Steve G.

John Mackey Interview

In Libertarian on December 19, 2008 at 8:45 am

Organic Lifestyle Magazine interviewed John Mackey of Whole Foods. An excerpt is here. The entire interview (you need to register) is here.

The part that interested me as a Libertarian is this:

Organic Lifestyle Magazine: You are very outspoken and not just about your business. We find this unusual in a CEO. What compels you to be so open and honest and forthright?

Mackey: Why is this unusual? In my opinion, honesty and forthrightness should be fundamental traits of those who run businesses. However, I believe there is too little honesty and openness in the world today.

Organic Lifestyle Magazine: You were a Democrat in the past but changed your views and are now a Libertarian. What changed your mind?

Mackey: Well the last time I voted for a Democrat for President was in 1976. I have almost always voted strictly libertarian since the 1976 election. Why? Because I believe in promoting “Free Markets and Free Minds” and the Libertarian Party comes closest to those values. The Democrats usually support free minds, but not free markets, while the Republicans usually support free markets, but not free minds.

Organic Lifestyle Magazine: You recently had some trouble with the FTC. We at the OLM are not real happy with the FTC or the FDA for many reasons, mainly because they protect big business at the cost of people’s health. Would you care to comment on this?

Mackey: Trouble is putting it lightly. Their continued, bizarre bullying for over a year after we completed the merger was a waste of time and money and it was a violation of our due process rights. Is Whole Foods a monopoly? The answer is obvious to everyone with common sense: “Of course not!” We are less than 10 percent of the organic foods market. No one is compelled to shop at any of our stores, and our competition is everywhere. Why would the government allow for such money and time-wasting when there are serious economic issues to deal with?

  1. Thank you Susan Hogarth, for posting this valuable little except from John Mackey’s Interview.

    I also like John’s preference for “Free Markets and Free Minds” over “Smaller government, less taxes. blah, blah, blah…”

  2. Love Whole Foods!!

    Even if their stores are now becoming so big you practically need a map to navigate through them.

    If there is one drawback, is that they are very “national”– not as many local interest products. I am struck by this every time I shop another organic store in San Diego County. There I can find Julian pies… Thermal date sweets… Aliso Canyon honey… Escondido made bread… in other words, lots of local products, and some super-yummy ones at that. Whole Foods admittedly tries– they have a section in their bigger stores for local produce, for example– but it does seem like their stores are cookie-cutter.

    I might add that Gene Berkman (chair, Riverside County LP) claims that he first got Mackey to think in a Libertarian direction way back when in the seventies. Supposedly he worked for Mackey for a while. He DID live in Austin at the time, so who knows….back in the seventies, the whole health food movement was a lot smaller. I can remember, for example, the original Vitamin Cottage store, and my mom actually selling off her bumper crop of Parry Pan winter squash to them! It was a VERY different world back then.

  3. The Blog Natural~Specialty Foods Memo has some interesting coverage and such of the FTC-Whole Foods issue, including the big time law firms adn lobby firms they’ve hired. Interesting stuff.

    it’s at: http://www.naturalspecialtyfoodsmemo.blogspot.com

    Whole Foods advocates for the government to spend lots of money on things like organic food policy, nutrition, ect. Since I’m a Libertarian, I like 99% of Libertarians think that isn’t the role of government. It seems to me John Mackey is a situational Libertarian, that it’s Ok for the government to spend taxpayers money and become a nanny state if it benefits Whole Foods but in the rest of the cases it should follow Libertarian principles. So I would say in terms of the interview, he is part Liberal Democratic (the areas I mentioned above) and part Libertarian — everything else.

  4. Anthony – Thanks for that info on Mackey. I did not know that.

  5. Anthony, that article seems to be only about Whole Foods’s attempt to roll back the FTC. Where’s your OTHER evidence?

  6. to ladyguara,

    Our stores are definitely not “cookie cutter” and they are empowered to buy as many local products that they can find. If your local store is not selling enough local products, then it is due to their own incompetence as opposed to company policy.

    Gene Berkman did work for me in 1978-1979 at my precursor store to Whole Foods Market–Safer Way. It was about that time that I began reading Milton Friedman, Mises, Hayek, and Rand. These were the biggest influences on my thinking, but I don’t mind Gene taking some of the credit for alterning my thinking if he wants to. He probably did–as did other Austin libertarians at that time such as Laurel Freeman.

    to Anthony Lake,

    Your conclusions are mistaken. Whole Foods Market is not advocating for the government to spend lots of money on promoting organic food policy or nutrition–which the government in actuality spends very little money on currently. In fact, Whole Foods would be very happy if the federal government would get out of regulating these entirely! However, the current reality is that our federal government intervenes tremendously in our agricultural system and is greatly influenced in its policies by the dairy, beef, and pharmaceutical industries–industries that dwarf Whole Foods by several hundreds of times. Agri-business is very influential in shaping current government policies on nutrition. I highly recommend reading Marion Nestle’s book “Food Politics” and T. Colin Campbell’s book “The China Study” to get some idea how much what our government puts out under nutrition policy has been manipulated by these business interests.

    FYI–I’m definitely not a liberal democrat. My economic and political views are internally consistent and they are libertarian.

  7. My economic and political views are internally consistent and they are libertarian.

    Careful – talk like that is likely to get you nominated for president in ’12.🙂

    Thanks for your comments, though. ‘Preciate you stopping by.

    Since we’re airing beefs (no pun intended), my husband was cranky with one of the local NC stores for its anti-gun policy. Apparently each store gets to set those sorts of policies individually?

  8. Mr. Mackey thanks for the book tips and here is hoping the problems with the FTC work out. Glad you took over the Wild Oats outfit. Since then the store here in Vancouver, Washington is much better.

    MHW

  9. Whole Foods is the best store on the planet. I used to drive 40 minutes to the Ann Arbor store every Saturday. I really miss being able to do that now that I’ve moved to the Flint area.

  10. It is a damn shame that John Mackey has been unwilling to institute a company policy of allowing people to gather petition signatures in front of Whole Foods stores.

    I know that he has been contacted by at least one or two Libertarians about this and he rebuffed them.

    In a small handful of states it has already been ruled that gathering petition signatures in front of stores/shopping centers is a legal activity. Now before Jason jumps down my throat about this, I’d like to point out that none of these big corporate stores/shopping centers are legitimate private property. Almost all of them have recieved and/or do recieve some type of tax payer financed subsidy and many of them are located on land that was confiscated through eminent domain. Also, most of them are owned in part by government entities (see http://www.CAFR1.com for more details about how government entities own stock in corporations), and in a few cases I’ve even heard of government entities actually owning shopping centers outright (as in the buildings and parking lot). These are also corporations which by their very nature recieve special benifits from the state. Given that they are creatures of the state that are open to the public I think that they should be fair game for petition signature gathering.

    Gathering petition signatures for ballot access is a very difficult activity and it is made even more difficult when there is a lack of locations that petitioners have access to for asking people to sign their petition. This is made even more difficult by the fact that most state governments do not recognize petition signature gathering as a right (even though it is a requirement for obtaining ballot access) and therefore people who go out to collect signatures on petitions are often times the subject of harrassment and are often the victims of rights violations.

    Mr. Mackey, if you are reading this, I ask you to use the unique position that you are in as the head of Whole Foods to institute a company policy that would be issued to every store in your chain that says that Whole Foods is a petition friendly environment. If you did this, it would be a HUGE help to the Freedom Movement and it would not cost you anything.

    Speaking for a group of real Libertarian petitioners, we have enough sense to know to not block the doors and to not be rude, so if this is something that you fear you can rest assured that we do not engage in disruptive behavior. In fact, we could even suggest a list of rules for petitioners that could be given to store managers and if there happens to be a petitioner who breaks those rules that petitioner could be reported and kicked out.

    If you are concerned about Whole Foods being attached to any political cause you could put up a sign that says something like, “Whole Foods has a free speech policy. Free speech and petitioning the government are part of the bedrock of a free country. Whole Foods neither endorses or condems any petitions that are circulated in front of our stores, but we do support 1st amendment activities.”

    As I said above, you are in a unique situation. You are quite possibly the only libertarian minded person who is the head of a major store chain that gets lots of foot traffic in this country. All that it would take is for you to send out a memo to all of your store managers that it is OK to allow for petition signature gathering to take place in front of Whole Foods as long as the petitioners do not block the door and as long as they are not rude to people. This would not hurt your store one bit, in fact, many of the people who shop at Whole Foods are the type of people who are more interested in petitions than are many of the people who shop at other grocery stores.

    So I ask, are you willing to do this? Are you willing to take a stand that would not cost you anything but would be a MAJOR gift to the Freedom Movement?

    If you are still reading this, let me know how I can get in touch with you if you’d like to discuss this further. Thanks.

  11. “Jason Seagraves
    Whole Foods is the best store on the planet.”

    I too am a big fan of Whole Foods. I’m not trying to kiss John Mackey’s rear end by saying that Whole Foods is the best big grocery chain in the nation. I just wish that Mr. Mackey would take a stand in favor of free speech by instituting a petition friendly store policy.

  12. I’m not “kissing his rear end” by stating my opinion, which I’ve stated numerous other times in print (and verbally) before I knew John Mackey would ever potentially read my words. Then again, he was getting online under a pseudonym to diss Wild Oats back in the day!

    Secondly, I don’t buy your socialist parking-lot argument. If most store parking lots are anything like the one in Ann Arbor, they’re hectic enough as it is.

  13. “Secondly, I don’t buy your socialist parking-lot argument. If most store parking lots are anything like the one in Ann Arbor, they’re hectic enough as it is.”

    GE, my arguement was NOT socialist. In what way is a corporation that recieves special benifits, including tax subsidies and land handed to them through eminent domain, and that is often times OWNED in part through government institutional investments, legitimate private property?

    Also, petition signature gathering in front of grocery stores regularly takes places in states like California, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Washington, and even in rare cases there have been times where petitioners have been able to get permission to petition in front of some grocery stores in non-access states (for example, were able to petition in front of some Giant grocery stores in Maryland).

    The fact of the matter is that it has gotten more and more difficult in our society to find places to gather petition signatures. Often times the best place is a store front/shopping center. Also, keep in mind that petition signatures are needed for ballot access. Without the petition signatures there are going to be less options for liberty on the ballot.

  14. To Andy,

    Whole Foods doesn’t receive any taxpayer subsidies and none of our land has been given to us by the government (although it is possible that some of our landlords might have–I don’t know). Quite the opposite! We pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes to local, state, and federal governments each year. Regarding your position that Whole Foods should voluntarily serve up our parking lots and store fronts to everyone who wants to solicit our customers for their own purposes (surely you aren’t arguing that only you should have ther right to use our private property for ballot access, but no one else should have similar rights?) let me share a letter I sent within the last year to a libertarian who was unhappy that he was denied direct access to our customer base for petitioning for ballot access:

    Hi Jake,

    My thoughts will be below yours in quotation marks:

    Jake Witmer

    Sent to Patricia. Dear John,

    Whole Foods depends on the limited capitalism we have left in this country. Capitalism depends on free speech, as does ballot access of minor parties that can provide a meaningful alternative to the major parties’ march towards Federal-Reserve-based socialism.

    “I agree with you that capitalism is increasingly constrained in the United States. However, the flourishing of capitalism doesn’t depend upon free speech (which is a civil freedom), but primarily upon economic freedom—the right to buy, sell, and trade. Of course, freedom of speech is a very important civil liberty in its own right and one I enthusiastically support.”

    With all the lip service you pay to being a good and beneficial free-market capitalist/decentralist, one would think that your store’s policy towards polite ballot access petitioners would be at least as generous as GIANT Food stores, in Maryland. (Giant is one of the few food stores to generally favor free speech, and their beneficial and pro-American tolerance of political speech has saved the Libertarian Party approximately $10,000 in MD alone).

