Marxism is essentialist, universalist, and foundationalist about economics: it posits material economic relations (the “base”) as foundational for all other social phenomena (the “superstructure”), as well as a universal history in which the essential motor of progress is the political-economic struggle between the economic ruling class and the economic working-class or proletariat.

Now, PILs “deconstruct” both traditional liberalism and classical Marxism through postmodernist philosophy and theory—such as Nietzsche’s philosophy of the will to power, French poststructuralism, and German critical theory—which dominates Anglophone academic humanities and social sciences. From the liberal tradition PILs strategically retain a commitment to “democracy,” only reinterpreted as “radical democracy” rather than “liberal democracy,” and from classical Marxism they retain the basic philosophy of history, only divested of its economism.

The result is a subversive reinterpretation of the meaning of democracy predicated on a generalization of the Marxist philosophy of history. No longer is the motor of history taken to be the political-economic struggle between the oppressive economic “ruling class” and the oppressed economic “proletariat” in particular; rather, history is the story of political struggle between those with “oppressor” identities and those with “oppressed” identities in general—whether these identities be grounded in race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, or something else. The goal of PIL’s political struggles on behalf of all such historically “oppressed” identities is then to “expand the democratic revolution in new directions” to include recognition of maximally many “Others” heretofore excluded from recognition as political actors and rights-bearers. Note that PILs take this “maximally” seriously, as exemplified by so-called “critical posthumanists,” who insist that this expansion of political recognition and inclusion extends not only to nonhuman animals, but even to inanimate matter.

Combatting this illiberal, divisive, and damaging development of Western postmodernity will require liberals and conservatives to come together in opposition to their common enemy.

The formulation “expanding the democratic revolution” is due to the “post-Marxist” theorists Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, who set forth the program for a PIL politics as well as its underlying theory in an influential 1985 book titled Hegemony and Socialist Strategy: Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. Three features of their treatment are particularly worth mentioning in this context: (1) the only grounds for leftist unity are contingently pragmatic/strategic, (2) identitarian pan-politicization as the core imperative of PIL, and (3) a discourse-theoretical understanding of politics.

First, because PIL is anti-metaphysical, the only possible basis for the political unity of the leftist identitarian coalition is contingent and pragmatic: strategic alliance in opposition to a common enemy. This is why “intersectionality” has become so prominent in PIL discourse. The idea is that all oppressions are connected, so that one cannot fight, say, climate change, without also addressing racism, sexism, etc. Since there are no metaphysical or deep ideological reasons for political unity, and since the various coalitional constituencies inevitably have diverging interests, keeping the coalition together requires the dogmatic adoption of a “new ‘common sense,’” as Laclau and Mouffe put it. In other words, PILs can’t rationally justify why the pursuit of racial justice must also address the politics of sex and gender, but the coalition threatens to pull apart if its members don’t believe this, so it simply must be believed, as a matter of “common sense.”

Second, the core practical imperative of PIL is that of identitarian pan-politicization—i.e., the politicization of all possible social identities and relations, including the proliferation of new identities for the purpose of political activation. In other words, all identities must be understood as either “oppressor” or “oppressed,” and all social differences among identities must be interpreted as resulting from identitarian political oppression. Are there more white or Asian doctors than black ones? Must be due to racism. Are there more men working in construction than women? Must be due to sexism. And so on.

Finally, PILs are social constructionists who view all meanings as outcomes of discursive political struggle and hence privilege the discursive as a means of social and political change, in contrast to classical Marxism, which relegated discourse and culture to the social “superstructure.” The claim that “politics is downstream of culture” is typically attributed to the American conservative Andrew Breitbart, but PILs appropriate the same idea from earlier sources on the left, like the socialist Rudi Dutschke (“long march through the institutions”) and the neo-Marxist Antonio Gramsci (“cultural hegemony”). The idea is to achieve popular cultural hegemony for the leftist “new ‘common sense’”—through the colonization of education, entertainment, etc.—such that the desired political changes will follow automatically in a democratic state. That’s why so much of PIL politics today plays out in the arena of the “purely performative,” e.g., discursive virtue-signaling such as listing “preferred pronouns” or making “land acknowledgements.” There’s a lot to say about this, but one point is that the “real battles”—e.g., for legal reform and civil rights—have been won for many of the identities constitutive of the leftist coalition, so that discursive performance is all that really remains.

