In the weeks since the Parkland school shooting, big U.S. companies have found themselves in a familiar position: pressured to act on controversial social and political issues where government won't.
It's blamed (for lack of a better word) on millennials:
“Millennials care, and there's more of them now,” Rick Goings, chief executive officer of Tupperware Brands Corp., said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January. ... What's different now, executives say, is the potent combination of social media and younger consumers who are reluctant to purchase products from, or work for, companies that don't align with their values.
I have a slightly different theory. It's not a case of Republican fat cats abandoning their principles in the pursuit of urban coastal millennial hipsters. It's that today's CEOs used to be the Yuppies Christopher Lasch called the new elites. Back when they were young, they embraced a value set now largely shared by Blue State types:
"[T]he new elites, the professional classes in particular, regard the masses with mingled scorn and apprehension." For too many of these elites, the values of "Middle America" - a/k/a "fly-over country" - are mindless patriotism, religious fundamentalism, racism, homophobia, and retrograde views of women. Middle Americans, as they appear to the makers of educated opinion, are hopelessly shabby, unfashionable, and provincial, ill informed about changes in taste or intellectual trends, addicted to trashy novels of romance and adventure, and stupefied by prolonged exposure to television. They are at once absurd and vaguely menacing."
Today's CEOs haven't changed their minds about the people Hillary called The Deplorables. So why should we expect anything other than urban coastal values from them?