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OPINION

Vivek Ramaswamy: Bring Down 'Woke,' Bring Back America

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Real Time With Bill Maher

The 2024 presidential race gets more exciting each day.

Now 37-year-old entrepreneur businessman Vivek Ramaswamy has entered the race as the newest Republican candidate.

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Whether this political novice can win the highest elective office in the land remains to be seen. But for sure he has something to say and contribute.

And worth noting is now the first two candidates to announce following former President Donald Trump's entering the race, Ramaswamy and Nikki Haley, are children of Indian immigrants.

I requote the statistic I cited last week that "more than half of America's start-up companies valued at $1 billion or more" were founded by immigrants.

Inside our country, a vast left-wing culture has risen to power, peddling a message that ours is an evil, racist country that can only be fixed by seizing power and force-feeding "woke" values onto all our institutions.

But these successful first-generation offspring of immigrants raise the important question: If our county is so horrible, why is there no place on earth where more want to come and gain the privilege of citizenship?

And when they come, they know what to do. They study, work, and follow the path to great success, which is only possible in a country that is free.

At age 37, Ramaswamy's resume includes degrees from Harvard and Yale, founding and leading a successful biotechnology start-up firm, founding an investment firm that focuses on traditional goals of profitability and merit, and disavowing the politically correct ESG agenda, which has captured so many of the largest investment firms. And authoring two hard-hitting books, "Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam," and "Nation of Victims: Identity Politics, the Death of Merit, and the Path Back to Excellence."

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Ramaswamy is showcasing his own life as proof that the American dream is alive and that the real threat we face is the "woke" culture that wants to turn our free nation over to left-wing politicians to force their agenda on everyone and have taxpayers pick up the bill for the trillions spent doing it.

There is a reason why the nation is now staggering under massive debt and growing at a rate one-third more slowly than the average for a half-century after World War II.

Growth comes from productivity; productivity comes from efficient use of capital; and capital is used efficiently only when businessmen and entrepreneurs can invest as they wish, according to their best economic judgment.

The takeover of American business by politically correct ESG standards -- environmental, social, and corporate governance -- is destroying our efficient use of capital, per Ramaswamy.

If a business causes clear environmental damage, it should be responsible. But climate change science is not at all clear, and forcing firms to make decisions based on what is ideology rather than science hurts all of us. We must stop, he says.

Similarly, businesses must be free to make their own decisions about who they hire and the values they choose to support. We cannot have business hamstrung by an agenda set by left-wing politics.

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The way to help more minorities succeed is not through government-mandated affirmative action, but by demanding excellence from them as from everyone else. This is the social agenda -- classic American freedom -- that will work for everyone.

But I wonder what Ramaswamy means when he writes, "We must restore merit for who gets to come to America" and, "we must embrace merit in who gets to succeed in America."

If we have freedom, merit will arise on its own because it is what a free society demands. We certainly don't need merit itself being defined by those with political power.

Vivek Ramaswamy is for sure a model success story, and every American will benefit by knowing about it and hearing what he has to say.

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