woke capitalism

Woke Capitalism and the Power of Ideas

19 January 2024

54.8 MINS

The recent “de-banking” of British TV presenter and Brexit leader Nigel Farage, and his cold reception at Britain’s Television and Radio Industry’s awards in June, are a concerning omen of our cultural moment. They reflect a major transition that has taken place since the 1950s, and expose the elitism and born-to-dictate mindset of today’s cultural and financial élites.

This history can be traced from the 1700s with John Jacques Rousseau and the attitudes of America’s founding élites towards democracy. It proceeds through the defining of the English Establishment and the exposure of their class loyalties by Spectator columnist Henry Fairlie in the 1950s.

It includes Klaus Schwab’s establishing in the 1970s of an enterprise now known as the World Economic Forum (WEF) as a vehicle to enable private corporations to become self-appointed “trustees of society”. It continues with history professor Christopher Lasch’s spotlighting, in the 1990s, of the élites’ contempt for the masses and their goal to erase any influence the masses might have by establishing parallel institutions to bypass them.

It covers former Anheuser-Busch executive Anson Frericks’s revelation that BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street are driving woke capitalism: the fruition of Schwab’s dream of imposing “stakeholder capitalism”. And it culminates with Professor Carl Trueman’s observation that, in an era that has psychologised the individual, freedom of speech is often viewed as part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

The story about Farage’s recent experiences, which appears towards the end of this essay, provides a case study of these cultural developments and their consequences.

Introduction: From Rousseau to the World Economic Forum

In this examination of woke capitalism, we will proceed on the basis of the following propositions:

  • Ideas are more consequential than raw power: The power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated when compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas.
  • Political parties are articulators of ideas rather than creators and incubators of ideas, and have a minor role to play in the culture wars.
  • Today in the West, we live in the shadow of Jean Jacques Rousseau, who died 240 years ago, and whom the late philosopher Sir Roger Scruton described as “the first and greatest of the liberal reformers whose impact on modern culture and modern politics has been equalled by no other thinker of the Enlightenment”.[1] We also live in the shadow of the strategically brilliant leading Communist theoretician and Italian Communist Party leader Antonio Gramsci, who died more than 85 years ago.
  • Milton Friedman’s economic binary (the free market versus centralised planning) treated all forms of intervention in the market as socialism, including even conservatism, which provides the philosophical foundation for the lifestyles and values of people living in the outer suburbs and regions.
  • As the consequences of Friedman’s binary became undeniable (such as the widening of the wealth gap and the social consequences of economic liberalism), ‘stakeholder capitalism’, has become the dominant view among the financial élites — a theory that arguably constitutes economic fascism.
  • In Australia, the gulf between the views of the élites and those of the masses is seen in the chasm between the values and philosophies of the inner suburb dwellers and those in the outer suburbs and regions. This divide has been apparent since the Republic Referendum in 1999, and is not a new phenomenon.
  • As Rousseau’s ideas have been described, developed and enhanced, liberalism, individualism and progressivism (all of which share the same foundations) have had consequences which Rousseau could not have envisaged.
  • Same-sex marriage and transgenderism are not abberent cultural phenomena. Rather, they are only the most recent symptoms of deep and long-established cultural pathologies in which the ideas of Rousseau play a prominent role.
  • What is called ‘cancel culture’ — the erosion of the concept of truth, and the notion that freedom of speech is part of the problem — all begin with Rousseau’s theory of self. This is a proposition that many people who consider themselves classical liberals find confronting.

Building on these propositions, below I will seek to build an understanding of the culture wars and the social divides which are taking place in Australia, Western Europe and other Anglo-Saxon countries.

Cancel Culture and the Liberal Party

Earlier this year, Victorian Liberal MP Moira Deeming spoke at a rally organised by traditional feminists who believe that sex should not be determined by self-determined gender selection, and that transgender ideology threatens the identity of women.

The main speaker was British activist Kellie Jay Keen, whose Wikipedia entry contains false information not provided by her.

The rally was gate-crashed by members of a neo-Nazi group, the National Socialist Network, but initial media reported them as being linked to the rally.[2]

The Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto, a lawyer, accused Ms Deeming of condoning Nazis and associating with extremists, and told her to sign a letter disavowing Naziism and Ms Keen.

Pesutto then sought to have Ms. Deeming expelled from the parliamentary Liberal Party because she conducted “activities in a manner likely to bring discredit on the Parliament or the Parliamentary Party”. The basis of his actions was guilt by association and false information in a Wikipedia entry. There was no semblance of natural justice, whether the principle of innocent until proven guilty, due process, or decisions based on verifiable evidence — all of which were once considered principles valued by the Liberals.

Mr Pesutto says he is “determined to lead a Liberal Party that is modern, it’s contemporary, it’s mainstream, it’s inclusive and welcoming of everyone”.[3] Yet, even though the rally was about transgender issues, a “Victorian Liberals insider” told Murdoch journalist Holly Hayes:

Ms Deeming’s hard-line stances on social issues is hindering the embattled party from gaining more centrist voters. At end of the day, an MP is a brand ambassador for a political party… If you’re joining the Liberal Party to implement regressive politics such as repealing abortion or turning back voluntary assisted dying, it’s not the party for you.[4]

The totalitarian approach of the Victorian Liberals appears to be at odds with the Liberal Party’s principles and values as John Howard-era Foreign Minister Alexander Downer understands them. Last December, Mr Downer wrote:

From the 1949 election until the demise of the Howard government, people knew [the Liberal Party’s] core values, which they associated with freedom to choose… The public also knew the Liberal Party was the party of free speech and free expression, and that it believed in economic competition and debate about everything, from science to literature.[5]

Ms Deeming believed that at the party meeting it was agreed that she and Mr Pesutto would issue a joint statement making it clear she had not been accused of being a Nazi or Nazi sympathiser, and that her re-admission to the parliamentary party after her suspension would be automatic. Minutes of the meeting were cited to support this view.

Mr Pesutto refused to issue a statement and made clear that Ms Deeming’s reinstatement was far from automatic. Consequently, Ms Deeming made a fatal miscalculation. To apply pressure to Mr Pesutto, she threatened to sue him for defamation. That provided the opportunity to expel her from the parliamentary party.

The secretary of the parliamentary party, Renee Health, also lost her job in the fallout. The minutes had to be discredited, and Ms Heath had to go. She had incurred the wrath of former leader Matthew Guy before she had even been elected. Mr Guy reacted to claims that Ms Heath, a Christian and the daughter of a Pentecostal minister, had benefited from branch stacking, by saying that she would not be allowed to be a member of the parliamentary party.

Cancel Culture and Australian Rules Football

The actions of the Victorian Liberals are not dissimilar to what has occurred in the world of Australian Rules Football (AFL). Last year, the Hawthorn Football Club hired a consultant to report on the club’s relationships and interactions with its Aboriginal players from 2008 to 2016. The report contained some dramatic and appalling accusations.

The consultant did not speak to the people against whom these accusations were levelled, nor did the club did speak to those accused after it received the report. Instead, it forwarded the report to the AFL, after which the document immediately found its way to the ABC.

The AFL appointed a panel headed by a QC to investigate the report. Eight months later, the AFL wound up its investigation. Some of the people who made accusations declined to participate in the review. Others declined to allow the accused to see documents related to the accusations against them.

The accused were named publicly, but the people making the accusations were not. The accused all denied the accusations, but after eight months, they had not been spoken to by the Hawthorn Football Club, the AFL Commission or the investigating panel.

The toll on Alister Clarkson, the coach of Hawthorn at the time and now the coach of another club, was such that he stood down as coach for eleven weeks because of his mental health.

As with the Victorian Liberals, it is a case of élite sporting bodies, which pontificate about their professionalism and pride themselves on being at the forefront of political correctness, ignoring the principles of natural justice, the principle of innocent until proven guilty, and evidence-based decision making. Former Hawthorn Football Club welfare manager Jason Burt thinks that “the AFL is a brand. For them to say they’re worried about people is false. It’s all about brand.”[6]

The Floating of the Australian Dollar

It might be asked how the Liberal Party in Victoria has gone from being a party which, according to Mr Downer, “for many years dominated the values debate in Australia” and was “the party of free speech and free expression”[7] to a reactionary party that is captive to the woke agenda of inner metropolitan élites. Indeed, it seems that in today’s Liberal Party, a person cannot have an idea or a difference of opinion without inviting eye rolls or nasty, personal interjections.[8]

What both Victorian politics and the AFL demonstrate is the power of ideas. It would be difficult to put a cigarette paper between Labor, the Victorian Liberals and the AFL in terms of their determination to be zealous champions of political correctness and the woke agenda.

Given the seismic nature of the Victorian Liberals’ transformation, Mr Downer’s perception of the Liberal Party as a generator of ideas invites examination.

Moreover, it is curious how a solicitor with limited commercial experience, the Liberal John Howard, and a rock band manager, Labor’s Paul Keating, both became economic gurus and both championed the same ideology, shortly after becoming federal Treasurer.

Within weeks of becoming Treasurer, Keating had been convinced by Reserve Bank Governor Bob Johnston (who was appointed by his predecessor, Mr Howard) of the virtues of floating the Australian dollar and thereby surrendering the Reserve Bank’s ability to control the amount of cash in money markets.

