This Is Why You Never Listen To A Libertarian
State Financial Officers

Anyone who has ever accidentally ended up in a conversation with a free-market-loving, Murray-Rothbard-worshiping, Ayn-Rand-reading, Ron-Paul-voting, libertarian blowhard — bonus points if he wore a fedora, extra bonus points if there was a pocket watch involved in some capacity — knows that all regulations are entirely unnecessary. This is particularly true, they say, of protections against discrimination. Regulations are unnecessary, we are told, because the invisible hand of the free market, when allowed to do its thing unhindered, will take care of everything. Like magic.

They say we don't need to force business owners to let Black people eat at their lunch counter, because if they deny Black people from eating there, other people just won't eat at their restaurant and then they'll stop trying to do that naturally. We don't need to tell people they need to pay their workers fairly, because they just won't be able to find people to work for them if they don't and the companies that do pay them fairly will do better. We don't need to tell them not to murder the planet ... for similar reasons.

Yet, awkwardly, whenever these things do happen, whenever there are boycotts, whenever businesses have trouble finding people willing to work for starvation wages, those who love the free market and its invisible hand most deeply are the first to start screaming that the state must get involved. It's almost as if all they ever really wanted was for businesses to be able to discriminate, pay workers crap wages, and murder the planet for profit, and the whole "invisible hand" thing was as much bullshit as any other invisible body part.


Thus, this week, a group of Republican state treasurers, corporate lobbyists, and hepcats from groups like the Heritage Foundation, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and Duck Dynasty are getting together for the State Financial Officers Foundation’s annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans to discuss how to take down "woke capitalism." And also to give Mike Pence an award of some kind.


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Long story short, this collection of shady characters is very sad about how activists have been putting pressure on corporations and financial institutions to be less horrible, and they want to put a stop to it. Namely by pushing model legislation that will basically make it illegal for financial institutions to "discriminate" against companies that are harming the environment.

Via The Center For Media and Democracy:

Like ALEC, one of SFOF’s top priorities this year will be fighting “woke” capitalism and “defend[ing] the market economy” against the growing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) movement among corporations to consider community interests and not just shareholders.

At its December 2021 States and Nation Policy Summit, ALEC members in the Energy, Environment and Agriculture Task Force unanimously passed an anti-boycott model bill that would punish financial companies that stop investing in oil, gas, and coal by barring them from receiving state government contracts or managing state funds, CMD first reported.

The bill was based on language from “anti-BDS legislation supported by ALEC” targeting the movement to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel over its oppression of Palestinians, and pitched by Jason Isaac, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s (TPPF) director of Life: Powered, as a way for states to “fight back against woke capitalism,” according to an email first obtained by CMD.

Isaac will likely discuss this model bill at the SFOF meeting in a panel on “ESG Solutions,” where state auditors, treasurers, and staff will “learn how financial officers and legislatures are protecting public pensions from activist investors,” alongside Darren LaSorte, director of government relations from the National Shooting Sports Foundation; Andy Olivastro, Director of Coalitions for The Heritage Foundation; and Andy Puzder, former CEO of Carl’s Jr./Hardees.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is also pushing similar legislation meant to punish financial institutions that "discriminate" against the firearms and ammunition industry by refusing to invest in them.

Ironically, there is also a panel on the convention's schedule about how doing absolutely nothing to protect "America's natural and economic environment" is far more effective than doing something.

Free Economies Are Clean Economies: Why limited government, lower taxes, less spending, less regulation, private property rights, and the rule of law will do more to protect America's natural and economic environment than "woke" policies, central planning, and socialism.

And yet they want regulation to stop companies and financial institutions from going "woke" on their own or due to pressures from activists and non-activist human beings with known interests in breathing and drinking water.

It's almost as if they know exactly what outcome they want and are willing to do whatever they have to do in order to get there. They want no regulations except for regulations to keep people from influencing the way corporations and financial institutions behave, but also for those people to believe that not having any regulations is the best way to achieve their goals in terms of the way those corporations and financial institutions behave. So no regulations and no boycotts, no voting with your feet or with your dollar. Just let corporations and financial institutions do whatever they want, while killing the planet (and also the occasional middle school, given the gun industry's interest in this), and everything will be great.

[Center For Media and Democracy]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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