Conservative dogma has long held that the government should not meddle in the business of private companies. But for many months now a crusade to stop investors and companies from considering ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) factors in their decision-making has taken off in various political arenas.

Investors and corporate executives have long known that some ESG-related issues may represent a material risk to a company’s performance or, alternatively, may represent a tangible opportunity to be explored. But this is being derided as a form of “woke capitalism” and is the subject of congressional hearings and unhinged rants in media outlets. Such ideas, coming from people and groups who tout the benefits of limited government and free markets, are at odds with how the free market works as well as the fundamentals of capitalism.

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