While Mr Keating won the prize for being the Treasurer who oversaw the floating of the dollar, Mr Howard deserves acclaim for paving the way for this decision: Mr Howard established the Committee of Inquiry into the Australian Financial System (the Campbell Committee) which recommended it.

Even so, various people have taken credit for these events. Dr John Hewson, an adviser to Mr Howard and an economist with the Reserve Bank and the International Monetary Fund, claimed the credit for the decision to form the Campbell Committee.[9] Meanwhile, Bob Hawke claimed that his office (in which economist Dr. Ross Garnaut was ensconced) was the engine room driving economic change.[10]

Thus, it would appear that neither Mr Howard nor Mr Keating played a significant role in the decision to float the dollar, an event that underpinned Australia’s economic liberal agenda.

In fact, the Research Department of the Reserve Bank — and in particular, its leader in the early 1970s, Austin Holmes — is best positioned to claim the credit.[11]

The Power of Ideas and the Capitulation of the Major Parties

Power is found in ideas and in the people who incubate those ideas, not with people who merely regurgitate ideas. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than when, in the early 1980s, the major political parties adopted economic liberalism, and now subsequently back the cultural agenda of inner metropolitan élites, even being ready to enforce this agenda with fascist zealotry. Their mistake was to capitulate to noisy pressure groups and (often unconsciously) biased focus groups.

As we will see, the path from economic liberalism to woke capitalism may not be as philosophically contradictory as it seems at first. Both have a common foundation in individualism (even if economic liberalism does not prioritise feelings in decision-making).

The unfortunate truth is that, with the demise of conservatism and the ascendancy of liberalism, the major parties have degenerated into “executive placement agencies” where “divisions are not about ideas or ideology”, to quote Wran Government Education Minister Rod Cavalier.[12] Indeed, our major political parties have become regurgitators, rather than incubators or creators, of ideas, contrary to the belief of Mr Downer.

Relevant to this discussion is the insight of eminent economist John Meynard Keynes. In the last chapter of his treatise The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, published in 1936, Keynes wrote, “The power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas… [S]oon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil.”[13]

Power rests in ideas, not with their regurgitators.

The proportion of voters in Australia not voting for the major parties has risen to around 30 per cent. As such, even the major parties cannot deny the gulf between the beliefs and values of inner metropolitan élites and those of the masses. Nevertheless, both the major parties remain steadfast in their support of the agenda of the élites, even though they constitute a minority of the population. In other words, Keynes was right.

The Establishment’s Contempt for the Masses

It should not surprise us that these élites believe they are entitled to ride roughshod over the majority and impose their opinions and values on us through bribery, intimidation or even persecution. The late Christopher Lasch, Professor of History at the University of Rochester, highlighted this fact almost 30 years ago. He wrote forcefully about the contempt the élites have for the concept of democracy as understood since the advent of universal adult franchise:

The culture wars that have convulsed America since the sixties are best understood as a form of class warfare, in which an enlightened elite (as it thinks of itself) seeks not so much to impose its values on the majority (a majority perceived as incorrigibly racist, sexist, provincial, and xenophobic), much less persuade the majority by means of rational public debate, as to create parallel or “alternative” institutions in which it will no longer be necessary to confront the unenlightened at all.[14]

Almost ten years later, British columnist Owen Jones made a similar observation about British society:

Today’s Establishment is made up — as it has always been — of powerful groups that need to protect their position in a democracy in which almost the entire adult population has the right to vote. The Establishment represents an attempt on behalf of these groups to ‘manage’ democracy, to make sure that it does not threaten their own interests. In this respect, it might be seen as a firewall that insulates them from the wider population.[15]

Arguably, the gulf between the self-appointed élites and the masses has been present since time immemorial. The social and economic divisions in Europen society through the centuries are a matter of record, and the French Revolution was a glaring manifestation of them.

There is a perception that the United States of America was supposed to be different. However, as the late James Hitchcock, Professor of History at St Louis University, wrote:

[I]f the elite group of Founding Fathers had been representative of public opinion in 1789, America would have developed as a secular state. There was, however, a wide gap between them and the masses of people; Enlightenment ideas usually spread only among a small minority.’[16]

Liberté, égalité, fraternité did not translate to enthusiasm for universal, adult suffrage or even for democracy. Speaking about the terms of senators, James Madison, who drafted the US constitution, said:

In England, at this day, if elections were open to all classes of people, the property of the landed proprietors would be insecure… [Governments] ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority.[17]

Thus, the United States was consciously formed as a republic, not a democracy — a key difference being, as Mr Madison argued, that in a republic, government is delegated to a small number of people,

whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country… [I]t may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves.[18]

Even Alexander Hamilton — to whom the Democratic Party’s roots can be traced — did not have faith in “the public voice”. He wrote:

All communities divide themselves into the few and the many. The first are the rich and well born, the other the mass of the people… they seldom judge or determine right. Give therefore to the first class a distinct, permanent share in the government… Nothing but a permanent body can check the imprudence of democracy.[19]

It should not be surprising that 200 years later, Bill Kristol, founder of The Weekly Standard, told Washington Post journalist Greg Sargent (who described Kristol as “a fixture in the elite conservative and neoconservative establishments for decades”):

the party was more oligarchic than I realized. One always knew that the Republican Party was the party of business and therefore of the wealthy.

Having said that, the degree of plutocracy, oligarchy — whatever the right word is — the degree of that was greater than I realized at the time.[20]

As for Europe, Spectator columnist Henry Fairlie’s description of ‘The Establishment’ in 1955 no doubt could be applied well beyond the boundaries of England:

By the ‘Establishment’ I do not mean only the centres of official power — though they are certainly part of it — but rather the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised. The exercise of power in Britain (more specifically, in England) cannot be understood unless it is recognised that it is exercised socially… the ‘Establishment’ can be seen at work in the activities of, not only the Prime Minister, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Earl Marshal, but of such lesser mortals as the chairman of the Arts Council, the Director-General of the BBC, and even the editor of The Times Literary Supplement…[21]

The Masses are Revolting

Towards the end of the 20th century, the gulf between the Establishment and the masses was less apparent. This was due to the trappings of democracy associated with the universal adult franchise, along with the emergence of communism in the Western world from the late 1930s to the end of the 1980s. The threat posed by communism created a form of social consensus against a common enemy.

During the 1980s, liberalism, especially in economic policy, took hold in Western European countries to varying degrees, and in Anglo-Saxon countries in particular. It penetrated all major political parties, the bureaucracy at all levels, the media and the professional classes.

However, as the 21st century has unfolded, the collapse of communism has exposed the incompatibility of conservatism — which accepts the notion of limits and asserts that the family, community and nation are the primary social units — with liberalism, which does not accept the notion of limits and asserts that the individual is the primary social unit. The gap between the élites and the masses has become ever clearer as social structures have been destroyed and the wealth gap has widened. [22]

An analysis of the Brexit vote by Research Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations Jeremy Shapiro highlights the consternation of the élites that their established order and the legitimacy of their power is in question. He writes:

It is, after all, rather extraordinary that more than half the voting population defied a large majority of its own elected parliament, all of the traditional political parties, and virtually every important institution in the country — from the Central Bank to the leaders of industry to the trade unions…

The elite political class’s intellectual arguments failed to resonate with large segments of British society because they misread the country. They apparently believed that the same arguments that appealed to the younger, wealthier urban classes in London and Scotland would be sufficient to convince the rest of Britain of the value of the EU…

In retrospect, they failed to fully appreciate the anger and frustrations of a huge swath of Britain…

For those people, the views and opinions of Treasury officials, prime ministers, and foreign leaders weren’t just unconvincing — they were part of the problem.’[23]

The Brexit result demonstrated the power of ideas. It was not an institutional contest between political parties or capital against workers, but between the “governing and the governed”, to use Shapiro’s words, or between the self-appointed born-to-rule élites and the masses.

Shapiro explained that the élites would have to find “a way to validate the concerns of their constituents on issues such as immigration and economic security without gutting their own principles”. Otherwise, he said, “the élites will really know what it’s like to be governed by people who don’t care about your concerns”.

Seven years later, with Marine Le Pen’s National Rally having 89 members in France’s National Assembly, immigration is a hot-button issue. More than 70 percent of respondents to an Oxoda-Backbone poll conducted in May supported both a referendum on immigration and quotas.[24] Now, the major parties are battling to respond in a way that will keep National Rally at bay.

Everything is Upside Down in Germany

In June, hot on the heels of the poll in France, a candidate from the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party — which rejects the climate change agenda and opposes immigration — defeated the Christian Democrat district administrator in Sonneberg, East Germany.

AfD campaigned on national issues, not local issues. Germany’s immigration level is at its highest since former chancellor Angela Merkel opened the floodgates in 2015. A report by the German news outlet Welt showed that a large majority of the population thinks the political class is paying too little attention to the problems caused by immigration, and only a few credit political parties with the competence to address this issue.[25]

Nevertheless, on the Friday before the Sonneberg election, the Government passed legislation making it easier for people outside the European Union to migrate to Germany, and for asylum seekers already in Germany to stay. Now, migrants seeking jobs will not necessarily have to be able to speak German, while parents and step-parents of skilled workers will be able to obtain residence permits. All this despite Labour minister Hubertus Hell admitting that about 1.6 million Germans aged between 20 and 30 do not have a vocational qualification and “all too often these people end up in long-term unemployment”.[26]

Changes to the citizenship law will be made also. Dual and multiple citizenship will be allowed and the residence qualifying period will be reduced.