Virtually all of PIL academic and popular discourse is intelligible in this light. “Representation,” from Hollywood casting to corporate hiring, means nothing other than PIL DEI—i.e., diversifying something (film crews, corporate boards, etc.), via the inclusion of “Others” alleged to have been historically excluded from it, for the sake of “equity” or “social justice.” That’s why the “LGBT” acronym is ever expanding, with “LGBTQIA2S+” being the current standard. Even the infamous “drag queen story hour” is intelligible in this light: as an attempt to diversify our relevant traditional understandings and frameworks (e.g., norms for what an educator is or should be, for what children should be exposed to in public, for what role models children should have) by including heretofore excluded persons/identities/groups for the sake of equity or social justice.

In conclusion, we can expect DEI to disappear only when PIL does, or at least not until the latter becomes a “fringe” ideology. It is encouraging to see efforts by conservative activists and states to rein in or even abolish DEI bureaucracies at public universities, as with the recent Texas legislation or the University of Missouri’s pledge to drop diversity statements from its faculty hiring process, but the problem is so much bigger. Hence, combatting this illiberal, divisive, and damaging development of Western postmodernity will require liberals and conservatives to come together in opposition to their common enemy, and this opposition can only be effective if both the underlying theory of PIL DEI and its practical implementations are adequately grasped.


This article was published by Law & Liberty and is reproduced with permission.

Bud Light’s Sales Implosion, Explained (by Mises)

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

I stopped drinking Bud Light decades ago, so when the Dylan Mulvaney controversy exploded last month, I didn’t need to consider if I’d stop drinking Anheuser-Busch’s most popular product.

What’s clear is that many others have decided to quit the beer over the brand’s decision to wade into transgender politics. According to figures reported in The St. Louis Dispatch, based on data from a Connecticut-based consulting group that focuses on the alcoholic beverage industry, Bud Light’s in-store sales fell 11 percent in the week that ended April 8 from the same period the previous year. Year-over-year sales fell even faster over the next two weeks, dropping 26 percent in mid April. The decline continued into May despite ad blitzes and marketing gimmicks that included $20 rebates—on a $19.98 case of beer. Oof.

Endless ink has been spilled over the controversy, which was fueled by celebrities like Travis Tritt and Kid Rock, who shot up several cases of Bud Light after the Mulvaney ads began to go viral.

Many public figures seemed genuinely stunned by what they saw as a massive overreaction to a single March Madness ad featuring Mulvaney, who drank from a Bud Light while talking cluelessly about the NCAA tournament.

“I thought there must be a piece of the story that I’m missing,” shock jock Howard Stern said on his show.

Writing at Vox, Emily Stewart poo-pooed the Bud Light controversy and predicted it would blow over, pointing out that similar campaigns directed at other major brands quickly fizzled out.

“In terms of hurting sales, boycotts tend not to be super effective as most people don’t respond, let alone stick to them,” wrote Stewart. “Remember the Great Keurig Boycott of 2017? Or Frito-Lay in 2021? Or, more recently, when people were mad because M&Ms were girls?”

Stewart might be correct that Bud Light’s problems will blow over, though I have doubts. Still, critics scratching their heads over the controversy have a point that there’s something fickle and disproportionate about it. After all, Jack Daniels, a brand with a consumer base similar to Bud Light, recently ran its own LGBTQ+ ad campaign featuring American drag queen Ru Paul, and it generated a fraction of the scrutiny. Miller Lite, meanwhile, ran its own “woke” ad that was ignored for months.

