AMAC Exclusive – by David P. Deavel
We are at a perilous point in American history. Can what was great in our politics and culture, but is currently being ground down and snuffed out, be revived again? Can our civilization survive? If so, we need what the historian Arnold Toynbee and later thinkers such as Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) and the late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks referred to as “creative minorities.” Matthew J. Peterson and Nate Fischer are a creative minority of two with a new company to address what has gone wrong in American business over the last few decades.
Many people of good will predicted that the new economic engagement with China in the late twentieth century would spur the Chinese to become more like us. American dollars in trade would purchase American values in those trading with us. Yet something like the opposite has happened. Large American businesses now operate more like Chinese businesses, enforcing ruling class prerogatives and radically left-wing values. While we could wish the saying “go woke go broke” were an inexorable law, it is not. Or if it is, it does not happen immediately. Woke capital continues its successful alteration of the American economic and business landscape by driving out those who do not submit.
It’s not just workers. Recently, John Gibson, CEO of videogame company Tripwire Interactive, was defenestrated from the company he co-founded because of a tweet in support of the Supreme court’s refusal to strike down the Texas heartbeat law. It was a replay of Brendan Eich’s 2014 dismissal from the company he co-founded, Mozilla, because of donations made in 2008 to the cause of Proposition 8, which proposed to amend California’s constitution such that same-sex relationships could not be recognized as marriages. The only difference is that in 2021 one is pitched from the corporate window immediately even for voicing support of somebody else’s actions.
But woke capital does not target mere individuals, high and low. Large corporations aim to squash smaller ones that do not show their fealty to the appropriate dogmas or the ruling class regime. Gibson was pitched in large part because of the swift reaction from other companies working with Tripwire. Shipwright, another videogame company, announced in a tweeted response to Gibson that they would no longer work with Tripwire “under the current leadership structure.” Though it was phrased in business jargon that made it sound as though Shipwright had problems with Tripwire’s organizational flowchart, the message was pretty clear. Tripwire’s CEO is a deplorable and must be dealt with—or Shipwright would cease work with them.
This pattern has been happening for a while. When social media site Parler began to grow at an astonishing rate, Amazon Web Services, which hosted them, shut down their site on the pretext that January 6 protesters had “organized” on Parler. Apple similarly refused to sell Parler’s app. It turned out that there was little organization on the part of the small number of troublemakers at the Capitol, and what little was found was on Facebook, but the facts did not matter as much as the claim, which allowed woke companies to choke non-woke companies that were starting to compete.
Since then, there has been a recognition of the need for new businesses that will not cancel their own clients. Right Forge has arisen to create the internet infrastructure that Amazon Web Services denied to Parler. For secure payment processing without having one’s information sold, Dan Bongino has created Align Pay, which will serve those whom PayPal and Stripe are less likely to serve these days. American Conservative Values ETF provides investment options by pulling investment out of the “worst offenders” in the corporate world while they “still deliver predictable large-cap performance.” There are numerous others, but perhaps most important among them are Matt Peterson and Nate Fischer’s New Founding.
Peterson, vice president for education and founding editor of The American Mind publication for the Claremont Institute, and Fischer, principal of multi-strategy investment firm NF Macro, have a long-range vision to stop American decay and revive innovation and prosperity. As their website says, their strategy is “bringing together communities of talent and resources” to create “new media, technology, and commerce that serves and supports the American people.”
In other words, they want to connect all the companies pushing back on woke capital. They want to connect them with each other, with customers, and with talented employees.
When I spoke with Peterson last month by phone, he told me that New Founding’s origin was largely summoned by talented people in every field from finance to tech to entertainment contacting him and Fischer for help in escaping their woke or becoming-woke companies. “There are a lot of people who want to leave Mastercard, Pixar,” he told me. New Founding is designed to help them escape by building a network of aligned businesses that will find the talent they need with New Founding’s job boards and ads for services wanted. Businesses can sign up on their website to be connected with others, and individuals can suggest businesses who would be a good match.
New Founding is not, however, simply in the business of connecting businesses. Their aim, he told me, includes “creating new businesses, connecting people to the right businesses, and a media ecosystem where you can do both.” Right now one can sign up for their email newsletter, Align: A More Human Way of Life, which appears weekly and usually focuses on one area of business or commerce, spotlighting at least two businesses that are doing things differently, as well as offering links to articles or videos that help people see that the way things are done right now is not the only way.
A recent issue of the newsletter displayed what Peterson described to me as the dual tasks of “blessing and cursing” companies. The August 26 edition highlighted outdoor outfitter Patagonia’s attempted cancellation of an owner of Jackson Hole Mountain Resort because of his purportedly wicked act of. . .hosting a fundraiser for Republican politicians. Rather than just cursing Patagonian darkness, however, Align lit a candle to show readers Wintergreen Northern Wear, a company in Ely, Minnesota, specializing in the sort of outdoor gear you could buy—and thus fund woke-ism—at Patagonia or support a company that is building up a small town by making their goods in the North Star state. Align also featured Over Under Clothing, a deeply patriotic company that sells clothing for the southern gentleman that has been made with Mississippi cotton and Texas leather. They boast that 75% of their products are made in the U. S.—and their goal is 100%.
New Founding’s goals are big. With regard to creating businesses, they are planning on new publications and new companies that will help people sell their goods. Want to have something for women and men that avoids the wokeness and smut of Cosmo and Men’s Health—and that you can advertise in? They’re working for you, with Aaron Renn developing the men’s magazine and Helen Roy the women’s. Want something like Wired on technology that has views on where what-tech-can-do conflicts with our natural and constitutional rights? They’re working for you. Want somebody to come up with a design for “the opposite of the rainbow flag”? They’re going to be creating companies that will do that, too.
In the long run, Peterson tells me, they will create a “visual media superpac” that will be “outside New Founding but will generate material” with a “newsletter that’s even more serious” and in-depth than Align. It will “curate Twitter stuff” and American Mind articles that are innovatively attempting to think through how a creative minority can act effectively. And it will “tell stories of important things people are doing and saying across the country right now.”
Peterson and Fischer know they’re not alone in this enterprise, but as Peterson tells me, “We have exceptional talent on this team.” They hope that their work will help frame the issues for people about how our economic, social, and cultural life can indeed be revived as well as build the alliances that will allow our country and its religious, cultural, and political heritage to survive. To do that, however, people will need to join them and the groups in these alliances. As Peterson starkly but correctly put it in a recent American Mind essay, “There is no ‘neutrality’ for American business. We either band together or get swept away by the woke tide.”
David P. Deavel is editor of Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture, co-director of the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy, and a visiting professor at the University of St. Thomas (MN). He is the co-host of the Deep Down Things podcast.
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