The views of the masses were ignored as the German Government enacted the agenda of Big Business. In an ironic sign of the times, a government that includes the Greens and the Social Democrats (the equivalent of the Labor Party in Australia) delivered Big Business its agenda, while the major parties historically associated with Big Business (the Christian Democratic Party and the Christian Social Union), voted against the legislation.

As in Australia, so we see in Germany: strange bedfellows, shifting alliances, and major political parties that no longer create or incubate ideas but now simply react, or worse, endorse the bad ideas of others.

The German Government also plans to ban gas and oil heaters in buildings from 2024. The heat pumps required to replace the heaters could cost up to €20,000 more per installation than gas heating.  Mercifully, one of the government parties, the Free Democratic Party, blocked the legislation in May, following poor results in recent state elections.

A week after the Sonneberg result, an AfD candidate was elected as the fulltime mayor of Raguhn-Jessnitz in Saxony-Anhalt, the first time that an AfD candidate has won a fulltime mayoral position.

Twelve months ago, Germany’s Greens leader, Robert Habeck, led in popularity polls. A more recent poll found that half of all Germans want him to resign. Support for the Greens has fallen from 23 per cent to 14 per cent, while support for AfD has risen to 18 per cent.[27]

The German élites were apoplectic about the Sonneberg result,  but never discussed the merit of the policies that caused it. In response to increased public support for AfD, Germany’s equivalent of ASIO, the BfV, doubled down on its rhetoric about the threat of extremism, particularly from the “far right”.

In June, before the Sonneberg result, the German Institute for Human Rights suggested that AfD was such a danger to democracy that it could be banned by Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court.[28] Soon after, an editorial in Der Spiegel called for AfD to be banned. Two days later, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier — whose role is to remain above politics — told Germany’s domestic intelligence agency that “we all have it in our hands to put those who despise our democracy in their place”. His words have been interpreted as a veiled threat to AfD.[29]

Meanwhile, the BBC has asserted, without a hint of irony, that “the AfD does not reflect mainstream society’s view that Germany needs migrant workers. But despite this, or maybe because of it, the party is reaching unprecedented numbers in the polls”.[30]

Since the 1970s, the élites in Germany and elsewhere have profited from the growth in consumption driven by an expanding workforce, which in turn was bouyed by the promotion of personal liberty in the 1960s. However, as they confront long-term declining birth rates and a shrinking domestic workforce as consequences of those events, they are intent on ignoring the masses.

Their response is an example of Lasch’s observation that the élites have been creating parallel or alternative institutions to avoid confronting “the unenlightened”. Their strategy is becoming more apparent as their ability to exercise control and surreptitious influence has diminished. The erstwhile facade that government is “of the people, by the people and for the people” has given way to a complete dismissal of the views of the masses. As seen in the BBC’s assertion above, the élites will go as far as denying the facts outright and relying on falsehood to justify their own beliefs and interests.

Britain, Belgium and Beyond

In July, there were three by-elections in safe Conservative Party seats in England. Labour overturned a 20,000-vote Conservative Party majority in Selby and Ainsty, North Yorkshire, although its own vote increased by just 2,600 votes. In Somerset, the Liberal Democrats ousted the Conservative Party candidate with a 29 per cent swing away from the Conservative Party.

In Boris Johnson’s former seat in west London, the Conservative Party managed to hang on, despite expectations. Labour leader Keir Starmer attributed the result there to the extension of ULEZ by the Labour Mayor of London. ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zones) impose a fee on older and higher polluting vehicles paid to inner London coffers by residents of the outer boroughs (the equivalent of Australia’s outer suburbs). Starmer warned, “we are doing something very wrong if policies put forward by the Labour Party end up on each and every Tory leaflet.”[31]

The fact that ULEZ was the brainchild of a Conservative Party politician ― Boris Johnson, no less when he was mayor of London ―  did not cut ice. The less well-healed masses are simply not willing to bear the costs of a policy that well-heeled élites want to impose on them. Everyday Brits rejected the London Mayor’s determination to inflict on them a policy to further his own environment agenda.

Similar trends can be seen in Belgium, which is something of an artificial construct comprising Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. Vlaams Belang is a party that supports the secession of Flanders, and aspires to be the largest Belgian party after the elections in June this year. Brussels-based Politico correspondent Barbara Moens believes such a goal is within the realm of possibility.

If Vlaams Belang did manage such a feat, it would be on the back of immigration, and not secession, which was the party’s original and primary focus. The migrant influx in Belgium is comparable to 2015. Moens believes that migration is the biggest concern for voters. Likewise, in the opinion of University of Ghent Associate Professor Nicola Bouteca, “Vlams Belang owns the migration theme… That is the main reason for their success.”[32]

The president of the second largest party in Flanders, Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA), warns of “a wave of tremendous unease” and that people feel “economically abandoned by their own elites”.

Transgender Ideology: A Fascist Mindset?

In June, without offering so much as an explanation, the Queensland Children’s Hospital suspended senior Child Psychiatrist Dr Jillian Spencer over her approach to transgender patients. Dr Spencer is a signatory to the National Association of Practising Psychiatrists’ guide to managing gender dysphoria and incongruence in young people. That guide advocates a cautious approach and a comprehensive mental health assessment before racing to “transition”. Dr Spencer has expressed her concern that:

anyone’s child will be encouraged at school, online, during extra-curricular activities, by their friends and by health professionals to contemplate their gender.

Even little kids are being encouraged to contemplate their gender…

[F]amilies slowly come to realise that there is collusion going on between teachers, health professionals, child protection services and even the courts to ensure that all children are ‘affirmed’ even if their parents disagree with that approach.[33]

In contrast to Dr Spencer, the Queensland Children’s Hospital has a radical and aggressive policy to treating gender dysphoria. In 2022, the hospital issued double the number of cross-sex hormone prescriptions that the infamous Melbourne Children’s Hospital gender clinic did.

Dr Spencer has lodged a complaint with the Queensland Human Rights Commission about her suspension.

She is not the only doctor concerned about the haste of radicals taking a child’s expressed gender dysphoria as the starting point for treatments like puberty blockers, which have lifelong consequences.

The British National Health Service has commissioned an experienced paediatrician and former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Heath, Dr Hiliary Cass, to conduct a review on the clinical treatment of children and young people experiencing gender incongruence or gender-related distress.

In her interim report, published in 2022, Dr Cass wrote:

Aspects of the literature are open to interpretation in multiple ways, and there is a risk that some authors interpret their data from a particular ideological and/or theoretical standpoint.

The administration of puberty blockers is arguably more controversial than administration of the feminising/masculinising hormones, because there are more uncertainties associated with their use.

The more contentious and important question is how fixed or fluid gender incongruence is at different ages and stages of development, and whether, regardless of aetiology, can be an inherent characteristic of the individual concerned. There is a spectrum of academic, clinical and societal opinion on this… Having an open discussion about these questions is essential if a shared understanding of how to provide appropriate assessment and treatment is to be reached. [34]

In June, the National Health Service released a policy document which proposed that puberty blockers “are ‘not routinely commissioned’ as there is not enough evidence to support their safety or clinical effectiveness as a routinely available treatment and that they should only be accessed as part of research”.[35]

These observations are consistent with Dr Spencer’s concerns. But that doesn’t stop Natalie Feliks, a neurodivergent, transgender-identifying columnist Crikey, from claiming that “transgender rights are a settled issue, agreed upon by medical experts and human rights commentators”.[36]

Views like Feliks’ are common among self-righteous radicals with a fascist mindset who pervade the transgender lobby. Within their ranks are those who believe any acknowledgment of divergent views within the medical profession is “transphobic”.

In November last year, The New York Times published a medical report on children who question their gender identity.[37] Commenting on reactions to this report, Jonathon Chiat wrote in The New York Magazine:

The response on the left was as if the newspaper had committed a hate crime…

This interpretation that the Times had contributed to an atmosphere of hatred against trans people was repeated so often and so stridently that within the left, it came to seem almost obvious…

There is a familiar pattern here in the way left-wing activists shut down internal criticism by treating any criticism of their position as either identical to, or complicit with, the far right… If the criticism is tempered and credible, this only makes them regard it as more dangerous…

But this absolutist mindset has had an especially pernicious effect on the issue of youth gender medicine. This is because the science is genuinely murky and embryonic…[38]

Former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright wrote that a fascist “is someone who claims to speak for a whole nation or group, is utterly unconcerned with the rights of others, and is willing to use violence and whatever other means are necessary to achieve the goals he or she might have.”[39] She added that fascism is “not an ideology, it’s a process for gaining and keeping control.”[40]

The woke brigade does not have any qualms about destroying the careers of people who disagree with them, though they may not necessarily resort to violence. However, if the word “violence” were deleted from Albright’s definition, what would be the difference between their dictatorial behaviour and fascism?

The Legacy of John Jacques Rousseau

Jean Jacques Rousseau, the intellectual force underpinning the Enlightenment, is well-known for his influence on the French Revolution.  He also exerted considerable influence over America’s founders and on education theory.

Rousseau believed that “man is born free, and he is everywhere in chains”.[41] According to Rousseau, these chains are external forces ― whether civilisation, property, organised religion or family ― which corrupt humans:

The fundamental principle of all morality, upon which I have reasoned in all my writings and which I developed with all the clarity of which I am capable is that man is a being who is naturally good, loving justice and order; that there is no original perversity in the human heart, and the first movements of nature are always good.[42]

For Rousseau, feelings are pure, since “I had feelings before I had thoughts: that is the common lot of humanity”.[43] Thus, he argued that feelings should determine our decisions and actions.

