Monday July 19, 2021
Teddy Roosevelt gave a speech in 1902, “The Control of Corporations,” which warned of the danger of corporate power over citizens’ lives. Calling corporations “creatures of the state,” he said they must be controlled by “the representatives of the public.” Roosevelt was a Republican, but his distrust of corporations (and his later faith in big government) would become a touchstone of Democratic politics for generations, from the Great Depression to the Great Society.
Like the reversal of Earth’s magnetic poles, American politics now seems suddenly to have flipped: Democratic leaders increasingly advocate for corporate governance while Republicans voice populist themes. From supporting the largest censorship programs in history to privately mandated vaccine “passports,” liberals are looking to companies like Apple or American Airlines to carry out social programs free from constitutional and political limits imposed on the government.
This new model of governance was evident when White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about a mandated vaccine passport system. She responded that it is “not currently the role of the federal government” but noted that the administration hopes to see such a mandate from “private-sector entities, universities, institutions that are starting to mandate, and that’s an innovative step that they will take and they should take.”