| One of the most enduring myths in America
is the belief that big-business leaders are conservative.
While this may be true in many cases, it is
probably far less so than most Americans imagine. And even when it
is true, the far more important question is: How does a CEO's philosophical
or business-school conservatism affect the company's political and social
The answer: On social issues and on almost
any matter that is even vaguely political, business is either a pacifist
in the war of ideas -- deliberately avoiding controversy -- or is an active
supporter of the liberal-left agenda.
Even some of the companies whose founders or
executives are identified with conservatism go out of their way at times
to appease the left. Amway Corp., for example, is one of the nation's
most vocal supporters of free enterprise. Its chairman once chaired
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- yet Amway cosponsored, with the Amway Environmental
Foundation, one of last year's major environmental tree-hugger events.
The awards gala was politically loaded. Three United Nations agencies
were honored -- agencies whose socialist economic agendas have perpetuated
the kind of Third World poverty that leads to environmentally damaging
activities such as forest clear-cutting.
Why is Amway honoring socialist economics?
Why, for that matter, are corporations such as AT&T, Capital Cities/ABC,
General Mills and Xerox supporting the radical feminist agenda by funding
the National Organization for Women?
Why is corporate support for the social and
political left the rule, not the exception?
For the past six years the Capital Research
Center in Washington, a philanthropic watchdog group, has been monitoring
the public affairs contributions of major U.S. corporations. Over the years
the findings have been consistent. While some companies move up a
notch, and other move down from year to year, the overall pattern that
emerges is this: Major U.S. corporations give more than $2 to left-of-center
organizations and activities each year for every $1 they give to right-of-center
Why? Each corporate contribution has
its public relations justification, but there is a common denominator.
The organizations supported by big business favor group rights over individual
rights. They favor government intervention over private-sector or
market-based remedies. They believe "society,"
rather than individuals, must shoulder most of the responsiblity for the
iniquities that exist among us.
If this is what corporate executives believe,
they should continue funding the left.
But when America's largest corporations fund the
politically correct over the morally and economically correct, it is laughable
to call them conservative.
Marvin Olasky, PhD is a professor of journalism at the University of
Texas, Austin, and the editor-in-chief of World, a national weekly