Saturday, August 22, 2009

I'm shocked!

The guy who has been gouging you for years when you shopped at Whole Foods (a.k.a. Whole Paycheck) is opposed to health care reform! (Story here.)

I've long had a strong dislike/hate relationship with Whole Foods, so the boycott won't be too difficult. Remember, just because Mackey peddles dolphin stickers and patchouli, it doesn't mean he's groovy.

FB is right that Mackey isn't against every possible reform, he's against anything that I'd regard as meaningful reform. Since I assumed readers would take that as rather obvious, I'm not sure that the "intellectual dishonesty" remark sticks but it's been made so I've made the obvious obviouser.

As for the boycott, I don't think it's emoting and mindless to say that you won't financially support someone who uses your financial support to oppose your causes. FB must know quite a lot about the motivational structures and epistemic positions of people who won't shop at Whole Foods that I don't. He can read minds.


pH said...

I am shocked! A libertarian voices his opinion, in public! (how dare he), and the left's response is "boycott!". How tribal.

Clayton said...

Where did libertarians get their sense of entitlement from?

It's a free market. If you don't like someone, you don't buy from them. Seriously, is it really that hard?

Andrew Cullison said...


It isn't merely the fact that he voiced his opinion that would make it sensible for someone with a different opinion to boycott.

He runs a 4 Billion Dollar company. The opinions of people who run 4 Billion Dollar companies, aren't harmless opinons. Their opinions often translate into lobbying dollars.

So, it is perfectly reasonable to organize a boycott against a company because the man in charge has political views different from your own.

Clayton said...

Just to follow up on Andrew's point. Mackey only gets to pen pieces in the WSJ because of his customers. Surely there's a good reason to spend your money at companies where the people you are making rich aren't going to then defend political positions that you yourself strongly disagree with.

Again, this seems like a perfectly obvious point from the libertarian perspective.

pH said...

Andrew, I wonder, if an owner of a 4 billion dollar company came forward in favour of gov. run health care, would you still consider his opinions "not harmless"?
Do you distribute questionnaires to all vendors and merchants you do business with? It must be quite stressful to keep tabs on all the opinions of CEOs of companies you may or may not patronize.

I am not questioning the right to boycott, by all means, have a blast. I am just pointing out the amusing hypocrisy and the hysterics. Oh, and how it reminds me of the "boycott French" of yore. How did that go, btw? :)

Personally, as a Slovak, I have no beef in this fight, I have never heard of Whole Foods before this and I already "enjoy" the benefits of gov. run health care over here. Cheers. :)

Clayton said...

I think you don't know what libertarians are or what hypocrisy is. There's nothing hypocritical about refusing to do business with people who use your money to further causes that you oppose. That's pretty much the opposite of hypocrisy.

Andrew Cullison said...


Whether I would consider the opinions not harmless would depend on the details of the plan.

On a different note - I think you just suggested that if someone elects not to do business with one CEO because they don't like their political views, they are rationally bound to examine the political views of all the CEOs and merchants of all the companies they do business with?

That's an implication I'm drawing from your rhetorical question.

That principle just can't be true. In general you can have lots of good reasons to treat some single person (in some reference class R) in a certain way because they have some property P, without being rationally bound (or obliged in anyway) to determine whether or not everyone else in R has that property P.

Joanne said...

Hi Clayton! Looking at it principle-wise, I think, sometimes we are what we eat or don't eat, or what we buy or don't buy. I'm not an American and by that may sound like a total silly-billy but just sharing :)

Anonymous said...


It is intellectually dishonest to say that the "CEO of Whole Foods is opposed to health care reform" when he is only opposed to the plan that is presented by the Obama administration.

I could see your point (that we should boycott Whole Foods) if he was yelling nonsense about fascism and Hitler like the crazies at the town hall meetings. I could further see your point if he argued against any type of reform.

Of course he's not doing any of the above. In fact, he presented an alternative. Why not post something about that instead? Or is there only one rational take on heath care reform? Does Obama have some corner on truth? I think not.

Why not engage the issue instead of joining the mindless, emoting people that boycott anyone who disagrees with their understanding of the issue? Is there no epistemic disagreement allowed on the issue of health care reform?


Anonymous said...


I did not mean to imply that YOU were being intentionally dishonest. Only that in presenting the issue the way you did gives the impression that Mackey was against all reform. I find that phrasing dishonest. I wasn't making a character assessment.

Anyway, my only point is that people should be open to the possibility that there is more than one way to fix health care.

Further, I assumed that you knew that he had presented an alternative. But by presenting only one side of the issue I think you motivate unnecessary anger and bias. Perhaps most people such as yourself are boycotting Whole Foods because his alternative stinks. But I hardly think that most have really thought about the issue enough to boycott. Most, I think, are simply assuming that Mackey is against all reform. Which your original post implied.

But, as you pointed out, I can't read minds. I can only go by what I've read. And given this, I can say that the emoting has been obvious.


Alastair Norcross said...

Clayton posted the link to the story detailing Mackey's own positions. Clayton could only have given the impression that Mackey was against all reform to those too lazy to click on the link.
It's pretty clear that Mackey's preferred reforms would do almost nothing to fix our broken system. It includes, of course, the demagogically pleasing "tort reform", which makes no difference to health care costs (it's been tried).