I have to admit, my first reaction to the Whole Foods boycott movement as a response to CEO John Mackey’s opinion piece on health care reform in the Wall Street Journal, struck me as sort of looney. I mean, really, do any of us think the corporate food delivery system in this country is any less debased, greedy or scum-baggy than any other corporation? No. Did I really, in my heart of hearts, believe the CEO of Whole Foods Market, Inc. was anything more than a capitalist, government subsidy teat sucking grab-it-for-myself-and-screw-the-rest-of-you gas bag? No.
But, holy crap, I do expect a corporate CEO to be smart enough to keep his draconian world view to himself, thus saving me the painful process of facing up to the inconsistencies of my political beliefs and my need to shop for expensive, designer, gluten-free food.
You can read the entire op-ed piece on Mr. Mackey’s blog and I recommend you do. Just, please, not right after eating.
My favorite excerpt is this:
Many promoters of health care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care-to universal and equal access to doctors, medicines, and hospitals. While all of us can empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have any more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have an intrinsic right to food, clothing, owning their own homes, a car or a personal computer? Health care is a service which we all need at some point in our lives, but just like food, clothing, and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually-beneficial market exchanges rather than through government mandates. A careful reading of both The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter, because there isn’t any. This “right” has never existed in America.
Mr. Mackey is shocked that anyone might believe a human being has an intrinsic right to food, shelter, clothing ~ and health care, and besides, those are not “rights” guaranteed by the American Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. Lest that lead you to believe Mr. Mackey thinks government has no role in protecting or caring for its citizens, he goes on to detail all the ways in which government could solve the problem – with more corporate tax write-offs and tax breaks ~ for him and for his business. Lovely.
He would also like us to believe that his opinion piece was an explanation of his personal viewpoint, not that of the Whole Foods corporation, but his article is filled with example after example of Whole Foods’ corporate policy as it relates to health care offerings for their employees.
Boycott Whole Foods? You bet! And, don’t forget to let your local store know why you won’t be spending your food dollars there in the future. Go to the Whole Foods website, search for your local store and it’s easy to find an email comment form to send to the local management.