Woke Wall Street is about to do the math

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There are two reasons why socialism will never take hold in this country: Americans are not stupid and freedom cannot exist without free market capitalism.

Freedom means choices, which are the result of ideas competing for money. As people who have both built successful large companies, we know that consumers reward entrepreneurs by purchasing their products and services, and institutional funding comes to the winners. Business growth is based on equal access to capital markets.

But in recent years, Wall Street elites have sought to replace this system of free market capitalism with the socialist cult of “ESG” (Environmental, Social and Governance). Now, the awakened Wall Street money managers think they should decide who wins and who loses, based on politics and not profitability.

As businessmen, we find it ridiculous. As conservatives, we find it downright disturbing. Take as an example what happened to one of our companies.


Earlier this year the Black Rifle Coffee Company rang the bell on the New York Stock Exchange. It was a win for a company that exists to serve veterans, first responders, and people who love America. But the Wall Street Journal recently revealed how difficult it was for Black Rifle to get there. An investigative article showed how faceless banks, law firms and reputational risk committees tried to force the Black Rifle Coffee Company into political compliance by withholding capital.

Wall Street tried to wake up the veteran Black Rifle founders. They told them to “tone down” their gun-themed branding and delete footage from their YouTube channel as they might offend the snowflakes. They even wanted them to change the name of their magazine, “Coffee or Die”, because they said the title was “too aggressive”.

The message was loud and clear: if you don’t behave yourself, we will starve you to death. Fortunately, Black Rifle refused to back down and found balanced partners who believe in capitalism to fund their public listing.

Other companies aren’t that lucky. Companies that sell unconventional products or serve conservative customers are under constant pressure to comply with ESGs, and if they don’t, capital is often rejected. This is not a warning about the future, this is the reality right now.

It has far-reaching consequences. If ESG can force brands to change, how long will it take before ESG forces people to change? This is what ESG is ultimately about: elites telling Central America what to do. They want to control everything, where you invest your retirement money from, what kind of car you drive and even what coffee you drink.

We are not afraid to say what everyone thinks: ESG is the slippery path to a Chinese-style social credit system. The only logical next step after corporate ESG scores is personal ESG scores. Nothing could be more un-American.

But there is good news: their game is almost over. Americans are starting to see through hypocrisy and political control. We agree that the time has come for an ESG showdown.

To further this showdown, Senator Scott has teamed up with his colleagues to bring the fight against ESG to the United States Senate. It introduced the Transaction and Sourcing Knowledge (TASK) Act to require the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as part of its assessment of any ESG guidance, to report on procurement activities and transactions with companies carried out in Xinjiang Province in the Communist China. known for human rights violations, particularly against the Uyghur community. He also urges ESG fund managers and state pension plan administrators not to prioritize ESG ideals, but to do the intended work and responsibly manage investor dollars to provide a return on investment.

The war in Ukraine exposed ESG rating agencies for rating Russian companies higher than American ones. And it showed that ESG indices do not list American defense companies whose weapons are essential to defend Ukraine.

Record gas prices are proving the foolishness of divesting US energy companies or forcing them to cancel drilling and refining projects, making us more dependent on foreign imports controlled by our enemies.


Above all, ESG’s hypocrisy is appalling. Companies that do business with the Communist Party of China get a pass, but the largest ESG rating agency, MSCI, doesn’t even mention the words “military veteran” in the score.

And now there is a growing backlash from some backbone business leaders. Elon Musk recently called ESG “the devil incarnate” and Peter Thiel described it as a “hate factory”. Famous entertainment figures outside the mainstream media, such as Joe Rogan and Russell Brand, are helping their audiences question the motives of Wall Street.


We will continue to fight this ridiculous practice, but the reality is that as long as Wall Street wakes up it can continue to force conservative companies to comply, there will be no equal access to capital markets. The ESG will continue to be a political control tool for urban and coastal elites and we will move forward along the slippery slope.

Here comes the showdown for waking up Wall Street. Let’s make them face the music.

Evan Hafer is a former Green Beret and CEO and founder of the Black Rifle Coffee Company.


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