WHEN IS MORAL INTEGRITY IS REDUCED TO A FINGER IN THE WIND?

An example of a wind vane (from here)

What is wrong with the United States? Well, one thing is obvious. We have no shortage of money-grubbing chickens in leadership positions. What words describe such people?

It is no longer any secret that our news media is happily partisan and quite ready to take sides in political debates. CNN has become the epitome of the partisan, fake news media. The CNN Townhall, Survivors and parents spar with Rubio, the NRA (cnn.com), exemplifies what is the worst about that network. Here are some of the many stories that point out the absurd degree of bias that was evident in that sick display.

Of course, they are many other news stories that happily laud the current outburst of gun control fever, and the National Rifle Association (nra.org) is their target of the moment. The latest Liberal Democrat assault is designed to hit the NRA’s pocketbook, Radio Host: Companies Splitting From NRA ‘Basing Business Practices on Thought-Policing’ (insider.foxnews.com). Here is the list as of February 24 th.

As of Feb. 24, 2018, those companies are:

Enterprise Rent-A-Car, First National Bank of Omaha, Avis Car Rental, Allied Van Lines, Budget Rent-A-Car, Chubb, Delta Airlines, Hertz Rent-A-Car, MetLife, North American Van Lines, TrueCar, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Symantec and United Airlines.

(from here)

So what should Conservatives do about this? Well, it wouldn’t hurt to consider what kind of business people we want to do business with? Do the words faithless, disloyal, false, fickle, inconstant, perfidious, recreant, traitorous, treacherous, unfaithful, and untrue describe them? Do we really want to work with people who turn tail at the first sign of trouble? Has the NRA changed or do the business people who run Enterprise Rent-A-Car, First National Bank of Omaha, Avis Car Rental, Allied Van Lines, Budget Rent-A-Car, Chubb, Delta Airlines, Hertz Rent-A-Car, MetLife, North American Van Lines, TrueCar, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Symantec and United Airlines just live their lives with a wet finger raised up in the air? Are businessmen with wet fingers raised up in the air the sort of people we want to depend upon? Do we want to do business with weather vanes, with people who are constantly turning their noses towards the strongest source of hot air? You do? Well, I understand it is difficult to keep track of all the weather vanes out there.

Alternatively, if we like the National Rifle Association, we can join up, or we can both join up and boycott faithless, disloyal, false, fickle, inconstant, perfidious, recreant, traitorous, treacherous, unfaithful, and untrue companies that abandoned the National Rifle Association.

What to do? I am not entirely certain, but we each need to think about it. When businessmen make a point of turning their backs on our values, what should Conservatives do?

An Aside

When I started this post, I was torn. Which metaphor should I use? A finger in the air, or listening to a siren who seeks our destruction. Instead of the fake news media and their siren call (What do you think all those pretty people are there for?), I decided to focus on  businessmen with their fingers in the air. Nevertheless, here (below) is the picture I would have chosen.

Ulysses and the Sirens, by Herbert James Draper, c. 1909 (from here)

The sirens of fake news can be attractive, or, as the picture below suggests, not so attractive, but we need to remember that what is attractive can, in spite of its attraction, be very destructive. So we need to test the news source we use. Otherwise, those sirens of fake news will soon have our nation dashed, shattered, wrecked, and scattered upon the rocks.

Odysseus and the Sirens, an 1891 painting by John William Waterhouse (from here)

30 thoughts on “WHEN IS MORAL INTEGRITY IS REDUCED TO A FINGER IN THE WIND?

  1. @anon

    “It’s not really a minor point. I like Richard Branson very much. He is a liberal and good manager of people (Virgin, I think, is a subsidiary of Alaskan). I don’t envision Alaskan ostracizing the NRA either. Do you?”

    Alaska bought Virgin American a little over two years ago and it will soon be integrated completely under the Alaska brand. It was a failing airline that had only made a profit once in its existence. It mainly catered to tech millennials who liked the new age perks offered. Doubtful that VA would have ever sought or gotten NRA discounts.

    Despite its frontier heritage, Alaska’s major hub and headquarters is the Soviet Socialist Republic of Seattle. Other bases besides a small one in Anchorage, include LAX and Portland.

    With the purchase of VA, Alaska went from one of the top ten major airlines to the fifth largest domestic passenger airline. Alaska is hybrid between a legacy carrier and a low cost carrier, but on both the high end and the more proletariat spectrums of Alaska’s target market it is mostly Left Coast liberals. Alaska was therefore not surprisingly one of the first businesses to support marriage equality.