In a way, I feel sorry for Bud Light. The company is being singled out for doing the same thing other publicly traded companies are doing: catering to the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) puppeteers who are scoring them on “social responsibility.”

ESG scoring is notoriously opaque, but the costs of not playing the game are quite real. ESG funds managed some $40 trillion in assets as of 2022, according to Bloomberg, and a poor score can get a publicly traded company booted from a fund just that fast, as Tesla found out that same year when it was kicked off the S&P 500 ESG index despite its sparkling sustainability score.

“While Tesla may be playing its part in eliminating fuel-powered cars, it has fallen behind its peers when examined through a broader ESG lens,” said Margaret Dorn, the executive in charge of ESG scoring for North America. Dorn didn’t feel it necessary to elaborate further.

Unsurprisingly, companies are not thrilled about having to do this ESG dance. While they pay lip service to ESG publicly, a 2022 CNBC survey showed most CFOs supported efforts to prohibit pension funds from using ESG scoring to determine how they invest.

One can see why corporate executives chafe under the ESG framework. Instead of focusing on creating value and serving consumers, companies are forced to dance to the ESG piper’s tune and perform whatever social initiatives a tiny cabal of people regard as important.

This was always the danger in “stakeholder capitalism,” the decades-old attempt to nudge corporations into serving interests other than their own shareholders and consumers. It subordinates consumers, the very people who should be in charge.

“The real bosses, in the capitalist system of market economy, are the consumers,” the economist Ludwig von Mises famously wrote in his book Bureaucracy. “They, by their buying and by their abstention from buying, decide who should own the capital and run the plants. They determine what should be produced and in what quantity and quality.”

This is the true lesson of “Bud-lash.” Bud Light forgot who its bosses really were. It wasn’t just that Bud Light was serving the ESG puppeteers—who award companies points for diversity and inclusion initiatives as well as environmental ones—and ignoring its own consumer base. The company was openly insulting its consumer base, describing Bud Light as a “fratty” beer and “out of touch” brand “in decline.” It’s one thing to disregard your boss. It’s another thing to openly insult her.

Many see Bud-lash as “anti-trans,” but the response is more about reminding corporations who their boss really is: consumers. These are the true masters in a free market economy; they decide who wins and loses, who becomes rich, and who becomes poor. And yes, consumers are fickle.

“They are no easy bosses,” Mises reminds us. “They are full of whims and fancies, changeable and unpredictable. They do not care a whit for past merit. As soon as something is offered to them that they like better or that is cheaper, they desert their old purveyors. With them, nothing counts more than their own satisfaction.”

Bud Light was serving a boss other than its consumers, and it really shouldn’t have to. “ESG is a scam. It has been weaponized by phony social justice warriors,” Elon Musk wrote on Twitter after Tesla was given the boot from the S&P 500 ESG index. 

Musk is not wrong. ESG is a scam and a dangerous one. It is embraced by anti-capitalists precisely because it undermines the consumer sovereignty Mises described, and empowers the financial class, bureaucrats, and central bankers by enabling them to manage society as they desire while further enriching themselves.

A famous ancient text says, “No one can serve two masters.” Corporations like Bud Light need to remember who their true bosses are, and it’s past time consumers reminded them.


This article was published by AIER, The American Institute for Economic Research, and is reproduced with permission.

Legalization Of Polygamy Was Always The Logical Consequence Of Obergefell

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

If marriage is possible between any two individuals, then why not three, four, or any number of consenting adults, regardless of their sex?


In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the landmark case of Obergefell v. Hodges, legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states and the District of Columbia by a 5-4 vote. Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion for the case, didn’t seem to believe that the issue of polyamory could possibly be relevant or arise due to the court’s decision. Just eight years later, The New York Times published an article last week that celebrated Somerville, Massachusetts, as a haven for legal polyamory.