    “Each of our 11 Regions has their own solicitation policies, which is consistent with our decentralization philosophy. Some of our Regions choose to not allow solicitation on our private property because once we allow one group to do so, then we have to allow everyone else to do so. In our experience there are many groups who wish to solicit that have agendas that are harmful to Whole Foods Market (such as Labor Unions) and too many solicitors can also be very annoying to our customers. Some of our Regions solve the issue by not allowing any solicitation on our private property.”

    Don’t get me wrong, Whole Foods has every right to call the cops on petitioners, and have them thrown off their property —I just wish they wouldn’t kid themselves that they are pro America, or even “capitalist” when they do so.

    “Actually, use of our private property for our own private purposes is both pro-America and capitalistic. We should have the right to use our private property as we choose and you should not have the right to use our private property in ways that we don’t approve. If the local Whole Foods management doesn’t want solicitation because they believe it may be harmful to the fullest flourishing of the store then I support their right to make this decision. It is probably not the decision that I would personally make if I was there and in charge myself. However, I will not “over-ride” their local decision making authority which I believe is well-intentioned for what they believe is in the best interest of Whole Foods Market.”

    I’ve been trying to call this inconsistency to the attention of Whole Foods for years, to no avail. It’s no wonder America has crumbled into Federal Reserve-based socialism since “the New Deal”, if the very most progressive of the defenders of free speech care nothing more for speech than for the supreme goal of not having to think about anything as they blunder towards their cars, grocery bags full of fresh foods that were only taxed (via inflation) at 90%.

    “I’m sorry that you believe you have a “right” to access Whole Foods private property to exercise your freedom of speech. I don’t believe that you do. Whole Foods should have the freedom to use its private property as it wishes. Do you believe that people should have the right to set up solicitation on your own front lawn? How about in your living room? How about in your bed? Can someone organize a Nazi Party rally at your house and argue that they should have the right to do so on the basis of free speech? If you seek to prevent them from doing so does that mean you don’t support free speech?”

    Give me convenience or give me death! (And of course, if the Libertarian Party is denied ballot access, the Green Party, and all other minor parties will be too. How many Whole Foods customers favor 50 states of ballot access for minor parties?)

    “I have supported the Libertarian Party for many years. However, I believe it would be inappropriate for me to over-ride the empowerment of the Mid-Atlantic Region to make their own decisions regarding their own solicitation policies. I believe they create their solicitation policies based on their own subjective judgment of what is best for their customers, team members, and investors. If you have evidence that their solicitation policies are being selectively applied (that you are being singled out for discrimination), then I would be very interested in hearing it.”

    I’m not suggesting that petitioners who are rude be allowed to stay and harass customers. I’m suggesting that if management gets a complaint or two that they take one minute to assess the situation (since enemies of speech and tolerance will complain about any speech), and be trusted with the decision to allow or disallow speech, with the general trend being towards toleration. After all, that policy works well for Giant Foods in MD, the leader in toleration of free speech.

    “Giant Foods must do what it feels is best for its business and Whole Foods must do what it feels is best for its business. FYI—where I live and work in Austin, the regional solicitation policies permit the type of solicitation you would wish to do at Whole Foods (on public property—sidewalks next to the store).”

    They leave the decision up to their managers, whose competence they place confidence in. I’m sure they’ve lost a few customers because of it, (as well as gained a few). But that’s not the point. The point is: they don’t need to feel like hypocrites when they sell American flags in their checkout lines on the 4th of July.

    “Thanks for your feedback Jake. Best of luck with your initiatives. Take care.”

  15. Mr. Mackey, can we PLEASE get a Whole Foods in the Inland Empire? We’ve got 3 million people over here, including a large number of vegetarians in Loma Linda and Riverside, and the nearest WFM is in Orange County!

  16. I’d also point out that the local district/region claims there is “no market” over here, but I would completely disagree with that based on at least a half-dozen organic stores I know of and shop at, not to mention the growing selection at Krogers and Vons. There is most definitely a market over here!

    I recognize it may be a regional decision and I respect that. Nonetheless, there is a demand here that WFM can and should fill!

    Thanks for reading, and thanks for a great chain!

  17. While you’re here, John, would you care to make a pitch for FLOW?:

    http://www.flowidealism.org/john.html

  18. Mr. Mackey, when I was speaking of government involvement with corporate store chains, I was refering to research that I’ve done on Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Safeway/Vons, Kroger, K-Mart, and some others. In all fairness, I haven’t done much research into Whole Foods. I hope that you do not take this as an insult (because it is not intended to be), but Whole Foods is corporation and corporations by their very nature are creations of the state that recieve non-consenual limited liability protection.

    I think that you are a good man so I wouldn’t be suprised if you do try to avoid government as much as you can and still stay in business. So you probably are not one to run to the state to try to get land handed to you through eminent domain, or to put your hand out for corporate welfare.

    However, I can tell you that it is extremely difficult to avoid government (as you probably already know) and that I KNOW for a fact that some shopping centers where Whole Foods are located are indeed on land that was confiscated through eminent domain (for the shopping center) and that some shopping centers are owned in part, and in some cases, in full, by government entities.

    Anyone who is skeptical of this click this link as this is just one example.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0EIN/is_1999_March_11/ai_54072936

    This article talks about how CALPERS owns some shopping centers. CALPERS is a state run pension program for retired state employees in California. Here is the website for CALPERS.

    http://www.calpers.ca.gov/

    Notice that it is a .gov website.

    Now keep in mind that the funding sources for state employees is taxation, and keep in mind that all taxation is theft.

    So, we’ve got a group of people who work for the state who derive their income from taxation (ie-stolen money), and some of this stolen loot is invested in a pension fund which is run by the state government. This pension fund invests in a variety of things, mostly corporate stocks and bonds, but they also happen to own realestate, and one of their areas of realestate investment happens to be shopping centers.

    Now, if you didn’t see it the first time, go back and click on the article again and you will find that a Whole Foods is located in one of these state owned shopping centers.

    Now Mr. Mackey, are you telling me that it is OK for the state to steal people’s money, invest it in a shopping center, and then erect ballot access requirements where people have to gather petition signatures, but then prohibit people from gathering signatures at a shopping center which was purchased with money that was stolen from the people via taxes, fines, and fees (imposed by that same government)?

    Do you consider a state owned shopping center to be private property? How can a state program own private property? If the state owns it, by definition it is NOT private proerty.

    So if a petitioner showed up to gather signatures for ballot access at a Whole Foods that was located in a shopping center that was purshased with stolen money (ie-tax dollars), do you believe that the petitioner should be told that they have to leave because they are standing on “private property” and that if they don’t the tax payer funded police are going to be called to arrest them for trying to fulfill a state mandated requirement of petition signature gathering for ballot access?

    CALPERS is just one of many government entities which has investments in stocks, bonds, and realestate. There are many, many others.

    There are state & local government employee pension funds, school district funds, water district funds, toll authority funds, port authority funds, state university funds, etc… Local, state, and federal government agencies are involved. THE biggest player in the stock market are government institutional investors, and they are also probably the biggest player in realestate investment.

    Do you ever wonder why land is confiscated in eminent domain and handed over to big corporations? Now you know.

  19. Check this out, I went to http://www.CALPERS.ca.gov and looked through their holdings (remember they derive their funding sources through taxes, fines, and (imposed) fees), and it looks like CALPERS owns shares of Whole Foods.

    Now CALPERS is just one government entity. How many other government entities own a stake in Whole Foods?

    Now I hope Mr. Mackey is not getting angry with me for pointing this out. I do NOT think that you are a bad guy and I am NOT blaming you for any of this. My point here is that we don’t have a real free market and there isn’t that much property left which is truly private.

    Another reality is that there are ballot access barriers which must be overcome by gathering petition signatures, and it is getting more and more difficult to find places where petitioners are not harrassed and threatened with arrest. If the petition signature requirements do not get fulfilled then there are less choices, or perhaps even no choices, for liberty on the ballot.

    Main Menu | Equities MenuCalPERS On-Line
    DOMESTIC EQUITY REPORT

    Display…15202550100

    Entries 4,551 – 4,575 of 4,656
    Company Shares Book
    Price Book
    Value Market
    Price Market
    Value

    WHOLE FOODS MKT INC 353,876.00 21.34 7,552,589.86 38.30 13,553,450.80
    WIDEPOINT CORP 1,500.00 0.75 1,128.00 1.00 1,500.00
    WILBER CORP 500.00 9.65 4,823.30 9.25 4,625.00
    WILD OATS MKTS INC 2,100.00 18.40 38,638.53 16.76 35,196.00
    WILEY JOHN + SON 243,940.00 35.21 8,590,299.41 48.29 11,779,862.60
    WILLAMETTE VY VINEYARD INC 500.00 2.21 1,106.00 6.98 3,490.00
    WILLIAMS CLAYTON ENERGY INC 15,100.00 24.94 376,534.02 26.47 399,697.00
    WILLIAMS COS INC 3,055,650.00 14.86 45,405,614.07 31.62 96,619,653.00
    WILLIAMS CTLS INC 11,447.00 12.49 142,996.39 17.49 200,208.03
    WILLIAMS SCOTSMAN INTL INC 182,402.00 21.00 3,829,754.42 23.81 4,342,991.62
    WILLIAMS SONOMA INC 534,350.00 11.69 6,248,939.26 31.58 16,874,773.00
    WILLIS GROUP HOLDINGS LTD 22,800.00 41.98 957,228.77 44.06 1,004,568.00
    WILLIS LEASE FIN CORP 21,200.00 6.43 136,406.63 11.62 246,344.00
    WILLOW FINL BANCORP INC 61,331.00 16.63 1,019,935.47 13.00 797,303.00
    WILMINGTON TR CORP 400,660.00 11.77 4,714,109.43 41.51 16,631,396.60
    WILSHIRE BANCORP INC 6,200.00 16.71 103,592.12 12.18 75,516.00
    WILSHIRE ENTERPRISES INC 22,795.00 4.75 108,334.19 5.45 124,232.75
    WILSONS LEATHER EXPERTS INC 134,000.00 5.89 788,663.27 1.84 246,560.00
    WIND ENERGY AMER INC 2,600.00 0.92 2,401.80 2.15 5,590.00
    WIND RIV SYS INC 665,250.00 12.51 8,324,974.75 11.00 7,317,750.00
    WINDSTREAM CORP 1,345,731.00 4.95 6,662,252.35 14.76 19,862,989.56
    WINMARK CORP 13,200.00 17.50 231,059.00 19.38 255,750.00
    WINMILL+ CO INC 600.00 4.60 2,760.99 6.47 3,882.00
    WINNEBAGO IND INC. 1,800.00 29.51 53,118.00 29.52 53,136.00
    WINTRUST FINL CORP 45,410.00 49.36 2,241,373.20 43.85 1,991,228.50
    Entries 4,551 – 4,575 of 4,656

  20. Andy, there is NO WAY to block Calpers and other state pension funds from owning a publicly traded stock. Having been on the inside of publicly traded companies, I’ve never once seen a state pension fund exert influence through its ownership on the issue of petitioners.

    They are virtually always passive investors, and their only influence on corporate policy is through voting on Board of Directors slots.

    It’s very, very rare that pension funds own more than 5% of shares outstanding. Most state pension funds invest in a top-down manner, buying small stakes in the S&P 500, for ex.

  21. Here’s a little story. In 2006 I worked on the ballot access petition drive to requalify the Libertarian Party for the Maryland ballot. We had to finish the drive by a certain date or else the Libertarian Party of Maryland was going to get decertified by the state and if this happened they would lose all of their registered voters (as in everyone who checked the Libertarian Party box on their voter registration form would be converted from Libertarian to no party). Losing all of their registered voters would have been a major set back for the Maryland LP (note that if they get a certain number of registered voters they could get major party status in Maryland, so losing all of their registered voters would put them further from getting major party status). We had to have 10,000 valid petition signatures by the end of the month for the Maryland LP to not get decertified.

