The Principles of Freedom vs. Public/Private Partnerships – Part 2

The Third Rail = Corporate Social Responsibility

Address by Tom DeWeese

Freedom 21 National Conference – Dallas, Texas


Now, I’ve talked about the two-way partnership between certain business and government. But there is a third rail that is having a major influence on the policy being created by the PPPs.

Picture, if you will, an Isosceles triangle. And label each point: 1.Government Power 2. Corporate Money 3. NGOs Agenda

The truth is, corporations aren’t always willing players in the partnerships – neither is government, for that matter. Many times both are answering to pressure from activists with a specific agenda.

Those activists come in the guise of Non-governmental organizations (NGOs). They are determined, dedicated and radical. They mean business and they have the means to force their will on companies. It’s almost masochistic to watch how they treat companies.

Perhaps you’ve heard the term Corporate Social Responsibility. The idea is that corporations must not conduct their affairs merely to achieve profits for their stockholders – or even to just provide products and services for their customers.

According to the doctrine, businesses must also help further the “well-being of society.” You know, “like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.” To many businesses the term means treating customers, employees and suppliers with respect and integrity, while making sure you aren’t damaging the environment. It’s just good business.

But something much more sinister has control over the force of corporate social responsibility. As Niger Innis, president of the Congress on Racial Equality, points out, the ideological environmental movement is a powerful $4 billion-a-year U.S. industry. On the international level it’s an $8 billion-a-year gorilla.

Many of its members are intensely eco-centric, and place much higher value on wildlife and ecological values than on human progress or even human life. They have a deep fear and loathing of big business, technology, chemicals, plastics, fossil fuels and biotechnology. And they insist that the rest of the world should acknowledge and live according to their fears and ideologies.

They are masters at using junk science, scare tactics, intimidation and bogus economic and health claims to gain even greater power. These people, with their radical political agenda are now succeeding in forcing Corporate Social Responsibility on more and more companies.

They assert the right to dictate corporate social responsibility by declaring themselves stakeholders, even though their only stake is philosophical. In most cases, they have no economic interest in the companies.

They place ever-increasing demands on business to take ever more radical measures in the name of protecting the environment or in the name of social equity. Products have been banned. Even whole industries have been destroyed.

Here’s an example of the power of this force tied to Sustainable Development policies is an incident that took place in Ireland.

There, McDonalds applied to build a new restaurant in a community. The government demanded an environmental impact study for the project. Now, that’s not so unusual. Only this environmental study wasn’t concerning the building of the restaurant. Rather, it was to study the effects of the food to be served on the health of the residents of the community.

McDonalds has been beaten to a pulp over the issue of obesity, human health and animal rights. As a result, now you find McDonalds in the forefront of promoting the green agenda.

Another example of corporate masochism comes from Caterpillar, the equipment giant that provides machinery for the mining industry. Recently, Caterpillar announced it was joining the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), which is lobbying for caps on carbon dioxide emissions.

If USCAP reaches its goal for mandatory federal restrictions on the emissions, the cost of energy will be driven up, hurting Caterpillar’s customers and shareholders. The restrictions would especially harm the poorest fifth of the U.S. population, who simply can’t afford higher energy costs.

When asked if he had done a cost analysis on this policy before joining USCAP, the Chairman of Caterpillar said he had not and would not. Therefore, he was blindly endorsing a policy that could put his own company out of business.

Why? Because he has been forced to accept a political agenda over business sense. To do otherwise would mean possible government sanctions, regulations or fines. It’s the new way to do business in America.

It’s the force of the triangle. That’s Corporate Social Responsibility. It isn’t responsible at all. And it’s not very corporate. It’s enforcement of a political agenda.

Many times these issues begin with what appears to be completely absurd press releases by obscure fringe groups.

But businesses must not ignore the source of there rantings. Once they begin to give sanction to small demands in an attempt to put on a good face – the bar will be continually raised until the business becomes merely a tool for a political agenda that is in direct opposition to their ability to stay in business.

Market Terrorism

Here’s how nuts it can get. Max Keiser is a new kind of terrorist. He uses the Internet and boycotts to manipulate stock prices. In that way, he forces corporations to comply with his brand of radical environmentalism and Sustainable Development. He puts his hands around corporate throats and squeezes until they comply with his demands.

Max Keiser and his ilk hate business and they hate free enterprise and are using an outrageous tactic to force his agenda and cause chaos in the marketplace.

Keiser’s operation is called “Karmabanque.” That new age-focused name alone should give you an idea of the wacky worldview that spews from Keiser’s brain. But his brand of activism is much more sinister. He calls himself a financial anarchist and he and his partner, Stacy Herbert, consider themselves the “Bonnie and Clyde” of the Internet.

Keiser describes his audience as Activist, Anarchists and Hedge Funds. It’s a stock exchange of sorts, but with a brilliant and maniacal twist: It trades on the strength of boycotts.

To put it in the simplest possible terms, Keiser targets companies that are vulnerable to boycotts, such as Coca Cola, which relies heavily on daily consumer sales. Once the boycott has begun, Keiser tells his minions to buy “put” options on the targeted company’s stock – options betting the stock price will fall. As the boycott drags down the stock, Keiser and his followers make a quick buck on the options.

