Thursday, August 27, 2009
Recently, Paul Hsieh noted the good news that debate over physician slavery has shifted to a more fundamental level than politics, and become a moral debate. In addition to that encouraging development, there is also the matter of Whole Foods CEO John Mackey taking this debate to the home soil of the pro-slavery side.
As with all battles, each side fires shots, and forces join each side. According to the Huffington Post, two labor unions have decided to come to the aid of the pro-slavery side:
As the NY Times write-up of "the most unexpected" sideshow to the 2009 Health Care Debate put it: "Reaction from pro-reform [sic] Whole Foods shoppers was swift and vociferous." Now the Change To Win Investment Group and United Food And Commercial Workers Union -- both a part of the Change To Win federation of unions representing six million workers -- have put out statements criticizing Mackey and encouraging a boycott of the store.So a bunch of dumb thugs who can scarcely read are going to pass out paper with stuff printed on it?
CtW called for Mackey's removal as chairman of the board and CEO. "Mr. Mackey attempted to capitalize on the brand reputation of Whole Foods to champion his personal political views, but has instead deeply offended a key segment of Whole Foods consumer base," the group's executive director Bill Patterson said in a statement. UFCW has begun handing out pamphlets to Whole Food shoppers. The group said Mackey's op-ed was an "attempt to undermine Obama's health-care reform." (Whole Foods is not unionized.) [bold added]
That's potentially very good news: Let's hope this accelerates the process of "a key segment of Whole Foods consumer base" actually reading Mackey's editorial. Many of these shoppers now reflexively support "healthcare reform," but perhaps after they read the editorial and think about it, they will instead come to reflectively oppose physician slavery, as Ann Althouse recently suggested they might. (She posts an update of her own here, and points to a BBC story on the boycott as well.)
Perhaps, if a few of them think about the issue enough, they will come not just to oppose physician slavery, but support freedom for all individuals. Dumb opponents can be a godsend, so to speak.
This Southerner recently made his first post-transplant visit to Whole Foods here in Boston when he discovered that his usual grocery store, despite having a "Southern and Southwestern Cuisine" aisle, does not stock Tabasco sauce. (He also enjoyed confounding the checkout girl with a "third" (nearly-extinct) word beginning with the letter "P" when asked whether he wanted a bag for his purchase.)
On that trip, I remember thinking that it's nice to have a place for occasional purchases of the more "exotic" items in my diet, but now, I will make it a point to go there each week in support of its CEO. As Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post put it, "Now is the time for all good capitalists to shop at Whole Foods."
I don't have a car. I am on a budget. My usual store is ten blocks closer and I'm mostly happy with it. I couldn't do all of my shopping at Whole Foods even if I wanted to, but I am sure I can find an excuse to make the trip once a week. The excuse will be the food, but the reason will be to thank Mr. Mackey for standing up when it counts.