ALEC’s Doublethink Attack On America’s Free Markets

double think it means the power to hold two contradictory beliefs in the mind simultaneously and accept them both. The party intellectual knows in which direction his memories must be altered; he knows, therefore, that he is playing tricks with reality; but for the exercise of double thought it is also satisfied that reality is not violated. The process must be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it must also be unconscious, or it would lead to a feeling of falsity and therefore guilt.

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From 1984 by George Orwell

When it comes to double thought, Big Brother is nothing compared to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). For those of you who have woken up (no doubt the vast majority of people who read my column) who have never heard of ALEC, let me help indoctrinate you into their Orwellian world. Let’s start with the home page of their website which proudly declares that:

“The American Legislative Exchange Council is the largest in America non-partisan [emphasis mine] volunteer membership organization of state legislators dedicated to the principles of limited government, free markets [emphasis mine] and federalism. Comprised of nearly a quarter of the nation’s state legislators and stakeholders from across the policy spectrum, ALEC members represent more than 60 million Americans and employ more than 30 million people to the United States”.

As Orwell makes clear, doublethink is a tricky concept to understand and a difficult thing to do well. So, before addressing ALEC’s sophisticated application of “doublethink” to the idea of ​​”free markets,” let’s go further toward that by first addressing its claim of nonpartisanship, defined by Oxford Languages ​​as : “not biased or partisan, especially towards any particular. political group”. Strap. You’ll love this!

Its leadership team, 100% Republican but split 50/50 by gender, is led by CEO Lisa B. Nelson. Nice to see that ALEC at least appreciates the gendered form of diversity, even though DE&I, along with climate change, are key words for the anti-Woke/ESG cabal I’ve been writing about. And it will continue to do so.

Ms. Nelson has a very impressive resume. He managed to shake off the shackles of his bachelor’s degree in political science and international relations from Woke University of California in Berkeley to serve as Public Affairs Liaison to US House Speaker Newt Gingrich from 1995 to 1998. work for the Conservative. National Review magazine founded in 1955 by conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr. Nelson also helped him found the National Review Institute in 1991, whose “mission is to preserve and promote Buckley’s legacy and advance the principles of a free society through educational and outreach programs.” .” I long for the days of thoughtful, principled conservatism in the pre-Trump cult era (dare I hold out hope for midterm elections?) when bipartisanship was possible. Stay tuned for more information on this.

Ms. Nelson also proudly serves as a board member of the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF). SFOF laments that “politics in federal and state government is increasingly polarized.” He then helpfully explains that the cause of this is that “elected officials at all levels are under increasing pressure to adopt progressive policies that undermine economic freedom and harm economic growth.” Hmmm. Silly me thought that polarization required two poles. SFOF might be making progress here in theoretical physics with its concept of “unipolar polarization”. It might be possible to integrate this with doublethink. I have two degrees from MIT, but neither is in theoretical physics, so please give me some time to work on them.

ALEC has a large board of directors of 23 members. In their typically homely biographies (e.g., spouse, children, grandchildren, hobbies, and church affiliation) only three are clearly identified as Republicans: Rep. Seth Grove of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Speaker Philip Gunn of the Mississippi House of Representatives and Rep. Dan Laursen of the Wyoming House of Representatives. I guess why state the obvious unless there are personal reasons to assuage any doubt about one’s true red colour, right?

ALEC alumni include six governors, 13 senators, and 65 representatives for a total of 84 politicians. All the governors are Republicans, the only Democratic senator is Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and the only two Democratic House alumni are Tom O’Halloran of Arizona and Ed Perlmutter of Colorado.

Finally, ALEC has 95 state chairs. That was too much for me to check the political affiliation of each and every one. Almost all are red states with a few purple. So I took the non-random but scientifically astute approach of examining members of a handful of blue states: Delaware, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New Jersey. York. Each state has one member, compared to two or even three in red and purple states. And, yes, the ALEC member in each of these states is a Republican. Including Representative Nicholas Boldyga from my home state of Massachusetts. I am very proud!

Many may struggle with the adjective “nonpartisan” in what is practically a 100% Republican group. But this is not true doublethink. It’s simply clever labeling, if misleading and deceptive. The kind of thing people worry about with ESG.

