Discover more from Hennessy's View
Punishment, Not Capitulation
Boycotts should seek the total destruction of offending corporations, not mere capitulation
The first thing to know about the executive class among Fortune 500 companies is that they lack any ideology. They are completely coin operated. They live for money, status, and power. They do not feel remorse for their actions. Therefore, when they “capitulate” to our boycotts, they are only scheming something worse.
This is not my opinion.
CEOs Lack Oxytocin
Neuroscientist Paul Zak, also known as “the hug doctor,” studies oxytocin, an ancient hormone released when people (and other animals) feel trust, love, satisfaction, etc. Zak’s research into both positive and negative psychology finds that small percentage of people lack oxytocin completely. Further, the vast majority of psychopaths suffer from oxytocin deficiency or complete absence. Almost no one with healthy levels of oxytocin is diagnosed as psychopathic.
Digging deeper, Zak and other researchers have studied oxytocin levels among various segments of the population. These studies reveal that the second highest levels of oxytocin deficiency—and the second-highest level of psychopathy rates—occur among maximum security prison inmates. Makes sense. So, if violent felons are the second-most psychopathic segment of the population, who’s first?
Studies of oxytocin levels among corporate executives have produced varying results, but most found that CEOs are more likely to suffer from oxytocin deficiency than any other segment.
Which is why I can write my opening paragraph with confidence. And why boycotts of corporations like Target and AB InBev must seek far more than mere capitulation.
Psychopaths interact with other people for one reason, and one reason only: to extract something from that person. To achieve this end, psychopaths learn remarkably effective manipulation techniques. They will prey on your sympathy, fear, lust, greed, or any other emotional need.
When a psychopath’s antisocial behavior gets called out, he will do anything to avoid punishment and extract something from his accusers. Psychopaths view the confrontation as an opportunity to get something. Accusing a psychopath, therefore, puts the accuser at risk of becoming his next victim, which is why psychologists warn people to simply steer clear of psychopaths. You don’t want their attention. You never try to “fix” them.
When corporate leaders are called out, as AB InBev’s and Target’s have been, they will see the situation as an opportunity to extract gains from their accusers. Thus, AB responded to boycotts of Bud Light by rushing camo cans into stores, and Target quickly removed a few offense grooming aids from aisle end caps. AB’s CEO then went to the media to accuse of his accusers of lying in attempt to gain sympathy. (It worked, to a degree, as a University of Michigan professor is now accusing boycotters of “literal terrorism.”)
Capitulation Is a Form of Manipulation
On Wednesday, a Twitter user celebrated various effects of the boycotts as proof the boycotters have “won.” Stock prices, valuations, foot traffic, corporate concessions, etc.
I get it, but don’t confuse corporate panic with people having learned a lesson. They haven’t. They are manipulating you. They will do whatever they have to to make the pain stop, then they will continue down the road perdition.
Traditionalists and conservatives always quit too soon. We see small concessions as major victories and believe all is now right with the world. Then, we are shocked when the rug gets pulled out from underneath us.
Case in point: the Speakership.
Remember when 20, then six, Republican Reps refused to vote for McCarthy for Speaker? What happened? McCarthy gave some concessions—some significant. But in the first major test—the debt ceiling—McCarthy swapped out the Republican bill for the Democrat bill, stabbing his own constituents and colleagues in the back.
McCarthy is a psychopath and behaves as one would expect a psychopath to behave. No one should be surprised. Like the snake in Donald Trump’s poem from the 2016 campaign.
Therefore, concession aren’t enough.
If winning concessions isn’t enough, what is?
“I want mortars and grenade launchers on that building ‘til it’s gone.”
—Lt. Ronald Speirs, Band of Brothers
Punishment. Let the fall of Target and AB InBev serve as a warning to others. That means we have to abandon the mentality of “winning” concessions and adopt the attitude of full, unconditional surrender. We need to drop emotions and give hard, cold orders. Our example is Lt. Ronald Speirs from Band of Brothers.
