Religion & Liberty Online

Everything that’s wrong with Dick Costolo’s tweet in 1,531 characters

Woke capitalism went into overdrive on Wednesday, when a former Twitter CEO seemingly endorsed the full-scale liquidation of entrepreneurs who refuse to bring politics into the workplace.

Dick Costolo served as COO of Twitter before becoming its CEO from 2010 to 2015. On September 30, he replied to a tweet about woke capitalism from venture capitalist Paul Graham. Graham shared a statement from the cryptocurrency exchange platform Coinbase, which vowed to “create a sense of cohesion and unity” by emphasizing “sustained high performance” and refusing to “advocate for any particular causes or candidates internally that are unrelated to our mission, because it is a distraction from our mission.” Costolo called this “the abdication of leadership” and, after an exchange, replied:

Me-first capitalists who think you can separate society from business are going to be the first people lined up against the wall and shot in the revolution. I’ll happily provide video commentary.

He’s since deleted the tweet, but we took a screenshot:

Costolo may be overcompensating. His tenure drew criticism for refusing to shut down Twitter to protest federal internet regulations and not promoting enough women to leadership positions. Taking him at his word, here’s everything that’s wrong with his tweet:

Endorsing mob violence is monstrous. It should go without saying, but apparently doesn’t, that the extrajudicial murder of people for thoughtcrime is bad. It disregards human dignity and undermines justice by denying people due process of the law. This is no small point, as governments killed 262 million people in the twentieth century according to the late R.J. Rummel, “6 times more people than died in combat.”

Woke capitalism further divides society by increasing the politicization of everything and preventing people from bonding over apolitical passions.

Economic maldistribution. Valuing ideology over efficiency shortchanges everyone. It forces some consumers to underwrite causes of which they disapprove and may deprive their favored charity of donations. It denies those who don’t share the CEO’s politics, or pretend to share them, the right to use their God-given talents to make a living. That hurts the company by assuring the best talent works for its competitors. Altogether, it means that charities receive less than if Costolo had concentrated on making profits and donated his share to his pet causes.

Work capitalism is a regressive tax on the poor. Engaging in activism during work hours and employing people based on political orthodoxy instead of merit squanders time and resources, reduces productivity, and stifles innovation. All this raises the product’s cost, an increase the poor are least able to absorb. Costolo and other woke capitalists’ reaction seems to be, “Let them eat virtue-signaling.”

Costolo and his supporters’ view of capitalism and the dignity of life are so thoroughly wrong, they deserve an equally comprehensive refutation. Such a retort takes a minimum of words. The best response would be to pray that business remains an avenue of human flourishing instead of a barrier to human progress.

(Photo credit: Associated Press.)

Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson (@therightswriter) is an Eastern Orthodox priest and served as Executive Editor of the Acton Institute (2016-2021), editing Religion & Liberty, the Powerblog, and its transatlantic website. He has extensively researched the Alt-Right. Previously, he worked for LifeSiteNews and, where he wrote three books including Party of Defeat (with David Horowitz, 2008). His work has appeared at, National Review, The American Spectator, The Guardian, Daily Caller, National Catholic Register, Spectator USA, FEE Online, RealClear Policy, The Blaze, The Stream, American Greatness, Aleteia, Providence Magazine, Charisma, Jewish World Review, Human Events, Intellectual Takeout,, Issues & Insights, The Conservative,, and The American Orthodox Institute. His personal websites are and His views are his own.