Rousseau’s legacy includes the notion of the primacy and inherent purity of the individual, and the substitution of feelings for truth.

A challenge for those who consider themselves classical liberals is that Rousseau’s notion of self, and how he conceived the relationship between the individual and society, have spawned ideas he would never have envisaged. Liberalism has moved well beyond liberté, égalité, fraternité.

In the Anglo-Saxon world and, to varying degrees, the Western world more broadly, economic liberalism filled the ideological vacuum created by the demise of Marxism. Even before that, it was evident that the 18th century liberals’ social experiment of using the family as a social tool was futile. As Lasch pointed out:

The obligation to support a wife and children, in their view, would discipline possessive individualism… In the long run, of course, this attempt to build up the family as a counterweight to the acquisitive spirit was a lost cause.[44]

Those who view family as one of Rousseau’s “chains” doubtless welcome such an outcome. Self-described “card-carrying member of the protest generation” and founder of the Australia Institute, Dr Clive Hamilton, says he was “convinced that the lifting of the suffocating constraints on sexual expression would be a source of liberation… We thought we were creating a new society and we knew our opponents were being defeated. The conservative establishment lost cause after cause…”[45]

The social consequences of economic liberalism are far-reaching. As historian and professor Carl Trueman explains in his book, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self, gay marriage and transgenderism are not aspects of a new or original phenomenon. Rather, they are the most recent symptoms of deep and long-established cultural pathologies in which the ideas of Rousseau play a prominent role.

Karl Marx Lost the Fight; Antonio Gramsci Won the War

That being said, Rousseau’s ideas have had assistance in their penetration and ultimate domination of Western — and particularly Anglo-Saxon — élites. That assistance has come from Antoni Gramsci, a founder of the Italian Communist Party and communism’s greatest theoretician. Gramsci understood the power of ideas.

Some argue that Marxism or socialism lost the fight but won the war. It would be more accurate to say that Karl Marx lost the fight, but Antonio Gramsci won the war. Gramsci saw that a revolution based on economic determinism would not succeed outside Russia:

In Russia the State was everything, civil society was primordial and gelatinous; in the West, there was a proper relation between State and civil society, and when the State trembled a sturdy structure of civil society was at once revealed.[46]

In the words of Paul Saba, the American communist and editor of Theoretical Review, Gramsci perceived that:

Bolshevism failed to understand that the oppression of multi-class social groupings such as women, national minorities and Jews, was rooted in society relatively independently of class oppression, and was therefore reproduced by a multiplicity of political, ideological, national and cultural factors, as well as economic-class relations.’[47]

Thus, as the late Joseph Buttigieg, editor of an English edition of Prison Notebooks, explains:

one should refrain from facile rhetoric about direct attacks against the State (which Sig. Gramsci termed “a war of manoeuvre”) and concentrate instead on the difficult and immensely complicated tasks that a “war of position” within civil society entails.[48]

The “war of position”, which now is described as cultural hegemony, is an intellectual and culture war designed to gain control of the “Establishment”.

Thus, the culture of today’s élites in the West, and Anglo-Saxon countries in particular, is testament to the brilliance of Gramsci and how his strategy aided in furthering Rousseau’s ideas.

A Tale of Two Cultures

As we have seen, the residents of the outer suburbs and regions do not share the values or liberal philosophy of inner metropolitan élites, who believe they have total control over the lives and lifestyles of their inferiors.[49]

Those in the outer suburbs and regions march to the beat of a different drum. Few, if any, have heard of the man credited as the founder of conservatism, Edmund Burke, but of necessity, their values and lifestyles reflect conservative values. If they were asked if they support the following Burkean sentiments, many would agree:

To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. It is the first link in the series by which we proceed towards a love to our country, and to mankind…

We begin our public affections in our families. No cold relation is a zealous citizen. We pass on to our neighbourhoods, and our habitual provincial connexions…

[Society] becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.[50]

It is apparent that the élites — however they have been constituted through the ages — have only found ‘democracy’ useful while the masses tolerated their priorities, interests and beliefs or when any divergence of interests was invisible.

The Power of One (Or a Few)

The more that people have resisted the élites in their arrogance and their bypassing of democratic structures, the more the élites have exposed their determination to maintain power and control.

That resistance has intensified, and not just in the political pushback in Europe.

In 2022 and 2023, a few professional sports players unknowingly emulated an obscure member of the US Congress in the 1980s, Charlie Wilson. Arguably, Wilson single-handedly oversaw the defeat of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan by organising the arming and equipping of the mujāhidūn. Wilson’s example demonstrates the power of one.

In 2022, Manly became the first National Rugby League (NRL) team in Australia to wear “pride” jerseys during a match. Seven players refused, however, because they believed that doing so would conflict with their religious beliefs. As such, the players stood down for that round, resulting in the team losing an important game. The saga split the club, which failed to play in the finals.

There were suggestions that NRL teams would play a “pride” round in 2023. Nothing eventuated. In an annual survey of coaches and assistant coaches in January 2023, coaches were evenly divided on whether they would encourage players to wear a “pride” jersey, while only a third of coaches supported the idea of a “pride” round.[51]

The decision of the NRL stands in stark contrast to the Australian Football League (AFL) which has been captured by the woke agenda, as demonstrated by the Hawthorn example discussed above. The AFL’s woke capture was also seen when in 2022, Essendon sacked its CEO 24 hours after he was appointed to the role because of his membership of a church that opposes gay marriage.

In early 2023, seven ice hockey players from six teams in Canada and the United States refused to wear “pride” jerseys because they believed doing so would conflict with their religious beliefs. Seven teams also did not wear “pride” jerseys. Some of the players were Russian, and at least one was a member of the Russian Orthodox Church. Two teams said they had acted to protect their players, laying blame for their decisions at the feet of Russian President Vladimir Putin. In December 2022, the Russian parliament passed a law further restricting the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relations” in film, online, advertising and in public. Individuals and organisation can be fined substantial sums of money for “propagandising non-traditional sexual relations”. The patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church is a strong supporter of the legislation.

However, that explanation fell flat after the Deputy Commissioner of the National Hockey League (NHL), Bill Daly, said that the NHL had no information to suggest its Russian players faced “material” threats — either in Russia or elsewhere — if they choose to participate in teams’ “pride” night activities.[52]

Moreover, as Canadian hockey writer Ian Kennedy pointed out, several players who refused to wear “pride” jerseys were not Russian, and at least six Russian players did wear “pride” jerseys.[53]

Of these events, columnist Scott Stinson wrote:

It doesn’t take much research to discover that punishment for violating the law is just a fine, that enforcement is rare, and that there was never any indication that Russia was going to try to apply it beyond its own borders. Do Russian NHL players honestly think that someone back home is going to come after them for wearing a small rainbow patch on their jersey for 20 minutes while they do a few laps around the ice with their teammates?[54]

The first player to refuse to wear a “pride” jersey was Philadelphia Flyers’ defenseman Ivan Provorov. After the announcement, his jerseys were the number one jersey trending and were sold out on Shop.NHL.com and NHL’s Fanatics.com.[55]

When Provorov made his decision in January, the NHL did not appear to be concerned. Commissioner Gary Bettman said:

[I]ndividual players are gonna make their decisions and follow their beliefs. Having said that, when you look at all of our players and the commitments that they’ve made to social causes and to making our game inclusive, let’s focus on the 700 that embrace it and not one or two that may have some issues for their own personal reasons.[56]

By the end of March, Bettman was signalling that the backlash was something the NHL “will have to evaluate in the offseason”:

I think that’s become more of a distraction now, because the substance of what our teams and we have been doing and stand for is really being pushed to the side for what is a handful of players basically have made personal decisions, and you have to respect that as well.[57]

In June 2023, the Board of Governors decided that from 2024, teams will not wear themed jerseys because they have “become a distraction and [are] taking away from the fact that all of our clubs in some form or another host nights in honour of various groups or causes.”[58]

Meanwhile, trouble was brewing on the baseball front. In 2022, three Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, the Tampa Bay Raiders, the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers, decided to put “pride” logos on their uniforms. At least five Raiders’ players removed the logos.

This year, the Los Angeles Dodgers gave their Community Hero Award to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence — a group of men who dress in nuns’ habits in ridicule of the Roman Catholic Church — and invited the tawdry group to their Pride Night. The Dodgers’ decision sparked protests from a range of people, including Senator Marco Rubio and the President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. The Dodgers ultimately withdrew the invitation.

Following the invitation’s withdrawal, gay and lesbian organisations and the American Civil Liberties Union of South California threatened a boycott of the Dodgers celebration, resulting in the Dodgers renewing their invitation to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

The Dodgers’ renewed invitation in turn sparked a statement by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops condemning the event and describing it as blasphemy. The Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, tweeted:

Our Catholic sisters devote themselves to serving others selflessly. Decent people would not mock & blaspheme them. So we now know what gods the Dodger admin worships. Open desecration & anti-Catholicism is not disqualifying. Disappointing but not surprising. Gird your loins.[59]

Two players from the team publicly disagreed with the decision, as did Trevor Williams of the Washington Nationals, who encouraged “my fellow Catholics to reconsider their support of an organisation that allows this type of mockery of its fans to occur.”[60]

There was a protest on the night of the game. A march of about 2,000 people prior to the game forced the closure of the stadium’s main entrance. Meanwhile, the award was presented in front of relatively empty bleachers inside.

