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Go Small and Go Local

In response to corporations that have betrayed the American way of life, conservatives need to commit to shopping and living as close to home as they can.

There have always been large corporations engaged in activity that undermines America. For example, during the Cold War years, a number of American companies conducted business with the USSR even as those thugs murdered 30 million of their own people in pursuit of a communist “utopia.” Such financial support allowed the Soviet Union to last a lot longer than it did. But the selling out of American values and institutions over the last year by the corporate world has been breathtaking.

By and large, for most of our history, most of our large companies were pro-American. Today, this is no longer the case. Just in the last few years we have witnessed many Fortune 500 companies supporting a variety of leftist movements such as the transgender movement, the anti-gun cause, Black Lives Matter and its anti-police efforts, the open borders movement and attacking voter ID laws, and pushing for the implementation of Critical Race Theory (CRT) throughout society; CRT is a collection of theories based on the meritless claim that America is inherently racist and should therefore be destroyed. We should also not forget the rush by companies to do business with Communist China, a country that vows to destroy the USA.

While our free-market system created the economic conditions necessary for these large corporations to thrive, it is now clear these corporations have, so to speak, broken the contract with the American people. Leftist causes considered fringe in the past are now viable movements that threaten the foundations of America due to the support given them by these corporations.

The urge of many conservatives is to boycott these corporations, but in order to have impact, that will require millions of Americans to change their purchasing habits. Indeed, researching the endless number of companies funding anti-American causes takes so much work that the average patriot may not have the time to do it. There are a few sites that track all these companies, like this one, but unless you know for certain that a company is operated by conservatives—MyPillow and Hobby Lobby come to mind—it is now safe to assume that most large multinational companies are funding the left.

Instead, allow me to propose a solution that is more encompassing and focused not only on reorienting our shopping habits but on saving our communities as well. I am referring to creating a movement that promotes a mindset of “go small and go local,” which can be applied not only to our consumer buying habits but to other aspects of our lives as well.

Rather than focus on identifying which leftist corporations to boycott, conservatives need to focus on rebuilding our communities and identify the small businesses, small local stores, community banks, etc., that still exist in our cities and towns and launch local campaigns to encourage our people to patronize them. Indeed, MAGA groups nationwide should take it upon themselves to publish online, yellow-pages type directories of locally owned stores, restaurants, banks, charities, etc., that exist in their communities and then mount grassroots efforts to promote this info to local conservatives.

Part of the problem is that we conservatives said nothing when, 60 years ago, the big corporate chains came into our communities and wiped out the small stores. Now we are slaves to behemoth corporations that detest our values and our culture. Not only should our movement focus on patronizing existing locally owned businesses, but we need to also encourage the entrepreneurs among us to rebuild our communities by starting new ones. For most of American history, small business was the backbone of the American culture and community. It certainly wasn’t Target.

Most communities have community-based markets, often referred to as farmers’ markets. Most localities have locally based banks, services, and stores that are struggling. We need to re-center our communities around these businesses. If a needed product can’t be found at a locally owned store, go online and purchase it from an online retailer, the smaller the better. If patriots adopted this mentality all over the country, Fortune 500 entities will be hard hit and perhaps pull back from funding their vile attacks on our values and our culture. Yes, it may cost a few cents more for products purchased at small stores, but that’s a small price to pay for saving the American way of life.

We were warned about the dangers large, impersonal corporations posed to our culture and to our way of life. Such warnings can be found in the work of great conservative writers and thinkers such as Russell Kirk and Richard Weaver, who traced their ideas on community further back to the great English statesman and theoretician, Edmund Burke. They were concerned that once a business is severed from a community and the values of the people therein, it has no incentive to do what’s morally right. They referred to businesses controlled by anonymous corporate bureaucrats who have no connection to any locality. Such warnings were prescient.

I served in the California state legislature in the 1990s and got to know a lefty colleague there named Tom Hayden. (Yes, that Tom Hayden, of the Chicago Seven and SDS fame.) He once told me that if we want to conserve our communities, conservatives need to be as suspicious of big corporations as we are of big government. At the time, I really didn’t understand what he was saying. Now I do. The love affair between conservatives and big corporations is over, but that divorce should have occurred a long time ago. As Hayden related, corporations need to be scrutinized as carefully as our government is.

But let me extend the “go small and go local” mentality to other areas of our life. For example, charities, education, and churches.  For the last few decades, most of America’s large charities have become involved with funding liberal causes and groups. Two that come to mind are the Red Cross and UNICEF. Most of the big national charities have adopted big business models with massive six-figure executive salaries, huge bonuses, and lucrative pensions. The media protects them, but when one digs deep into almost any big national charity, one will find them engaged in funding causes that conservatives oppose. Instead of supporting them, conservatives should focus on community-based charities such as a local homeless shelter, soup kitchens, and local organizations sponsored by area churches.

Regarding education, we’ve lost the war for control of our public schools and on the rare occasion a conservative is elected to a school board, they have very little lasting impact. This is because liberals and RINOs over the last 50 years have created so many state and federal agencies and regulations governing public schools that we no longer have locally controlled schools. Teacher tenure, discipline policies, facility issues, special education, curriculum, even hiring, are all so regulated by federal and state laws that today’s school board members can only tinker around the edges.

Meanwhile, public schools have become cesspools of vulgar literature, value-free sex education, damaging and faddish reading and math programs, and now a spate of propaganda programs and exercises designed to convince students that America is “systemically racist.” Conservatives need to abandon public schools and instead focus on pursuing alternatives such as private schools and homeschooling. Every church should consider starting a private school, and with empty rooms Monday through Friday it is stunning that more churches aren’t already doing this. Even charter schools, while still public, are a vast improvement over the status quo, since they are usually created by groups of local citizens and aren’t subject to all the fads and regulations normal public schools are.

The “go local” mentality can also be applied to churches. This may be controversial to say, but almost all of the large national mainstream denominations today are heavily funding the left, from the open border movement to transgenderism to socialist economic policies. I won’t go into further detail here but will simply point out there are many local churches which are not connected to any national hierarchy. There is also a growing “home church” movement that believes that home church was the original church.

You get the drift here. Go local and go small. As much as humanly possible, avoid everything big or national in scope, including large corporations, liberal churches, national charities, large chain stores, big banks, public education, etc. This is the only way we will starve the left of its financial resources. If we expect to survive the ongoing assault upon our values and our American way of life, a radical shift in how we view our institutions will need to occur. It’s time to get back to supporting our community-based churches, business, schools, and charities. The alternative is losing our country and subjecting our children to an authoritarian leftist “utopian” future.

Steve Baldwin is a former member of the California State Legislature, the former executive director of the Council for National Policy, and the former national executive director of Young Americans for Freedom. He is the author of From Crayons to Condoms, The Ugly Truth About America’s Public Schools.



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