Meanwhile, the company tries to strike a deal with Keiser – give in to his demands – to get the boycott stopped. The deal, of course, means the company eats itself alive supporting policy contrary to its own purpose.

Oh yes, and when the deal is struck, Keiser tells his investors to now buy “call” options to make more money as the stock goes back up.

So, here are the tactics we face as the globalists work to dictate our world. They poison the free market with government-sanctioned monopolies called public/private partnerships. They call it free trade, yet, they manipulate the stock market to force companies to destroy themselves and their investors and call it socially responsible.

In such a system some businesses receive favors from the power elite while others are scorned. Friends in high places become the driving force instead of loyal customers in a free market.

Meanwhile, as the NGOs apply their pressure to the corporations, they also apply it to government. Government answers to the current power elite. Government has the power to destroy business if it so desires. Businesses that don’t play ball are shut out of the process, left to fail. So business spends more time trying to satisfy the government and non-elected NGOs than taking care of their customers.

Now you know why General Electric runs ads against using electricity, Ford gives money to the Nature Conservancy so they can enforce car pooling, and Home Depot says it’s against cutting down trees.

As I said, it’s masochistic to watch. Torture and pain inflected on the market place to twist and contort it beyond recognition.

What is the Republic?

So why do so many libertarians and conservatives support the concept of Public/Private Partnerships? By their words they profess to uphold the principles of freedom, limited government, individualism, private property and free enterprise. Yet they embrace a policy that eliminates competition, increases the size and power of government and stamps out the individual in the process.

A recent conference held in Virginia, just outside D.C. by such libertarians was titled “Restoring the Republic.” Yet, they called for open borders and “free trade.”

My question is this: What is the Republic? Is it just a notion floating on air? Something we can’t actually hold in our hand. Is the Republic just an idea? Or is it a thing? A place?

Only one nation was created by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution: the United States. We were created as that Republic.” The Constitution defines a government that is supposed to have one purpose, the protection of rights we were born with.

It is true that every person on earth was born with those rights based on the principles of freedom. But only one nation was specifically designed to recognize and protect them: the United States.

If there are no borders, then what is the Republic they want to preserve? How can that be done? The Republic is the land of the United States. The laws of the United States. The judicial system of the United States. The sovereign states of the United States.

Our Constitution directs how we create laws by which we live, right down to the local level. It protects our ability to create a way of life we desire. Our resources, our economy, our wealth is all determined by the way of life we have chosen. And it’s all protected by the borders which define the nation – the Republic. And you can’t “harmonize” that with nations that reject those concepts! Canada is a commonwealth tied to the British Crown; Mexico is socialist.

So again, I ask, if you eliminate all of that by opening the borders and inviting nothing short of anarchy – then how do you preserve the Republic?

Those who advocate open borders and free trade conveniently mix their terms. They ignore the powerful drug cartels, the murderous coyote people – smugglers, the gunrunners, the violent gang members and the terrorists who are pouring across the border to do harm to this nation.

Of course there are good, people rushing across that border who truly seek our promise of freedom. But those are the only ones the open border crowd chooses to talk about – again ignoring the fact that they break the law to get here.

In emotional terms they speak of immigrants and workers and families, just like those who came through Ellis Island throughout our history. They speak proudly of their own ancestors who came here to help build America. But the word “illegal” is conveniently dropped from the language.

And they really like to quote Thomas Jefferson when he wrote of the “natural rights which all men have of relinquishing the country in which birth or other accident may have thrown them, and seeking subsistence and happiness wheresoever they may be able, or hope to find them”

I dare say Jefferson could not conceive of an invasion of the nation he helped found by hordes of illegals who not only refuse to speak our language or abide by our laws, or respect our culture – but show outright hatred for all of it. I’m quite sure he would have opposed that.

How would Jefferson have reacted to statements such as those made by the Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan, which says, “Chicano is our identity…it rejects the notion that we…should assimilate into the Anglo-American melting pot.” They believe Aztlan is the legendary homeland of the Aztecs and it’s theirs to “reconquest.” That’s not immigration or migration – it’s a hostile invasion of our country.

So tell me, how will allowing such an invasion of a hostile group interested only in the destruction of the United States help restore the Republic?

I’ve really tried to understand the point of view of the open border – free trade movement. But somehow their logic escapes me. Just last week I listened to one of these advocates discuss their position.

He said he agreed that we couldn’t let illegals in the country. He was certainly opposed to that. So his solution quite literally was to legislatively open the borders and let them in – all very legal of course. Guest workers! Ronald Reagan might have called them campers.

So what is the difference? Legal. Illegal. Why have laws? Without laws and borders we have anarchy. And how does that restore the Republic? What Republic?

I can only say to the libertarians and conservatives who accept such policy as freedom, as Ayn Rand used to say: “Check your premise.” You have missed a major piece of logic. And you are most definitely not advocating the principles of freedom.

Free trade, NAFTA and the SPP are false gods in the struggle for freedom. But too many are selling them as the answer to human happiness, wealth and freedom. In fact, they can only lead to tyranny.

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is President of the American Policy Center and National Grassroots Coordinator for CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow) working to help local activists organize into Freedom Pods ( He is also the author of three books, including Now Tell Me I Was Wrong, ERASE, and Sustainable: the WAR on Free Enterprise, Private Property, and Individuals.