A haven for academics and hippies, the Boston suburb adopted an ordinance in 2020 granting domestic partnership rights to people in polyamorous relationships. That was followed up this spring by the passage of two more laws “extending the rights of nonmonogamous residents,” banning discrimination on the basis of “family or relationship structure” in city employment and policing. The Somerville City Council is currently considering extending the reach of that law to housing. And as the Times reports, the “nonmonogamous” are no longer unusual there.

Somerville is, in the words of one of its municipal councilors, “a very queer city.” And as the Times also makes clear, “there is a significant crossover between those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and pansexual and those who practice nonmonogamy, according to multiple studies.”

As the Times also points out, polyamory is a staple of popular entertainment via shows like “Planet Sex with Cara Delevingne” and “Sex Diaries.” The same is true for polygamy, which was the subject of the hit HBO show “Big Love” from 2006 to 2011, and a reality show about an actual polygamous family, “Sister Wives,” which is still running after 13 seasons.

Surely, the widespread introduction of gay characters and couples into popular TV shows and films helped pave the way for Obergefell. Supporters of “nonmonogamous” relationships believe the same process is underway for their cause. But as much as the Times story on Somerville is an indication that the arbiters of fashionable left-wing opinion agree with that conclusion, it is worth remembering that at the time the gay marriage ruling was handed down, both the majority opinion and liberals cheering it sought to assure the nation that its implications were limited.

The decision was based on the claim that marriage “equality” was rooted in the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. The right of two people of the same sex to the benefits of government-approved marriage was, according to the five-justice majority and the rest of enlightened opinion, no less compelling than those of two of the opposite sex.

In their view, the traditional conception of marriage as a union of one man and one woman that dates back to the beginnings of civilization was antithetical to the law’s guarantee of equal protection to all. Any objections to this principle were deemed to be rooted in religion and not the secular laws of the United States.

Yet as Chief Justice John Roberts noted in his dissent, there was a problem. “Much of the majority’s reasoning” in support of same-sex marriage “would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage.” Indeed, as Justice Samuel Alito had said during the case’s oral arguments, those who claimed the equal protection clause demanded that the law recognize same-sex marriage between two people could not reasonably explain on what grounds a state could deny a marriage license to a foursome of two men and two women.

Kennedy’s opinion waxed lyrical about the benefits of marriage, but he seemed to take it for granted that no reasonable person would assume his claims would apply to any union other than that of two persons. Pundits like Slate’s William Saletan backed him up, arguing that any effort to argue to the contrary was a way to delegitimize gay marriage by comparing it to polygamy and polyamory that were outrageous and clearly beyond the pale.

But the Somerville City Council begs to differ. And though the laws it has passed are antithetical to the foundational principles of Western civilization as well as the best interests of families and children, they are right to think that what they have done is the logical and inevitable consequence of Obergefell.

Kennedy’s opinion included many elements that can be construed as arguing against extending the right of marriage to more than two consenting adults. He championed the idea of such unions being immutable and the avoidance of loneliness, arguing it would be wrong to exclude gay couples from the legal benefits of marriage. He also emphasized the importance of fidelity and devotion to another person and the avoidance of conflict in long-term relationships. All of these arguments could just as easily be applied to unions that involve more than two people. Any assertion to the contrary would, like the argument against gay marriage, be rooted in those same religious and traditional ideas that Obergefell rejected.

If marriage is possible between any two individuals of the opposite or the same sex, then why not three, four, or any number of consenting adults, regardless of their sex? And if Somerville is the harbinger of a growing movement to legalize polyamorous and inevitably polygamous marriages by cities and ultimately states, then those who will defend such laws are on firm ground declaring that the logic of Obergefell demands that all non-traditional ideas about marriage must be treated equally under the law. This is the choice America made in 2015.

Polygamy is still practiced in the Muslim world and is even quietly tolerated among some Muslim immigrant communities in the United States. Likely today most liberal politicians would say they are opposed to polygamy because it is a vestige of bad ancient patriarchal societies. But so long as American law rejects traditional marriage as a valid definition, they have no leg to stand on to deny it to groups of consenting men and women or persons who define themselves in some other manner.

