Yesterday, I wrote about how Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn Wooden was going to announce his big plan to combat gun violence from his office, something that seemed a stretch for a state treasurer. After all, gun violence is a complex issue. Just how in the hell is a state treasurer going to combat violence?
However, once one looks at Wooden’s proposals, it’s not difficult to see that it’s not really about combatting violence. It’s about punishing people who hold the wrong opinions.
Part of that effort is to divest the state of all investments in the firearm industry.
State Treasurer Shawn Wooden, whose cousin was shot and killed in Hartford seven years ago, unveiled a sweeping initiative Tuesday that seeks to promote gun control through investment policy.
Wooden’s plan calls for the divestment of $30 million in equity investments in five companies that manufacture ammunition for the civilian market. The move is largely symbolic: those investments make up a tiny fraction of the $37 billion in public pension funds overseen by Wooden.
Now, there’s a technical name for Wooden’s effort here. That term is “virtue signaling.”
Wooden is trying to make sure every Democrat in the nation knows he holds the right opinions on guns. Now, I get that Wooden lost someone to gun violence. I have as well. Yet that doesn’t excuse stupidity and it doesn’t give someone a pass for trying to push a measure that won’t actually have an impact on what bad people do with guns.
So the state is going to sell $30 million in gun company investments. That might push the stock price down a few cents per share, then those stocks will be purchased by someone else who will make a buttload of money off of it. The companies themselves won’t even notice more than a momentary blip, if that.
Meanwhile, the criminals in Connecticut won’t be able to tell a single, solitary difference from one day to the next. That’s because Wooden’s proposals won’t impact them in the slightest.
Of course, the quoted article notes that it’s symbolic, which I give them credit for. However, symbolic gestures like this are the very epitome of virtue signaling. Why try to actually make a difference when you can throw a tantrum using the power of your office instead?
Granted, it’s not like Wooden can actually do anything of substance.
Another part of his proposal requires financial companies to disclose their gun policies prior to doing business with his office. While this is a slight bit better than how things appeared on Tuesday before the announcement, it’s still a political litmus test. He wants to pressure businesses to hold certain opinions and positions on a controversial issue like gun control and gun rights.
Frankly, this needs to be challenged and challenged quickly. Wooden has no right or authority to demand businesses share their political views prior to doing business with someone who may hold contrary views. Frankly, the entire state of Connecticut should be outraged over this. After all, Wooden is claiming that he’ll take factors into consideration over things like price and ability to provide needed services.
Of course, they won’t. Connecticut is the state that keeps sending Chris Murphy and Dick Blumenthal to the United States Senate. It’s clear they don’t care in the least.