For too long, conservatives have blindly supported corporations. While trying to support “free markets” we might inadvertently be supporting corporatism, a form of economic totalitarianism where government and corporations collude to destroy individual rights.
When I moved to Washington DC in 2002 to accept a position in the Bush Administration, I thought that corporations might be allies of conservatives who were promoting free markets. I was wrong. Over many years working in public policy, I have been disgusted by corporate attempts to utilize the government to destroy fair competition by any means necessary.
Am I a conservative Pollyanna? No. I came from the business world, have a master’s degree in business and public administration, and taught business and ethics at a private college for many years. I understand business.
It is bad enough when companies lobby to get public policy favors from politicians to crush their rivals, but when the private sector colludes with the government to limit the freedoms of individual Americans it is time to fight back with every legal method we can find.
America was founded on the concept that individuals have natural rights that come from God, not government…and certainly not from corporations. This is why Americans were not as likely to fall into economic fascism as Italians were in the early 1900’s. Yet, it gained a foothold. And in the last couple of years, it seems to have taken that foothold and marched right into every facet of our lives.
Corporations may feel they have a pass to censor speech since the First Amendment was written to constrain government, but when the private sector conspires and colludes with the government, they have breached that divide and left themselves open to litigation. Senator Ted Cruz, Governor Ron DeSantis, and Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Maria Bartiromo have publicly sounded the alarm, but few conservatives seem willing.
Just this week, thanks to a lawsuit by BuzzFeed, we have seen emails that strongly indicate that Dr. Fauci and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg were likely colluding to control and censor information on COVID-19. On March 15, 2020, Zuckerberg emailed Fauci suggesting they partner on COVID information. Within this email there is a portion that is redacted. Does Zuckerberg have a security clearance that would protect his communication to a government official from the public? It is more likely that the redaction is hiding a First Amendment violation.
Senator Cruz told Maria Bartiromo, “…these latest breakthroughs have real consequences because it is now clear that Facebook was operating at the direction of and in the direct benefit of the federal government and operating as the government censor, utilizing their monopoly position to censor on behalf of the government.”
COVID “passports” or, as we call them at the American Constitutional Rights Union, COVID “handcuffs” are another example of the government using the private sector to restrict movement, assembly, and commerce. The Biden Administration has indicated they may be using the private sector to enact these draconian tools.
This week, my organization took action in support of a lawsuit against Major League Baseball. It may seem like a stretch for a constitutional rights organization to get involved in a lawsuit against a private company, but it is part of growing pushback against corporations doing the bidding of government to control the political playing field to the detriment of Americans.
Not long ago, President Biden suggested that Georgia’s new voter integrity law was “Jim Crow on steroids” and he encouraged Major League Baseball (MLB) to move the All-Star Game away from Atlanta in protest. Less than 48 hours later, MLB did exactly that.
At the moment, we have no way of knowing whether there was any discussion between government officials and MLB executives, but a lawsuit by Job Creators Network (JCN) against MLB could expose the truth.
JCN is suing Major League Baseball (MLB) to force them to reverse their decision to move the MLB All-Star game from Atlanta. The American Constitutional Rights Union and our founding board member Attorney General Edwin Meese III filed an amicus brief in support of JCN.
MLB’s move will cause major economic consequences to the greater Atlanta community. This has led to complaints that Major League Baseball is not representing the interests of its owners as it appears to do the bidding of leftist government officials who maintain that voter identification is racist.
MLB is beholden to the government. They are essentially a government sanctioned monopoly protected from antitrust laws. Maybe this clouds their business decisions. Why else would they come out against voter identification, a common-sense measure that is supported by 77% of Americans and 61% of Black Americans?
Do private businesses have the right to conduct their operations as they see fit? In most cases the answer is yes. Unless they are in breach of contracts or unless that private business is really acting as the pseudo arm of the government to trample on the rights of Americans.
The rise of corporatism, or economic totalitarianism, should cause conservatives to rethink their knee-jerk defense of corporations. Whether we lose our liberties because of government actions or corporate actions they may still disappear forever. It is time to fight back.
Lori Roman is the president of the American Constitutional Rights Union and ACRU Action Fund.