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OPINION

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AP Photo/Robin Rayne

Actions follow goals. What happens when one’s goals are heading in the wrong direction?

One of the most useful activities at Harvard took place well outside of the classroom. The Adams House Raft Race was an annual event that had student-made rafts go from the Weeks footbridge, through the Anderson car bridge and back again through the starting bridge. The rafts were a motley collection of wood and say plastic beer kegs used to help keep them afloat. The key feature of the race was that the winning raft was the one that came in second. What I took from the race was the idea that we can define success and our definitions may be something different than that which others automatically consider to be successful—wealth, great looks, brains, etc.

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I was reminded of the raft race when looking at the strange behavior of many parts of our modern society. Anheuser-Busch, the world’s largest brewer, has decided that a trans spokesperson is more important than sales of Bud Light or even market valuation, which is down around $5 billion since the news broke of Dylan Mulvaney’s new job. Why would a company sacrifice its beer-drinking base and also make the fiduciary error of lowering stock value? Because the winner is not the company with the most sales or the greatest valuation. No, the winner is the company that is most woke, that is most in tune with the values of the time. One must recall that executives at all major companies went to college, and nowhere is more left-leaning in all aspects of worldview than the college campus. Imagine Alissa Gordon Heinerscheid, the woman who hired Mulvaney, going to soirees in LA and New York and being the toast of the crowd—how she had broken several reinforced glass ceilings to introduce a trans spokesperson to those frat boys (her description of the Bud Light base) and yahoos who traditionally used to drink her product. Demand for Bud Light is cratering, but sales numbers are no longer the metric of brand success. Absolute stock price is not the measure of a company’s real worth. On the one hand, such thinking is insane. I buy a stock so that it should go up, but the ones running the companies do not define “success” as improved stock value. No, for them, it is checking the boxes demanded by the left. United Airlines says that it wants a more diversified flight crew. I want safe travel.

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When one starts to think like the heads of our Fortune 500 companies, then a lot of what happens around us makes more sense. Disney insists on exposing children to more gay subject matter, even if this will mean fewer people watching its movie products. Other studios follow suit, having all-women casts or portraying men and/or whites as evil, while minorities are shown as righteous and good. People flock to Top Gun 2 and other non-woke films, but the major studios continue to churn out woke versions of Marvel and Star Wars classics, though the way to bigger revenues is written clearly on Tom Cruise’s jacket. But making pure action or even pro-American films does not interest them. Winning is coming in second. Winning is having a storyline that fits the whims of the Left—homosexuality, trans, climate change, capitalism as evil, China is our better, etc. People go to movies to leave this world for a few hours; instead of getting entertainment, they receive lectures and many big-time movies open to small crowds. They used to blame the low movie revenues on Covid; now, one sees that people are not interested in the product.

The two drivers of much of our modern wealth and comfort—meritocracy and capitalism—were never perfect but offered enormous rewards to Western society. Both of my parents were immigrants to the United States, and I had the opportunity in one generation to go to Harvard and later get a Ph.D. from Wisconsin. But meritocracy led to highly-trained fools like John Kerry and Susan Rice making horrible decisions in positions of power. Capitalism has done more to get people out of poverty than any other economic system, but there is no question that unbridled capitalism can lead to environmental destruction and excessive concentration of wealth in fewer hands. But that which is replacing the two, namely the woke definition of who gets into college or gets a job and the sacrifice of financial success for feel-good righteousness will come at an enormous price to the future success and well-being of Western societies. I don’t care who my pilot is as long as he or she is well-trained and competent. United does not think that way. And thus, we will now give out jobs not based on past success and future possible contribution but rather on being part of the right group or having the biggest claim to victimhood. I could not fathom the hatred shown to a certain Posie Parker when she went to New Zealand to support women speaking for themselves. She had soup poured on her head and she had to leave the venue to save her life. Posie Parker is a risk to the pro-trans crowd because like one supporting giving the most talented and hardest worker coveted university admission and job opportunities, as long as she insists that women are women and are the only women, the “progress” of those who wish to obliterate the difference in the sexes is at risk. She cannot be tolerated as her views remind people that women are uniquely women, just as a person who gets 800’s on his or her SAT’s is probably really smart. Thus, the SAT requirement is being dropped by many universities and a more “holistic” approach for university acceptance must be implemented in order to deny the deserving and award those who really are far less. Ask the group of Asian applicants suing Harvard about their experience of being denied admission for the sin of being part of the “wrong” minority group.

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I remember that when the Hubble Telescope finally reached the heavens and started to send back pictures, they were blurry. Nobody at NASA could understand what went wrong. The numerous little mirrors used to construct the giant mirror were all checked with a “null detector” to confirm that they were properly made. But after much testing, it turned out that the null detector was out of alignment, so all of its measurements were meaningless. As long as HR departments are obsessed with color and sexual orientation and CEO’s are concerned with looking woke and not profit or stock price, we are headed to a future of mediocre professionals and failing companies. Coming in second may be good for a raft race but not for the economic success or social cohesion of the Republic.

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