Did you know that Citigroup is sexist? Yes, indeedy. It thinks it knows what’s best for The Little Woman, to the point that it is cutting ties with businesses that sell what Citigroup deems bad. If she wants particular items for her home, she can no longer get them from Citigroup partners.
What am I talking about? High capacity magazines for guns. If a woman decides that she is safer buying a magazine that holds more than 6 or 10 or whatever the magic number of rounds is in Citigroup’s mind, she can’t get them from Citigroup partners.
From a freedom perspective, I applaud this. No one should have to buy or sell anything or offer any service they find objectionable, and if Citigroup doesn’t want to be involved with guns, then more power to them. I’ll find another business more conducive to my needs. If enough people are like me, then Citi’s profits suffer, and it will do harm to its shareholders and must report to them. Since businesses that discriminate do indeed cause themselves economic harm, they inflict their own punishment. If they cannot afford to do so, they become less discriminatory. Go, free market!
Does that mean I agree with them? Nah, I want to see them hammered for their stupidity, and the sooner the better pour encourager les autres.
Citigroup, in its goal to be a “good corporate citizen,” has made itself the arbiter of what’s good and right in the world. (Or it has chosen some other group as the arbiter and is following the Commands on High, but same diff.) It’s no longer enough to sell goods and services in a reasonably sound or profitable manner; one must also sell the correct goods and services.
In the words of a friend, “Just out of curiosity, what other legal and legitimate transactions are you planning on barring in the future? Political contributions? Donations to Christian charities? Fast Food? Porn?” That’s the crux of the issue. Though this was about guns, it could have been about speech or religion or the press. Will you refuse to do business with Big Brothers because of your stance against toxic masculinity? How about those pro-life nonprofits? Don’t even think about buying meat. And put down that giant soda!
Citigroup has effectively added a transaction cost on one’s adherence to a certain set of beliefs. Not a financial reason, but an ideological one. It has made the market less honest about what something really costs. And it’s not alone. YouTube now demonetizes videos with the wrong ideological bent, or removes them altogether. Twitter has ghost banned users without the base civility to let the person know it’s happening.
Say what we want you to say, do what we want you to do, believe what we want you to believe, or suffer financially for it.
This is making it more difficult for conservatives and libertarians and old-style liberals caught in the ideological purges to make a living in the Information Age. (It also makes it difficult for the True Believers who end up on the outs, but can’t say as I have much sympathy for them.) Doesn’t mean we should go crawling to Daddy Government to make it all better. We WILL build our own platforms. If need be, we will create an entire parallel infrastructure. At which point, it’ll turn into a purity fight on our side as well because Man is a vengeful creature, especially when full of righteous indignation.
So think of the cost. We don’t have to go there. Big businesses (and little, for that matter) don’t have to accede to the demands of one half of the country or the other, adhering to the ever-increasing calls for purity. Focus on offering the best goods and services you can, and to the hindmost with social censure. It’s not your call, and it’s literally not your business. Let society hash that out with great vigor.
Citigroup, it might be too late for you. You’ve shown your craven underbelly, and both sides see how willing you are to appease. If so, congratulations, you’re in the game of political football, but not as one of the players. If you want to stop being the ball, stop thinking you’re the arbiter of what is good and right in the world and do what you do best, like making financial transactions more efficient.
Until then? I’m calling you sexist because you refuse to allow sales to me, a petite woman, of the tools I need to make myself safe at home from men, who are bigger and stronger, who otherwise could take what they want. You think you could tout your virtuous corporate nature by acceding to the list of demands made by those people over there? Well, I have a little list too. And I will continue to use it* until you learn the benefits and joys of leaving people alone.
*It’s called “game theory.” Learn it. Love it. Live it.