RSS
The Whole Foods boycott
Why some liberals have turned on their favorite organic food market
A

ttention liberals—Whole Foods is now the enemy, said Jonathan Zasloff in The Reality-Based Community. John Mackey, the CEO of the popular organic-food supermarket chain, wrote a recent op-ed in The Wall Street Journal saying that health care is not a "right," and insisting that tort reform and health-savings accounts are the answer to the nation's health problems. Mackey essentially turned his back on his liberal customers and allied himself with "the looney right wing," so it's time for a Whole Foods boycott.

"Whole Foods? Right-wing?" asked Dennis Sanders in The Moderate Voice. That's ludicrous. The company has strict environmental and humane animal-treatment rules, and offers liberal benefits to its employees. As blogger Radley Balko said, it's "everything leftists talk about when they talk about 'corporate responsibility.'" It's "insane" for once-loyal customers to join a boycott simply because they don't agree 100 percent with what John Mackey says.

I, too, was "dubious" about the Whole Foods boycott—at first, said Matthew Yglesias in Think Progress. But Whole Foods markets its "products specifically as part of a quasi-politicized left-wing lifestyle," so it's natural that the chain's customers feel betrayed. If their wrath teaches corporate titans to stick to business and stay out of politics, "I would call that a good thing."

Not if you want to respect John Mackey's right to free speech, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. "Too often, business leaders who have useful contributions on a public issue are too fearful or self-interested to say what they really think." All Mackey said was that there are "ways to reform health care without a new deficit-busting entitlement." Those on the Left who disagree should say why—a boycott is just "political thuggery."

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week