As companies from Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines to Apple and Amazon trip over each other to issue the quickest and loudest statements attesting fealty to liberal causes, a few sober CEOs are finding the courage to stand up and say, “ENOUGH.” They’re declaring that they want political and social justice causes out of the workplace–and telling their “woke” employees that if they don’t like it, they can take a hike.
One of the most prominent business titans to buck the trend of “woke corporations” is Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong. Armstrong runs one of the hottest companies in the emerging cryptocurrency sector—basically unorganized digital currency that seeks to be an alternative to traditional cash currencies. Armstrong may have found the kryptonite against politics disturbing his business.
Before Coinbase went public last month–making him one of the richest men in America–he notified employees that “[w]e don’t advocate for any particular causes or candidates internally that are unrelated to our mission, because it is a distraction from our mission.”
Imagine a business focused on its business, not the latest hashtag on Twitter or nightly feature on CNN. Armstrong even offered employees who didn’t like the new policy a generous severance package if they chose to resign. At least 60 employees took his offer.
Armstrong’s stand makes business sense too. A survey in 2020 showed that 47 percent of respondents said the 2020 Presidential election had “impacted their ability to get work done.”
For many workers, getting politics out of the workplace is clearly a breath of fresh air that allows them to focus on their jobs.
But not everyone is applauding Armstrong. The notoriously left-wing CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, who flagrantly interfered in the 2020 election by leading the charge to censor the Hunter Biden story, lectured Armstrong about his role in society, saying that Coinbase’s no-politics policy “leaves people behind.” Of course, he didn’t spell out who or how exactly.
Dorsey’s predecessor at Twitter had even stronger feelings about the Coinbase CEO’s announcement, saying that people like Armstrong are “going to be the first people lined up against the wall and shot in the revolution.”
Such vicious rhetoric only proves Armstrong’s point. That is exactly the kind of needlessly obnoxious and inflammatory political grandstanding Armstrong is wisely steering his company away from.
Others are following suit now as well. Jason Fried, the Founder and CEO of popular project management software Basecamp, just issued a new company-wide policy in a similar vein, saying that there will be “no more societal and political discussions on our company Basecamp account.” Astonishingly, a third of the company’s workers resigned from their jobs rather than focus on their jobs instead of politics.
What makes the actions by these two CEOs especially courageous is that they operate in the technology space, which is notorious for its open advocacy for not just liberal but often openly socialist candidates and policies.
In the age of cancel culture and employee protests, it is more important than ever for America’s business leaders to summon the integrity to stand up against constant pressure from protestors, rioters, and their own “woke” employees. We depend on America’s business community to produce breakthroughs, beat their global competitors, and create jobs for Americans–and they can’t do that if they throw themselves on every grenade in the culture war.
If two tech moguls can stay strong and refuse to bend the knee to the mob, so can millions of other businesses across America. It’s time for corporate America to butt out of the culture war for good.
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