There is little appetite among conservatives to challenge gay marriage since it is now broadly popular. But as Roberts and Alito’s concerns are being validated by events in the culture and in places like Somerville, it will be impossible to prevent efforts to broaden the definition of marriage to conform to those accepted in queer culture without also questioning Obergefell’s logic.

Marriage and the creation of families based on the traditional definition involving one man and one woman is part of the foundation of our civilization. The same movement that is driving events in Somerville and elsewhere aims to destroy the traditional family. In its place, they wish to elevate the nihilism of cultural Marxism. And in a nation where President Biden has declared that support for the transgender cult that targets children and families is “the civil rights issue of our time,” no one should doubt that legal polyamory and polygamy are just around the corner.

As politically perilous as a relitigation of Obergefell might be, reversal of that trend would require a willingness to champion traditional values about families, sex, and marriage that would call its validity into question.

This wouldn’t be necessary if, as Kennedy and Saletan hoped at the time, gay marriage was the end of the debate. But it isn’t the end, and unless we are prepared to acquiesce to living in a country where practices such as polyamory and polygamy — which are so toxic to culture and families — can thrive, Obergefell is the battleground on which we will ultimately be dragged by the Times and the queer city of Somerville.


This article was published by The Federalist and is reproduced with permission.

Waking Up To Wokeness

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes

What is this trend called “Woke“ that is sweeping the country like some out-of-control kudzu?

The concept apparently originated with the idea that American culture has been asleep over the fact that racism (and other “isms”) have always dominated American life. To be “woke“ is to have awakened to this fact, and to have become militant about doing something about it. We have all sinned but are now woke to our transgressions and are humiliated by them…

A woke individual is the latest avatar of what used to be called a liberal Democrat, and more recently a “Progressive “. Woke is left of the far Left in politics. With Joe Biden dedicated to being a “transformative” president rather than a transitional president, as had been expected, the Woke movement gains in strength every day, even though Sleepy Joe may not be fully committed to its more radical ideals.

 To be a follower of Woke means adopting a self-righteous attitude that you are morally superior to those who don’t agree with you on all points, and whom you dismiss as “racists “, even when race is not actually involved.

Woke is all about correcting imbalances arising out of previously perceived injustices. Woke folk love to use the word “victims“ to characterize individuals and groups they see as needing legislative correction of all grievances, regardless of merit. “Social justice” is their mantra, by which they mean a new world order according to their ideas of right and wrong.

Pushed to the extreme, Woke dogma rejects the past as racist and sees the heroes of the past as flawed icons who must be toppled from their pedestals of respectability unless they are truly “blameless“ according to current-day standards of correct Woke behavior. The working assumption of Woke theorists is that any progress in the past must have been the result of racism. Innovation, hard work, and risk-taking were incidental. Good works count for nothing if one has any blemish on his Woke dossier.

Hence, Lincoln, who freed the slaves, is condemned because he did not free them all immediately and everywhere. George Washington, one of the wealthiest colonial aristocrats and the most significant moral force of the American Revolution, is condemned for being a slave owner on his plantations, even though he manumitted his slaves upon his death. Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, is in for special opprobrium because he cohabited with a slave woman in a quasi-connubial relationship. Apparently, she bore a striking resemblance to his dead wife and bore him several children, the descendants of whom survived to this day.

Woke claims to be all for free speech, and the elimination of hypocrisy, but its adherents ruthlessly suppress anyone who attempts a public presentation of alternate viewpoints. This reminds me of Muslim book burners who argued that since all Truth could be found in the Koran, everything else was superfluous and could be considered the work of the Devil.

Capitalism is seen as the work of the Devil. Even though Wokies argue that they are supporters of Capitalism because it creates good jobs, their policies, and programs go in the opposite direction. A good example involves the U.S. desire to stimulate the semiconductor industry. Congress passed subsidies to encourage the building of manufacturing facilities creating lots of jobs. But then Wokies added regulations that essentially negated the whole purpose by including expensive Woke benefits and mandatory unionization for companies applying for the subsidies.