    The date to have the petition signatures in was quickly approaching so a team of petitioners went to work to save the Maryland LP’s ballot status. We focused on college campuses first, but since it was December the colleges went out of session and we still needed more signatures. So at this point our best hope was to rely on some stores, that is if we could get them. The majority of store chains are quite hostile to petitioners, and it is very difficult to get stores in most states. Fortunately, we were able to get some Giant grocery stores (note that this does not happen very often).

    While driving through Silver Spring, Maryland, I spotted a Whole Foods. I had remembered reading that John Mackey is the head of Whole Foods and that he is a libertarian, so I thought we ought to give Whole Foods a try. Before we did this I went to a library to download some information about John Mackey and his libertarian views. One of the things that I downloaded was a transcript of a speech that John Mackey gave at an event which I believe was called Freedomfest. I then gave the information to one of the other Libertarian petitioners (a guy named Bob) who I thought was better at communicating with store managers than I am. So Bob and I went over to Whole Foods and Bob went in to talk to the store manager. He introduced himself, explained that he was gathering petition signatures to requalify the Libertarian Party of Maryland for the ballot, and then explained that he needed to find a place where he could stand where there was a flow of people that he could ask to sign the petition. The manager seemed skeptical, so he showed the manager some information about the petition requirement for ballot access, and then he decided to show the manager the information that said that John Mackey – the head of Whole Foods – is a libertarian himself. The store manager then became hostile and told him to get lost. This was a damn shame because this Whole Foods was very busy and would have been an excellent location for petition signature gathering.

    As I said above, we were very lucky to get those Giants. If we had not gotten those Giants, it is quite possible that we would not have gathered a sufficient number of signatures in time to save the Maryland LP’s ballot status.

    Now isn’t it ironic that we lucked out and got those few Giant grocery stores, but that the store that was founded and is headed by a libertarian would not allow us to gather petition signatures there.

    Mr. Mackey, how do you think it advances the cause of liberty to not allow for petition signature gathering at Whole Foods? What if those Giants in Maryland had that same attitude towards people gathering signatures on petitions? If those Giants had had the same attitude as Whole Foods then the Maryland LP would have been decertified, which means they would have lost ballot status and lost all of their registered voters.

    Why do you think that asking people to sign petitions is such a bad thing that it should be banned from Whole Foods?

    Here is a quote that I found from you on-line.

    “. Mackey disagreed.
    The Wealth of Nations was a tremendous achievement, but economists would be well served to read Smith’s other great book, The Theory of Moral Sentiments. There he explains that human nature isn’t just about self-interest. It also includes sympathy, empathy, friendship, love, and the desire for social approval. As motives for human behavior, these are at least as important as self-interest. For many people, they are more important.

    The business model that Whole Foods has embraced could represent a new form of capitalism, one that more consciously works for the common good instead of depending solely on the ‘invisible hand’ to generate positive results for society. The ‘brand’ of capitalism is in terrible shape throughout the world, and corporations are widely seen as selfish, greedy, and uncaring.This is both unfortunate and unnecessary…”

    How does not allowing petition signature gathering at Whole Foods fall in line with what you said in these quotes? How does such a policy of not allowing petition signature gathering promote friendship and love? How does helping to keep people from having a voice by preventing petition signature gathering embrace this new form of capitalism that you spoke of which is supposed to work for the common good? Do you think that empowering the establisment Democrats and Republicans by keeping opposition off of the ballot is working towards the common good?

  22. “on December 23, 2008 at 7:05 am Robert Capozzi
    Andy, there is NO WAY to block Calpers and other state pension funds from owning a publicly traded stock.”

    I didn’t say that there was. Also, government investment funds are not just limited to pensions.

    “Having been on the inside of publicly traded companies, I’ve never once seen a state pension fund exert influence through its ownership on the issue of petitioners.”\

    I’ve seen examples of this. In fact, I’ve got a news paper article that I cut out about how CALPERS was exerting influence over corporation. I’m not sure where I put the article but if I can find it I’ll scan it and post it.

    “They are virtually always passive investors, and their only influence on corporate policy is through voting on Board of Directors slots.”

    Sometimes they are passive and sometimes they are not, this is besides the point. The point is that where they are passive or not the fact remains that stolen money (ie-money extorted from We The People through taxes, fines, and imposed fees) is used by government entities to buy shares in corporations, as well as to purchase realestate.

    “It’s very, very rare that pension funds own more than 5% of shares outstanding. Most state pension funds invest in a top-down manner, buying small stakes in the S&P 500, for ex.”

    There are MANY, MANY government investment funds, and like I said before, it is not just limited to government employee pensions.

    Check out Walter Burien at http://www.CAFR1.com as he is an expert on this subject.

    OK, here are the facts.

    Government is a group of men and women who provide “services” at the barrel of a gun whether people want those services or not.

    They get together and extrort money out of people through taxes, fines, imposed fees, and inflation. Some of their revenue (ie-stolen loot) gets put in various state run investment funds. These state run investment funds then buy up the stock market and invest heavily in realestate.

    How did they get the money to invest in the stock market and in realestate? By extorting it out of the general public.

    Now if somebody steals something from me I still consider it to be rightfully mine. I have not conscented to pay any taxes. Any taxes that I pay are because the money was stolen from me.

    If a thief steals your car and puts it in a garage, and you happen to walk by that garage and you glance through the window and see your car, aren’t you going to say something like, “Hey, that’s my car!”

    Now it does not matter if the thief drives that car or not, and it also does not matter that you do not have pocession of that car anymore, the fact is that morally speaking, it is still your car.

    So when government steals money from me and buys a share in a corporation, I look at a part of that share as being property that was stolen from me.

  23. Check out this video, Comprehensive Annual Finacial Reports Exposed.

    http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=comprehensive+annual+financial+reports+exposed&emb=0&aq=f#

    Comprehensive Annual Finacial Reports (or CAFRs) are the 2nd set of books that government entites keep. You see, they have the operating budget which is what the talk about in public, but their 2nd set of books is the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, and this is what shows the true net worth of government entities. This is where you find out about their stock, bond, and realestate holdings.

    Government is WAY BIGGER than most people realize.

  24. For Immediate Release
    Contact: Peter Scales, DPD
    Phone: (312) 744-2976
    E-mail:
    Tuesday, December 21, 2004

    Whole Foods and Residential Development at Peterson/Cicero

    Mayor Richard M. Daley introduced a plan to City Council on December 15 to build a $60 Million retail and residential complex on a long vacant parcel on the Northwest Side with the help from the City’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) program.

    “This is the kind of project that the TIF program was made for,” Mayor Daley said. “It will rejuvenate a large vacant parcel, create and exciting new shopping option for the neighborhood and provide new mixed-income housing option for the community.”

    The parcel on the northwest corner of Peterson and Cicero Avenues has been vacant for several years. The plan includes the construction of a five story, mixed-use building containing a 40,000 square foot Whole Foods grocery store and 61 condominium units. A second six story building will contain 75 condominium units.

    A total of 27, or 20% of the units will be made affordable to low- and moderate-income families.

    Whole Foods will have 169 designated parking spaces for customers, 132 underground and 37 surface. The residential units will have 196 parking spaces.

    The City will invest a total of $10.3 Million in TIF assistance, necessary due to the costs associated with the acquisition and environmental remediation of the property.

    “After many years of negotiations, this corner — long considered to be the gateway to the Sauganash and Edgebrook communities — will be developed with a great new store and residential complex,” said Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th Ward).

  25. Whole Foods
    Subsidy for corporate market threatens local natural foods stores.
    BY ALAN PITTMAN

    Eugene city staff’s proposal to give $9 million in taxpayer subsidies to a Texas corporation for a huge new downtown natural foods grocery could decimate Eugene’s homegrown natural food stores, critics say.

    “To subsidize a corporate chain to go against local businesses just seems very wrong,” said Gavin McComas, proprietor of Sundance Natural Foods. McComas calls the city subsidies for the Whole Foods development “intrinsically unfair.”

    City staff have proposed giving Whole Foods and the local Giustina lumber and land speculation family who’s working as the developer for the project an $8 million parking garage plus $1 million in land for a downtown store near the onramp to the Ferry Street Bridge viaduct.

    Whole Foods is a huge corporation with 38,000 employees, 175 stores and $4.7 billion in sales last year. The world’s largest natural foods retailer, the corporation is adding a dozen stores a year and predicts it will more than double in size in the next four years, according to its annual report.

    McComas said the 50,000 square foot Whole Foods store plans to sell more than all of the six other local natural foods stores in Eugene combined. It’s unlikely people will buy that much more natural food or shift from shopping that much from Safeway and Albertson’s, he said. Instead, McComas said those corporate sales will come out of local stores, threatening to bankrupt them.

    Whole Foods report to shareholders says maximizing investor returns is a major objective. The corporation lists “smaller specialty stores” as among its competitors in the “intensely competitive” business and said its advantage is using its large size to generate $537,000 in sales per store per week.

    Sundance has been in Eugene since 1971 and like other local natural foods stores is part of the local culture, “part of what Eugene is,” McComas said. “It would be a great loss if we couldn’t continue to have these local natural food stores here.”

    Eugene shouldn’t become an “Anywhere, U.S.A.,” a “clone town” of corporate chain stores, McComas said.

    Paul Nicholson, a former Eugene city councilor and owner of the local Paul’s Bikes chain, agrees that the city-subsidized Whole Foods project will kill some of the local stores. “There is no public interest in subsidizing one retailer at the expense of others,” he said. “They’re not creating jobs.”

    McComas points to studies that jobs in local stores are better than corporate chains since they return several times more money per sales dollar to the local economy by buying locally and keeping profits in town.

    The Whole Foods and Connor/Woolley/Opus redevelopment proposals will convert downtown “from a public space to a corporate shopping mall” and “is a loss of Eugene’s soul,” Nicholson said.

    The subsidized corporate development is a “betrayal” of Mayor Kitty Piercy’s campaign promises to help sustainable local businesses, Nicholson said. “She’s heavily subsidizing national retailers with money she’s stealing from schoolchildren through tax-increment financing.”

    City staff propose that about $5.5 million of the subsidy will come from urban renewal, which diverts tax revenue from schools and other government services. In addition, about $2 million will come from money set aside for a new City Hall/police station and about $500,000 from diverting money from the downtown library.

    The premise behind the city subsidy is that it will reduce traffic and enliven downtown with its central location. But McComas said he doubts it. The neighborhood natural food stores Whole Foods will displace also reduce traffic with convenient locations, he said. He said the big Whole Foods store will be a regional attraction that people will drive to and leave with their perishables in the car without walking around downtown.

    The proposed project does appear very car-oriented, with more than 500 parking spaces. About half will be above the Whole Foods store in two levels and about half in the adjacent city garage. The garage will largely present a blank wall and driveways, one from a drive-through bank, to 8th Avenue, which the city’s downtown plan envisions as a lively pedestrian “great street.”

    City staff said the new parking is needed despite surface parking lots across the street and two city parking garages two blocks away. Councilor Bonny Bettman questions whether the garage is needed for Whole Foods to locate downtown, noting the grocery’s plans for parking above its store, and the fact that about half of city parking spaces downtown are vacant.

    City staff praise Whole Foods for its good treatment of workers and commitment to sustainability. Fortune Magazine has listed the company as a good place to work and Whole Foods uses wind energy, recycles and donates to non-profits. But the corporation is also staunchly anti-union. A grocery union that tried to organize Whole Foods stores has filed unfair labor complaints.

    City Councilor Betty Taylor said she thinks the Whole Foods store could help enliven downtown, but she doesn’t think the benefit is worth the subsidy.

