Dear Olivia Jane:
You and many readers of Daily Kos are furious that Whole Foods CEO John Mackey expressed – in the pages of the Wall Street Journal – his opposition to greater government involvement in health care.
Exercising your rights and abilities as consumers, you are therefore boycotting Whole Foods. You’re using your freedom to avoid paying for products offered by someone whose attitude toward government you disapprove of.
Isn’t freedom wonderful?!
But I must ask: do you endorse my freedom to boycott paying for products offered by those whose attitude toward government I disapprove of? Like you, I have very strong opinions about the proper role of government, and also as in your case, a famous chief executive is now endorsing government policies that I find reprehensible.
Will you champion my freedom to stop supporting, with my money, President Barack Obama’s services? Will you come to my defense if I stop paying taxes to support those policies of Mr. Obama with which I disagree – policies such as the economic ‘stimulus,’ more vigorous antitrust regulation, and cap and trade? Indeed, will you defend me if I boycott – if I choose not to pay taxes to support – Obamacare?
If you will support me in my boycott, then I applaud your principle and, although I disagree with you about Mr. Mackey’s political views, fully support your freedom to boycott Whole Foods. But if you will not support me in my boycott, then can you tell me on what principle you would stand to defend your right to boycott supermarkets if someone (say, Mr. Mackey) managed to secure legislation that obliges you to shop at Whole Foods?
I await your reply.
Donald J. Boudreaux
Doug Bandow, at the American Spectator blog, proposes that opponents of Obamacare do the opposite of boycotting Whole Foods — that is, go out of our way to shop at Whole Foods. The Boudreaux family is in! (But a question is raised. What’s the opposite of boycott? ‘Girlcott’?)
Update: And here’s Sheldon Richman’s take.
Another update: And here’s Max Borders’s take.