Woke claims to be the champion of equal opportunity, but in practice, they are only interested in equality of outcomes.

Anyone who has above-average success is suspected of exploiting his employees. This is one of Karl Marx’s fundamental tenets.

In its desire to make us all equal, a basic strategy of all zealots is to gain control of the educational system. The Jesuits learned this 500 years ago, and they became the powers behind the thrones of many rulers before they were suppressed in the late 18th. Woke-ists today teach children that Capitalism is evil because it creates winners and losers. An important concept of Woke is that no one should ever be made to feel bad. Losing makes one feel bad, so competition should be discouraged. (What is Capitalism about if not competition?) Everyone should be told they are a winner and no one forced to suffer the ignominy of losing.

When students get out into the real world, of course, they find they are at a serious disadvantage. Predictably, they harangue their employers to pay more attention to Woke principles. Sadly, some employers have caved in, much like universities surrendered to Hippies during the Vietnam War era.

State and local governments are especially vulnerable to this, leading to absurdities like San Francisco guaranteeing all Blacks a house, a job, no taxes, and $5 million. It was nonsense, but the Woke response was, “Well, something had to be done about inequality.” In other words, if previous redistributive programs have not worked, double down. The rich will just have to pay their fair share. In a Woke world, the question of who pays is almost irrelevant. The focus is only on the objective of getting the benefits passed into law.

Frankly, Woke would be ignored if it were not so serious and becoming more strident and widespread as America’s received wisdom of the 21st Century. (Outside the U.S., it is for the most part seen, because woke is mostly just another example of American nuttiness, like Beanie Babies, hula hoops, and pet rocks.)  Have you heard Wokies tell any jokes about anything? Their mission is too serious for laughing. Unusual for any group of extremists, they can’t even laugh at themselves. They should, because Woke is a bad joke on us all.

What I am not suggesting is a return to Jim Crow, lynching, and “Whites Only” restrooms. All that was wrong, as were many abominations of the past, all over the world. Prejudice against those who are different in any way continues and will never go away completely. Fear of “the other” is a very human emotion. Nevertheless, advancements since the Civil Rights era began in the ’60s have been spectacular, except for the poorest blacks.

Woke insists this is because of “systemic racism”. I may be wrong, but I don’t agree.

I attribute the lack of progress largely due to the acceptance of a culture of victimhood that makes it easier to accept welfare checks and deal drugs instead of doing the hard things that most people have to do to succeed in life. 

I also blame those on the political Left for constantly doubling down on programs that have not worked but that provide political benefits. And they attack programs that do work. I am thinking here of charter schools that are wildly successful in elevating poor back children and are strongly supported by their parents. Of course, they are not subservient to the teachers’ unions or dependent on politicians for funding, as are public schools.

“Equal opportunity” should and does mean equal opportunity, not preferential treatment at every turn. There is no denying the tremendous progress made by people of color, ethnic groups, and by women during my working lifetime. Blacks have succeeded overwhelmingly in sports and in the entertainment industry. There is no reason they should not do well in business and science also. They are not stupid. But those areas require greater concentration on education, which takes longer to bear fruit. actually, many senior positions have been filled in increasing numbers by minorities in the last decade. And, extremely talented black women like Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama could probably obtain just about any corporate or political job they wanted.

Yes, overt discrimination against blacks continued long after slavery ended. But quasi-slavery was the lot of huge numbers of Asians who were imported to America until exclusionary immigration policies were enacted in the mid-20th Century. Today, that has all changed. It is ironic that universities are concerned by the over-concentration of Asians in their student bodies.

 My own experience with black Americans has been interesting. The first person of color I ever saw was an American soldier in the 1940s during WWII.

“Look, Mommy. That man is all brown!”

“Yes’, she replied. “He is what we call a colored man.”

