The Trans Specter in the C-Suite

Dylan Mulvaney, a 26-year-old man who identifies as a woman and en­joys role-playing as a prepubescent girl, has become one of the most visible fac­es of the mind virus known as transgen­derism. Mulvaney has ridden the stardom of “trans activist” all the way to the com­manding heights of pop culture and pol­itics, meeting with President Joe Biden at the White House last fall and appearing on “The Drew Barrymore Show” in March, where the star knelt before Mulvaney in a display of servility.

It should be obvious that the ce­lebrity of Mulvaney is less than or­ganic. As the New York Post reported, the activist comes from a privileged background and employs a team of Hollywood experts to push a carefully crafted brand: the transgender influ­encer. To the ire of conservatives, it’s paying off. Corporate sponsors—from fashion brands like Nike and Kate Spade to, most recently, Anheuser-Busch, the purveyor of various brands of low-qual­ity beer—have lined up to throw their products at Mulvaney. Anheuser-Busch sent the influencer personalized cans of Bud Light with Mulvaney’s face printed on the side and a message on the top reading, “Cheers to 365 Days of Being a Woman.” Vaguely conservative ce­lebrities like Kid Rock responded by boycotting the company—and, in his case, shooting cases of beer with a sub­machine gun.

Conservatives celebrated after news broke that Anheuser-Busch had seen its value plummet by billions since it an­nounced a branding partnership with the trans activist. “Cultural Marxism” had been dealt a blow. Damage control efforts cen­tered on the claim that top executives were left in the dark about the partnership, pass­ing blame onto low-level staffers who sup­posedly acted without their knowledge. This a dubious allegation, considering the company, initially confirmed the partner­ship in a statement, saying it was intended to “authentically connect with audiences across various demographics and passion points.” Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth even offered an apology—though it was as flat as his beer. But the details of Mulvaney’s partnership are be­side the real point: this is not Marxism—cultural or otherwise—it’s just old-fash­ioned capitalism, which has done more to advance the left’s agenda in this country than any socialist working group.

Certainly, there are true believers in­volved. But “progress,” however hideous and destructive, tends to be profitable for these people, which is something con­servatives continually fail to understand. Transgenderism is only the latest example.

Recall how Nike reacted to outrage and threats after it made NFL quarter­back and race hustler Colin Kaepernick one of its ambassadors. Like Anheuser-Busch, Nike lost several billion dollars in market cap after announcing that Kaepernick would become the face of its “Just Do It” ad campaign. But from Nike’s point of view, that was a small price to pay. The company did not flinch at the losses. “The alt-right calls for a Nike boycott will fail just like the boy­cott of Dick’s Sporting Goods failed,” market research analyst Matt Powell said. “Old angry white guys are not a core demographic for Nike.”

A database created by the Claremont Institute’s Center for the American Way of Life shows companies contributed or pledged more than $83 billion to Black Lives Matter and related causes following the death of George Floyd. Yes, many indi­viduals and institutions associated with the movement are self-professedly Marxist. But the people funding and supporting them are corporate suits who seem to sincerely believe the progressive pieties of our time. Or, if they are not sincere, they are willing to lie about believing in them.

There is a fundamental problem with the conservative dictum of “go woke, go broke.” Corporations are wagering that “go­ing woke” (what an odious term) will be the most profitable course of action in the long run. The fact that an increasing number of them also believe what they are ped­dling merely makes the decision to peddle that much easier. It is worth briefly high­lighting the problem with conservative eco­nomic thinking.

The contemporary conservative mind is so polluted by the view of man as first and foremost an economic animal that it cannot fathom someone or some institu­tion willing to incur billions in financial losses for something as immaterial as a be­lief. The irony is that this sterile thinking is at odds with conservative traditions that purport to be grounded in higher things than money. Today, however, the greatest number of real jihadists and true believ­ers are on the left.

