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Tags: ron desantis | florida | disney | culture wars

DeSantis: Disney Battle Over 'What It Means to Be an American'

By    |   Monday, 15 May 2023 02:12 PM EDT

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been at war with the Walt Disney Company for 14 months, ostensibly over the state's Parental Rights in Education Act.

A new interview with The American Conservative suggests, however, that the feud goes beyond legislation and represents the fight over "what it means to be an American."

Though initially silent on the bill, the self-crowned "happiest place on earth" bowed to employee pressure to condemn the Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as HB 1557. The measure limits discussion of sexuality and gender identity in Florida's elementary school classrooms.

After being stripped of its self-governing status, Disney filed suit against DeSantis last month, alleging "government retaliation."

DeSantis argued that the fight over HB 1557 was less about Disney's bottom line and more about shaping the future cultural direction of Florida and the U.S. He said powerful institutions nationwide are being held hostage by "a cabal of people who will go berserk if they don't get their way."

"Sometimes you just need an executive to come in and tell them to pound sand," DeSantis said.

Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts told the American Conservative that the left's crusade to control the country's institutions has ushered in the "demise of what social scientists would call the mediating institutions of civil society."

"Over that span of time when the left has essentially captured most large businesses, what also has happened is the deterioration of the nuclear family, the assault on biological sex, and construing that as gender, and obviously, the demise of traditional marriage," Roberts said. "This institutional demise is vitally important to understanding what's going on in America."

Florida state Rep. Spencer Roach said that the movers and shakers in Washington fail to grasp an important distinction when it comes to capitalism.

"What people in D.C. fail to recognize is the distinction between capitalism and crony capitalism," he told the American Conservative. "And what has been allowed to happen with Disney over the last 60 years in Florida, it is, in my opinion, the most outrageous, the most egregious and the most naked example of crony capitalism in the history of America.

"We've given them special privileges associated with sovereign governments, and let them exploit that to the economic disadvantage of people who would be their competitors. That's simply wrong. That should not be allowed to happen in the state of Florida, it should not be allowed to happen in the United States."

Using the example of Google, DeSantis said some of the companies that hold huge sway in America "don't necessarily offend historical antitrust law because the antitrust law is focusing on jacking up prices on people."

"But I would say they're exercising way more power than Standard Oil ever did, or any of the trust of the early 20th century," DeSantis told the American Conservative. "So the question is, Is it OK to have a handful of private power centers that really, really dominate our society? And is it appropriate to have something like an antitrust principle applied there? I think it probably would be appropriate."

DeSantis continued: "We're a distinct country. We have a distinct people, and that needs to mean something. We have an identifiable culture. We have identifiable traditions. And I think a lot of [the left's] project is to really undermine a lot of the institutions and traditions and values that have stood the test of time.

"A lot of these fights are really foundational fights about what it means to be an American."

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been at war with the Walt Disney Company for 14 months, but said the feud goes beyond legislation and represents the fight over "what it means to be an American."
ron desantis, florida, disney, culture wars
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2023-12-15
Monday, 15 May 2023 02:12 PM
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