If it does it will offer partial confirmation of an argument that James Poulos proposed in The Hedgehog Review last year — that the hollowing out of all the old communities in American life has left the corporation, however mistrusted and even vilified upon occasion, as one of the last plausible vessels for communitarian yearnings, offering in branding and employment and consumption “a fixity that we struggle to find within ourselves or in the consolations of love, faith or honor.”
“As much as we fear corporations gone wild,” Poulos concludes, “we love corporations that love us.” And in a rich society people may prefer that their #brands prove this love by identifying with favored social causes rather than through the old-fashioned expedient of paying their workers a little bit more money.
Or some people may prefer it, at least — the professional classes, blessed with material comfort, and those groups designated as being on the official winning side of history. For others, though, the Peace of Palo Alto has rather less to offer. It confirms the blue-collar suspicion that liberalism is no longer organized around working-class economic interests, and it encourages cultural conservatives in their feeling of general besiegement, their sense that all the major institutions of American life, corporate as well as intellectual and cultural, are arrayed against their mores and values and traditions.