My father was a plant manager for a manufacturing plant that actually made stuff. If you asked him what his job was, he’d tell you it was “controlling the animals.” Hopefully, that would allow stuff to be made that people would buy and would keep him employed. Controlling the animals that worked the machines was the key and necessary part to success.
Through the early part of the 1970s, the company outsourced control of the animals to a union. In exchange for keeping the animals in line, the union made a lot of money for itself and its leadership. The union let the company know the price of keeping the animals in line through a process called “collective bargaining.”
And then the animals started to get out of control and the company told the union that they wouldn’t be able to meet their price in the most recent round of collective bargaining. The union let the company know they would go on strike. The company replied that their only recourse would be to move from Ohio to Tennessee where the animals required less expensive feeding. And so the company did leaving all of the animals in Ohio going “wot happened?”
To be sure, the union wasn’t happy that the company left but it was better than the alternative where the animals would break from their cages on their own. It was probably for the best.
It’s instructive to know what the effect this had on the senior executives of the company. They were thrilled. They moved their offices into really nice digs in an office tower while my dad moved the plant to Tennessee. Their offices had been in the plant which was built early in the century. The executives were much happier now!
The plant in Tennessee was going to be non-union and my dad knew that he was now responsible for controlling the animals. As the largest employer in the county, the animals were flocking to be there and all was going well until one Monday.
On that Monday, my dad walked into the plant and there was literally no one there other than his secretary. My dad, who had been a sergeant in the army, said something like [email protected]#$ ^%$ animals %^&!!! His secretary replied “Didn’t you hear, Mr. Paul? The catfish are running!” From that day forward, the key to controlling the animals was “you want me to let you off when the catfish are running, don’t you?”
This leads us to the topic of wokeness. Corporations kneeling at the alter of wokeness is nothing more than controlling the animals. Whether it’s unions or having a holiday when the catfish are running, the single and really only need companies have is controlling the animals.
When we all needed to take “sensitivity training,” it wasn’t because the company cared — it was because a certain set of the animals were getting rowdy and this was the easiest and cheapest way to control the animals. And it worked. As you may have noticed, this sort of training was never attended by executives and they exempted themselves from it altogether.
“Black Lives Matter” and all of the other wokeness of recent months has resulted in the usual corporate reaction to control the animals. A memo here, a training course there, the creation of a Tiger Team, and maybe a donation to a cause are just the same tried and true ways to control the animals.
Do the executives of these companies actually “care?” They care in the same way that we all care about schools, for example. It’s more of a caring philosophy rather than actually doing something. A caring philosophy is more fulfilling and a lot less risky because if you actually try to do something, such as promote school choice, you’re likely to subject yourself to a lot of criticism. One thing companies don’t want is criticism.
And do executives see themselves worrying a whole heck of a lot about whether there will be more people of color within their ranks? I THINK NOT! They care about three things in this order: meeting the quarterly sales objectives, cutting costs, and receiving their bonuses. And the key to them receiving their bonuses is controlling the animals and they will do what’s necessary to make certain that is achieved while spending as little money as possible.