The Center for Media and Democracy has written about ALEC and presents a different view. It states that “ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It’s much more powerful than that.” [emphasis in original“ “Secretive meetings” of “corporate lobbyists and state legislators” work to craft “’model bills’ to change our rights that often benefit the corporations’ bottom line at public expense.” These model bills are core to the theory of change of ALEC. “Participating legislators, overwhelmingly conservative Republicans, then bring those proposals home and introduce them in statehouses across the land as their own brilliant ideas and important public policy innovations—without disclosing that corporations crafted and voted on the bills.” So far over 1,000 of these bills have been crafted and with an impressive track record of a 20 percent success rate. ALEC knows its stuff and must feel irreplaceable in its important mission.

Okay, I’ll man up (which is more than I can say for ALEC and SFOF) and admit that this is a partisan view from the left and I lean more left than right. So let’s take the most recent example of an ALEC initiative that was just brought to my attention yesterday by a lawyer friend of mine. He sent me this article: “Lawmakers Asked To Curtail Free Speech Until Investors Stop Seeing Gun Manufacturers As A Bad Investment.” Here we see doublethink being enacted in exemplary fashion. LME. It’s kinda complicated so please read carefully. The reader can then draw his or her own conclusion about ALEC.

The article inspired me to do a bit of research and I found ALEC’s “Eliminate Political Boycotts Act.” Somewhat curiously—or perhaps simply through overly excited anticipation—it cites December 1, 2022, as the “Date Introduced.” Whatever the date, it is “AN ACT relating to state contracts with certain companies that engage in economic boycotts based on environmental, social, or governance criteria.” That dreaded ESG again 😱! ALEC has artfully prepared the legal language for this act to be easily introduced into any state legislature that is enamored of it.

The guts of the Act is that “a governmental entity may not enter into a contract with a company for goods or services unless the contract contains a written verification from the company that it:

i. does not engage in economic boycotts; and

ii. will not engage in economic boycotts during the term of the contract.”

The elements of this act are eerily similar to the Texas Section 809 Boycott Provision which I have already shown to be based on a logic of quicksand. This Act has pretty much the same problems and others. In particular, the Act gives the Attorney General broad enforcement powers such as requiring a purported boycotter to being examined under oath; examining any record, book, document, account or paper deemed necessary; and impounding the same “until the completion of all proceedings undertaken under this article or in the courts.”

As with Texas Section 809 it all rests on the meaning of the word “boycott.” Here the Act provides this helpful definition: “’Economic boycott’ means, without an ordinary business purpose, refusing to deal with, terminating business activities with, or otherwise taking any action that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on, limit commercial relations with, or change or limit the activities of a company.”

Which begs the question of “ordinary business purpose.” The Act states that ordinary business “does not include any purpose to further social, political, or ideological interests.” And how is this determined? It includes, but is “not limited to (i) branding, advertising, statements, explanations, reports, letters to clients, communications with portfolio companies, statements of principles, or commitments, or (ii) participation in, affiliation with, or status as a signatory to, any coalition, initiative, joint statement of principles, or agreement.” Sounds to me that pretty much anything under the sun can be seen as evidence of boycotting.

And now, drum roll please, doublethink! To most people, “free markets” means that people are free to make buying and selling decisions based on information they deem relevant to their economic interests. I’m sure ALEC has that same definition. However, in order to enforce his Act, the Attorney General can decide, at his whim, that the decision to, for example, underweight or divest the shares of an oil and gas company, for example, is a ideological act What if it’s not that good of a stock. Or is it time to sell high to buy into another company’s trough? Or by sectoral rotation?

ALEC’s doublethink holds that for free markets to remain free it is necessary to restrict the freedom of those who can make decisions based on criteria that an attorney general can capriciously define as “ideological.” Although they are based on a sound economic rationale. The AG as the omniscient Big Brother.

As Orwell explains, “”At the top of the pyramid [of Oceanic society] Big Brother is coming. Big Brother is infallible and all-powerful. Every success, every achievement, every victory, every scientific discovery, every knowledge, every wisdom, every happiness, every virtue, is considered to have come from his leadership and inspiration.”

Remember this about doublethink. “The process must be conscious, or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it must also be unconscious, or it would lead to a feeling of falsity and therefore guilt.”

Law is a conscious process. But its application will be unconscious. Here the genius of the Act is revealed in section 2, as the government entity can agree to exercise its Big Brother boycott powers based on things like “constitutional or statutory duties” in relation to funding , “obtaining the supplies or services to be provided.” in an economically practicable manner,” or an unspecified number of other reasons.

Consciously pass the Act to threaten the financial community. Subconsciously, don’t enforce it if it’s inconvenient. But everyone will consciously know that Big Brother can always step in to guarantee free markets. By taking away the freedom of others.

Hats off and respect to ALEC for the most excellent application of doublethink I have ever seen.


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