    For years citizens have called for the city to capitalize on the success of the seasonal Saturday and Farmer’s Markets and build a public indoor market downtown like in Seattle or Boston, but to little effect. Taylor said she’d also like to see the money go to a downtown park. “Fixing the roads would be better, lots of things would be better,” she said.

    City staff want the council to approve the Whole Foods subsidy by Feb. 22. But McComas said the city should hold a public hearing. “These decisions effect the whole community.”

  26. It looks like I just found a shopping center on which the land where it is sitauted was siezed through eminent domain that contains a Whole Foods.

    Mr. Mackey, would you contend that it is OK to prevent people from gathering state mandated ballot access petition signatures at shopping centers where the land was confiscated (ie-stolen) through eminent domain?

    From the WSJ Real Estate Archives
    Aging Areas Around Cities
    Push Suburban Renewal by Thaddeus Herrick
    From The Wall Street Journal Online
    February 01, 2007

    During his 12 years as mayor of Jennings, Mo., a struggling suburb of 16,000 on the edge of St. Louis, Benjamin Sutphin has developed a simple philosophy for urban renewal: raze and rebuild.

    He’s presided over the demolition of two regional shopping centers, dilapidated homes, abandoned tennis courts and a shuttered drive-in movie theater, promoting new retail, recreational and residential projects in their place. “Something had to be done,” says Mr. Sutphin.

    In recent years, newer U.S. suburbs have flourished and big cities have lured business and residents back downtown. Caught in the middle are older suburbs, many in the Midwest where economic growth has been particularly slow. Their plight has attracted the interest of scholars and even earned them a name: inner-ring or first suburbs, as compared with the outer-ring suburbs or exurbs where developers can in many cases build from scratch.

    “Most of these places are out of luck,” says Myron Orfield, associate professor at the University of Minnesota Law School and executive director of the university’s Institute on Race and Poverty, who was among the first to examine the problems of the nation’s older suburbs with his 1997 book, “Metropolitics.”

    Against the odds, however, some inner-ring suburbs like Jennings are fighting back, often with bulldozer tactics. Jennings, for example, lured a developer who replaced a languishing 1950s-era shopping center with a new one that opened in 2006 anchored by a 126,000 square-foot Target store. In Lakewood, Colo., on Denver’s western fringe, city officials faced with declining tax revenue agreed several years ago to plow under a nearly empty, 1960s-era mall known as Villa Italia. In its place: Belmar, an $850 million mixed-use town center developed by Denver-based Continuum Partners that has attracted a Whole Foods Market and an American Apparel store, among other tenants.

    Inner-ring suburbs face obstacles as they try to adapt. Older suburbs with aging populations can be particularly reluctant to tax hikes. In Colorado, Lakewood residents resisted a sales tax increase for 34 years, finally agreeing to raise the rate to 3% from 2% in 2005.

    Redevelopment projects sometimes get held up because one land owner will refuse to budge, leading older suburbs to pursue eminent domain. On the edge of Minneapolis, the city of Richfield bought dozens of declining homes, apartments and businesses to clear 45 acres in order to land Best Buy Corp.’s $160 million, 1.6-million-square-foot headquarters, which opened in 2003. The city condemned the property of a car dealer in order to make the Best Buy project possible. Now the city is looking toward a 12-year, 650-acre redevelopment project that is likely to mean the demolition of hundreds of homes and dozens of businesses. “The challenge is to stay competitive,” says Martin Kirsch, Richfield’s mayor between 1996 and 2006.

    An additional 11 floors are being constructed on top of the Bentall 5 office building in downtown Vancouver.
    But Minnesota last year limited the ability of its cities to use eminent domain — a tactic Mr. Kirsch used extensively. Mr. Kirsch was voted out of office in November, in part because of a backlash against the subsidies he used to attract development.

    A 2006 report by the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C., think tank, identifies 64 first suburban counties that are home to about 20% of the U.S. population, or 50 million people. The report also says these first rings around the nation’s metro cores are experiencing an increase in poverty despite a decrease nationally. Between 1970 and 2000, according to Brookings, three quarters of the 64 counties witnessed a rise in the percentage of their census tracts that had at least a 20% poverty rate.

    Jennings, a city of four square miles set among rolling, wooded hills, was long known for its two 50-acre shopping centers — Northland and River Roads — which were among the first regional retail destinations the St. Louis area.

    A largely white middle-class suburb in the 1950s, Jennings underwent huge demographic change between 1980 and 2000. The city’s white population declined to 2,988 from 12,206 while its poorer African-American population surged to 12,155 from 4,647. The city’s housing stock, much of it two-bedroom brick homes, is largely obsolete, and its schools are in danger of losing state accreditation, according officials with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The 56-year-old Mr. Sutphin, a former pet shop owner, frets about “wannabe gang bangers who like to carry guns, do drugs and terrorize people.”

    Upon taking office in 1995, Mr. Sutphin worried that Jennings faced the prospect of turning into something akin to East St. Louis, an industrial town that has become synonymous with blight. Most pressing were the shopping centers. The asphalt parking lot at River Roads was so overgrown workers were dispatched to mow it in spring and summer.

    At the urging of Economic Development Resources, a St. Louis consulting firm, Jennings in 1999 sought proposals to redevelop the Northland shopping center, a concrete relic that had opened in 1955. By the time it closed six years ago, three out of every four stores were shuttered and homeless people started using it for shelter. While most developers proposed replacing it with warehouses, St. Louis-based Sansone Group LLC argued that the local market was underserved.

    Sansone’s pitch: a new retail center. With state and city incentives totaling $16 million, Sansone developed a $50 million, 400,000-square-foot retail center that today is 98% leased, with brick exteriors, a landscaped parking lot and a soon-to-be-complete Starbucks drive-through.

    Mr. Sutphin’s next major target was River Roads, which the city sought to develop as a residential project, largely because it receives its tax revenue from a county pool based on population instead of retail sales. Attracted in part by city, state and federal subsidies of about $20 million, St. Louis-based The Pyramid Companies is developing a $63 million project on the site of the mall that will feature 200 homes, 12 acres of retail and a senior-living facility.

    Unlike in Richfield, the incentives offered by Jennings have yielded little resistance. “Most everybody was ready to move ahead,” says Yolonda Fountain-Henderson, an African-American member of the city council.

    Mr. Sutphin, however, will face opposition in an April election (Ms. Fountain-Henderson, for one, is running against him). One issue: Ms. Fountain-Henderson among others believes the city would be better represented by an African-American than by Mr. Sutphin, who is white.

    Mr. Sutphin says he’s proud of the changes he’s brought to Jennings so far. “It was about the only choice we had,” he says.

    Email your comments to rjeditor@dowjones.com.

  27. Andy, yes, sometimes some government pension funds become activist. Yes, of course government’s tentacles insidiously reach deeper into the private economy than most realize.

    It’s not obvious how you think your attack on Mackey and his business policies are helpful. If anything, he might want to tighten his policy for the good of his company and its stakeholders.

    Invoking his name and his political affiliation is WAY not cool, and WAY inappropriate. Sounds like you disrespected the store manager with a veiled threat of a sort.

    Chill, dude. Your commitment is laudable, but you seem to be on the edge of hysteria.

  28. To Michael Seebeck,

    Hopefully someday we will have a location where you suggest. Due to the worst retail environment since the Great Depression of the 1930’s, Whole Foods is radically slowing down our expansion for the next few years.

    To susanhogarth,

    I think you pitched FLOW yourself by giving the website. Thanks.

    To Andy,

    If you want to persuade me you’ll need to convince me that my arguments and logic are incorrect. In my previous post I reprinted the letter I sent to one of your colleagues and gave the reasons why I won’t override the local Whole Foods management in order to make you happy. You’ll need to persuade me by addressing my points–not by personally attacking both me and Whole Foods. So far you have directly addressed any of my arguments, but simply ignored them and instead chose to hammer away at me and Whole Foods.

    Like many people in pursuit of their passions you seem to have little tolerance for people who disagree with you. After hearing your story about interacting with our Store Team Leader it is pretty obvious that you might want to work on your sales pitch some. Dropping my name and quoting things about me was surely interpreted as either a threat or intimidation.

    Regarding the Calpers investment in Whole Foods, your argument is silly. Whole Foods is a publicly traded company. Anyone can own stock in our company and we can’t stop anyone from buying our stock. Tens of thousands of people and institutions have invested in Whole Foods stock. The company is not responsible for the actions of our stockholders in the larger world. If you’ve got a problem with government institutions owning stock in companies then you’ve got a problem with every publicly traded company in the United States and probably the entire world. As a point of fact, no government entity owns very much stock in Whole Foods and they don’t exercise influence or control of the company.

    The examples you give regarding a couple of Whole Foods landlords getting special deals from local governments are not very persuasive to your argument. Whole Foods Market itself has not received such subsidies and we are not responsible for the actions of our landlords, our customers, our suppliers, or our investors. It is ludicrous to try to hold Whole Foods responsible for the actions of every person or entity that the company trades with. We are responsible for our own actions–not the actions of everyone else. The article about Eugene, Oregon is not accurate because Whole Foods never sought any kind of government subsidy. That was the developer seeking the subsidy to develop public parking in a downtown area, parking that would be available to anyone who would pay for it–not Whole Foods. As it turned out our potential competitors in Eugene were successful in killing that entire project so Whole Foods potential store there was never built.

    Sorry you don’t approve of me or Whole Foods or the way we conduct our business, Andy. I think I’ve done alot in my lifetime to promote the freedom movement and I will do much more before I’m done. Best of luck to you. Take care. I’ve got to prepare for my upcoming deposition with the Federal Trade Commission. They think we are monopoly!!!!

  29. Mr. Mackey,

    I do understand that completely. Thanks for listening!😀

  30. Dear Mr Mackey,

    I’ll put my own spin on your comments directed towards
    Andy. I sympathize with Andy, but don’t identically agree with hs arguments, so you shouldn’t mistake me for “replying for Andy”. …I speak only for myself.

    Mr. Mackey: To Andy,
    If you want to persuade me you’ll need to convince me that my arguments and logic are incorrect.

    Jake: Why bother? In your reply to my first email, I totally and completely destroyed the “straw man” arguments in your reply to me, and never got a reply. You have addressed none of our logic, yet demand we address yours.

    Mr. Mackey: In my previous post I reprinted the letter I sent to one of your colleagues and gave the reasons why I won’t override the local Whole Foods management in order to make you happy.

    Jake Witmer: Don’t override their fascist tendencies to make us happy John. Do it to stick up for free expression, and open ballot access! Do it because it’s what a libertarian would do!

    I assume you are referring to me, as Andy’s “colleague” since you responded to one of my emails on a point-by-point basis. Trouble is, your arguments were all fallacious. They were mostly in the form of “straw man” arguments. You repeatedly asserted that I was arguing in favor of using the government or the law to “force” you to allow petitioning at your stores. Completely untrue. Where did you reprint it? I saw no link. Was it the one that you responded to that was full of straw man arguments, or one of the ones after I had written you off as a “fairweather libertarian”? I am going to pull that mess of contradictions out of my email history and print it here, if ENM will allow it.

    Mr. Mackey: You’ll need to persuade me by addressing my points–not by personally attacking both me and Whole Foods. So far you have directly addressed any of my arguments, but simply ignored them and instead chose to hammer away at me and Whole Foods.

    Jake Witmer: I’ll assume you wanted to include the word “not” in the above, and I’ll point out that if you read all that Andy has written, you are seriously taken to task for stating that you are a libertarian, yet failing to act as a libertarian. Kind of like saying, “I’m not a bigot, but I can’t hang out with you because you’re black.” You would have the legal right to behave in such a manner (even in a libertarian society!), but it would be obvious that you were a hypocrite and a man of little consistency. That is my only argument against you and your grocery store, and my reason for boycotting you, and urging others to do the same.

