The Right’s quarrel with free-market capitalism

The Right has long worshipped no-holds-barred, free-market capitalism. Or so they claimed. But the truth is that, like their alleged devotion to small government, it was always a lie.

No Trump sycophant worth his salt hasn’t lamented about these “woke” corporations who won’t go along with the Republican legislative drive to enact Jim Crow laws to keep poor, Black, or young citizens from voting. But those corporations chimed in because of capitalism: They aren’t going to sell fancy sneakers, premium liquor, mango Coca-Cola, or iPhones to Fox News Grandpa. He’s probably not going to fly to California, or buy baseball, football or basketball jerseys.

The coveted 18-to-34-year-old demographic is less likely to be White or Republican, and they’re not the ones watching right-wing TV; that’s why you only see My Pillow, catheters, Bass Pro Shops, and in-house ads on Fox News. If you want to sell a brand-new Lexus, Lululemon leggings, Dior makeup, Disney+, a Zara sweater, the Roblox video game, or a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, you advertise somewhere more cosmopolitan.

The 76 million Americans in that 18-34 demographic — that is, Big Business’ most profitable customers — remain corporations’ focus, and so do the millennials’ core values, which don’t include racism, sexism, homophobia, or petty White grievances. Twenty-seven percent of young people aged 18 to 24 said in a June 2020 Tufts University survey that they had participated in a march or demonstration, a figure that’s probably even higher now. Their top three issues? The environment, racism, and affordable health care. So, yeah, these corporations would be fools not to be woke.

But the Right’s quarrel with free-market capitalism has a long history. The Right has taken issue with the free market giving people what they want from naughty books to Elvis Presley records, birth-control pills, rap, and artificial insemination. Of course, the Right didn’t want to meddle with corporations to ensure minimum safety, health, or wage levels – but they sure were eager to shore up the imploding fossil-fuels industry in the wake of competition from solar and wind, and to keep citizens from knowing who’s buying their elections. Why, they’re even interfering with businesses who want to demand proof of inoculation for the first time ever after Dear Leader politicized the COVID pandemic.

And finally, speaking of being woke – have you ever noticed that the folks lamenting “wokeness” are those most asleep at the wheel?

 

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Ivonne Rovira, a teacher and an activist, is the research director for the statewide organization Save Our Schools Kentucky. Ivonne previously worked for The Miami Herald, the now defunct (and greatly lamented) Miami News, and The Associated Press. All three of her children are proud products of Jefferson County Public Schools.

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