    Alaska Airlines may have faults in other areas but target marketing is not one of them. In that area, Alaska Management has been quite brilliant and as such they have expanded and continued to have record profits year after year. The Alaska credit card is sought after, and its highly unlikely that rural conservatives in Alaska or Montana would give up using it to get cold winter escapes to Hawaii and Costa Rica, no matter what liberal stance Alaska takes to appease its main market.

    It’s all business. As for money=power, don’t confuse this bottom up consumer power of the richer blue cities and states with the kind of top down political power that the Koch brothers have successfully used to convinces poor rural folks vote to worsen their own economic plight.

    Like

      1. A little long winded I guess.

        “I don’t envision Alaskan ostracizing the NRA either. Do you?”

        And the basic answer:

        “The Alaska credit card is sought after, and its highly unlikely that rural conservatives in Alaska or Montana would give up using it to get cold winter escapes to Hawaii and Costa Rica, no matter what liberal stance Alaska takes to appease its main market.”

        But the important point is my last one:

        “It’s all business. As for money=power, don’t confuse this bottom up consumer power of the richer blue cities and states with the kind of top down political power that the Koch brothers have successfully used to convince poor rural folks vote to worsen their own economic plight.”

        This friction is on full display between Delta and the Georgia politicians over the Atlanta business power house Delta’s split with the NRA and the Georgia government threatening to bite the business hand that feeds them by taking away preferential tax cuts for Delta. Who do you think ultimately wins that fight: the political dogs or their corporate master?

        Like

  2. Tom, great insight as usual. I’m not big on boycotts. I’m not an NRA member but I am thinking about joining just to show my support of the 2nd Amendment. I am an Enterprise customer. I am considering using another.

    Be blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Really don’t like Enterprise. Use them because I am a USAA member. Every time I rent a car I call, tell them I want something inexpensive. They say no problem. Then when I have left my personal vehicle to be work on, they try to pressure me to upgrade to something more expensive. Hate that kind of nonsense.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. @anon

    “American is an airline that has gone bankrupt and received government bailouts (I think more than once). They aren’t very good at making cost to gains calculations.
    Southwest is the only major airline that has never received a government bailout.“

    Not completely true, but part of the truth. I only bring it up because I have some expertise in this area.

    First of all, Southwest was not the only airline not to receive a government bailout after 9/11. There were a few other notable exceptions. But your point seems to be that if an airline ever benefited from governmental largesse then they make dumb business decisions and dropping the NRA is just another one of them.

    9/11 was a terrorist attack specifically on the airlines and American was one of airlines actually attacked. We could argue about the details, but the strategic and economic ramifications of allowing the terrorists to succeed in destroying our air travel public transportation system certainly justified some governmental action.

    As for why so many airlines have gone out of business or gone bankrupt since Jimmy Carter deregulated the airlines, that is extremely complicated in terms of market analysis and their necessary quasi governmental role and support as a public transportation system. However, as for American’s bankruptcy, that was done for the sole reason of shedding deferred compensation liabilities in the form of defined benefit plans (mainly the pilots’) onto the taxpayer through the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation (PBGC). Just as the Donald used bankruptcy laws to make money, I’m certain that the American Executives at that time saw this as a very good business decision. On the other hand, due to even more recent and complex market changes, American is doing quite well lately and is more in danger of monopolizing it’s markets than losing them.

    The fascinating character of American politics lately is that the real economic power is in economically rich blue bastions and the real political power is in poor red bastions. Because the economic power houses in the country (cities and blue states) are mostly blue, there is little risk of these airlines losing much of their market demographic by getting rid of NRA member discounts and a good deal of likelihood of improving market share. Don’t know for sure, but it would be a pretty good bet that NRA membership is mostly in red states and rural areas of blue states. Chances are in those NRA membership intensive areas, the customers don’t have much of a market choice anyway.

    If you don’t think that these airlines made this calculation based on these rational marketing decisions, then you are quite naive about the rapacious nature of the corporate decision making.

    Other than that, I’ll just second what Doug wrote.

    Like

    1. I’m unfortunately too busy (probably the rest of the week too) to really respond to this. I’d like to respond to your other post also…but it will be serval days I’ll just take a couple of points here.

      “First of all, Southwest was not the only airline not to receive a government bailout after 9/11. There were a few other notable exceptions.”

      I did not mention 9/11. Prior to November of 2011, American, Southwest, and Jet Blue were the only major airlines to have never filed for bankruptcy. After November of 2011, American joined the rest of their peers, leaving only Southwest and Jet Blue.
      At least according to CNN Money: http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/29/news/companies/american_airlines_bankruptcy/index.htm
      But jet blue is very new (established in 1998) so I didn’t think to count it.