“Really! What other colors do they come in?”

 I still remember the first time I saw a young black man kiss a white girl in public in NYC in 1961. It was a head-turner because it was so unusual then. But so was a woman riding a motorcycle down Park Avenue by herself that same year.

In the 1980’s I hired a black man as my Executive Assistant at Aetna, a move that colleagues thought risky because he was known to be a civil rights activist. He did just fine. Not long after, Aetna appointed its first black VP. He did fine also.

Two decades later Aetna elected Ron Williams as its CEO, the first C-Suite black in its history. He too did fine as a Company leader.

Progress continues and will continue. WOKE is more of a political movement about who gets to exercise power in the 21st Century. Its mantra is “social justice”, while ironically ignoring real justice.

Teen Vogue: More Politics Than Fashion

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you visit today, you’ll see a tab called “Politics.”

Recent headlines include “What does Donald Trump’s Indictment Actually Mean?” and a slew of articles on “trans kids,” including bathroom bans and “How to Be an Advocate for Trans Student Athletes.”

A deep dive into old Teen Vogue magazines reveals no such headlines, which begs the question ­— why has Teen Vogue moved from puff pieces about spring style to endorsements of communism? Does the shift matter?

I read Teen Vogue in the late 2000s and early 2010s, along with many of my middle school peers. I remember articles about “Bieber Fever” and full-page spreads of neon fashion trends. The most political commentary that I can remember was at least tangentially related to beauty and fashion — indictments of eating disorders and plastic surgery.

Many of the articles published on the Teen Vogue website today cannot claim any connection to fashion, beauty, or anything else expected from a magazine that caters to teenage girls.

Teen Vogue Goes Political

As someone who has only recently aged out of my teenage years (I’m now 21), Teen Vogue’s transformation is reminiscent of society’s shift throughout my high school years.

Every generation has faced issues that feel existential; for my parents, it was the Cold War and the very real possibility of nuclear annihilation. I’ve talked to my grandfather about what it was like to grow up during the Second World War, with food rations and friends and family going off to fight and die on foreign soil. For my generation, the two issues that I would describe as the most pressing are gun violence and climate change.

I am deeply concerned about both issues, and many others, ranging from human rights violations to elected public officials acting against their constituents’ interests.

The difference between my generation’s issues and previous problems is that teenagers today cannot escape the litany of issues, and Teen Vogue is only continuing that trend. If you open Instagram or TikTok or attend a public high school, you are constantly bombarded with news and commentary on social issues. For 24 hours a day, seven days a week, teens are inundated with information. Over the last few years, the pressure on teenagers to constantly be “in the know,” to be hardcore activists, and to express all the right opinions on complex political matters has become crushing.

Politicizing Teenagers

Teen Vogue has become another outlet exerting this pressure. Teens do not get the opportunity to escape, even when they open a magazine that has been ubiquitous with fashion and makeup. Teen Vogue was meant to be relaxing because we already have hard-hitting journalism. The New York Times, Washington Post, and Politico already exist, so we are perfectly capable of reading about Donald Trump’s indictment if we so choose.

What we can no longer find is an outlet in which teenage girls can be just that: teenage girls. Where can teen girls go to worry about fashion, makeup, and boy band members without being subjected to op-eds about the 2024 election?

Teenagers deserve refuge from political rhetoric and pressure to advocate for policy changes in their schools. Teen Vogue primarily targets girls ages 12–17, whose main concerns should be puppy love and eye makeup.

Teen Vogue is instead telling them that they should focus on issues like criminal justice reform and Supreme Court corruption, neither of which have much to do with the average suburban high school student. Moreover, Teen Vogue promotes only political ideology, which can be dangerous for impressionable teenagers who are still developing their critical thinking skills and worldviews.