    Their money could much better be spent at Giant Food Stores, wherever possible.

    Mr. Mackey: Like many people in pursuit of their passions you seem to have little tolerance for people who disagree with you. (Jake’s note: this is an interesting ad-hominem attack on Andy’s character. What does John mean by “intolerance”? I’ve never seen security guards approach anyone and threaten them with violence because of anything Andy said, but I have seen exactly that as a result from John’s endorsement of his corporate board’s decisions. Is that as intolerant as organizing a boycott? I guess so.)

    Jake Witmer: John, do you personally disagree with our goal of LP ballot access? Or do you agree with us that it would be best if the LP were on the ballot, with vastly more money left over to be allocated to getting the message out? You are in a position to save the LP (or, well, you would be, if you were the kind of person whose actions matched their publicly-expressed sentiments) thousands and thousands of dollars just by sending a letter to your board of directors, AS GIANT FOOD STORES AND K-MART HAVE BOTH DONE, WITHOUT CALLING THEMSELVES LIBERTARIANS. But you can’t be bothered. This wouldn’t bother me if you didn’t portray yourself as someone sympathetic to libertarianism, and the Libertarian Party, and open ballot access.

    Mr. Mackey: After hearing your story about interacting with our Store Team Leader it is pretty obvious that you might want to work on your sales pitch some.

    Jake Witmer: Mackey, you must either be dishonest or a fool to say this, since YOU INTIMATELY KNOW that no matter what the “sales pitch” was, the manager would not allow the petitioning, unless he broke your board of directors’ stated policy. Your reply to my first email indicates that you understand and recognize this. Please, eliminate dishonesty from your arguments: you will sleep better at night.

    Mr. Mackey: Dropping my name and quoting things about me was surely interpreted as either a threat or intimidation.

    Jake Witmer: He didn’t “drop your name” in the traditional sense of the phrase used “to insinuate that he knows you personally”. More dishonesty. He “dropped your name” as a publicly professed libertarian, while holding a libertarian nominating petition, allowing anyone with common sense to assume that you want your preferred choice on the ballot. You DO, IN FACT, purport to be a libertarian. As a member of the group of “people with common sense”, I once assumed you would be delighted to have nominating petitions circulated in front of your stores, since it doesn’t hurt a damn thing, and it helps win back our lost freedoms.

    (as well as slowing their further loss, according to R.J. Rummel. http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills )

    Your argument is of the sort: “The jews were rude to the nazi soldiers, thus making it easier for for you to sympathize with their being hauled off to the work camps.” However, I have tried bending over backward with politeness, asking if we could “just try it out for a few minutes and if it didn’t work out, or there was even one complaint, I’d leave”. I was smiling, wearing nice clean button down shirt, looking and acting professional and polite: ALL THE SAME THINGS THAT WORK IN NON-TOTALITARIAN-OWNED GROCERY CHAINS. But those things don’t work at whole Foods, because Whole Foods defers to its risk averse and un-American board of corporate fascist directors, as you well know, John, since you also defer to them!

    Since you insult our intelligence, and the readers’ intelligence by assuming that Libertarian Party petitioners were rude while they were asking your managers for permission, I am now going to refer to you as “John”, instead of “Mr. Mackey”. The Jews were not taken away by the nazis because they were rude to the nazis. They were taken away by the nazis because the law said “nazis are supposed to take jews away”. The libertarian petitioners were not told to stop petitioning at whole foods because they were rude, they were told they could not petition, because your board of directors forbids petitioning as company policy.

    Interestingly enough, on several occasions in 2004, by being uber-polite, I actually convinced your store managers to ignore your corporate policy for a day or so. (Note: I did this back when I thought you were actually a libertarian, by playing on their sympathies with their CEO’s professed philosophy, not in an intimidating manner. I know the difference, and it was not the same rude and insulting tone I am now taking with you, since you refuse honest argumentation in favor of BS and obfuscation.
    —–Intimidation never works, unless you’re on public property where one has the legal right to petition, dealing with some brainless cop. That you would insinuate that we don’t know the difference, and that that’s why we got the outcome we got, when your corporate policy prevents alternate outcomes is DISHONEST.—-)

    John: Regarding the Calpers investment in Whole Foods, your argument is silly. Whole Foods is a publicly traded company. Anyone can own stock in our company and we can’t stop anyone from buying our stock. Tens of thousands of people and institutions have invested in Whole Foods stock.

    Jake Witmer: If it’s silly, then you should be able to fully refute it. When the State buys property and makes it more easily available to businesses that don’t do business with jews, then the entire society is corrupted, and all moral effort (including libertarian effort!) should oppose it. Ooops! Did I say jews again? Maybe it was just a reference to Leonard Peikoff’s “The Ominous Parallels”. You might want to investigate how friendly the police state is to your alleged ideals before you sing the praises of the corporatism/fascism system we live under. You might currently be treading water faster than the Federal Reserve can steal it, but that might not always be the case.

    A larger discussion of culpability for one’s society is a little beyond the scope of this posting, but you also might want to investigate the federal reserve system a little bit, and ask yourself if you have the power to avoid following the footsteps of the Weimar Republic. Would exercising that power be worth doing so, with every fiber of your body? I mean, we were initially only asking for a letter suggesting that Whole Foods allow petitioning, before we realized what you were made of. …A simple letter from the “outspoken, ‘libertarian’ CEO” of Whole Foods! Not too much to ask, as our society careens on the edge of the fascist abyss, was it?

    For the record, this is the long, long, argument you have to have if you want to fairly conclude that Andy is “silly”. I choose to just concede that you are correct on this point, because the number of libertarians who understand that the system incentivizes division amongst libertarians by mixing elements of the free market with elements of collectivism is never going to be more than a few hundred serious players.

    John: The company is not responsible for the actions of our stockholders in the larger world.

    Jake Witmer: So you assert, which is, once again a red herring. It means nothing to your argument or ours for you to point this out.

    But what if it was rephrased so it wasn’t a red-herring into something meaningful? Such as, “The company is not responsible for UNDOING the NON-LIBERTARIAN actions of our stockholders in the larger world.”

    That would then be an assertion that is relevant to your argument, but for which you would have no evidence. But I’ll let you have this point, since it’s a damn long argument, and you have inifinite “wiggle room” if it isn’t live and moderated.

    John: If you’ve got a problem with government institutions owning stock in companies then you’ve got a problem with every publicly traded company in the United States and probably the entire world.

    Jake Witmer: Yep, that’s one of Andy’s points. He and I both DO have a problem with the fact that the structure of our society is not libertarian in nature. That’s what we’re trying to change, when we do things like put the Libertarian Party on the Ballot, attend tax protests, and hand out FIJA literature to incoming juries! Moreover, if Andy’s right, and your prior statement is correct, then doesn’t it make your refusal of requested help for the fight for liberty all the more repugnant?

    We asked for a letter. Not a “command”. A simple “suggestion” to your corporate board. A letter that was worth freedom, lives, fortunes, and thousands of dollars paid to petitioners. It would have been a Giant help to have a business that is nationwide that favors free speech! (The pro-freedom foodstore, Giant Foods, is not everywhere.)

    John: As a point of fact, no government entity owns very much stock in Whole Foods and they don’t exercise influence or control of the company.

    Jake Witmer: Except by the virtue of the fact that since you’re a fish swimming in fascism, and your company is under minor pressure to avoid controversy and lawsuits and skirmishes that wouldn’t exist in a libertarian society, you can’t imagine a company deciding to “take those risks” BECAUSE FREEDOM MEANS SOMETHING TO THEM WORTH STANDING FOR. Be sure to avoid my central point and criticize my use of all-caps here. I wasn’t sure how to bold my statement, and it will show you are a classy guy.

    John: The examples you give regarding a couple of Whole Foods landlords getting special deals from local governments are not very persuasive to your argument.

    Jake Witmer: I actually kind of agree with you here John. The question behind my argument is “Are you behaving in an un-American way?”, not “Do you have a right to behave in an un-American way?” I agree with you that you have a right to behave in an un-American way.

    John: Whole Foods Market itself has not received such subsidies and we are not responsible for the actions of our landlords, our customers, our suppliers, or our investors. It is ludicrous to try to hold Whole Foods responsible for the actions of every person or entity that the company trades with. We are responsible for our own actions–not the actions of everyone else. The article about Eugene, Oregon is not accurate because Whole Foods never sought any kind of government subsidy. That was the developer seeking the subsidy to develop public parking in a downtown area, parking that would be available to anyone who would pay for it–not Whole Foods. As it turned out our potential competitors in Eugene were successful in killing that entire project so Whole Foods potential store there was never built.

    Jake Witmer: So, ignoring what I am willing to concede is a red-herring argument that is difficult for a great many libertarians to come to agreement on, (ie: that your buildings and operations benefit from government force and that that creates an obligation upon your for moral defense of the right to free expression), you still have not answered why Giant Food Store can afford to put libertarian principles into action (without even calling themselves libertarians, or having any association with the Libertarian Party), but you can not (or will not). They take libertarian action simply because they have read the Bill of Rights, and sympathize with its GOALS and PHILOSOPHY, out of a sense of honor and “Americanness”. They might lack the alleged deeper understanding that you have of consistent “libertarianism”, but they stand firm in what they do understand. They don’t say one thing, and then “cave in” and do another.

    John: Sorry you don’t approve of me or Whole Foods or the way we conduct our business, Andy. I think I’ve done alot in my lifetime to promote the freedom movement and I will do much more before I’m done.

    Jake Witmer: Super Duper. I guess one of those things won’t be writing a letter to your fascist-sympathetic board of supervisors that would conservatively save the LP $40,000 / year. Thank goodness there are scraps of high-foot traffic concrete that I can stand on in front of Giant Food Stores, when the Universities are not in session! And thank Goodness that there are people like TJ Rodgers who refuse to accept small-minded bahavior from “boards of directors” that they don’t even sit on! (That’s right! The guy who debated that corporations DON’T have a duty to society, but only to their shareholders joined the board of trustees at Dartmouth College –his alma mater– to defeat their restrictive “speech code”. —Before you insert your foot in your mouth by stating that a college is different than a whole foods, you might want to consider that all of their arguments for restricting speech are identical to yours!)

    John: Best of luck to you.

    Jake Witmer: You won’t need luck, John. You may have lost my business, and the business of intellectually rigorous libertarians, but that still leaves 99.999% of the population to shut up and shop at Whole Foods (TM)!

    John: Take care. I’ve got to prepare for my upcoming deposition with the Federal Trade Commission. They think we are monopoly!!!!

    Jake Witmer: Gee. Too bad those Libertarian Party Candidates haven’t amounted to anything yet! …They seem to spend an awful lot of time battling ballot access restrictions! Too bad, because it would be kind of nice to have a strong force on the ballot that agrees with you, right John?

    I wonder what they could do with some of that money if they didn’t have to spend so much of it dealing with “free speech zones”, security guards, cops, and rainy days? Would they be a political presence that would actually make the FTC worry about interfering with your company and your freedom?

    That would be nice, right John?

    John?

    Helloo-oooo-ooo-oo-o

  31. Whole Foods sells organic healthy food and lifestyles. Even though John Mackey personally votes for Libertarian Party candidates, I don’t think he should push for his public shareholder owned stores to support the Libertarian Party via granting petitioner access. I am pleased he publicly states his voting preference and it’s for Libertarian Party candidates.

    For the record, I’m very rarely a Whole Foods customer. Like the stores just fine, it’s just that I’m more of a Wendy’s Hamburgers and 7-Eleven kind of guy.

  32. In all fairness, I’m probably being too hard on John (although we won’t really know until later), but it’s all “tough love”.

