When Jack Abramoff plead guilty in a lobbying corruption scandal a dozen years ago the parlor game in DC was claiming not to know him, have met him, or even heard of him. If politicians had been so unaware of Abramoff as they claimed there never would have been any charges to file.
Travel companies are running from the NRA faster than politicians whose committees had jurisdiction over Native American gaming ran from Jack Abramoff.
Earlier I wrote about rental car companies dropping their NRA discounts.
Now Delta and United have both announced their cutting ties with the NRA.
Delta is reaching out to the NRA to let them know we will be ending their contract for discounted rates through our group travel program. We will be requesting that the NRA remove our information from their website.
— Delta (@Delta) February 24, 2018
United is notifying the NRA that we will no longer offer a discounted rate to their annual meeting and we are asking that the NRA remove our information from their website.
— United Airlines (@united) February 24, 2018
It’s no surprise that United copies Delta of course, though two hours was fast.
The NRA’s co-brand credit card partner has declared they won’t renew the contract. (HT: Doctor of Credit)
Customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the NRA. As a result, First National Bank of Omaha will not renew its contract with the National Rifle Association to issue the NRA Visa Card.
— First National Bank (@FNBOmaha) February 22, 2018
Wyndham hotels has also cut ties, and Best Western wants you to know that they didn’t have a relationship to begin with. (HT: JT Genter)
Hello Elaine. Please know, Wyndham is no longer affiliated with the NRA.
— Wyndham Worldwide (@Wyndham) February 23, 2018
Best Western® Hotels & Resorts does not have an affiliation with and is not a corporate partner of the National Rifle Association.
— Best Western (@BestWestern) February 23, 2018
Duke professor Timur Kuran’s book Private Truth, Public Lies developed the idea of ‘preference falsification’ which helps explain why the timing of the fall of communism came as such a surprise. The Soviet Union crushed European dissent in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968, yet the fall of the Berlin Wall signaled the end of its reign. The people in these countries were willing to revolt — if others stood up too and everyone was confident enough they’d avoid being punished for doing so.
If you surveyed the citizens of these countries prior to the collapse of communism they’d have near-universally said they support it.
Then it fell and no one did. Even ardent supporters of the regimes became reformers, acting as though they had never really supported communism in the first place.
People lie about their true preferences because they believe they have to in order to serve their own ends. Then circumstances change and quickly it’s as though the previously powerful never had any friends at all.
So it is with Harvey Weinstein, as Professor Kuran elucidates well in an interview with Virginia Postrel from the fall.
“Every in Hollywood knew” for decades about his behavior, but no one talked until there was a clear enough avalanche that they weren’t alone and it was clear there’d be no repercussions. Even his closest associates who certainly knew and abided his behavior, and the culture of Hollywood generally, act like ex-communists turned reformers who claim never to have supported him in the first place really.
With past mass shootings there’s been public outrage over a limited period of time, and then the rage disappears. We’re not far enough from the most recent tragedy to say for sure what will happen. But what’s different this time does seem to be companies actively cutting ties, even the loosest of commercial relationships, with the NRA. Where was their outrage before now? Perhaps the floodgates have opened.
“Preference falsification” explains not just group think but also how quickly opinion can change, including how people who honestly held the old view appear to change sides quickly. Does it explain why rental car companies, airlines, hotels and the NRA’s credit card issuer are seeking cover from their association with the NRA — as quickly as politicians had fled from theirs with Abramoff?