It’s easy for gun rights advocates to feel put upon; like we’re the proverbial David in a whole nation full of Goliaths. The media is against us, it seems Washington is perpetually against us, the financial industry is against us, and Big Tech is against us. It’s hard not to feel like all the power in the nation is dedicated to stamping out gun rights.
However, not everyone has signed on with the anti-gunners, and that’s important to remember too.
In all, top executives for 150 companies signed the letter. In recent years liberal activist groups have enlisted CEOs to jointly pressure political leaders to bend to their agenda on causes such as climate change, trangenders’ use of public facilities, abortion, and immigration. Top executives for the major technology companies – such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft – could consistently be counted on to participate.
But this time they opted out. Could they be growing weary of the constant political conflict – which often draws outcries from both their (mostly) liberal employees as well as the customers they have who are conservative – but seem to please no one? Are they tiring of the scrutiny they increasingly attract from members of Congress?
According to a report in the New York Times, executives at Facebook and Google discussed signing the letter, and decided against it.
“Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook did not sign, although he told colleagues and peers that he agreed with stricter background checks…,” the Times reported, citing anonymous company sources. “With Facebook under federal scrutiny — and contending with a drumbeat of criticism from Republicans who contend that the company’s platform silences conservative voices — Mr. Zuckerberg has decided that activism on this issue would only intensify the spotlight on the company, these people said.”
And the newspaper reported that Google declined to sign, noting its recently enacted policy directed at employees who were instructed to “do the work we’ve each been hired to do, not to spend working time on debates about non-work topics.”
Continued scrutiny may well play a role in this, to be sure. Google and Facebook, in particular, have come under a lot of scrutiny lately, though that didn’t stop Jack Dorsey of Twitter from signing on.
However, it’s also possible that Apple, Google, Facebook and Microsoft also recognized a few things. For one, their customers aren’t just from one political stripe, so alienating potential customers is just bad business.
They also may have come to recognize that no matter how many progressive causes they support, they’re never going to be really applauded by progressives because they’re still evil corporate giants who must be destroyed in an effort to make way for the glorious future. That means signing onto an anti-gun letter doesn’t gain them anything but may well cost them in the long run.
It’s just too bad that other CEOs haven’t figured it out yet.
Look, I’m not saying they should oppose gun control simply because progressives are never going to really like them. Far from it. I’d rather they be politically agnostic so we don’t have a clue what the company’s official line on politics is. The exception, of course, is when it impacts them. Otherwise, just make sure I can connect with the internet, access all the websites I want to access, and then do all the stuff on my computer that I want to do. That’s all I want from them either way.
If not signing the letter is a start of companies returning to that, so be it. I welcome it.
If it’s not, then it’s just a matter of time before an alternative pops up that won’t care. Guess what happens then?