Americans already have trust issues. But now, woke CEOs are making it worse. Business leaders of major corporations often are in support of far-left measures publicly but say the opposite behind closed doors. And because so many leaders in society are too afraid to take a stand, ESG — the ‘largest social credit scoring system in human history’ — is destroying our free market. Vivek Ramaswamy, author of ‘Woke, Inc.,’ joins Glenn to discuss how the Great Reset, ESG, and the ‘ideological cartels’ pushing such measures are seeping into societies around the world faster than you may think. Plus. Ramaswamy explains what he believes will be the defining political struggle of our time — something he calls the ‘Great Uprising’ — and it’s NOT about political parties…
Below is a rush transcript that may contain errors
GLENN: Hello, America. And welcome to the Glenn Beck Program. There is a massive lie that you're being told. And that is that ESG and the great reset is not what you think it is. It's not what these crazy people say it is.
Well, those crazy people that say what it really is, are the people that are at the top of the food chain. The elites that have put it together, and put it into action.
And, you know, when we were working on this ESG legislation, up in -- up in Idaho. We were working with 20 different states.
Idaho folded like the a cheap suit. And it's because the lobbyists are coming out. And they're spending a fortune, to lobby against anyone who is trying to pass any kind of legislation against ESG.
It's a lie, when they say, oh, no. This is just the free market. No, it's not. No, it's not.
It's the opposite of the free market. It is 21st century fascism. Vivek Ramaswamy is with us. He's the author of Woke, Inc.
And, Vivek, I wanted to get you on, because you had a couple of really good articles and tweets lately. And I just kind of wanted to mine this and have you explain what you mean by this. I wish CEOs would say in public, what they say in private, about their views on ESG, and DEI. It would go a long way towards restoring our trust in leaders.
ESG represents the greatest social credit scoring system, in human history. Wow.
Welcome to the program. You want to go into that?
VIVEK: Yeah. Absolutely, Glenn. Thanks for having me. And I'm really glad that a voice like yours is on top of what I feel is a defining issue of our time.
VIVEK: Which is the use of the private sector to do through the back door, what governments cannot do through the front door.
That is what -- I call this the three-letter acronomized version of capitalism. Some call it ESG. Some will say TEI. Some will say CCR. Behind it all, is the CCP.
But whatever three-letter acronym you prefer, it's actually the definition of modern crony capitalism, which works in reverse.
It's not the companies bribing the government to do their work. It's also the government bribing companies in return, to do their work back for them.
And so, you know, look, I'm an author. I've written these books. But I've also been a CEO. Right? I'm a founder and CEO, fortunately of a multi-billion-dollar company.
I was a hedge fund partner for years before that. I wasn't born (inaudible) in America, but I've lived it for the last 15 years. I know how the game is played.
I will tell you, I had lunch with the CEO of one of the largest companies in his industry. And it was actually the day that I put out that first tweet.
I was so frustrated coming out of it. I felt like his therapist the whole time. Where he had read my book. And wanted to complain to me, about all the things that he had to go through. He's the CEO of the company, mind you.
Yet, at the end of the day, actually I look at some of the statements he had been making. It's a carbon footprint of diversity and inclusion must be part of our agenda. ESG is a part of our future.
It's clear to me, he doesn't mean the things he's saying. But the actual loss of public trust in many ways, comes from the fact, that even when the words are coming out of the CEO's mouth, whether you're on the right or the left, you know you can't believe them. That's what I meant by that. That particular remark.
GLENN: It is truly terrifying. When I was working against these lobbyists. Small banks. Local banks. Were coming to the -- the representatives in the state. And saying, please. I cannot say this out loud.
But please, pass anti-ESG legislation. Or we're all toast.
Please, pass this. People are not willing to say it out loud. And that's killing us. It's killing us.
VIVEK: That's the culture of feature. And to me, the best measure of any democracy, especially the American democracy, are the percentage of people, are willing to say what they actually think in public.
When there's no doubt, that we're doing worse than any time that I can remember in my lifetime on that metric.
Because we have combined the use of economic force, with the normative questions that we settle through a democracy. And so you look at democracy. You're supposed to settle questions through persuasion and free speech and open debate in the public square.
Maybe you and I would have one view on climate change and appropriate policy towards it, and maybe somebody else would have a different view. Or how do we correct for racial injustice? Somebody else has a different view, great.
