April 20, 2018

Source: Bigstock

As Brandon Tatum has noted, this was a chance for the men to learn a lesson about respect for other people and for authority. Instead, Starbucks chose to go the lucrative cowardly route. As if in self-parody, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson flew into town in order to apologize to “the two victims.” Unlike Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, Johnson did not have the backbone to say that this is a clear trespassing case. Johnson’s allegiance is to lucre, not truth, and he therefore gave the public the polite, meaningless words he believes it wants to hear:

Our concept has always been that Starbucks is in the community. It’s a gathering place…. Starbucks was built around the concept of the third place and creating a warm and welcoming environment for all customers…. In this particular incident, we did not deliver on that warm, welcoming environment for those two gentlemen, and for that I apologize to them.

As warm and fuzzy as your favorite latte. Perhaps Dean Ted Ruger of the debased UPenn law school can bring in Johnson as a guest speaker. Afterward these two most lovable white fellows might treat every person of color in the City of Brotherly Love to cheesesteaks at Pat’s or Geno’s.

It is very strange, and very funny, to see this quasi-morality more and more become a powerful element of working life. From the beginning America has been a tediously priggish Protestant country. As many foreigners have noticed, Americans tend to be bad at minding their own business. And we see something of this excessive moralistic spirit in the intensity with which companies now make social issues a part of their “brand.” So too, in the way in which the mob—or rather, the American public—calls for boycotts of those companies that—terrible thing!—do not agree with it on this or that issue.

All this quasi-morality is ultimately a kind of vague substitute for Christianity, its primary function being that it enables everybody to overlook the boundless egoism that is the essence of every workplace. The ignoble charade, any non-idiot can see, consists of pretending that we are all friends, or members of a family, or as the unbearably trite corporate types say, “good team members.”

As in Europe, Christianity is gradually on the way out in America, so we should expect the workplace to become more and more suffused with this curious blend of Protestant priggishness and progressive ideology. After all, we must have some form of collective “morality,” at least until we kill each other off for diversity’s sake!

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