For many parents and authority figures like teachers and coaches, Teen Vogue’s political coverage is also insidious because it is not expected. If parents see their teen reading the Washington Post or Politico, they have an idea of what they are reading. However, most parents would think that Teen Vogue is a source of fashion tips rather than Marxist ideology, thereby allowing Teen Vogue to influence teen’s opinions with little to no oversight.

Let teenagers learn and grow and have fun—there will be lots of time for political advocacy after they get to college. There is a time and place for youth activism, and that place is not Teen Vogue.

This article was published by Capital Research Center and is reproduced with permission.

Great Reset: WEF Demands Fewer Private Cars, Increase in Public Transport

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

The insidious World Economic Forum (WEF) of the “Great Reset” is now pushing cities, countries, and companies around the world to adopt a new “scorecard” to encourage the expansion of supposedly “green” energy and public transportation, and fewer private cars. You will own nothing, you will ride public transport, and you have no say in the matter. You’re welcome.

WEF’s May 2023 briefing paper, “The Urban Mobility Scorecard Tool: Benchmarking the Transition to Sustainable Urban Mobility,” produced in collaboration with Visa, specifically states the goal to “reduce the number of vehicles on the road.” Why? People dependent on public transport are also dependent on those who control public transport. It’s all about reducing independence and freedom and increasing top-down control.

Recall that WEF is also working with at least two governments to roll out a digital ID required to do or buy anything. In China, the way a similar digital ID works is, if you say or do something the government doesn’t like, you are not able to travel anywhere or do anything. That’s exactly what WEF has planned for your future.

Indeed, public transport and a total absence of private cars for ordinary citizens are essential parts of WEF’s plan for how it wants the world to be in 2030. “It made no sense for us to own cars anymore, because we could call a driverless vehicle or a flying car for longer journeys within minutes. We started transporting ourselves in a much more organized and coordinated way when public transport became easier, quicker and more convenient than the car,” WEF wrote. Ah, paradise, where a single tweet critiquing the government leaves you transportation-less! In that same piece, WEF let the cat out of the bag about the stark reality of this supposed future utopia:

“Once in a while I get annoyed about the fact that I have no real privacy. Nowhere I can go and not be registered. I know that, somewhere, everything I do, think and dream of is recorded. I just hope that nobody will use it against me.”

Meanwhile, in its recent briefing paper, WEF says, “By 2050, almost 70% of people will live in urban areas.” The globalist push to make the vast majority of people live in cities, particularly “15 minute cities,” is all part of the vision I just quoted from above where everything is owned by the government. Control is easier in a city. In fact, WEF specifically demanded “more compact cities” in the briefing paper. Yes! 15-minute cities with an insane amount of surveillance and complete dictatorial control! All to save the planet, of course.

WEF went on, “electrifying private vehicles is not enough to achieve the emissions reduction targets agreed in the Paris Agreement on climate.” Of course, climate change alarmists have been wildly and consistently wrong in their predictions for 50 years now, but we should definitely trust them this time, right? I have noted many times how supposedly “green” energy is actually worse for the environment, and how it is impossible to produce enough electricity for modern societies using green energy, which involves destructive and toxic sources like windmills, solar panels, and toxic batteries. Yet WEF pontificated:

“Electrification needs to be accelerated in sync with a powerful push towards more efficient, accessible and connected public transport, improved infrastructure and priority for cycling and walking…It is only with a combination of these solutions that we can cut emissions to address the urgent climate emergency, reduce the number of vehicles on the road to make our streets safer and more accessible, all while transporting a growing urban population.”

That section was written by Visa’s “Chief Sustainability Officer” and WEF’s “Head of Urban Transformation.”

To ensure this utopian future happens, WEF is pushing a “user-friendly scorecard tool, trialled with cities and backed by the private sector, to help cities track progress towards shared, electric and connected mobility.”

Don’t be fooled—the climate alarmist movement is merely the tool for achieving a one world dictatorship, with your housing, transportation, everything dependent on the whims of the elites. That’s all WEF’s “scorecard” is about.

This article was published by Pro Deo et Libertate and is reproduced with permission.