Sunday, August 23, 2009

Who Will the Left Seek to Silence Next?

The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.”

This quote from Act 3 Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” has been associated throughout history with many people who, after doing a lifetime of good, are most often remembered for the one or two things they may have done wrong. Most recently Don Imus comes to mind. Imus, an irreverent radio and TV talk show host with conservative leanings, made one politically incorrect comment about the Rutgers Women’s Basketball Team and was fired by CBS after intense pressure from the Left. The fact that Imus had for years self-funded a working cowboy ranch for cancer-stricken children, supported numerous other charities and was noted for helping folks who were just simply down on their luck meant nothing. The only thing that mattered to the Left- -Liberals and Progressives- -was the one intemperate comment he made and the opportunity to silence a dissenting voice, not his good acts and deeds. And, if the Left has its way the next victim of their organized silencing campaign will be John Mackey the CEO of “Whole Foods, Inc” the small grocery chain known for selling organic and natural foods. Mackey’s “evil”? Criticizing ‘ObamaCare’ in an August 11, 2009 editorial in the Wall Street Journal was Mackey’s ‘crime’.

At a time when the Left keeps asking critics of ObamaCare to come up with a better plan Mackey did just that. In the editorial Mackey carefully outlined 8 reforms that if enacted, he argued, will “greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone.” But in so doing Mackey called for equalization of tax laws regarding healthcare deductibility, repeal of state laws preventing insurance companies from doing business across state lines and tort reform- -reining in the large jury awards that add to the cost of health care. The fact that Mackey is correct matters little to the Left. The only thing that matters to Liberals and Progressives is that Mackey is out of lockstep with the Democrat Party line and is, therefore, a political heretic worthy of being figuratively burned at the stake. “Boycott!” they screamed by the thousands on Facebook and Twitter and the picket lines went up at Whole Foods Markets in Washington DC, Maryland, New York and Texas. Forget the good he and the company he heads may have done. And there is a lot of good to talk about.

In addition to its commitment to selling organic and natural foods, the company under Mackey’s leadership has empowered individual stores to buy from local farmers and growers thus helping local economies and helping to assure freshness of the meats and vegetables sold in each store. Under Mackey’s tenure the company adopted a policy of paying 100% of the health care premiums for all employees working 30 hours or more a week- -about 90% of the company. In addition the company provides up to $1,800 a year into “Personal Wellness Accounts” for each employee to spend as they choose for their own healthcare. Sounds like an egalitarian dream doesn’t it.

Yet all the Left cares about is that Mackey dared to question BHO’s plan for health care reform. Mark Federici, a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) said, “Mackey’s views are totally at odds with those of the company- -he has to go!” Then playwright and noted Progressive, Mark Rosenthal, who was one of the instigators of the boycott said this: “I read the article and it stunned me, the hubris of this man who made his millions selling his products to Progressives in America based on an image of caring for the community.” Talk about ‘hubris’ here are two guys who appear to be pretty damn smug when it comes to Mackey and the company he founded in 1980.

It’s Mackey’s company built on Mackey’s vision and Mackey’s core values. Yet somehow the UFCW has a better sense of the company’s views than Mackey himself does? Outrageous! And Rosenthal marginalizing Mackey’s good works by making reference to an “image of caring” as though he intuitively knows that Mackey is a fraud? Arrogant beyond belief. But, this is nothing new. It’s what we’ve come to expect from Liberals and Progressives.

We expect the folks on the Left to do their best to stifle free speech and dissent. The ACLU has done its best to gag the “religious right” under the dictum of “separation of church and state”. Now they are taking aim at silencing Conservative talk radio by use of the so-called ‘fairness doctrine’. And while I think Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are over-the-top wind bags they have just as much right to be on the air and say whatever they want as Rachel Maddow, Ron Kuby or Keith Olberman. But not according to the Left for whom free speech is only free if you espouse liberal and progressive ideologies. Anything other than that is “hate-speech” as they see it. And that’s what this attack on Mackey and Whole Foods is all about. It’s the opening salvo of the next battle front- - -stifling the opinions of Corporate America. It’s about keeping entrepreneurs from speaking out for more free enterprise and less intrusive government.

A cousin of mine whom I respect and admire said this week in a Facebook post that he thought “brands should remain a-political”. I love my cousin but he couldn’t be more wrong. If the religious right is stifled and Conservative talk radio is silenced who will be left to speak out against big government and socialism? If Corporate America is bullied into political correctness who will be left to champion free markets, open competition and yes- - -capitalism? No one.

As I’ve said before the problem Conservatives have with Liberals and Progressives is that they all seem to think they are morally and intellectually superior. Or to paraphrase a famous quote from James Carville, “It’s the smugness, stupid.” But here are my questions to you all. What’s so morally superior about trying to stifle legitimate dissent and others’ rights of free speech? And what’s so intellectually superior about blindly following the party line without question or examination? And once folks like John Mackey are harassed out of business, how will you earn your paychecks or do you expect to live on the government dole? If you can tell me without being smug or arrogant, I’d like to know.


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