Masterpiece Cake Shop From Right As Texas Pols Attack Banks

How quickly opinions change. The Masterpiece Cake Shop comes to mind. Not terribly long ago the owners of the Lakewood, CO small business were asked to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. They passed on the business an expression of their own values.

Conservatives rightly supported the owners. Private businesses have long reserved the right to choose their customers (think signs like “No shirt, no shoes, no service”), and the right is fundamental.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, members of the left went on the attack against Masterpiece’s decision. Private property would have to fall victim to the culture wars. The case ultimately made it to the Supreme Court.  

Masterpiece rates discussion now in consideration of a law passed in Texas in 2021, and that restricts the state from doing business with financial institutions seen as taking a stand against fossil fuels and firearms. To be clear, the law was passed by conservative-leaning members of the Texas legislature. Which signals an appropriation of left-wing tactics of governance, but much worse, it signals an appropriation of left-wing tactics of hostility toward private property.

About this expressed point of view, the viewpoint of the person you’re reading should be clarified on the matter of oil. The deeply held view here is that oil is the world’s most essential physical commodity, and nothing else comes close. Without oil, life would be defined by unrelenting drudgery simply because oil and its byproducts have long mechanized the very production of abundance that has made life so comfortable to begin with. To remove oil from the production equation would be like removing the arms and legs of the human body. So much that we do, and so much that we’re able to do (including driving electric cars) wouldn’t be possible absent the advances made possible by a commodity so fundamental to our daily lives.

From there, it should be added that absent oil there would neither exist the wealth nor the time that wealth affords for those hostile to its consumption to protest it. The deeply held view here is that environmental activism is indicative of immense economic privilege, privilege that largely wouldn’t exist absent oil.

Of course, the immense good that fossil fuels bring to the world speaks to the abject foolishness of the war against financial institutions by Texas politicians. If in fact the banks and investment banks they’re harassing do have a moral problem with fossil fuel extraction, why would any Texan care? Precisely because of the brilliant living standards wrought by oil, the business that certain financial institutions refuse (perhaps for reasons related to environmentalism) will be eagerly be taken up by a long, long line of suiters not so easily bothered.

After which, live and let live is just so much part of the Texas ethos. So is private property. Let people do as they wish, always and everywhere free of government coercion. It’s good for freedom, private property, and by extension it’s good for the economy.

Which explains why the aforementioned legislation, along with the harassing of financial institutions subsequent to the legislation, is so disturbing. Not only does it trample on property rights, not only is it increasing the tax burden on Texans, the most galling aspect of the legislation is that it’s the stuff of left-leaning nanny states: businesses won’t adhere to our lefty view of the world, so let’s enlist the state to force our views into the executive suite.

For the longest time Texas has been the willing beneficiary of fed up Americans escaping excessive government from around the country. And now Texas politicians are mimicking the actions of the politicians in states that have added to the Texas population. Where are the cultural appropriation police when we actually need them?

Republished from RealClear Markets


  • John Tamny

    John Tamny is a popular speaker and author in the U.S. and around the world. His speech topics include "Government Barriers to Economic Growth," "Why Washington and Wall Street are Better Off Living Apart," and more.

    View all posts
Scroll to Top