In democracy, we talk in the open, in the civic sphere and persuade each other with ESG and the related stakeholder capitalist movement do.
They substitute economic force, fire in you, excluding you from the economy. Et cetera. They use that force, as a substitute for free speech and open debate.
And the ESG movement, in particular, uses the force of capital ownership in companies to do it. Where you have an ideological cartel of $20 trillion in the hands of the top three asset managers in the country.
BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard. That go to the top companies in this country. Show up as the shareholder, and say that, we are the shareholders. We want you to implement diversity, equity, inclusion.
Cut your carbon emissions. If you're an oil company, stop producing oil.
But guess what, the people whose money they're using to wield that power, are your listeners. Are me. Are you. Are everyday Americans, whose money is being weaponized back against them, in ways that would make their blood boil. If they actually knew what was going on.
We're teaching them what's going on.
GLENN: That's why -- well, that's why it is so frustrating.
We just had a secretary of -- or, the State Treasurer of Idaho, fold. And take a tough ESG bill. And just put one in it, without any teeth. And the whole idea was, don't invest in places like BlackRock. That are working against the people of our state.
VIVEK: Is this Julie Ellsworth you're talking about?
GLENN: Why do you ask?
VIVEK: Oh, it was the State Treasurer of Idaho you're mentioning.
GLENN: Yeah. Do you know her?
VIVEK: I mean, I spoke to a conference of the State Treasurers a couple months ago, and most of them were in the audience. And I was explaining to them, look. It's not BlackRock's money. It's not your money either. It is the money of your citizens.
GLENN: Thank you.
VIVEK: That ultimately, actually finds their way into the public's fist, which in turn, finds its way into the fist of BlackRock. Which then uses that money to vote those shares and to whisper campaign into the ears of the top 500 CEOs of the country to say, this is what we, as the investors, want, betraying the idea that it's not the State Treasurer's money. Actually, it's not the BlackRock manager's money. It is the money of those everyday citizens. Here's what I will say about State Treasurers. Is many of their hearts are in the right place. Actually, many of them are starting to wake up to the phenomenon, because they're hearing from their constituents.
GLENN: Many are.
VIVEK: Unlike BlackRock's CEO, unlike Larry Fink, they are politically accountable, and that is a good thing. That is how a democracy works. So that mechanism of political accountability, has caused them to wake up.
But they're also accountable to the force of dollars through lobbying and political contributions that pull them at the other direction.
But I think at the end of the day, they're accountable to the people.
And what we need to educate people on, is the fact that it is their own money, that they get to vote as well.
Not just vote every November at the ballot box. But their second vote and their third vote comes from the capital they spend, the way their shares are voted in the marketplace of corporate America. And I think that that tide is getting ready to shift.
So I'm optimistic, that even though many of these people -- it will take a lot of courage for the first few state treasurers to sort of jump into the deep end of the pool, and go the other way. But I think that that's what the people are demanding.
And the more we shine a sunlight on a problem, the more we make progress towards the solution. I'm personally working on creating alternatives in the marketplace, to provide consumers with actually bringing a voice to the table. I think that's the most important problem of our time.
GLENN: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I agree.
This is it. If this is implemented, we become China.
And it's over. The freedom that we have. The Constitution means nothing. And I think the best example of this. And people aren't tying this together.
We're not the ones that -- that have decided to go to war against Russia.
These sanctions, these are not governmental sanctions. This is ESG.
McDonald's pulling out, after they said they didn't want to, and then they -- they -- they announced, I thought this was amazing, that they had real reputational risk, that they had to consider. So they closed McDonald's.
These decisions are --
VIVEK: I'm glad, yes.
GLENN: These decisions are not being made through public pressure. They're not being made through our elected officials. They're not being made by voters, regular people. They are being made by the boardrooms, after they get the calls from the banks and the financial industry.
VIVEK: Exactly. And, you know what, this is how both sides are duped into submission. Liberals and conservatives.
Liberals used to be skeptical of corporate power. But they've accepted it as corporate powers, used to advance their own objectives.
We, conservatives, for our part, are duped into submission within because they say, that the free market can do no wrong.
Without recognizing, that free market does not exist today. And both sides are due to the rise of this woke industrial -- ESG industrial complex.
That's actually far more powerful than big government alone, because it can work with the private sector to do what big government cannot do.
I think you're -- I feel a little shy preaching to you. But I think the -- I think the defining political force of our time and struggle, is not left versus right, actually.
