In the 1970s, the story goes, a CEO met with environmental activists only to tell them: “I agree with you. Now go out and make me do it.” Businesses operating from a responsive mindset require relentless outside pressures to do the right thing. What is needed in the present moment is not uncritical celebration of “woke” companies working to ingratiate themselves into certain political constituencies, which would likely expand the current us-versus-them political divides into the private sector. Recognizing the dominance of the responsive mindset means all businesses, woke and un-woke alike, will need a healthy degree of “vigilant belligerence” from wider society as they navigate a politically contentious era. But perhaps at a more basic level, concerned citizens need to continually evaluate the degree to which profit-seeking, market-responsive entities should be tasked with preserving the social and political goods necessary for a flourishing society.
–Andrew Lynn, “The Limits of Corporate Activism”
I continue to find it curious that Catholic conservatives today want precisely the opposite kind of governance from the Church than they want from secular states. In secular politics they want decentralization, subsidiarity, local knowledge and discretion in preference to abstract laws applied from above; in Church governance they want canon law set by the Vatican and merely enforced at the local level. Now, to be sure, there’s no contradiction here; there is no reason why one must think that secular governance and Church governance should operate according to the same principles; but I still think it curious. Of course, it could also be said that American Catholic liberals have equally curious views, but in mirror image: they tend to approve of state centralization with universally binding dictates issued from Washington, while wanting the implementation of Catholic teaching to be left up to the discretion of local communities.
Basically, Catholics are weird, is what I’m saying.
—Alan Jacobs, one more round with Ross D.