It was only three years ago that MLB moved the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to Denver in protest over changes to Georgia’s voting laws. However, on 16 June, the MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said:

We have told teams, in terms of actual uniforms, hats, bases that we don’t think putting logos on them is a good idea just because of the desire to protect players: not putting them in a position of doing something that may make them uncomfortable because of their personal views.[61]

The Power of Consumer Boycotts

With all of these developments afoot, the masses experienced what minority cultural groups have understood for years: consumer power (like social power) is more influential than political power.

Consider LGBT Capital, for example, a UK-based investment company which estimates the United States has more than 17 million LGBTQ+ people with over $1 trillion in spending power ― a sword they wield with great effect.[62]

In March 2023, a man identifying as a transgender woman who was an influencer for Bud Light — then America’s best-selling beer— uploaded a post on Instagram showing a can of Bud Light with his face on it, specially made to celebrate his supposed first year as a woman. There was an immediate consumer backlash.

Sales of Bud Light plummeted, and by July, it had fallen to number 14 on the list of America’s most popular beers. Since April 2023, the share price of Bud Light’s parent company Anheuser-Busch has fallen by 20 per cent.

In May, American retail giant Target displayed LGBT-themed children’s merchandise, including a baby bodysuit with both “pride” and transgender flags. It also sold “tuck-friendly” swim suits in kids’ sizes. Moreover, it was revelaed that some of Target’s LGBT products had been designed by a Satanist who had produced other apparel with slogans like “Satan loves you and respects who you are” and “Satan respects pronouns”.

Following a consumer backlash, Target either removed or relocated the clothing in a number of stores, particularly in Southern states. Target attributed its decision to protestor behaviour. By the middle of July 2023, Target’s share price had fallen from US$161 to US$130.

Follow the Money

These incidents demonstrate a repudiation of “stakeholder capitalism”, the driving philosophy of the World Economic Forum (WEF), led by Founder and Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab.

Stakeholder capitalism (known by its critics as woke corporate governance) is driven by three investment funds, which together manage US$20 trillion. Anson Frericks, a former Anheuser-Busch executive, has explained stakeholder capitalism is and how it has been implemented by these investment funds:

[T]he USA’s greatest enterprises have been repurposed into vehicles of social change…

BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard [are] the three largest and most influential financial institutions in U.S. history. Together, the Big Three constitute the largest shareholders of nearly 90 per cent of the largest companies listed on the U.S. stock exchange…

The Big Three are proponents of what’s called “stakeholder capitalism”…

2019 was a turning point.

That year… a group of CEOs from America’s largest companies, adopted a new Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation declaring that all companies “share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders” to promote the larger social good.[63]

As BlackRock Chairman and CEO Larry Fink said at the 2017 New York Times DealBook Summit:

The behavior is going to have to change… this is something we’re asking companies. You have to force behavior. At BlackRock, we are forcing behaviors.[64]

Frericks believes that, as a result, business has been “paralyzed by corporate America’s forced adoption of ‘stakeholder’ capitalism, which preaches to companies about why they must serve activists, politicians, non-governmental organizations and all manner of interests — anyone really apart from their shareholders and customers!”[65]

Goodbye Friedman, Hello Schwab

From the 1970s, the mantra in business was “shareholder capitalism”, which was a manifestation of Milton Friedman’s liberalism and based on his doctrine that there is “one and only one social responsibility of business — to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it… engages in open and free competition without deception or fraud”.[66]

With the collapse of communism, economic liberals waxed triumphant. Yet, since around 2010, it has become undeniable that their mantra has resulted in a widening wealth gap and other social consequences, exposing economic liberalism as politically unsustainable.

Enter Klaus Schwab, who has been biding his time for 50 years. He saw the demise of Friedman’s doctrine as an opportunity “to ensure that stakeholder capitalism remains the new dominant model.”[67] As early as 1971, Schwab described stakeholder capitalism as a philosophy that positions “private corporations as trustees of society” — and he “created the World Economic Forum to help business and political leaders implement it”.[68]

In 2020, the WEF adopted stakeholder capitalism. By then, the International Business Council — which includes Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PriceWaterhouseCooper and KPMG — had signed up to the concept of environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals.

Stakeholder capitalism and ESG has resulted in an alliance between the financial and social élites. We have now reached a point where the élites can no longer exercise their power and control over society (including democratic societies) from the shadows.

Is Stakeholder Capitalism Just Economic Fascism?

Mark Hornshaw, a lecturer at Notre Dame University in Australia, is critical of stakeholder capitalism. He writes:

A system that replaces the goals of true stakeholders with the iron will of ruling elites, which retains nominal private ownership, but uses government force to pressure firms to serve centrally determined goals, looks and smells an awful lot like economic fascism.[69]

Reporter Salena Zito, co-author of The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics, has highlighted that the decisions of the Big Three demonstrate that:

“Rarely today are owners of national brands a ‘local’ man or woman who built it from the ground up. Instead, companies tend to be owned by funds and conglomerates with boards of directors who live in coastal centers of wealth and power. And the worldview of these owners is disconnected from the people who buy their products.”[70]

We see an example of this disconnection in Marc Benioff, Founder and CEO of Salesforce, a cloud computing company. In 2016, Benioff was asked: “Lawmakers, politicians — they’re held accountable to the public when they are not seen as doing something for the public good. Doesn’t that make it dangerous for companies and CEOs to be doing stuff like this because who are you accountable to?” Benioff replied:

I think that’s old thinking, honestly. I am quite accountable to many different stakeholders, including my shareholders, my large investors, to my board of directors, to my employees, to my customers, to my partners, to the communities that I live [in]. I live in a city called San Francisco. And it is very much a city that is activist oriented. And I’ll tell you, in our city, people hold you accountable for doing the right thing.

Benioff was also asked, “for people who say they’re worried that they have people from the business world who are sort of helping to lead these debates instead of policymakers and politicians who were actually voted in by the public, I mean, how do you respond to that?” He replied:

[B]ecause our government leaders tend to be a little weaker than they were, CEOs have to step up and be a little stronger and have a bigger voice, which is what exactly is happening in these states.

Benioff also conceded that he got involved in issues about which “I really don’t know that much about to be honest with you.”[71]

In Benioff, we see practical examples of Lasch’s “alternative” institutions created by the élites and the chasm between the views of the élites and the rest of us.

Are Consumer Boycotts Turning the Tide?

Brad Todd is a Republican strategist and (along with the aforementioned Salena Zito) co-author of The Great Revolt. Todd believes that the media, educational organisations, high tech companies, financial institutions and entertainment businesses will remain disconnected until there is more cultural diversity in boardrooms.[72]

Events such as Brexit, the ongoing support for the Le Pens in France, political uncertainty in Europe generally, the rise of Donald Trump and the latest furore involving Nigel Farage are no mystery. They are the political fallout from stakeholder capitalism, which ignores the interests of the masses in the outer suburbs and the regions.

Time will tell if Todd is right about stakeholder capitalism generating “a polarization that will continue to sort and impact our politics”. There are some indications that he is right. Pallavi Gogoi, Chief Business Editor of National Public Radio, wrote in June 2023:

In the last 10 years or so, some corporations have gone further, advocating for marriage equality and publicly pushing for anti-discrimination laws.

That activism has played a big role in “how American society views queer people, their relationships, and their families,” says Carlos A. Ball, Rutgers law professor, in his book The Queering of Corporate America.

All of that may be at stake now, as corporations face immense pressure — including threats to life and property and being jeered as “woke” — for supporting LGBTQ causes…

Very, very powerful companies… are being essentially silenced or feeling cowed by, or politically intimidated, by the ferocious right wing backlash against LGBTQ gains.[73]

Forbes Media chairman Steve Forbes has likewise put a public spotlight on consumer power:

I think in terms of the whole marketing thing…

The consumer is ultimately the ruler and that’s what these companies have to keep in mind…

If you are not performing, your stock takes a hit, shareholders get uneasy. You are going be out of a job if you’re CEO.

The market ultimately works, and the market is people.[74]

Reflecting on Forbes’ observation, reporter Tony Owusu said:

The real victory has been the right’s ability to change Budweiser and Target’s behavior… the right has made it its mission to force corporations out of the political discussion.

With their campaigns against Bud Light and Target, they are close to achieving that goal as corporations begin to weigh the cost of their political decisions.

At least for now.

This is the true victory of the right’s boycott campaign.’[75]

Tim Knavish, CEO of PPG Industries, a paint manufacturer, provides an example of the boycott campaign’s victory. He explains:

We run a business. We don’t run a political organization. We don’t run a religious organization, and we don’t run a social organization.

However, [we] recognize that we operate in a society. We hire employees with opinions and views. We work with customers that have opinions and views. So we have to take all that into account.[76]

A Hiccup or a Broader Revolt By the Masses?

Consider further evidence of the backlash against stakeholder capitalism.

