Whole Foods & Liberal Groupthink

26 01 2010

This is not a political blog, and it will never be one, but I feel driven to purge myself of the anger I have towards the Liberal/Democrat community on the issue of whether or not they should shop at Whole Foods based on whether or not John Mackey supports key issues on the same side of the fence as they do.

When John Mackey wrote an article for the WSJ on the issue of universal health care in August of 2009, he came out against a government paid system and the Liberal community got all bent out of shape.  Mackey’s article outlined his reasoning for not supporting the Democrats’ universal health care goals, and while I don’t agree with him, I appreciate him having a dissenting view and being firm enough in his convictions to share that view, publicly, knowing full well that most of “his” community would not agree.

That community screamed for his head and vowed never to shop at Whole Foods again.  (I would call BS on that vow but we all know how many of them actually stopped shopping there…uh, 3?)

Now, I am not saying that one shouldn’t put one’s money where their mouth is.  In fact!  That’s going to be my new theme to this blog.  But I will say that if you are going to make a stand and not support a company because of a political affiliation, monetary support of propositions, treatment of animals, etc., you need to do some research and make informed choices based on all of your options and beliefs.  Not just run with whatever boycott or damning is in the blogosphere or news of the day.  There are plenty of other companies that these same people support whole heartedly that probably are even less in line with their ideals than the CEO of Whole Foods, but because they have heard of his union busting, anti-climate change,  non-universal health care ways, he is the one they target most for criticism.

My semi-related issue with the Liberal/Democrat community is that they like to think they are in the right, that their decisions and stands are the be-all end-all, and at the same time, fuss at the rest of society for not being open to dissenting views.  For not being open to challenging their own thinking.  And they believe, at least through what I’ve seen of the Democrats in office, that they are the compromisers.  That the Conservative/Republican/Libertarian community is unwavering and they are the ones doing the level headed decision making.

Just like every group of like-minded people, there are folks that fit this mold and those who don’t.  But for some reason, when it comes to “our own”, like John Mackey, we have a harsher reaction to someone not towing the party (or groupthink) line.

To be clear, I don’t agree with John Mackey about most things.  And I’m currently very angry about the new Whole Foods employee discount program that aims to incentivize employees with higher BMIs to lose weight…by giving their skinnier colleagues heftier discounts (via Jezebel here).

But I don’t shop at Whole Foods because they are expensive and I am lucky enough to live in an area where I can get plentiful organic, sustainably produced food from other organizations I’m happier to support (Rainbow Co-op shout out!).  Not because I think that Whole Foods is evil because their CEO doesn’t think exactly the same way I do.

If I didn’t live in San Francisco, I’d likely shop at Whole Foods.  And I would likely write more letters to Whole Foods  about their policies that I disagree with than I do now.

And when I decide that I am not going to support a company because of a policy they have or a belief their leaders have, I’m going to apply that universally and rule out all companies that meet my requirements, not just the one currently in the press.