While on the subject of corporate difficulties (see the previous post below), I'm highly amused at the fuss and bother surrounding Whole Foods Market.
Earlier this week Whole Foods' co-founder and CEO, John Mackey, wrote a guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal giving his opinions on health care reform. He basically opposed the current proposals being floated by the House and Senate, and offered eight suggestions for meaningful reform. A brief excerpt:
While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment.
. . .
Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?
Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That's because there isn't any. This "right" has never existed in America
Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments.
. . .
Health-care reform is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society.
There's more at the link. Recommended reading, and very cogently argued.
Needless to say, Left-wing news sources jumped all over this. Talking Points Memo noted acidly:
Here's a thought: If you own a major supermarket chain that caters to a great deal of liberal-minded people with money, don't rail against the evils of health care reform in the Wall Street Journal.
Unfortunately, that advice comes a few hours too late for Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who did just that.
. . .
As a result of this misguided effort, it seems, his company's website has been fielding angry comments all afternoon, and has had to set up an online forum where customers can vent their frustrations, and, oh, call for a boycott!
The Agonist crowed:
Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has once again revealed his true right-wing ways. He's a long-time union buster and wannabe monopolist who's gotten in trouble in the past for his internet antics.
This time he took to the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal to bash health care reform. Really stupid move since his customer base is overwhelmingly progressive. The boycott is on and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
The Agonist seems to have completely ignored the fact that Mr. Mackey, far from 'bashing' health care reform, is in favor of it - just not the disastrous measures currently being offered. I suppose it would help if they'd actually bothered to read what he'd said, but clearly that was too much trouble.
As for the boycott? Uh . . . guys, I have news for you.
Mr. Mackey's company, Whole Foods Market Inc., added a section to its customer forum titled 'Health Care Reform'. True, many of the company's loony-Left customers promptly started bombarding it with posts criticising Mr. Mackey and calling for a boycott of the company. What they hadn't expected was that many others - people who appreciate a cogently-argued viewpoint that strives to contribute positively to the debate - would also jump in. It seems that far from being seriously damaged by a Left-wing boycott, Mr. Mackey's well-reasoned words might just have attracted a whole new demographic of customers to replace them!
A few examples from the forum posts:
I would like to thank John Mackey for making some excellent points about the current state of health care in America. It is so refreshing to hear reasoned solutions to very real issues. Your point about health care not being a right is a reality that seems to be missed by so many. Finally, the whole range of issues pertaining to diet and keeping oneself as healthy as possible are virtually never discussed in context of this whole debate and yet are fundamental to it. My wife and I love your store and will continue to shop there for our own better health. Thank you!#
Shopping at Whole Foods will be a lot more enjoyable without all you socialists. If you are willing to stay out of my favorite Whole Foods store could you also stay out of my favorite country? I am sure Canada or Europe would be glad to have you. SOOOOOOO long and good-bye.#
Finally a CEO who is willing to stand for what America was built upon, not welfare for ALL! There are many in the states that we do business in who agree with you and will patronize Whole Foods more frequently. We will commit to encouraging others to shop at Whole Foods as well.#
Now that these pretentious boobs are no longer shopping at WF, I will definitely be going out of my way just to shop there. Mr. Mackey kudos to you for not being bullied by this administration and for not being afraid to speak your mind! For now, this country is still free and we still have the right to our own opinions!
I'm all in favor of freedom of speech, and the freedom to vote with our feet - and our wallets - if we disagree with an individual's or corporation's position on any matter. However, the mass indignation of the Left at Mr. Mackey's exercise of the right of free speech - which they're supposed to hold as dear as any of us, remember? - seems to have backfired on them.
I don't agree with all Mr. Mackey's ideas, but I appreciate his reasoned, thoughtful contribution to the debate. There's no Whole Foods in the town where I live, but in gratitude to Mr. Mackey, you can bet that the next time I'm near one of his stores, I'll go out of my way to shop there as a token gesture of thanks.