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity bestows the world’s most prestigious advertising awards. This year the focus of the awards changed. According to one juror, jurors “should remember that what we do can be entertaining, can be inspiring, and it’s for brands selling shit”. According to co-founder of Semafor and former New York Times columnist Ben Smith, “that juror and four other people familiar with the messaging said it focused on celebrating light-hearted, lucrative advertising over heavier, more political content”.[77]

Smith wrote that “the push to extract corporations from politics is part of the same global trend away from the social-media driven progressive movements that dominated the 2010s”. That trend began in earnest in 2022, when chief brand officer at Procter and Gamble, Marc Pritchard, said advertising had “gone too far into the good” at the expense of commercial goals.

There is a major weakness to minorities using financial clout and purchasing power for strategic ends: The effectiveness of this strategy depends on the rest of the market not responding with similar tactics. In the cases of Anheuser-Busch and Target, their assumption proved erroneous. Both companies are now paying the price, as they (and others) consider the long-term effects of their activism.

Oxygen Financial CEO Ted Jenkin warns about what happens when the bluff is called and the majority of customers respond strategically:

Why in the world would you go after 1 per cent, less than 1 per cent of our country that are transgender and think that that’s going to make an influence on getting more young people to drink Bud Light?[78]

Time will tell if these events represent a mere hiccup for the élites which can be negated by a tactical retreat to the shadows, or whether they are a harbinger of a broader revolt by the masses. A problem for the élites is that their implementation of stakeholder capitalism requires a brutal exercise of power that could reasonably be described as fascist.

The Rise of the Davos Man

What we do know is that management will not be easily deterred from performing their self-appointed “role of a trustee of the material universe for future generations”.[79] We also know that the chasm between the views and interests of the élites and those of the masses is long-standing and deep-seated.

In 2004, the late Professor Samuel Huntington wrote that “the central distinction between the public and elites is not isolationism versus internationalism, but nationalism versus cosmopolitanism”.[80] He also contended that “the pervasive and fundamental forces of economic globalization make it likely that the denationalizing of elites will continue”. Huntington then drew attention to Adam Smith’s observation that:

The proprietor of land is necessarily a citizen of the particular country in which his estate lies. The proprietor of stock is properly a citizen of the world, and is not necessarily attached to any particular country.[81]

Huntington postulated that “the involvement of individuals in globalizing processes varies almost directly with their socio-economic status. Elites have more and deeper transnational interests, commitments and identities.”

Huntington popularised the term “Davos man” to describe “a new global elite”:

Estimated to number about 20 million in 2000, of whom 40 percent were American, this elite is expected to double in size by 2010. Comprising fewer than 4 percent of the American people, these transnationalists have little need for national loyalty, view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite’s global operations. In the coming years, one corporation executive confidently predicted, “the only people who will care about national boundaries are politicians.”

It is a testament to the power of ideas that today’s Davos Man is, as Huntington pointed out, the antithesis of their business predecessors. Schwab has been harbouring for 50 years an idea that dates back to the 1930s.

A comparison can be made between the glitterati of the transnational business, political activist and NGO sets who frequent Davos every January, and Charles Wilson, the President of General Motors, whom President Eisenhower nominated as Secretary of Defense in 1953. In Wilson’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee, he said:

[F]or years I thought that what was good for our country was good for General Motors and vice versa…

Our company is too big. It goes with the welfare of the country.[82]

A Case Study: The De-Banking of Nigel Farage

In early 2023, Coutts & Co. told Brexit leader and TV personality Nigel Farage — who had been a loyal customer of the bank for more than 40 years — that they intended to close his accounts. A reason for the decision was not provided.

Subsequently, Farage unsuccessfully sought to open a bank account with numerous other banks. At the end of June, Coutts & Co. closed his account. Farage reported that other members of his family had also experienced difficulties with opening or maintaining bank accounts.

Farage publicised his experience, tweeting:

I have been given no explanation or recourse as to why this is happening to me. This is serious political persecution at the very highest level of our system. If they can do it to me, they can do it to you too.[83]

In response, Dame Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest Bank (the parent company of Coutts & Co.), told the BBC’s business editor Simon Jack that Farage’s account was closed because Farage did not meet the financial criteria for having an account with an elite bank like Coutts & Co.[84]

Jack subsequently drew attention to “Coutts customers who have been in touch saying they fall below financial thresholds but unlike Farage have not been threatened with account closure. Clearly a lot of discretion available to the bank.”[85]

Farage soon obtained the dossier Coutts had prepared on him. It was a 40-page report that claimed:

  • Farage’s economic contribution was “now sufficient to retain on a commercial basis”.
  • Farage’s engagement with the bank is what it expected: professional, polite and respectful.
  • Farage had not made any inappropriate remarks to staff, and had treated them professionally and with courtesy.
  • There was no evidence of direct links between Farage and Russia.
  • Although no legal or other censure had occurred, it was clear that Farage’s views on climate change and race did not align with the bank’s purposes.
  • Farage’s comments and articles about ESG, Diversity and Inclusion were not in line with the bank’s views or purpose.
  • Farage was at best seen as xenophobic and pandering to racists, and at worst, as xenophobic and racist himself.
  • Many of the behaviours demonstrated by Farage did not align with the bank’s values, creating reputational risks to the bank due to its association with him.
  • Continuing to bank Farage was not compatible with Coutts given his publicly-stated views that were at odds with the bank’s position as an inclusive organisation.

In short, “Under Rose, NatWest and Coutts promoted an agenda around the idea of ‘purpose’, which included climate change, sustainable living and LGBTQ+ rights.”[86]

The Spectator described “NatWest’s attack on Farage as a political hit-job, but the board of NatWest, which owns Coutts, seem to have thought their actions were reasonable. Their main regret seems to be not that all this happened, but that it became public.”[87]

It said that the Farage affair:

can be traced back to the day, two years ago, when the bank proudly announced that it had achieved ‘B Corp’ status… B Corp’s website declares: “Certified B Corporations are leaders in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable and regenerative economy.” It adds that its scheme seeks to measure “a company’s entire social and environmental impact”.

Dame Alison is a former member of the Government’s Business Council, the Government’s Energy Efficiency Taskforce, and the Net Zero Council. Like her counterparts in Australia, she stopped new loans to oil and gas companies — another decision highlighting the gulf between the views of the élites and those of the masses.

The Conservative Party government, despite being the largest shareholder, acquiesced in this decision, but more recently has decided to issue new licences for oil and gas drilling in the North Sea. Presumably, the government is happy for this drilling to be financed by overseas banks.

Tellingly, when asked about the government’s decision to issue new drilling licences, a YouGov poll of 3,295 British adults conducted in July 2023 revealed that 42 per cent thought the decision was right, 27 per cent thought it was wrong, and 31 per cent did not know.

The spotlight is now on the chair of the NatWest board, Sir Howard Davies. As Farage said:

Howard Davies, who of course describes himself as the chairperson of the NatWest Group, it was he that put Alison Rose in place, it was the board that sanctioned this culture.

A culture that talks about diversity and inclusion.[88]

Farage is supported by a top 20 investor who observed that “the board must have known the reason for his being excluded from Coutts”.[89]

Sir Howard Davies was appointed by a Conservative Party government in 2015. Were Henry Fairlie still alive, he no doubt would say that Davies is eminently appropriate to hold such a position. After all, Davies is an Oxford man. However, journalist Stephen Pollard suggests that Davies’ career has been chequered, one example being his support during the 1990s of the UK’s disastrous decision to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism.[90]

Even so, a more memorable event in Davies’ career was the reason for his departure as the director of the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2011. Under Sir Howard Davies, LSE solicited a £1.5 million donation from a foundation belonging to Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi and secured a £2.2 million contract to train Libyan officials. This is the same man who oversaw the de-banking of Farage.

Farage’s story has it all:

  • The Establishment appointing as the bank’s Chair of the Board someone who Sir Humphrey Appleby of Yes Minister fame would describe as ‘reliable’,
  • Stakeholder capitalism in action,
  • The gulf in views between the élites and the masses (Farage said “the upper middle class, wealthy London metropolitan élite” would no doubt support the assessment of Coutts’ Bank[91]), and
  • The self-righteous, dictatorial mindset of the élites.

But it does not end there. As the NatWest ship began to take on water, it was also let adrift. Both the Prime Minister and Labour’s leader swam away as fast as they could. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

What I said right at the start of this was that it wasn’t right for people to be deprived of basic services like banking because of their views.

This isn’t about any one individual, it’s about values — do you believe in free speech and not to be discriminated against because of your legally held views?[92]

Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer told BBC Radio 5 5 Live, “I certainly don’t think anybody should be refused banking services because of their political views, whoever they are.”

It was a sentiment also echoed by Anthony Quigley, a co-founder of the Corporate Governance Institute, who argued that “ESG should not be confused with the radical ‘woke’ brigade” and that Farage’s “freedom of speech matters just as much as anyone else’s”.[93] Nevertheless, the ESG industry is the instrument for enforcing the woke agenda, as Anson Frericks pointed out. The existence of an organisation called B Lab which certifies companies as ‘B Corp’ also demonstrates this reality.

In political circles especially, it is fashionable to think that liberalism, individualism and progressivism are all different. However, they all share the same philosophical foundations. Recognising this fact can cause discomfort. As Carl Trueman suggests, the problem for classical liberals like Sunak and Quigley is that individualism and liberalism, having gained the cultural ascendancy, are now responsible for the view that freedom of speech is a problem rather than a solution. As Trueman has said:

The notion of assault on the person becomes not simply ― or even primarily — a matter that involves damage to the body or to property. It becomes psychological… freedom of speech becomes not so much part of the solution as part of the problem.[94]

There is something else the Conservative Party and its equivalents in other countries have failed to understand.

