Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
Think there’s a contradiction between ‘woke’ corporate titans like Apple and Disney silencing anyone opposed to China’s crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong?
It’s not hypocrisy, it’s synergy.
The same forces that made the major brands scattered around your kitchen, living room and garage broadcast their support for gun control, gay marriage and illegal immigration are fueling their support for the People’s Republic of China pulling another Tiananmen Square in Hong Kong.
The lefties in Beijing and Berkeley used the same set of ideological tools to force companies to toe the party line. They roped off access to an appealing customer base, the population of mainland China, urban millennials with huge amounts of disposable income, in exchange for ideological compliance.
Communist China is one entangled oligarchy which mingles political party and company. Sound familiar?
The CEO of Nike sits on the board of Disney. The CEO of Disney until recently sat on the board of Apple. The CEO of Apple sits on the board of Nike. Good thing we have a “free market economy” isn’t it?
Disney, Apple and all the rest have no problem understanding their Chinese Communist counterparts.
ESPN smears democracy protesters in Hong Kong for the same reason that it celebrated Colin Kaepernick. There’s a fundamental contradiction in principles between supporting a Communist police state and denouncing American police officers, but a perfect synergy of political expediency.
Disney, ESPN’s parent company, has embraced identity politics from the top down, even as its head honcho, Bob Iger, remains whiter than vanilla ice cream, not because it really believes in this stuff. The Chinese Communist Party believes in One China. Its American counterparts believe in A Thousand Genders. Lefty power in China is built on unity and solidarity. Lefty power in America is built on divisive minority coalitions. But it’s only a difference if you focus on the means rather than the ends.
And the Mouse didn’t eat the entire entertainment industry by being unable to see the endgame. Avengers Endgame brought in $612 million in China. That’s the real endgame that it cares about.
In America and China, a lefty political elite controls the culture. Chinese and American lefties interlock cultural, economic and political power. Disney, once seen as a square family friendly studio, can rule the box offices in America and China because it advances the cultural goals of their political elites.
American corporations went ‘woke’ because their ideal customer base, wealthy millennials, were reprogrammed by academia. Getting access to young people with lots of money required ritual virtue signaling, first by cultural industries, which didn’t need much encouraging to function as gatekeepers, censors and reeducators, and then by all the other industries which bowed to the culture.
If Disney didn’t advance the party line, its comic book movies would be ridiculed, dismissed and denounced, and its cartoon remakes would be accused of racism in America. And in China, where the loci of political control are even simpler, they would never be released in the country’s movies theaters.
China’s Commies control the entire economy. America’s lefties control the cultural economy. And our few real exports to China are either agricultural or cultural. And soybean farmers aren’t tweeting about Hong Kong. The ‘wokest’ parts of our economy, entertainment and tech, are that way because they depend on the cultural sanction of the same political movement that killed millions in China.
If you’re going to sell thousand-dollar phones made by slave labor in some dusty factory town where the air is poison, you need the sanction of the Communist Party of China and the culture industry of California. And if you’re going to dump your cultural garbage in American and Chinese movie theaters, both owned by the same Chinese corporations, you’ll need to run the stuff by cultural censors.
Chinese censors are concerned about portraying their leaders as powerful and discouraging insurrection. American censors want to push their identity politics. That’s how you end up with ESPN cheering Colin and booing Hong Kong protesters. Chinese and American commies both get what they want and ESPN gets a foothold in the Chinese market and among the Ivy League’s wealthy woke grads.
The Hong Kong protesters won’t be too happy, but how many Avengers movies do they watch? How many iPhones can they buy? How many copies of Battlefield do they play? That’s the real question.
The ‘enemies of the people’ in Hong Kong are free market Christians who don’t want a police state controlling their lives. Funny coincidence, those are also the ‘enemies of the people’ in America.
Giant multinational monopolies don’t like free markets. They encourage competition.
The last thing the NBA, Disney, Apple, Nike and the rest of the ‘megas’ want is competition. What they want is a walled garden tended by a kindly Zen-Communist tyrant who will give them a virgin territory in exchange for a huge slice of the pie to be shared with local political partners. And, of course, slavish devotion to the tyranny of whatever it is the locals believe in, dialectical materialism, the transcendence of gender, which is a small price to pay by people who don’t have any principles or believe in anything.
It doesn’t really matter if this walled garden is in China or California. Either way, the ideal outcome is a totalitarian leftist state and the enemies are Christians who believe in a free market economy.
Can you think of anything a soulless ‘woke’ monopoly would hate and fear more than religious believers who also believe in personal freedom? That’s why Disney, Apple and the ChiComs are on the same page.
Apple, Disney and all the rest are about brands. A brand is a form of identity.
Brands don’t make good products. Instead they churn out overpriced junk and use advertising to fuse consumer loyalty to their brand. And that brand, a sports team, an Apple logo, becomes part of the identity of the people who are brainwashed into identifying with it even to their own detriment.
That’s why ad agencies have gone gaga for identity politics. And why every other ad you see is virtue signaling so hard that it would make Mao roll his eyes. They’re all in the manufactured identity business.
Identity politics manufactures identities and then convinces its dupes that their lives are hopeless and incomplete until they also implement open borders, gun control, and a ban on fossil fuels.
Sound familiar? Buy into the revolution now. Organizers are standing by to take your call.
That’s also why religious believers are the enemy. They don’t make ideal consumers.
People who have a form of meaning in their lives that isn’t for sale on Black Friday aren’t good consumers. Lefties with thirty genders and a hole the size of Cleveland where meaning should be, are.
So are Communist drones in a society drifting away from Communism while suppressing religion.
That’s why California and Communist China are the capitals of ‘Capitamunism’. And why free market Christians are the enemies in both of the capitals where identity politics are their own religion.
In China, it’s nationalism. In America, it’s anti-nationalism. But those are just different identities. And advertising is in the business of monetizing identities. The militant Chinese nationalist vocally insisting that everything in Asia belongs to Beijing and the furious Black Lives Matter activist demanding that we build Wakanda in Oklahoma are two sides of the same coin and ESPN will market to both of them.
And if a few protesters in Hong Kong or police officers in Dallas get shot, that’s also the same coin.
What really matters is the next game, the next movie, the next phone and the next crackdown. What matters is that you can buy governments, shut down protests and suppress the truth. What matters is that more people, in China and America, are realizing that what they want isn’t a sale: it’s freedom.