      Per the rest: I’m sure they had their reasons. But Southwest notably didn’t.

      “If you don’t think that these airlines made this calculation based on these rational marketing decisions, then you are quite naive about the rapacious nature of the corporate decision making.”

      Time will tell, obviously. Three of the notably best managed companies in America are Chick fila, Costco, and Southwest. I don’t foresee any of them ostracizing the NRA. Care to make a wager that fact won’t hurt their bottom line?

      Like

      1. Minor point but Alaska Airlines has also never filed for bankruptcy.

        “Three of the notably best managed companies in America are Chick fila, Costco, and Southwest. I don’t foresee any of them ostracizing the NRA. Care to make a wager that fact won’t hurt their bottom line?“

        I wouldn’t currently say that Southwest is one of “the best managed” companies, although they have a history of being managed well under Herb Kelleher – since he retired, not so much. As for the rest, I have no opinion (although I like Costco a lot). As I said earlier, I think that you may have the issue of target market demographics involved when you look at who decides to boycott the NRA. Whether successful or not, it is, however, mainly a business decision based on those demographics and not really a moral one. Companies make moral decisions mostly only when it’s good for business.

        Once again, the interesting part of this, when you have time to respond, really is that the economic power (and arguably the actual population numbers) lies with the Democrats, but the political power mostly lies with the Republicans. We can expect each side to use the power that they can bring to bear when it is possible.

        Like

        1. “Minor point but Alaska Airlines has also never filed for bankruptcy.”

          It’s not really a minor point. I like Richard Branson very much. He is a liberal and good manager of people (Virgin, I think, is a subsidiary of Alaskan). I don’t envision Alaskan ostracizing the NRA either. Do you?

          I agree Southwest’s current leader is no Herb. He is a bean counter, not a people person. But he’s pretty smart on those beans. Think he was the brain behind Southwest’s fuel hedging (before the other airlines copied the idea). By contrast to Southwest, some of the other majors have not only been bailed out once, they’ve been bailed more than once.

          Here is the domestic market share for airline:
          https://www.statista.com/statistics/250577/domestic-market-share-of-leading-us-airlines/

          Per money and market share, it is interesting the blue states have the most. But I think it’s also a bit relative. I can buy a very large home in Texas for 300k or a tiny studio apartment (if that) in Manhattan or LA.

          Weren’t you the one who argued recently that money=power?

          At any rate, the NRA has kind of annoyed me because they don’t support removing bump stocks. And there’s really no reason not to as they are a defective item. Alternately, they could make bump stocks available in the same way automatic weapons are available, with the same restrictions (since it essentially turns a semi-automatic into an automatic). That just makes sense. I don’t like it when an organization sounds foolish (and they are on this point) because it discredits them when they are not foolish.

          Like

        2. If politicians want to curb semi-automatic sales, they should stop talking about banning those weapons. Prior to the Federal Assault Weapons ban passed by Clinton, those were pretty obscure weapons very few people possessed. After the ban expired, the price about tripled and you can find them everywhere now…even Bass Pro shop has them.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Tom

    Three columns in Chicago Tribune today relate to your post. I wonder if the NRA sues the companies for discrimination for giving discounts to one group andt not another violates their Rights./

    It seems to work for other groups. Will this one wind up in SCOTUS.

    If interested, here is two of them, the third by Dahleen Glanton is not on google.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/columnists/reed/ct-biz-nra-business-backlash-robert-reed-0227-story.html

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-united-airlines-nra-20180224-story.html
    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    If it does go to SCOTUS, iwill it will either end discounts to everyone? If Scotus rules against the baker case and the gays, then I guess that means the will vote against the companies and etc. etc. etc.

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If one private party does not want to do business with another, what has the government got to do with it? Yet we have reached the point what people want their god, government, to decide every moral issue. At the same time, nobody trusts politicians.
      🙄

      The two editorials you linked to don’t actually justify what those companies are doing. They just assume that it is right and proper to hate the NRA. The second one does the same with banning gun sales to 18-21 year-olds. Yet nobody has shown that 18-21 year-olds are more likely to go crazy with a gun. In fact, at 18 we have drafted young men into the military.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I think it is a natural reaction that when someone or something irks you, spoils your taste, or reminds you of something unpleasant, you naturally will want to avoid the experience.

    Frankly, I used to enjoy Meryl Streep performances, but now if I went to see her perform, just seeing her, would remind and irk me to think about her political statements.

    If I try to listen to a CNN political news opinions or viewpoints, the sounds I hear remind me of listening to a bunch of parrots screeching sounds so I no longer tune my channel to their station number anymore.