Tim Montgomerie, a former adviser to Boris Johnson, notes that many Tories genuinely share Farage’s “genuine moral disdain for the woke agenda… Milton Friedman said that chocolate companies should make chocolate and make money for their shareholders… Companies should stick to their core remit.”[95]

The challenge for the self-professed champions of free markets, like the Conservative Party and its equivalents, is that many of them have sat on their hands while their political enemies have made hay. At the urging of Klaus Schwab, the transnational, financial élite have ditched Milton Friedman’s shareholder capitalism, adopted stakeholder capitalism, and are implementing it with the ruthlessness seen in Larry Fink’s remarks and NatWest’s de-banking of Farage.

Representatives of the woke governance industry have taken different paths. Michael Evans is a former head of communications at Baker McKenzie in London and now a director at a litigation and reputation consultancy. He echoed Quigley’s sentiments, saying “a risk-based decision about a politically exposed person had nothing at all to do with ESG and corporate values… In dropping Farage as a client, this was an example of virtue signalling gone too far by Coutts.”[96]

Justin Doherty, chairman of reputation risk advisers Hemington Consulting, went further, saying that the NatWest affair:

shows what happens when a company or institution goes rogue and — in the most hypocritical manner imaginable — uses the cloak of ESG and ethics to behave badly.

It is a tragedy that well-intentioned initiatives such as diversity and inclusion and ESG have been subverted in this way, and hijacked by narrow agendas and partisan interests.[97]

Labelling NatWest’s decision as ‘going rogue’ in order to shield ESG from criticism defies the pub test. Frericks has explained who drives woke governance and how it works. Bear in mind that NatWest’s now-former CEO Dame Alison did not have a reputation for taking risks.

NatWest is not the only corporation chasing B Corp status or flaunting its support of “pride” week. Nor is it the only financial institution accused of woke governance.

A couple of days before the Farage bombshell exploded, another of the big four banks, Barclays Bank, paid more than £20,000 to settle a discrimination claim launched by the Core Issues Trust and the International Federation for Therapeutic and Counselling Choice, even while denying liability.

The Trust supports men and women who seek freedom from the LGBT lifestyle. In 2020, Barclays, which is ranked by Stonewall as a top-ranked LGBT employer, suspended the Christian charity’s accounts. The charity said that Barclay’s responded to pressure from LGBT campaigners.[98]

After Farage publicised his situation, an Anglican minister, Richard Fothergill, revealed that the Yorkshire Building Society decided to close his account after he responded to a monthly email from the bank asking for feedback. Fothergill had objected to the bank’s promotion of transgender ideology during “pride” month.

Echoing Farage’s experience, the bank advised Fothergill four days later that his account would be closed because their relationship had “irrevocably broken down” and that it had a “zero tolerance approach to discrimination”.[99]

While Farage was preoccupied with sorting out of his finances during the last week of June, another issue emerged, providing some comic relief.

In 2023, the Television and Radio Industries Club changed the voting system for its awards and let the public be the judges. As a nominee for an award, Farage attended the club’s gala awards night. Foreshadowing later events, Farage tweeted that he was asked to leave the drinks area of the event’s main sponsor, before subsequently being invited back.

Later that night, the media élite was shocked when it was announced that Farage won the award for best news presenter. They heckled and booed him.

Farage thanked “all those good, ordinary folk who live outside the M25 for voting for me”, providing us with another reminder of the cultural divide between the residents of the inner suburbs, and those of the outer suburbs and regions.

What is to be Done?

For those who reject the priorities, beliefs, values and cultural tyranny of the élites, the question is: What is to be done?

Even if the power and influence historically exerted by the élites were diminished, it would not reduce the cultural gulf between them and the masses — a gulf firmly fixed since the tumbling down of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the triumphal declaration of victory by economic liberals.

The élites always have been with us. The cultural revolutionaries of the 1960s who took liberté, égalité, fraternité literally and though those ideals would be the new foundations for society were naïve.

Rousseau’s influence and that of his successors has been apparent since the American Revolution. Courtesy of Gramsci’s strategy, Rousseau’s influence has now become entrenched. It has been further entrenched by the ascendancy of stakeholder capitalism, whereby the élites exercise their supposed right to tell the masses how to act and think.

The mindset and beliefs of today’s élites are different from what they were prior to economic liberalism’s triumphalism after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Prior to the 1990s, within the élites was a sense of noblesse oblige. Wilson’s resignation as the President of General Motors to become the Secretary for Defense reflects such a mindset.

That mindset was resented because it reinforced class status and was considered to demean the masses and reflect a sense of the superiority of the élites. However, it also reflected a sense of obligation, limited though it may have been, to the masses and their well-being.

The élites’ noblesse oblige also had the effect of reducing the gulf between them and the masses. It had a social utility, just as the concept of family has a social utility observed by Hamilton, when he said, “When workers demanded a ‘living wage’ that could sustain a married man and his wife and children, the moral argument had wide appeal”.[100]

So, what is to be done? A partial answer lies in Gramsci’s conclusion that we must concentrate on the difficult and immensely complicated tasks that a “war of position” within civil society entails.

Fighting a war requires ammunition. In a culture war, that ammunition is ideas and policies that reflect the values and lifestyles of the masses. To generate and promote a coherent set of economic, social, cultural and moral ideas and policies that provide an alternative to liberalism, individualism and stakeholder capitalism, a vehicle must be created.

Such a goal requires a well-resourced centre of ideas or thinktank that is built on the foundations of Edmund Burke and Christopher Lasch, tasked with developing and promoting a comprehensive and coherent set of principles and ideas addressing economic, social and cultural issues.

What about Gramsci’s focus on cultural hegemony? Along with the set of ideas, principles and policies, there needs be a strategy to promote them in academia, among teachers and bureaucracies, and in the media. The war needs fewer would-be warriors haunting the corridors of accounting firms, legal firms and barristers’ chambers, and more engagement in the battlegrounds of academia, bureaucracy and schools.

Toppling the incumbents from these citadels would require a battle more akin to urban warfare than desert warfare. It will be a tortuous battle won step by step, street by street, rather than by wholesale broadsides or a sudden, one-off lightning strike.

While major political parties can be vehicles for the endorsement of ideas, neither politics nor major political parties are the primary tools to engage in a battle of ideas. The major parties respond to culture; they do not direct it. Political parties can provide useful platforms to promote ideas and are effective when they are part of a broader movement. That is a lesson to be learnt from the Greens, who understand Gramsci’s strategy very well, and are products of it.

A leader like former US President Ronald Reagan — who understands culture wars, knows what role politicians can and cannot play, and who has the will, courage, conviction and ability to champion a cause — is a luxury (albeit a very welcome one), but not a necessity. Maybe the new Prime Minister of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, will emerge as such a leader.

However, what would be more helpful in the war of ideas is thinkers who can build on Burke and Lasch — or, of course, a conservative Antonio Gramsci.


[1]. ‘Rousseau & the origins of liberalism’, The New Criterion, October, 1998

[2]. For example, ‘Liberal MP Moira Demming faces expulsion after neo-Nazi rally’, The Herald Sun, Shannon Deary, 20th March, 2023

[3]. ‘Moira Deeming was given three options. That’s when the quarrel began’. The Age. Michael Bachelard and Sumeryya Ilanbey, 25th March, 2023

[4]. ‘Victorian Liberals decide MP Moira Deeming’s future in party room vote’, news,com,au, 27th March, 2023.

[5]. ‘Liberal Party must unashamedly articulate its timeless values’, Australian Financial Review, 4th December, 2022.

[6]. “I’ve got nothing to say sorry for”: Jason Burt responds to Hawthorn allegations’, The Age, 27th May, 2022, Jack Niall

[7]. ‘Liberal Party must unashamedly articulate its timeless values’.

[8].‘Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto accused of bullying Renee Heath, as Moira Deeming fallout continues’

[9]. ‘Financial Deregulation in Australia’, Ann Nevile, The Economic and Labour Relations Review, Volume 8, Issue 2, p. 276

[10].  The Hawke Memoirs (William Heinemann Australia (1994), pp. 237-38

[11]. ‘The Mysteries of the Floating Dollar’, P. D. Johnson, Quadrant Online, 1st April, 2012

[12]. ’Could Chifley Win Pre-selection today?’, Sydney Morning Herald, 21st April, 2005

[13]  The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Chapter 24, pp.383-384

[14]. ‘Introduction: The Democratic Malaise’, Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy (New York, W.W. Norton and Company, 1995), pp. 20-21

[15]. The Establishment and how it works (Allen Lane, London, 2014), Owen Jones, p.4

[16]. What is Secular Humanism (Servant Books, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1982), p. 52

[17] Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787, Robert Yates Chief Justice of the State of New York, 26th June, 1787

[18], ‘The Union as a Safeguard against Domestic Faction and Insurrection’, The New York Packet, 23rd November, 1787

[19]. Notes of the Secret Debates, 18th June, 1787

[20].  ‘A longtime conservative insider warns: the GOP can’t be saved’, The Washington Post, 6th September, 2022

[21]. ‘Political Commentary’, The Spectator, 23rd September, 1955, p.5

[22]. See ‘A Tale of Two Nations’ (https://philosophymatters.substack.com/p/a-tale-of-two-nations)

[23]. ‘Brexit was a rejection of Britain’s governing elite. Too bad the elites were right’, Vox, Jeremy Shapiro, 25th June, 2016

