Back in October of 2009 we went to a buy-cott of Whole Foods to support its CEO John Mackey, a "soft-core" libertarian, who had horrified his Prius and Volvo-driving patrons because of his opposition to ObamaCare.
Matt Welch of Reason.com sat down with Mackey at FreedomFest 2012 for a chat.
(video about 6-1/2 minutes long)
0:30 : Welch: (Liberals can be awfully illiberal when it comes to other people's choices.)
0:50 : Mackey: "Some people aren't happy unless they're telling other people what to do."
2:25 : Mackey: "You have to understand the narrative that many people have about capitalism and corporations that they are fundamentally selfish and greedy and exploitative, that corporations are sociopaths, that they don't care about anything or anyone but themselves and want to make as much money as possible... that they are fundamentally evil."
3:35 : Mackey: "Business is the greatest value-creator in the world."
Mackey, who is pimping a new book, returns to the narrative that we latched onto at the link above; that champions of capitalism and free enterprise have done a horrible job of making their case against statism and collectivism.
Mackey explains that defending rational self-interest and the profit motive has to be balanced against making the case for how capitalism generates what we will call "best value", not for just the owner who reaps the profits but for the employees, the customers and for society at large as well.
Here is what we wrote 3 years ago after attending the buy-cott:
One of his criticisms of the freedom movement is that he believes it to be overly-provocative and he goes all the way back to Ayn Rand’s seminal Atlas Shrugged for deliberately conflating selfishness and self-interest and fast forwards to the 80s movie Wall Street and Gordon Gekko’s famous line, “Greed is Good”. He believes the freedom movement has allowed themselves to be painted into a corner as evil corporatists because of Rand’s original sin which was manifested in popular culture by Oliver Stone’s movie (Wall Street) 30 years later.
And here is what Mackey said at a FreedomFest from a few years back:
I believe that business has a much greater purpose. Business, working through free markets, is possibly the greatest force for good on the planet today. When executed well, business increases prosperity, ends poverty, improves the quality of life, and promotes the health and longevity of the world population at an unprecedented rate. This audience understands these truths, but how many people in our greater society comprehend it? The freedom movement has also poorly defended the social legitimacy of both business and free markets. A new paradigm for business and the free market is necessary — one that accepts the importance of profits, of course, but also one that recognizes that business has legitimate social responsibilities that go far beyond merely maximizing profits.
We might try to pick up Mackey's book (we admit to being at a loss for the title of said publication) because we have been coming around to his thoughts on re-structuring the narrative and, yes, (sigh) working on the messaging.