In my last column, I discussed how academia and the mainstream media regularly present America as a shameful and fatally flawed nation.
To say this “woke ideology” has negative consequences is an understatement.
A Quinnipiac University survey in March found that 1 in 4 Republicans and a majority of Democrats would cut and run rather than fight if the U.S. homeland were attacked by a foreign invader.
If your country isn’t worth defending, why bother?
This cancerous ideology has now spread to corporations, creating what is commonly referred to as “woke capitalism.”
Woke capitalism isn’t about maximizing shareholder value or creating a meritocracy or turning customers into raving fans.
It’s about promoting a progressive social agenda.
Not everyone shares that agenda, however. Or benefits from it. And therein lies the first problem.
Woke capitalism is inherently divisive.
Instead of seeing each employee or job candidate as a unique individual with specific talents, skills and shortcomings, it sorts them into groups based on race, gender or sexual orientation.
This shouldn’t need to be said but I’ll say it anyway: No one is less qualified for a job because of their race, gender or orientation.
The converse is also true, however.
No one is more qualified for a job because of their race, gender or orientation.
So when a company prominently announces a change in its hiring and advancement policies to increase its “diversity scores,” it is not about fair treatment or equal treatment.
It is about preferential treatment.
That is bound to create hard feelings in some quarters.
Yet in today’s politically correct workplaces, expressing dissent often leaves employees open to charges of bigotry, ignorance or closed-mindedness.
Rather than fostering unity and inclusion, woke ideology creates frustration and resentment.
That doesn’t promote team cohesion.
Corporations should not be in the business of politics. Especially radical politics that the majority of us disagree with.
A national Pew Research Center poll in April found 74% of Americans, including Hispanics (68%), Asians (63%), Blacks (59%), Republicans (87%) and Democrats (62%), are hostile to having race be a factor in college admissions.
I’m not suggesting that we’ve achieved full equality in the workplace. We’ve come a long way over the last few decades, but we have further to go.
Yet at a time when the situation has never been better – after all, America was never less racist, sexist or homophobic than it is today – it is often presented as though things have never been worse.
Six out of 10 Americans polled believe women are paid less than men for performing the same work, even though this has been illegal in the U.S. since 1963.
(And the nation has no shortage of tort attorneys.)
Racial disparities in income today are largely due not to racism but to differences in educational attainment, job experience, vocational choice and hours worked.
And studies show that gay men and lesbian women happen to earn more on average than their heterosexual counterparts.
In other words, not every inequity is real. And not every disparity is due to explicit or implicit bias.
Woke ideology runs counter to everything Liberty Through Wealth stands for.
Our goal is personal empowerment. That means individual responsibility.
To reach your most important financial goals, you must first take ownership of your choices and behavior.
Woke ideology doesn’t advocate that. It promotes a victimhood narrative.
It is disempowering to be told you can’t succeed because the cards are stacked against you because you’re a woman… or you’re gay… or you’re a person of color.
It doesn’t make anyone’s life better, but the narrative succeeds wonderfully at making people bitter and angry.
(That makes it a plus for those trying to create activists, generate political donations or drive voters to the polls.)
The solution? See yourself as a unique individual rather than as a member of some historically marginalized group. That puts you in the driver’s seat.
Everything changes the day you take responsibility for your life.
Unfortunately, many people don’t want to do that.
They prefer to blame their circumstances on their parents, spouse, “ex,” children, boss, co-workers, neighbors, “the breaks,” our society, even the country itself.
Yet here’s the reality. You control your choices and behavior. You don’t control anyone else’s.
Whether your problem is joblessness, or overspending, or a lack of saving, or poor investment decisions, you move closer to a solution the moment you say, “I am responsible.”
It is impossible to say these words and still feel angry and powerless.
The very act of taking responsibility short-circuits and cancels out negative emotions.
Businesses and other organizations today are looking for men and women who are willing and able to think, who are self-directing and self-managing, who respond to problems proactively rather than complaining or waiting for someone else to act.
A study done in New York a few years ago found that people who ranked in the top 3% in every field had a special attitude that set them apart from average performers in their industries.
It was this: They chose to view themselves as self-employed throughout their careers, no matter who signed their paychecks.
That caused them to set goals, make plans, establish personal measures and get results.
Being accountable is not a burden, incidentally. It’s an honor to take ownership of your actions.
It creates freedom and control. It gives meaning to life. Self-reliance is the great source of personal power.
We create ourselves, shape our identity and determine the course of our lives by what we are willing to take responsibility for.
Successful individuals don’t see themselves as victims. (Or act like “emotional hemophiliacs,” as comedian Bill Maher likes to call them.)
Yet woke ideology has moved from academia and the far-left wing of the Democratic Party to Main Street and Wall Street.
And it is costing investors money and opportunities. I’ll explain how in my next column.