[24]. ‘Immigration: les Franςais soutiennet largement les propositions formulées par LR’, Le Figaro, Dinah Cohen, 24th May, 2023

[25].  ‘Mehrheit sieht eher Nachteile von Zuwanderung – und will weniger Migranten aufnehmen‘ (Majority sees more disadvantages of immigration – and wants to take in fewer migrants), Welt, 5th May, 2023, Sabine Menkens

[26] ‘Germany looks to immigration reform to arrest worsening skill shortage’. Financial Times, 2nd May, 2023, Guy Chazan

[27]. ‘From Hero to Zero: Robert Habeck picks up the climate tab’ Hans von der Burchard and Gabriel Rialdi, Politico, 1st June 2023

[28]. Voraussetzungen für Verbot der AfD erfüllt, Deutsches Institut für menschenrechte, 7th June, 2023

[29]. ‘Germany considers ban on far-Right AfD’, The Telegraph, James Jackson, 13th August, 2023

[30]. ‘Germany passes law to attract skilled migrant workers amid fierce debate’ BBC News, 23rd June, 2023, Damien McGuinness

[31]. ‘Starmer says Labour doing something “very wrong” after Ulez-inked Uxbridge loss’, The Guardian, Donna Ferguson and Tobi Thomas, 22nd July, 2023

[32]. ‘Why Belgium might be about to break up’, Politico, 21st July, 2023

[33]. Senior child psychiatrist stood down after questioning gender medicine;, The Australian, Natasha Robinson, 15th June, 2023

[34]. Independent review of gender identity services for children and young people: Interim report, February, 2022

[35] Consultation report for the interim service specification for specialist gender incongruence services for children and young people, NHS England, 9th June, 2023, p. 13

[36]. ‘Read the room, politicians: no one wants your transgender rights culture war’. Crikey, 23rd June, 2023

[37]. ‘They paused puberty but is there a cost?’, The New York Times, 15th November, 2022, Megan Twohey and Christina Jewett

[38]. ‘Helping Trans Kids Means Admitting What We Don’t Know’, New York Magazine, 15th December, 2022

[39]. Fascism A Warning (Harper, New York, 2018}

[40]. Madeline Albright on fascism, democracy and diplomacy, Brookings, 11th September, 2018

[41]. Du Contrat Social, 1762.

[42]. Rousseau and the Republic of Virtue: The Language of Politics in the French Revolution (Cornell University 1986), Carol Blum, p. 103.

[43]. The Confessions of Jean Jacques Rousseau, Book 1

[44].  ‘Conservatism Against Itself’, First Things, April, 1990

[45] Can Porn Set Us Free?, speech to Sydney Writers Festival, 2003

[46]. Selections from the Prison Notebooks (International Publishers, New York, 1971}, p.238

[47]. ‘Antonio Gramsci and the Recasting of Marxist Strategy’. Theoretical Review No. 25, November-December 1981

[48]. ‘The Contemporary Discourse on Civil Society’, boundary 2, Spring 2005, p.41

[49]. For an analysis of the gulf between the inner metropolitan suburbs and the outer suburbs and regions, see A Tale of Two Nations.

[50]. Reflections on the Revolution in France, 1790. Paragraphs 75, 331 and 165 respectively

[51]. NRL coaches’ survey results’, David Riccio, Brent Read and others, Daily Telegraph, 2nd February, 2023

[52]. ‘NHL: Nothing to suggest Russian players at risk for participating in Pride nights’, Scott Powers, The Athletic, 26th March, 2023

[53]. ‘Why are NHL players refusing to wear Pride jerseys? Explaining the league’s latest controversy’, Yahoo Sports Canada. 5th April, 2023

[54]. ‘NHL’s Pride Nights were to send a message of inclusivity. They are doing the opposite’, National Post, 24th March, 2023

[55].’NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Defends Ivan Provorov in Recent Statement’, Flyers Insider, S. Harper, 4th February, 2023.

[56]. ‘Gary Bettman stands by NHL’s diversity effort despite Ivan Provorov incident’, New York Post, Ethan Sears, 19th January, 2023.

[57]. NHL’s Gary Bettman suggests league will reevaluate Pride-themed jersey nights amid spate of opt-outs’, Fox News, Ryan Gaydos, 29th March, 2023

[58]. ‘NHL doing away with Pride jerseys, other speciality uniforms in warmups’, Sportsnet, 22nd June, 2023

[59]. Twitter, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone@ArchCordileone, 23rd May, 2023

[60]. Twitter, Trevor Williams@MeLLamoTrevor, 31st May, 2023

[61]. Twitter, Chelsea Janes, Washington Post, 16th June 2023

[62]. ‘Pride becomes a minefield for big companies, but many continue their support’, Anne D. Innocenzio and Dee-Ann Durbin, Associated Press, New York, 5th June, 2023

[63]. ‘How your 401k savings are being used to turn our biggest brands woke ― as revealed by ex-Anheuser-Busch exec who shows how you can fight back at the cash registers’, Daily Mail, 29th May, 2023

[64]. ‘Video Emerges of BlackRock CEO gloating about Using ‘Woke; Ideology to ‘Force Behaviors of Public’ Frank Bergan, Slay 7th June 2023

[65] ‘Anheuser-Busch’s CEO has failed to fix the Bud Light crisis. He must quit NOW

and let someone else right this sinking ship… for the sake of ordinary Americans’ 401(k)s’, Daily Mail, 1st July, 2022

[66]. ‘A Friedman doctrine ― The Social Responsibility is to Increase Profits’, The New York Times Magazine, 13th September, 1970.

[67]. Why we need the ‘Davos Manifesto’ for a better kind of capitalism, World Economic Forum, 1st December, 2019

[68]. Why we need the ‘Davos Manifesto’ for a better kind of capitalism

[69]. Is Stakeholder Capitalism’ Newspeak for Economic fascism, Foundation for Economic Education, 23rd January, 2021

[70]. ‘Target and Bud Light are hurting, but Mark Cuban says wokeness is good business’, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 11th June, 2023

[71].’CEO Uses Company’s Clout to Get Involved In Controversial State Measures’, National Public Radio, 23rd May, 2016

[72]. ‘Target and Bud Light are hurting’

[73]. ‘How the Bud Light boycott shows brands at a crossroads: Use their voice, or shut up?’, National Public Radio, 28th June, 2023

[74]. The Bottom Line, Fox Business Network, 12th April, 2923

[75]. ‘While the Right Celebrates Wins Over Bud Light, Target, They’re Cheering the Wrong Victory’, The Street, 12th June, 2023

[76]. ‘Companies That Embraced Social Issues Have Second Thoughts’, Chip Cutter and Lauren Weber, Wall Street Journal, 7th June, 2023

[77]. ‘Dial Down the Politics, Cannes Lions ad festival tells jurors’, 20th June, Semafor Media, 2023

[78]. ‘Bud Light’s Dylan Mulvaney problem won’t cripple Anheuser-Busch, but will tarnish reputation, experts Say’, Fox News, Brian Flood, David Ritz, 14th April, 2023.

[79]. Davos Manifesto 1973: A Code of Ethics for Business leaders

[80]. ‘Dead Souls: the Denationalization of the American Elite’, The National Interest, 1st March, 2004

[81]. Wealth of Nations, Book V, Part II, Article II

[82]. Transcript of hearings before the Senate Committee on Armed Services, 15th January, 1953, p.26

[83]. @Nigel_Farage, Twitter, 29th June, 2023

[84]. @BBCSimonJack, Twitter, 4th July, 2024

[85] @BBCSimonJack, Twitter, 5th July, 2023

[86]. ‘Nigel Farge, NatWest and the fight over ‘woke’ capitalism’, Financial Times, 29th July, 2023, Jim Pickard and Stephen Morris

[87]. The Spectator, 29th July, 2023.

[88] ‘Nigel Farage demands entire NatWest board quits after it attempted to keep Alison Rose in job’, GB News’ Breakfast with Eammon and Isabel, 26th July, 2023

[89] ‘NatWest fails to stem Farage pressure as shareholders turn against board’, Financial Times, Harriet Agnew, Stephen Morris and Jim Pichard, 27th July, 2023.

[90]. ‘The breathtaking arrogance of NatWest chairman and serial failure of Sir Howard Davies’, Daily Mail, 28th July, 2023

[91]. Twitter, 29th June, 2023

[92]. Sky News, 27th July, 2023

[93] ‘Farage calls diversity and inclusion culture ‘divisive’ as governance row erupts’. Evening Standard, Rebecca Speare-Cole, 27th July, 2023

[94]. The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self (Crossway, Wheaton, Illinois, 2020), p. 326

[95]. ‘Nigel Farage, NatWest and the fight over ‘woke’ capitalism’, Financial Times, Jim Pickard and Stephen Morris, 29th July, 2023

[96]. ‘What does Farage v Coutts row mean for ESG’, The Times, Jonathon Ames, 27th July, 2023

[97]. ‘Farage calls diversity and inclusion culture ‘divisive’ as governance row erupts’

[98]. ‘Barclays Bank pay out £20k for closing Christian account’, The Times, James Beal, 28th June, 2023

[99] ‘Yorkshire Building Society ‘closed vicar’s account after trans protest’, The Times, James Beal, 1st July, 2023.

[100]. Can Porn Set Us Free?


Photo by Karolina Grabowska.

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