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Home/Rod Dreher/Woke Capitalism Comes For Lawyers

Woke Capitalism Comes For Lawyers

">Still from PragerU

Woke Capitalism is now using the power of its purse to force law firms to discriminate on racial and sexual grounds in hiring. From Bloomberg:

Elite law firms in the U.S. and the U.K., long seen as fusty bastions of mostly White men, are being pushed by some of their biggest customers to change. Facebook, HP, and Novartis are part of a growing number of major global companies that have warned they’ll take their work elsewhere or cut fees unless they see more racial and gender diversity in the law firms they hire.

It’s a serious threat: Facebook Inc. last year spent $1.6 billion on legal fees, settlements, and fines. “Money can make movements,” says Lauren Hauber, a Facebook legal operations manager in San Francisco. “And using buying power to push for change will oftentimes start to move the needle.”

It’s not that the companies pushing for change are models of diversity. Most have their own distinct struggles with representation. But corporate law firms have proved particularly slow to shape up, with many structured as partnerships that give relatively few dealmakers decades of influence over how a firm is run. That’s an increasing concern for clients, who say diverse legal teams deliver more creative and well-rounded advice.

How do they know that “diverse” legal teams deliver “more creative and well-rounded advice”? What does that even mean?

This is a great example to disprove the shibboleth one hears from folks on the Left who say that no company would implement a diversity scheme if it caused them to lose money. Anybody who has worked inside corporations that have gone mad for diversity ideology knows how untrue that is. But this is a clear-cut case. When you are a major corporation, you stand to lose serious money if you don’t have the best legal advice possible. You need to trust that your law firm has hired lawyers based only on their legal acumen and litigation skills, not race, sex, or other factors. If your company is demanding that law firms hire on other bases, then it logically follows that you risk lessening the quality of your legal advice. There’s no way around that.

If I were a shareholder in those companies, I would not be happy. I am not happy either that once again, we see American capitalism bullying other parties dependent on it, trying to coerce them to adopt ideological stances that violate fairness, and mandate racial and sexual discrimination.

Both in corporate suites and among activists, these ideological thugs are tireless in their persecution of people who hold to old-fashioned liberal standards. Here is a piece by Dorian Abbot, a distinguished scientist who talks about how activists successfully pressured MIT to cancel its invitation to him to deliver a prestigious lecture. Why? Read on:

On August 12, a colleague and I wrote an op-ed in Newsweek in which we argued that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) as it currently is implemented on campus “violates the ethical and legal principle of equal treatment” and “treats persons as merely means to an end, giving primacy to a statistic over the individuality of a human being.” We proposed instead “an alternative framework called Merit, Fairness, and Equality (MFE) whereby university applicants are treated as individuals and evaluated through a rigorous and unbiased process based on their merit and qualifications alone.” We noted that this would mean an end to legacy and athletic admission advantages, which significantly favor white applicants.

Shortly thereafter, my detractors developed a new strategy to try to isolate me and intimidate everyone else into silence: They argued on Twitter that I should not be invited to give science seminars at other universities and coordinated replacement speakers. This is an effective and increasingly common way to ratchet up the cost of dissenting because disseminating new work to colleagues is an important part of the scientific endeavor.

Sure enough, this strategy was employed when I was chosen to give the Carlson Lecture at MIT — a major honor in my field. It is an annual public talk given to a large audience and my topic was “climate and the potential for life on other planets.” On September 22, a new Twitter mob, composed of a group of MIT students, postdocs, and recent alumni, demanded that I be uninvited.

It worked. And quickly.

On September 30 the department chair at MIT called to tell me that they would be cancelling the Carlson lecture this year in order to avoid controversy.

It’s worth stating what happened again: a small group of ideologues mounted a Twitter campaign to cancel a distinguished science lecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology because they disagreed with some of the political positions the speaker had taken. And they were successful within eight days.

This happens all the time. Notice that Prof. Abbot was canceled by MIT because he publicly dissented from Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity ideology, on liberal principles! Here is an acclaimed scientist who was told by one of the world’s greatest science and technology institutions that he could not deliver a lecture on science because he is politically unreliable.

This is soft totalitarianism. Soft, because Dorian Abbot is not being sent to prison, only being publicly humiliated and denied the opportunity to speak … but still totalitarianism, because these cretinous activists and the gutless institutional administrators are creating an environment in which only one opinion is tolerated.

You think you can escape this? You’re wrong. They will not stop until they have defeated us all. Read Live Not By Lies, and prepare. I tell you who I’m going to vote for going forward: the politician I think most likely to use the power of the state to put a stop to this bullying. Not just talk about it, and raise money by talking about it, but actually do it, without fear or favor.

By the way, check out this PragerU advice on how to thrive within a woke corporation:

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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