    I still remember back when I was a freshly-minted nerf libertarian, and I had never read or heard of Claire Wolfe, Boston T. Party (“Molon Labe” in particular), Jim Powell’s “Triumph of Liberty”, Leonard Peikoff’s “The Ominous Parallels”, G. Edward Griffin’s “The Creature From Jekyll Island” and “World Without Cancer”, Ayn Rand’s many books (although the big two were my first introduction to the part of objectivism that is AKA political libertarianism AKA “capitalism”), Robert Heinlein’s “Moon is a Harsh Mistress”, John Ross’s “Unintended Consequences”, Eric Drexler’s “Engines of Creation”, Robert Freitas’s “What Price Freedom?”, Kurzweil, John Douglass’s “Mindhunter”, the Austrians, Ron Paul, Stefan Molyneux, etc…

    The trouble with accepting that you are willing to simply be a “nerf libertarian” and are just going to sit back and play the game of politics, and hope that we win, is that freedom is worth more than that. Even most ‘nerf libertarians’ will admit this, if the questioning is rigorous enough.

    When too much freedom is taken away, society collapses, and people die by the hundreds of thousands.

    All this dying happens with the solution right in front of society’s collective face, but too few people are libertarian-minded to voluntarily enact those positive changes. As society gets more statist, the penalties for trying to enact the solutions increase (the laws get more brutal and punishments for offense get more violent), so there is a big benefit to “reaching your peak level of libertarianism” as early in your development as possible.

    So it hurts me to see a case where the vast gulf between costly and painful state of “less freedom” would require a simple letter that refuses to get written, because the person who is in a position to write it hasn’t decided that the possible minor negative social effects are worth the major benefit in actual freedom (and the simultaneous advance of the American CULTURE OF FREEDOM).

    In hindsight, it’s easy for me to think about the Weimar Republic’s weak culture of freedom that silenced dissent as the nazis took control in Germany. There was no sacred and unqualified First Amendment in the Weimar. Very little desire for or awareness of the philosophy of freedom at all…

    So now that we’ve proceeded down the same path that the Weimar trampled into historical familiarity, and it looks like the result will be similar, I guess I’m just willing to be an unpopular asshole when it comes to demanding that libertarian commentators hold themselves and their message to a high standard.

    As I predicted, most people who have not done much public activism are defending Mackey, while those who have are defending me. My assault on Mackey’s sensibilities didn’t produce much, but then again, the “polite stage” prior to the assault didn’t produce much either.

    In the final analysis, The people who have built themselves into a position of power and responsibility are often very disappointing to me. But it makes perfect sense: Not too many people get to positions of power and responsibility
    by hanging out with socially-weak and unconnected people who wind up in the prisons.

    This is the design of the system that limits the information of the system, and protects the parasites in the FTC and elsewhere. (I believe that the FTC being made unpopular on the street will aid in its undoing as a threat to people like Mackey, but this might be overstating the case. Either way, I think we’re all in agreement that a libertarian choice on the ballot with money left over to run ads would be a positive.)

    The Weimar system also had limited information. There were plenty of well-heeled, able, inventive, creative people in the Weimar who were suddenly shocked by the emergence of Hitler’s vicious society. They were shocked because they had no philosophy to alert them to the danger. Over ten years, the nation was bankrupted and destroyed.

    In hindsight, a little difference, right at the beginning could have prevented it all.

    Just a little respect for free speech. A “pro-American-style-governance” minarchist movement on the campuses.

    But those who were “libertarian” simply didn’t have a loud enough voice. They weren’t insistent enough. It didn’t happen. The socialists called themselves “the Freedom Party”, a contradiction in terms. They didn’t have a specific term like “libertarianism” or a respect for markets.

    The penalty for not writing a simple letter is often a life, or even thousands of lives. Ballot access is so much more than a butterfly flapping its wings in China.

    I can see that, clearly, but I lack the psychological skill to effect the transfer of that meme/vision/philosophical-value-allocation to John Mackey. If I was more successful, how many lives would be saved by the advertisement that suddenly makes libertarianism “cool”?

    I started out as a Democrat, born to two Democrats (who are now more or less libertarians, having been irrevocably altered by their son’s uncommon political philosophy). I pursued learning about economics and liberty. I read the ISIL’s materials and then everything else… But it was only a few years later that I realized that there was a lot more that could be done (and should be done) to try to win freedom than simply “send the LP $25 for a new membership card every year, and walk a district for your local candidate”.

    Maybe I should write a book. It’s not like getting 25 Libertarian Petitioners to boycott Whole Foods would accomplish anything. That’s not the goal. The goal is to try to get a set of related thoughts into John Mackey’s head, so he composes an email. Obviously, plans that require the cooperation of other people are doomed. (A central tenet of objectivism.) But why can’t libertarians work together better than the Democrats do, here in Chicago?

    Are we less intelligent? Clearly, if I was Rahm Emanuel writing this letter to an avowed supporter of the Democrat Party, it would have been privately taken care of, and probably not only because the person feared retaliation. I think it’s because Democrats realize that their only chance at success is teamwork, whereas perhaps Mackey will go off and build Galt’s gulch.

    Of course, this has never happened, and lots of libertarians have gone to the gulag when a little organizing would have prevented that.

    It just strikes me as an unfortunate strangeness that someone can call themselves a “free market libertarian”, and then not see the value of putting little dots on the map where the idea of “free market libertarian” is allowed to quickly defeat obstacles to the ballot.

    Why doesn’t the right to freedom of association mean that the libertarian will choose to associate MORE with the libertarians; rather than choosing more association with the mainstream D & R monopoly?

    Clearly that monopoly is effective. Clearly, the libertarians are comparatively ineffective. Clearly, the Libertarians spend ~$1,000,000 every 4 years getting on the ballot.

    The people who know why this recurring failure to gain ground happens have come up with a lot of advice for getting a lot more “bang for the buck” out of the LP movement and its quadrennial ballot access grab.

    1) One such piece of advice is to keep a running commentary regarding locations, permissions, and to try to send petitioners back to states they have already worked, so there is less ‘reinventing the wheel’. (Obviously, this means not firing and blacklisting longtime libertarian activists without documented and challengeable cause. IE: “due process”. And no, workplaces shouldn’t be required by law to give a hearing or due process, but this is an extenuating circumstance where you actually save lots of money by not retraining your niche employee pool unnecessarily, and not exposing yourself to risk of retaliation by angry people who have been wronged by fly-by-night slimebags like Sean Haugh.)

    2) A part of #1 is to try to “create libertarians/capitalists” out of grocery store managers (other than John Mackey, who “already is a libertarian”), by showing them a mutual interest. This strategy was successful in Alaska, although the relationship has not really been maintained and “grown”,and was likely seen as a “one time, year-long effort”. At bare minimum, people like the CEO of Giant, Tony Schiano, and regional manager, Richard A. Baird, need to be profusely thanked for the ballot access they have allowed the LP (typically, the benefit is in gained ballot access –and not literal dollars–, since deadlines come and dollars are spent either way in the attempt and in travel).

    3) The cost can be cut by around 1/3 by beginning very early, and not forcing petitioners to charge more per signature to make up for “time off” and travel money wasted.

    4) another is to center the petitioning around multiple initiative efforts that will be supported by local libertarians, that will be used to defray the cost of LP ballot access and vice versa…

    There are many other recurring ideas that are never implemented, that should be.

    All of these non-implemented ideas are currently being wasted. One of the easiest wastes to correct would be to establish a “culture of ballot access speech tolerance” at a nationwide grocery or “big box” store. Simple opposition to the petitioning ban at one’s own store seems doable to me, and there are popular examples of it being done, on a limited basis.

    Many states do fewer initiatives, because the securing of locations is costly, and raises the cost beyond possible. If there was an “open access” location, then pro-individual freedom I & R petitioning companies, like “Citizens in Charge” could continuously estimate a reliable cost structure to I & R efforts, and could move those states into a continuous roll-back of the socialist state, wasting the resources of the incoming fascist tide.

    I disagree with Andy for one major reason and a few minor sub-reasons that access should be forced. (I do not think that access to locations should be forced, because that heralds the arrival of anti-freedom petitioners who believe they have a right to access a person’s business, so they can pass initiatives that allow them to destroy the business. I always favor choice, except for the choice to abuse force.) I wish to keep the guns holstered and out of sight, unless they are needed for self defense. …Even if they are actually subtly being used against me.

    A legitimate question is then begged if places like California forces petitioners to be allowed at storefronts: Need they also allow the communists and destroyers there? I prefer the freedom to associate, and the public use of shame of associating with fascism and racism to that of restrictions on supporting fascism and racism.

    I see no reason why a business owner should not have the guts to stand by their FREELY CHOSEN decision to allow or disallow petitioning, whatever it is. If it’s a bad decision, maybe they’ll change their minds when they get negative feedback. If it’s a good decision, maybe they’ll give negative feedback to the people giving them negative feedback, and help push the culture towards freedom (as an idea “power-center”).

    I wouldn’t be on this board if my view were not the libertarian view. I would be writing my local parasite, trying to get him to latch onto Mackey’s already parasite-laden hide.

    I do respect him for putting up with the FTC, but not any more than I would respect a non-libertarian for doing the same.

    If I’ve missed anything, I am just going to leave it alone, as I should have probably done pages ago.

    I hope Mackey mentions “free market” and “libertarian” a lot. I won’t keep making fun of him, even if he doesn’t get more religious about liberty. I didn’t like his arguments, I thought they were about as strong as my ability to manage a nationwide Grocery store, but at least he says “free market” sometimes.

    Free markets would be nice.

    SEND>

  33. In all fairness, I’m probably being too hard on John…

    I shouldn’t worry about it if were I you, because quite possibly no one has read entirely through one of your rants anyway.

    You and Andy really need to work on the ‘make a point and move on’ aspect of argumentation, and consider going past the ‘bludgeon’ style. It’s not very effective at Winning Friends and Influencing People, you know.

  34. Great point, Susan. Blog commenters need to keep is short and simple…a message I admit to not always getting!

    Jake and Andy seem to have some teeth-gnashing to work through. Their zealotry sounds like they may be recent converts.

    I trust they’ll work it out!

  35. Here is the letter I sent to Jake yesterday after a couple of my libertarian friends circulated his recent rambling diatribe against all things John Mackey to various libertarians.

    Dear Jake,

    You appear to be an unusually angry, judgmental, and intolerant person. I seem to be guilty of the worst crime imaginable—disagreement with you. For that I’m a “heretic”—not really a libertarian after all and therefore deserving of the kind of vitriol that you spew out below. Perhaps a few corrections are in order for your most blatant misconceptions:

    I don’t own Whole Foods Market. I’m not a “grocery store owner”. Whole Foods is a publicly traded Texas corporation. I co-founded the company back in 1978 (perhaps before you were born—you seem to be very young?) and am the CEO. However, I own less than 1% of the company—it isn’t my company and it isn’t my personal property. It is not my toy that I can do whatever I wish with. I do not force my beliefs or values upon other people—not my political beliefs (libertarian), spiritual beliefs (perennialist), my economic beliefs (free markets), or dietary beliefs (vegan). As the CEO of Whole Foods Market I have legal, ethical, and fiduciary responsibilities to help the company flourish as well as possible. Such flourishing means not forcing my various beliefs upon other people. It means empowering other people to make their own decisions, even when I disagree with them.

    I am true to my own beliefs. I believe my political beliefs are consistent with libertarianism as I understand the meaning of that phrase. If you don’t think I’m a “true libertarian” then you are of course free to express your opinion, but why so much hatred towards me Jake? What is that all about dude? We have never even met and I’ve never done you any harm.

    There is no Board of Directors ban on petition circulating in front of our stores as you claim. I have no idea where you got this false idea, but it certainly wasn’t from the letter I wrote to you. As I told you in the letter, these decisions are made locally. Our company is decentralized and part of what decentralization means is that people at the local level make these kinds of decisions. Your gripe shouldn’t be with me, but with the local management where you are trying to petition. You need to persuade them, not me.