    So if a business or a personality wants to make a decision that may remind their customers of something irritable to them, they surely must know they will lose some customers and that is foolish in my opinion. That is unless they have a marketing department that convinces them that by doing so, they will gain customers.

    I prefer the idiom, in life, try to make friends, not enemies.

    Same goes for a business, in my opinion. Political opinions today are becoming so divisive. When a business makes political decisions, they may experience the same thing as what happens when a cold wind blows into your house or window, you shut it.

    In other words, if a NRA member calling in a reservation is told they no longer give a discount, that is not a friendly or welcoming remark, it is an irritating offensive reminder about omething you may value more than the business you choose..

    Regards and goodwill blogging.
    .

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Damn, Tom.. you seem to be getting worse. Now you are assigning big business as being anti-American because they all dissed the NRA? Jeez, Tom… why not make LaPierre Christian America’s supreme leader and prophet at the “pope” level. All this just because of a self-induced fear of the Second Amendment being taken away?
    Check your priorities, man.

    Like

    1. Not so much anti-American but cowardly. The businesses quickly caved to an emotional mob because they are worried about their bottom line. I guess you can’t blame them in a way. If one doesn’t stand with what’s assumed by Progressives to the the accepted moral way of thinking about the NRA, you must coerced in to doing so via a virtual network of blaming, shaming, fake information and threats. Stunning really as to what’s going on and more than bit frightening.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. A business exists to make a profit for it’s owners (most times public investors). That’s what free market is all about. They all made a business decision that there would be more harm to their bottom line in staying with the currently unpopular NRA. “Cowardly” is not even a business consideration and never should be.
        Honestly, if one values the concept of interest group/lobby organizations and their role in the overall process of serving the country by serving their members, the NRA is falling flat on its face. It needs new management and a more focused purpose. The irony here is that the NRA is also a business and needs a profit to operate… and that is their responsibility toward its members to carry forward the interest. With those businesses bugging out the NRA just lost a chunk of change and from a business standpoint I would want to know, if I were still a member, what management is up to.

        Like

        1. NRA gets most of their money from member dues and donations. These companies only said they were no longer offering discounts to NRA members, so who knows if the NRA lost any money at all from it. From what I’ve heard memberships have sky rocketed.

          The NRA is not unpopular, that is the narrative being relentlessly pushed along with the absurdity that they had anything at all to do with the Parkland shootings. Companies don’t like negative press and so instead of standing up to the nonsense they do the easy thing and cut ties. Cowardly but easy.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. “These companies only said they were no longer offering discounts to NRA members, so who knows if the NRA lost any money at all from it.”

          I doubt the NRA lost anything. This wasn’t fear for their bottom line (who, other than an NRA member, keeps track of NRA discount perks?), the businesses must believe it will help them somehow. American is an airline that has gone bankrupt and received government bailouts (I think more than once). They aren’t very good at making cost to gains calculations.
          Southwest is the only major airline that has never received a government bailout.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well, anon…
            1. Not sure what airline government bailouts have to do with any of them leaving the NRA?

            2. I thought you weren’t replying to me anymore. I can certainly understand your frustration regarding banging away at an immovable object and getting tired; there’s a lot of that going around these days. Given that I don’t wish to offend if I reply… so you prefer I not reply?.

            Like

        3. “1. Not sure what airline government bailouts have to do with any of them leaving the NRA?”
          It has to do with poor management skills and a history of making poor cost to gains decisions. I believe this to be another (as I said above, in fewer words).

          “2. I thought you weren’t replying to me anymore. I can certainly understand your frustration regarding banging away at an immovable object and getting tired; there’s a lot of that going around these days. Given that I don’t wish to offend if I reply… so you prefer I not reply?”

          My response wasn’t to you but to Tricia. I never said I wasn’t going to respond to you, I said I was done responding to you on the subject of firearms specifically. This is the topic of bad business decisions.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. “Ok.. well.. whatever works I suppose.”

          LOL ?
          Just noticed American isn’t up there. I thought it was, but Delta and United are. Same/same. American and United are merging.
          I’m guessing no one is going to fly American or United more because they don’t offer discounts to NRA members. That would surprise me. But NRA members might choose another airline now. Same with rental cars. The rental car industry is already hurting, badly, by the impact of uber.

          Liked by 1 person

    2. I am happy with the way Tricia replied. Given the way you criticize Trump, ….

      Businesses do exist to make a profit, but I want to do business with people I trust. Gutless people who don’t put doing the right thing before their profits cannot be trusted.

      Liked by 1 person

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