Speirs, who advised his men to realize “you’re already dead,” took command from a failed company commander, Lt. Dike. Dike’s vacillation had gotten his men pinned down under enemy fire. The Battalion Commander, Major Winters, ordered Speirs to relieve Dike, free up his men, and complete the mission.
In this scene, Speirs exemplifies every facet of leadership: calmness, directness, and fearlessness. But two key phrases stand out. One, his simple, direct order to take down a building housing an enemy sniper, and, two, his last order: “follow me.”
By “fall” of Target and AB InBev, I mean their end as going concerns. Total, unconditional surrender of the enemy. Gone. I don’t want their executive team, two years from now, over drinks at the Four Seasons, say, “Phew, that was a close one.” I want those executives to be forgotten except as warnings to future corporate leaders.
That’s the attitude. No emotion. No warnings. No useless barking.
Like a well-trained security dog, we don’t take proffered treats. We just stare. And pant. Ears perked up. Nostrils flared. Eyes like lasers on the target. One false move.
I hear people say, “But, Hennessy, there’s a lot of friends and neighbors who work at AB. And they’ve done so much for St. Louis!”
This will sound harsh, but “so what?” Maybe Yuengling (which can no longer keep up with demand for its excellent “traditional” lagers) will buy the brewery and keep the workers. Or, maybe, the workers will find new jobs in another field. And maybe their loss of employment will serve as a warning to others to pressure their employers not to cross the line.
Unemployment is supposedly zero, so this would be a good time for people to quit woke corporations en masse. That would be another strong move to support the boycotts. It would be the grenade launchers supporting the mortars or the .357 supporting Callahan’s bold words.
But there’s one more thing we need to do to force the enemy’s surrender, a long-term behavior change we on the right need to make. And this will be a hard one for most of us.
Stop Attaching Ourselves to Brands
Companies have, over the past 50 years, done a great job of creating emotional attachment to their brands. People identify themselves with the brands they like. This emotional identification insulates brands from their own mistakes and malfeasance. It’s brilliant marketing and strategy, but it makes us vulnerable.
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
—1 John 2:15
Instead, demonstrate the kind of detachment seen in Lt. Speirs and Dirty Harry. The brand of beer you drink goes away? So what? Who cares. We can live without beer, but we can’t really live without liberty, and we’re guaranteed by God to die without Him. Jesus told us to cut off a limb if it causes us to sin. Would you cut off your hand to save a discount chain?
In the 1990s, I saw people with Blockbuster tattoos. Did they die when Blockbuster closed up? No, they just got the tattoo removed and went on with their lives, a bit the wiser. (I bet those people never again got a permanent logo embedded in their skin.)
Why should anyone identify with a commercial brand? Is there anything as stupid? Of course, I write this after having just spent 30 minutes perusing Extreme Terrain for bitchin’ new mods for my Jeep. I’m not better at this detachment than anyone else, and far from Lt. Speirs.
This is actually the hardest part of the process—detaching from brands. Companies pay high salaries to smart people who study neuroscience. They know better than I how to manipulate the brain for profit. They design and stage everything to bypass your critical function and operate directly on the parts of your brain that do not respond to language or logic. Companies practice mass formation psychosis for a living. That’s why I can spot a Jeep two miles off and why some people are walking around with tattoos of companies long dead.
This ability to manipulate the human brain is also why St. John warned us in 1 John 2:15: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” When we attach ourselves to a brand, we detach ourselves from God. The real estate of our skin devoted to Apple’s or Blockbuster’s logo is real estate prohibited to Jesus.
The same goes for our emotional attachments. We cannot serve two masters. And, as we are learning, iconic brands are cruel masters.
Don’t worry so much about what woke corporations are doing in response to our boycotts. Worry about changing our own behavior by detaching from brands and establishing new habits that do not include the companies that must fall. We can’t control others, but we can control what we buy and endorse.
Everything in this world will rot and go away. Let that demolition begin with Target and AB InBev. And adopt the dispassionate vigilance in the German Shepherd’s eyes for the greater glory of God.