The Intolerant War Against Enterprise
by Chris Bowers, Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 11:44:25 AM EST
"They have to get at the structural barriers that they put in place that restrain the natural potential of their economy. They've got to embrace the spirit of enterprise," he said.I am not going to delve into the arrogance of telling others that you will not be lectured just before launching into a lecture against others, as I think it speaks for itself. As James Wolcott notes, it also seems to be speaking for itself on the bottom line: In late October, the Financial Times had a front page story "Well-known US brands see sales in Europe fall."
Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Marlboro, and GM were all revealing problems echoing those "already faced by Disney, Wal-Mart and Gap."When it comes to domestic social policy, contemporary conservatism has become almost entirely defined by the Culture War. When it comes to international diplomacy, contemporary conservatism has become obsessed with nation-baiting. Hysterical, insulting proclamations against both homosexuals and nations such as France have become hallmarks of contemporary conservatism, and both are starting to function as, in Snow's own words, "structural barriers... that restrain the natural potential of [our] economy."
Every time we come up with some insipid name like "Freedom Fries," or publicly blast the people of other nations as "appeasers," our economic viability drops in the countries we insult. Open conservative intolerance of the opinions and attitudes of leaders and people of other nations serves as a structural barrier to American enterprise. We already have a huge trade deficit as it is. The last thing we needed is another structural barrier to American enterprise, in this case open intolerance, hindering our entrepreneurs and the growth of our economy.
The intolerant, conservative war against American enterprise goes beyond international trade and foreign markets. The Culture War cannot simply be understood as a war against tolerance and modernity that is being fought entirely within a textual and cultural realm. . A war against gay Americans is also a war against our continued economic growth. To again quote from Wolcott:Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class, numerous times has cited Procter and Gamble's efforts along with gay groups and civic activists to overturn Cincinnati's Article XII, which discriminates against homosexuals. They're not doing it out of simple idealistic atruism. It's smart self-interest.
P & G recognizes that it needs to be gay-friendly to attract young, innovative workers, and Cincinnati recognizes it too needs to be seen as tolerant and accepting in order to prosper in a postindustrial economy.A gay community is often a creative community, and a creative community tends toward the entrepreneurial. With our nation hemorrhaging manufacturing jobs, more than ever we are dependant on non-industrial business growth in order for our economy to keep growing, and in order to have any hope of closing our trade deficit. Conservative intolerance is a significant detriment to our economy, and a significant barrier to American enterprise. For them to continue to give the finger to wealthy allied nations and to continue their efforts to enshrine discrimination against homosexuals into law is a problem that negatively affects all of us.