Friday, August 14, 2009

The most ridiculous health care protest yet.

Proponents of the Obama Administration's plan for crowd-out of private health insurance, the "public option", and wacky positions even farther to the left (single-payer, Europe-style price controls with a market veneer, etc.) are now calling for a boycott of Whole Foods. Phoenix "Liberal Examiner" Marlene Phillips has the best Web article on of the subject.

Apparently, they're upset about Whole Foods CEO and co-founder John Mackey's recent Wall Street Journal guest opinion calling for market-based reforms and private generosity instead of the Democrats' crowd-out plan. (Mackey has remarked on the public response, too.)

That Mackey is and has been for a long time what could be called a "libertarian"--of what variety, I don't know--is old news. See, for instance, his exchange with Milton Friedman (in which T.J. Rodgers also participated by foaming at the mouth about Mackey's "collectivism" like your average Libertarian Party meeting nutcase). Note that the exchange is about the social responsibility of business, and that Mackey's position is probably close to that of the boycott proponents.

I suspect that the lefties proposing a boycott feel somehow betrayed, expecting Whole Foods higher-ups to believe the same as they do about politics. The vulgar leftist thinks that his politics are the necessary consequence of his values. If these characters took the time to learn the "whys" of Mackey's position it would do them well. A person with humane values who understands economics tends toward economic liberalism, that is to say, toward support of free markets. That concern for others that has some of the leftists supporting greater government intervention has people like myself and Mackey instead calling for less.

If you would like to just try to make the world better for people, don't learn economics, and don't be surprised if someone like me calls you on confusing righteous intentions with right action. If you would like to learn how to actually help people, learn economics. Figuring out why Mackey supports what he does--a little bit of Google is all it will take--is a good way to start.

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