A good deal of blame for this is owed to figures like Fox News host Sean Hannity, who rails against the radical tendencies of the left while simultaneously promoting Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner as a “conservative” transgender commentator. We also cannot forget the role Donald Trump’s family has played in elevating transgenderism in gen­eral. In a recent podcast, Donald Trump, Jr., while noting that he drew the line at gender swapping in children, expressed his support for adult transgenderism:

I don’t give a shit, dude. If you’re an adult and you wanna be trans and you do it—great! If you’re happy, you’re productive. I actually don’t give a shit. I’m fairly liberal on the issue.

Hannity, the Trumps, and conserva­tives like them are either deeply cynical and believe in nothing, or are not intellec­tually consistent enough to understand the problem with declaring yesterday’s revolu­tion against the natural order to be today’s conservatism. They console themselves and their audiences with declarations of victo­ry, like “go woke, go broke.”

Trump Jr. went so far as to call on conservatives to drop their boycott of Anheuser-Busch, citing the company’s do­nations to the GOP, which, in his mind, in­demnified it from backlash. It was an odd moment when the mask had inadvertent­ly fallen from the face of the Republican Party, thanks to Trump Jr. saying the qui­et part out loud: in politics, it’s money that does the talking, and the left is buying for the whole bar.

Indeed, being a true believer can pay better than conservatives—or Marxists, for that matter—want to admit, especially in the case of transgenderism. Apart from the obvious windfall the medical industry gets from transgender drugs and surgeries, peo­ple who identify as transgender are (sur­prise) probably more easily manipulated to purchase things than the average per­son, thanks to a phenomenon called “com­pensatory consumption.” Chinese profes­sor Xiaoying Zheng explains the concept of compensatory consumption in gener­al in the journal Advances in Psychological Science:

Compensatory consumption refers to the consumption behavior which aims at coping with psychological deficit or threat. A core theme of consumer behavior research is that people consume [a] product or ser­vice not only for its functionality, but also for its signaling value.

Compensatory consumption doesn’t only apply to transgender people, obvious­ly, but they would seem to fit the profile perfectly. In their hands, purchases become rebellion, empowerment, and liberation from heterosexuality, from the binary of man and woman. It’s hard to think of a bet­ter catalyst for compensatory consump­tion than Mulvaney, who has become a human billboard for a growing number of brands. In 2019, YouGov published an analysis that shows the power of this phe­nomenon in society. Data journalist Jamie Ballard summarized:

A plurality of Americans (44%) say a company’s perceived friend­liness to LGBTQ+ populations doesn’t affect their purchasingdecisions, while one in five (18%) say they’d be less likely to do busi­ness with such companies. Con­servatives (40%) are particularly likely to say they’re less likely to do business with LGBTQ+-friend­ly companies.

So, for the general heterosexual popu­lation, a company signaling that it is pro-trans either doesn’t move the needle or, for conservatives, moves it in the wrong direction. Now, here’s where it gets inter­esting. “Gay/lesbian people (58%) and bi­sexual people (38%) are considerably more likely than the general population (13%) to consider buying a product if the ad for it features a same-sex couple,” Ballard not­ed. This obviously would apply to transgen­der people as well, and we can find plen­ty of recent examples.

In 2021, Insider published a report about the mainstreaming of transgender­ism, which occurred with the help of cor­porate marketing campaigns pushed (be­fore Anheuser-Busch) by Mattel, Levi’s, Mastercard, Citibank, BMO Harris, and others. According to Insider, campaigns di­rectly targeting transgender people proved extremely effective and lucrative. There is your compensatory consumption at work.

Conservatives are not up against Marxists, nor are they at odds with a pass­ing fad that will extinguish itself under the weight of its own contradictions. Their en­emies are in America’s boardrooms, where executives who, because they find it profit­able or believe in its message or both, form the driving force of progressive causes in the United States today and have been doing so for some time. There is indeed a specter looming over the country—and its haunt is the C-suite.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.