    Whole Foods exists to fulfill its Core Values. It doesn’t exist to promote any particular cause in the world except for selling the highest quality natural and organic food available. May I humbly suggest that you start your own business and you can manage it anyway that you want to? Perhaps you might learn a few things about people, life, and business while actually creating something of value.

    I do not really understand why you hate me and Whole Foods so much Jake. I have never personally wronged you—just disagreed with you. However, your vitriolic hatred will not successfully promote libertarian values and you will cause far more harm than good in the world.

    Best regards,

    John

    To everyone else on this Board: This will be my last post here. I seem to be some kind of “heretic” brought before the “Libertarian Inquisition” of Andy and Jake for daring to call myself a “free market libertarian”, while not being willing to command the conversion of Whole Foods Market to the “truth faith” that Andy and Jake believe they represent. My political “faith” is obviously not pure enough for these two guys and a special place in hell is apparently reserved for me. I’ve never really enjoyed exchanging communications with intolerant fanatics of any persuasion so I won’t do so any longer on this Board. Best wishes to everyone here. I hope you have a great 2009. Take care–John.

  36. If I were John Mackey, I’d be way too busy counting my cash to concern myself with Andy’s criticisms.

  37. Jason, maybe this was a teachable moment in which an open-minded L was able to expose the dysfunction and sanctimony that some in the L family seem to cling to. Embrace wake up calls…it’s when the most growth happens.

  38. Nice job, guys, way to drive off a good man.

    I was fortunate here. I asked a simple question, got an answer, thanked him, and that was it. I accomplished my objective.

  39. Mackey 1, angrytarians 0.

    Angrytarians should worry more about converting or opposing infidels, and less about exposing heretics.

  40. Darn it! I needed to go to the store this afternoon and got involved with some other stuff. Guess I have to make it over to Whole Foods on Friday. Probably offend Jake and Andy. Well whatever.

    MHW

  41. Robert – Why is that comment addressed to me?

    B. Holtz – I think Andy’s the one who’s being hypocritical here. Not Mackey. And I think I’m an “angrytarian.”

  42. Jason, you’d suggested what YOU would do were you Mackey. My last post was a possible explanation for Mackey’s intent…sharing a perspective that might be helpful to others.

  43. Okay. I think Mackey is a hero and Andy’s standards are unattainable. The only “true libertarian” by Andy’s impossible criteria would be someone who dug a hole, crawled into it, and never re-emerged… Certainly not someone who makes his living petitioning the evil state.

  44. Okay. I think Mackey is a hero and Andy’s standards are unattainable. The only “true libertarian” by Andy’s impossible criteria would be someone who dug a hole, crawled into it, and never re-emerged… Certainly not someone who makes his living petitioning the evil state.

    Oh c’mon, Jason. Why don’t you just have them live the way the way you say the homos should live — “in defiance of the state?”🙂

  45. Brian – I think the state is evil. I don’t think it’s “progress” for a group to be recognized by that evil entity. It’s the equivalent of Jews trying to cure the Nazi regime of its antisemitism. Homosexuals have been persecuted by most (90%+?) states throughout human history. This is just further evidence of the state’s irredeemable evil. It cannot be rehabilitated, nor should that be the goal. But regardless, the comparison is not apt: John Mackey is not seeking any kind of state privilege: he’s just not going to ridiculous lengths to avoid associating with anyone who might in someway benefit from the state. I don’t think homosexuals (or anyone else) should either.

  46. Never have I threatened force, or “threatened” Mackey with anything other than withholding my dollar from his fascist supermarket company. Never have I advocated forcing Mackey to allow petitioning at his company’s stores.

    I simply curse Mackey for his uncaring attitude regarding his company’s “one-size-fits-all” policy of thoughtlessly silencing speech. I further curse him for calling himself a “free market libertarian”, because that false and diversionary statement (when based solely on his actions) makes his company’s fascist actions all the more difficult to supplant with actions that support peace and freedom. In the same way, I didn’t want statist Ronald Reagan misleadingly calling himself a libertarian.

    Noone deserves the tyranny they live in more than the sloths on this board who have responded to my statements without having carefully read them. When I am complete in my replies, it is because I believe that there is someone capable and interested in thinking critically about free speech. Too bad there appear to be only a bunch of children asking their socialist parents for liberty, instead of free men who will demand it.

    I hope the prior point is brief enough for the all the “libertarians” on this board who have criticized Andy and I for the length and detail of our comments.* A more complete comment will follow, just in case there are thoughtful readers out there who are interested in the whole truth, but simply not commenting.

    *For those unfamiliar with the rudimentary arguments in favor of allowing free speech in places that are open to the public, I recommend the book “The Shadow University” by C.A. Kors and Harvey Silverglate. http://www.shadowuniv.com/

  47. bold test for ease of reading.
    Feel free to delete.

  48. Jake: Here are my brief responses to Mackey’s latest defenses of his prior cowardly defenses of the speech-intolerant corporate board of Whole Foods (a company he just might potentially have some influence in). My comments are bolded, in case anyone cares to differentiate my comments from John Mackey’s. In his last reply, he backs away from his earlier points, and states that decision-making at Whole Foods is decentralized to the store level. If this is true, then I’ve won a reversal of his prior position.

    Earlier, Mackey defended his regional board’s decision which had stated that this “decentralization” was actually not the case. (In fact, this is also what store managers in Dallas, and St Louis had said to me. They had all said that “corporate policy forbids petitioning on Whole Foods property, even if it’s out in the parking lot.”) To me, it looks like John prefers to not attract the controversy that is associated with un-libertarian actions (even though he often defends the decisions behind those un-libertarian actions). This is good, because it reaffirms the power of the boycott, and of social ostracization when it is used to shape un-libertarian action. The boycott is hated and feared by those who stand against the free market. The boycott is a tool of voluntaryism, par excellence.

    John Mackey
    Here is the letter I sent to Jake yesterday after a couple of my libertarian friends circulated his recent rambling diatribe against all things John Mackey to various libertarians.

    Dear Jake,

    You appear to be an unusually angryMy friends don’t think so, judgmental I am judgmental, since judgments keep garbage and falsely-labeled things out of my life, and intolerant person.
    And you appear to love wealth more than liberty. Should I tolerate your statements to that effect without response? Or should I respect your right to make such statements while taking umbrage with the statements themselves?
    I seem to be guilty of the worst crime imaginable—disagreement with you.
    No, the “crime” you are guilty of is “not caring about your freedom, or anyone else’s, as you chase Federal Reserve Notes”. …At least, not caring enough to write a letter to your corporate board.
    For that I’m a “heretic”heretic is a poor choice of words, since “hypocrite” is more accurate, and I’m not religious—not really a libertarian after all and therefore deserving of the kind of vitriol that you spew out below.
    Yep, I think you deserve some criticism, since you are in a position to help remove the state’s boot from the Libertarian Party’s neck, by simply writing a letter to your corporate board, and yet you refuse to do so. Infringement with elections known as ballot access laws are a huge cost to the LP, you are in a position to render them less effective by writing a letter that only you can write, and you refuse to do so.
    Perhaps a few corrections are in order for your most blatant misconceptions:

    I don’t own Whole Foods Market. I never implied that you did.I’m not a “grocery store owner”. I never implied that you were, and this general argument of yours is a red herring.Whole Foods is a publicly traded Texas corporation. the red herring continuesI co-founded the company back in 1978 (perhaps before you were born—you seem to be very young?)
    ad hominem distraction, which is fine, since I’ve used a few ad-hominem attacks against Mackey as well
    and am the CEO.
    Do you think the corporate board would listen to a sincere request from the CEO? I do.
    However, I own less than 1% of the company—it isn’t my company and it isn’t my personal property. It is not my toy that I can do whatever I wish with.
    Do you think the corporate board would listen to a sincere request from the CEO? I do.
    I do not force my beliefs or values upon other people—not my political beliefs (libertarian), spiritual beliefs (perennialist), my economic beliefs (free markets), or dietary beliefs (vegan).
    Do you think the corporate board would listen to a sincere request from the CEO? I do. Moreover, your political views manifest themselves in the arena of government force, and thus effect other people. As do your political actions, or lack of political action. Your economic views are also political views, since they refer to the economic manifestation of your political beliefs. The other views you possess are your private views, and are not topical to this discussion.

    As the CEO of Whole Foods Market I have legal, ethical, and fiduciary responsibilities to help the company flourish as well as possible.
    Do you think that allowing ballot access petitions to be circulated in front of your stores would interfere with your fiduciary responsibilities? This is a misperception that is very popular in corporate America today. If you believe so, you are either ignorant, or a liar (neither of which is compatible with a strong view in favor of individual liberty). Moreover, can the Libertarian Party possibly win freedom and a freer market by making it on the ballot? Might not existing in such a freer market help you to better serve those fiduciary interests, or do you not actually believe the things that you say you believe? Keep in mind that you could easily do what Wal Mart did in California, and post a sign that states: “Whole Foods supports free expression, and thus allows the public to circulate petitions in front of our stores. Whole Foods does not endorse, favor, or denounce petitions that are circulated by the general public.”

    Such flourishing means not forcing my various beliefs upon other people. And noone asked you to force anything on anyone, so I’m glad we’re on the same page.
    It means empowering other people to make their own decisions, even when I disagree with them.
    And apparently, this remains true, even when those “other people’s decisions” empower the police state to take everyone else’s rights away! Those other people also “work for you” since you own less than 1% of the company. Your statement and your position are not legally wrong, but they are cowardly, and do nothing to enhance or defend freedom. In fact, they cave into active tyranny.
    I am true to my own beliefs. I believe my political beliefs are consistent with libertarianism as I understand the meaning of that phrase.And in this belief, you are wrong. Freedom isn’t free, as thousands of quotations from many great thinkers can inform you. If you don’t think I’m a “true libertarian” then you are of course free to express your opinion, but why so much hatred towards me Jake? Because you could easily call your company’s dogs off instead of sicking them on me and other libertarian petitioners. You could easily suggest that Whole Foods respect the circulation of political petitions, and it would help change our world in favor of the freedom you say you believe in. But you refuse to do so, lest it get in the way of your corporate board being able to exercise their prerogative to silence political expression, even when their store managers would prefer to allow it.What is that all about dude? Dude, I just told you. Try getting told to shut up or be arrested when you’re speaking in defense of ballot access (necessary for achieving the bare minimum level of social liberty necessary to avoid a violent rebellion). …It’s not a pleasant experience. Then try having the jerk who allowed the cops to be called on you tell you that he’s a libertarian too, “Now, take him away, officer!” …Dude.We have never even met and I’ve never done you any harm.
    Nope, your corporate board has though, and that’s what this is about, “Dude”. They are one more group of intolerant jerks who have created a culture of fascism in America, even though their CEO (John Mackey) could easily “make it go away”, he refuses to. Thus, the only libertarian-operated grocery store is not a leader or a sanctuary for open speech, it is a laggard. Good thing there are companies like Giant Foods that respect free speech enough to not cave in to the advice of their corporate lawyers.
    There is no Board of Directors ban on petition circulating in front of our stores as you claim. Then why did you admit that there was when you emailed me, and when you defended their policy? I have no idea where you got this false idea, but it certainly wasn’t from the letter I wrote to you. Untrue*As I told you in the letter, these decisions are made locally. Untrue. Your local store managers claim –as you did in your first letter to me– that their regional policy is to disallow petitioning.Our company is decentralized and part of what decentralization means is that people at the local level make these kinds of decisions. Can I quote you on that to the next store manager to tell me that their regional policy forbids petitioning? Also, if this is so, then why did you defend your regional board of directors’ decision to me in your first email? Why not simply contradict what I had been told by your store managers?Your gripe shouldn’t be with me, but with the local management where you are trying to petition. Believe me, if you had written back to me the first time, and instead of defending a corporate decision, you had told me “We decentralize things to our store managers”. We never would have had this exchange. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened, and not what you wrote. You need to persuade them, not me. Well, now, this is interesting. It appears that you’ve backpedaled, after having realized your earlier arguments were without merit. If that’s the case, then I guess that it would have been really nice to have this to show to the store manager of yours in St Louis who allowed me to petition at one of your stores in 2006, and then regretfully kicked me out. He apologized, and said that he would prefer to allow me there, but that “Whole Foods’ corporate policy doesn’t allow petitioning in front of their stores”