It is the everyday citizen, versus the managerial class. It's The Great Reset, which calls for dissolving the boundaries between institutions globally, and see those institutional leaders work together towards their vision of the common good, versus what I call the great uprising. Which is also a transnational movement of everyday citizens, who are beginning to say, no. We make those decisions in a democracy together.
It's our voice that matters, equally. To Larry Fink, or anyone else sitting in a corner office. And those two forces, Glenn, I believe are on a collision force.
You know, we won't see it in 2022. Because it's the let's go Brandon agenda or whatever. Partisan politics in the United States, that is boring to me.
But in the couple of years after, this is coming to a head. It's an existential question for democracies in the West.
And look, I'm on the side of the great uprising. I want to channel that energy in a productive direction.
GLENN: Me too.
VIVEK: And I think we can do that. And I think it's the most important question of our time.
GLENN: I just said, a couple minutes ago. Republicans, you better wake up to this right now.
Because the people will go -- if they don't find somebody, that is reasonable to lead them, and to tell them the truth, I'm telling you, both sides. Both sides. Of reasonable people, that work for a living.
I don't care how you voted. They're going to find out what this is all about. And they're going to be hurting financially.
And God help us. About to do help us.
We're headed for real trouble.
GLENN: And, you know what, Vivek, you're the only person that I've heard that really talks about the whole world is in it.
We're so focused on ourselves, that we don't understand that Brexit is about the same kind of thing.
VIVEK: That's right. And the truckers in Canada.
VIVEK: Know the same thing in their bones, this is a trans partisan, transnational issue. And, you know what, I don't have much faith in the Republicans actually. I think, at the end of the day, most of them are institutionalists. Most of them are bought and sold, just like the other side.
GLENN: I don't either. Yeah.
VIVEK: That's why the partisan politics of this is boring. It misses the issue. It almost deflects the issue by retrofitting a model -- a historical model on to a phenomenon right now that is totally different.
It is the everyday citizen, versus the managerial class, and there are members of both parties in each task. You and I both spoke at CPAC. Tulsi Gabbard, she spoke at CPAC. She ran for president of the United States on the Democratic party ticket. She still was the best I could tell, from her comments, on the side of the everyday citizen. So there's people -- and God knows, there's a lot of Republicans on the side of the managerial class.
So I think we will need to rethink the boundaries, and I think it's everyday citizens versus managerial class. It is Great Reset versus great uprising.
That's the way we need to be recognizing, this beyond partisan, beyond national boundary issue.
And last point, I will make. Glenn, you're one of the few people, who I've heard, who put his finger on the international dimension of this. You just did it a little bit ago. But in China, it's really, really important to watch for. Because they understand, that capitalism, all right? Is the Trojan horse, through which they win the great power struggle.
If Greece would have never defeated Troy militarily, China will never defeat the United States militarily. But they have recognized that the ESG link movement, creates an opportunity to turn our multi-national companies based here, into Trojan horses, to undermine our own agenda from within.
I'll give you a very specific example. I can give you countless examples. But a recent one. For my book. Not from my book.
Okay? They take three seats. Three changed seats on the board of Exxon.
And they tell Exxon that you need to cut oil production. They call that ESG-friendly. Let's see what that's done for gas prices here. Let's see what it's done for our reliance on foreign producers of oil, one year later. But put that to one side.
You think those projects are still going to happen? Or will they not happen? Whatever you think about climate change and carbon emission. Those projects are still going to happen, and better positioned to take on those projects. Are going to be none other than the likes of PetroChina. Which can take on the projects, that -- and if we say who is an almost equally large shareholder of PetroChina. I'm sure you can guess. It's the same guys, who wanted us to cut oil production in the United States. BlackRock.
GLENN: Unbelievable. Unbelievable believable.
DAVID: So this is unbelievable. At the end of the day, China is able to use capital force from the terror market access, to the golden goose of the Chinese market, as a weapon, to get those same companies to weaken the United States within, by applying so-called ESG standards, without applying those same standards to China broad. So that's how they've been playing this game. And they're playing us like a Chinese mandolin, and it's working. But it will only work as long as we're not seeing it.
GLENN: Vivek, I would love to have you on again soon. You 100 percent get it, and your voice needs to be heard. Vivek Ramaswamy. He's the author of Woke, Inc.
If you haven't read it yet, you should get it. Great to talk to you, Vivek. We'll talk again hopefully soon.