The Rockford Files

It’s Just Business

A dozen years ago (give or take), I tried to commission a piece for Chronicles on how Big Business was increasingly pushing a leftist social and cultural agenda.  For years, the conservative orthodoxy in the United States had been that capitalist institutions, from mom-and-pop shops up to the largest corporations, were essentially conservative.  (In the oft-misquoted words of “Engine Charlie” Wilson, “[W]hat was good for our country was good for General Motors, and vice versa.”)  Everyone agreed that the foundations set up by the scions of the great capitalist families—the Fords, the Rockefellers—funded leftist causes almost exclusively, but this, conservatives claimed, was a betrayal of their founding principles.  If the hard-nosed businessmen had maintained control of those funds, rather than letting that control pass to their effete socialite children, the story would be very different.

Except that it was clear (at least to me) that whatever truth was once to be found in the conservative orthodoxy (and I had my doubts about whether it had ever been all that true), the situation was changing rapidly.  Most mom-and-pop business were still essentially conservative (though perhaps for reasons that had little to do with the fact that they were businesses), but Big Business had a different agenda, which increasingly included (at that time) the promotion of...

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