by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
A terrifying thought occurred to me about halfway through day one of the Bloomberg Equality Summit, an annual gathering of corporate executives, DEI officers, and the actor who played Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma to discuss KPIs regarding CSR and ESG across a variety of GLs. (Translation: Diversity, equity, and inclusion; key performance indicators; corporate social responsibility; environment, social, and governance; global landscapes.) I realized I would rather be watching the Senate Judiciary Committee consider the Supreme Court nomination of Ketanji Brown Jackson. If I had to subject myself to a mindless marathon of performative righteousness, I’d prefer the one with fewer Ivy League buzzwords and heaping piles of corporate bullshit. Say what you will about Congress, at least it’s not (overtly) sponsored by a woke hedge fund (TPG) specializing in leveraged buyouts.
Nevertheless, I persisted through nine hours and eight minutes of panel discussions and interviews about how “intentionality” is a “core dynamic” of a “deeply matrixed approach” to “driving inclusive change” and “decolonizing thinking” as we endeavor to “widen the aperture” of accountable leadership and “reimagine consumer base experiences” in the digital age. The discourse was nonsensical at times, deranged and terrifying at others. The phrase, “As goes California, goes the nation… You cannot hide from this,” stuck out as particularly chilling. The summit was officially titled, “Measuring the Movement: Accountability in Action.” Though I think the following phrase, as it appears in the official transcript, provides a more accurate summary: “Advancing equity and inclusion in a deep turd World.” …
… So, what did I learn? The answer is: Not much, beyond a renewed appreciation of my capacity for self-flagellation. Does confirming a preexisting suspicion—that the woke corporate obsession with DEI and ESG is little more than a performative racket—count as learning something?