    Whole Foods exists to fulfill its Core Values. Bland corporate-speak doesn’t really turn me on, John, but if you want to give it to me, then I guess I’ll take it.It doesn’t exist to promote(this is a popular ‘red-herring’ fallacious argument favored by soulless corporate America. A corporation’s customers’ ignorant belief that “all speech which takes place on company property is promoted by the company” is then taken by the company as a valid defense for disallowing speech on their property. The morally right thing to do is to disabuse customers of this view, by simply informing them that they are not promoting the speech that they nonetheless choose to allow. Since the belief is not true, it need not be catered to.) any particular cause in the world except for selling the highest quality natural and organic food available. Ignoring the fact that we never asked Whole Foods to “promote” anything, but rather to simply stand aside as we circulated a ballot access petition, this begs a question: Will Whole Foods be allowed to sell that “quality” food in a communist America? My guess is that “the highest quality natural and organic food” will be very unavailable in a statist mixed economy. For instance, right now, Whole Foods is forbidden by the ACS, AMA, and FDA to sell apricot kernels that contain cancer-fighting vitamin B17 in California, thus failing to sell the highest quality natural and organic food available. (Since those kernels are available at Hunzakut markets and independent healthfood over the internet in CA, they are available elsewhere.) There are many other examples about how a loss of freedom directly impinges on your ability to serve your customers. Interfering with speech on your property not only makes this tyranny possible, but much cheaper for the police state. May I humbly suggest that you start your own business and you can manage it anyway that you want to? Oh, so now is that earlier stuff that you said about “not having any ability” to impact your corporate board’s evil decisions not true? You insinuate that you have control over “your business” after insinuating that you “don’t have control over it”? Gee, I guess you must take me for the same kind of fool that worships you because you’re successful and call yourself a libertarian.Perhaps you might learn a few things about people, life, and business while actually creating something of value.
    Yeah, you’re right, John. I guess there’s no value in ballot access. Only 175,000,000 innocent people have been killed by countries that didn’t allow elections in the last 100 years. I guess those people didn’t have any value John, and I guess that a choice at the ballot box woudn’t have presented anything of value to them. They probably never bought any organic groceries, John. Remind me why you call yourself a libertarian, if it wasn’t to increase personal choice? I’m glad that you think that putting up with cops, Whole Foods (TM) security, public ignorance, intolerance, hostility, and bad weather to allow that choice is “not creating something of value”.
    I do not really understand why you hate me and Whole Foods so much Jake. I don’t hate you, John. I dislike you. The reason why I dislike you, is because your corporate board made a decision to disallow speech in front of Whole Foods stores, and rather than say “That’s horrible! …Thanks for letting me know about that so I can try to change it.” …You defended their decision with bland corporate speak, presumably because you thought that tolerating speech might get in the way of a few sales. Furthermore, you falsely characterized me as a thug who wants to force you to force your board to reverse their decision. Furthermore, you mistakenly called me an angry person who resorts to anger and insulting diatribes without indicating that I first pursued all available avenues of polite interaction.I have never personally wronged you—just disagreed with you. Your security personally wronged me, by threatening to call the cops on me. They did so in a way that should be legal, and in a way that would be legal in a libertarian society, but it was still “wrong”, since we live in a fascist country, and appeasance of that fascism is cowardice, and cowardice –while rightly legal– is “wrong”. However, your vitriolic hatred will not successfully promote libertarian values and you will cause far more harm than good in the world. John, you misread my dislike of you as “vitriolic hatred”. That’s too bad, but since I have schooled you in the ways of “how not to be a hypocrite”, I expect it. Too bad I couldn’t more realistically expect the simple gratitude that would have been given me by an actual libertarian.

    Best regards,

    John

    Best regards. If and when I have a Grocery store chain, I will be sure to have you politely, but forcibly removed from it, should you dare to speak while on my property, no matter how little problem you are causing(or what value you are creating). I will then hide behind corporate policy that would be easy for me to change. I will then call myself a libertarian, while in actuality I will be defending the fascist silencing of free speech that makes every tyranny possible (including the ones that I myself would then vocally and publicly complain about). Then, I would be a complete hypocrite, and take the side of a public debate that criticizes corporations that “don’t honor the public good”, and exist solely for shareholder profit. …One good turn deserves another, John.

    To everyone else on this Board: This will be my last post here. For that libertarian action alone, I thank you. I seem to be some kind of “heretic”“hypocrite” brought before“criticized by” the forceless and voluntary “Libertarian Inquisition” of Andy and Jakelibertarians in deed for daring to falselycall myself a “free market libertarian”a word that properly describes those who favor the doctrine of free will, while not being willing to command the conversion of Whole Foods Market to the “truth faith” or even a simple respect for the most basic of American freedoms. As such, Whole Foods would tolerate the polite ballot access petitioning –nevermind political speech– which makes the existence of the Libertarian Party possible, in front of their stores. that Andy and Jake believe they representWe have made no such representation, although we do favor the free market, and have done a lot of work for Libertarian Party ballot access.. My political “faith” is obviously not pure enough for these two guys and a special place in hell is apparently reserved for me. I don’t believe hell exists, unless it’s a fascist regime without elections here on earth. If this is the case, then by your passive appeasement of your company’s evil policy that passively tolerates pure fascism, perhaps you have earned a place in hell, although I doubt it will be special. You’ll probably have enough cash to buy your way out of it though, since raking in the FRNs is obviously your foremost concern. I’ve never really enjoyed exchanging communications with intolerant fanatics of any persuasion so I won’t do so any longer on this Board.That’s a nice little ad hominem attack. Looks like we’ve touched a nerve. I bet you don’t fare any better with your corporate board though. They sound pretty intolerant to me. No wonder you weren’t willing to buck them. (Or did you finally buck them, and simply not want to admit it?) Best wishes to everyone here. I hope you have a great 2009. Take care–John. Divide and conquer, I guess. The carrot for everyone who isn’t Jake or Andy –who hasn’t dealt with my intolerant and speech-restrictive corporation– the stick for Andy and Jake. Whatever.

    With friends like John Mackey, the number of places where speech is tolerated will continue to shrink. Since all tyranny first requires silence and appeasement, it’s my guess that when libertarians acquiesce to the preservation of evil on their that they have control over, they dramatically speed the downfall of liberty.

    For years, libertarian activists who preserve ballot access for the Libertarian Party have been praying for a libertarian-directed grocery store company that does business in all 50 states, wondering why most of them were so intolerant towards speech, especially when they so rarely saw capitalist speech. We need no longer wonder, since Mackey’s first answer is very forthright: the board of directors’ corporate lawyers advised against speech. How daring! How libertarian. It’s a good thing that companies in the Weimar Republic didn’t cave in so quickly to the silencing of free speech. …Oh, wait, they did.

    In the main body above, I indicated that John Mackey had stated an untruth. He states that he decentralizes the decision-making to his stores. The only reason why this exchange happened at all was because
    1) His store managers insisted that they would personally prefer to allow me to stay and petition for John Mackey’s political party to be tolerated on the ballot, but that the corporate board of John Mackey’s Corporation is intolerant of petitioning on their property.
    2) According to John Mackey, from the first email that he responded to me in, dated Thu 8/07/08 10:16 AM, Mackey writes:
    “Each of our 11 Regions has their own solicitation policies, which is consistent with our decentralization philosophy. Some of our Regions choose to not allow solicitation on our private property because once we allow one group to do so, then we have to allow everyone else to do so. In our experience there are many groups who wish to solicit that have agendas that are harmful to Whole Foods Market (such as Labor Unions) and too many solicitors can also be very annoying to our customers. Some of our Regions solve the issue by not allowing any solicitation on our private property.”

    The “decentralization philosophy” is just fluff. It’s not decentralized at all to defer a decision to a corporate board that hides behind corporate lawyers, no matter that there are apparently 11 such boards. Also, this means that Mackey was lying when he said such decisions are decentralized to the store level.

    Just so the other “armchair activists” on this board who have been agreeing with Mackey without really thinking for themselves can see why I’m “so angry”, maybe I should reprint the original letter in its entirety, with a response ot each of Mackey’s fallacious and dishonest arguments. If I find a way to do colored text, I’ll do that, otherwise, it gets too hard to tell who is whom in the back and forth.

    If there is anyone here (other than Andy, who already roughly agrees with me) who wants that rebuttal, I will post it. Otherwise, I’m content to let Whole Foods continue in its quiet support for fascism unmolested by my troublesome words.

    BTW: I will concede one more point to Mackey: John Mackey has the right to say that he’s done more for individual freedom than I have, so long as he’s donated more money to the LP than was lost by them overcoming intolerance to polite political speech in public areas.

    I will also point out that although it has always been possible for Americans to be lawfully denied their right to free speech in a privately-owned public place, the First Amendment was designed to make that the scorned exception, rather than the respected rule. I’m glad that non-identified libertarians like Tony Schiano understand that, even if some self-identified libertarians like John Mackey do not. Then again, T.J. Rodgers also seems to have a healthy respect for free speech, since when he found out that his alma mater (Dartmouth College) was denying free expression on campus, using the same arguments made by John Mackey in their defense, he infiltrated their board of trustees by petition, and reversed their un-libertarian policies. So maybe the luke-warm defense of free speech is simply a characteristic of John Mackey’s libertarianism, and not of all libertarianism, per se.

  49. Font color posting test, feel free to delete.
    My original comments to John Mackey
    John Mackey’s replies
    my replies to his replies

  50. No color allowed? Bummer.

  51. Bold is allowed, but are bolditalics?

  52. In following with the trend I have for giving too much information for the average human to digest, I will aim this one at the “above average” humans on this board:

    This is my response to Mackey’s response to the first email he responded to of mine. Needless to say, I was disappointed with the lack of thought in his reply. As such, I am no longer a Whole Foods customer, and I encourage other libertarians to abstain from shopping at Whole Foods until their corporate policy tolerates the polite circulation of Libertarian Party ballot access petitions near the entrances in front of their stores. My responses to Mackey’s bolded replies are below are in bold italics. My original email is below in unbolded text.

    ————————————————————————-
    John,

    My responses to your red{bold} replies will be below them, in blue{bold italics}.

    I wasn’t originally going to post this reply online, but now I think I will, in response to your company’s legal bullying of New Seasons Market. They have also come to the decision that Whole Foods should be boycotted. Right or wrong, any friend of a boycott makes it more effective. Do you really think that when your regional directors make decisions that disfavor both your own freedom and your customers’ freedom that those decisions should be respected? What if they cost you thousands of customers, John? Would you still respect those decisions, or would you encourage their reversal? Before this below reply of yours, I would have assumed you to be smart enough to comprehend whether or not your actions towards New Seasons were unjust, but given your granting me permission to something I already had (access to the public sidewalks in front of your Austin location), I have no reason
    to think that you have a clue about the merit of the statist actions of your un-libertarian –in deed– corporation.

    You stated your belief that petitioning might annoy some of your customers. Well, your disallowal of petitioning annoys me, especially when it’s combined with the statement that you are a libertarian who believes in “the social responsibility of corporations” http://www.reason.com/news/show/32239.html . I’m an actual libertarian, not like Capozzi, Holtz, Hogarth, Miller, or Seebeck, or the other incomplete “converts” to the libertarian philosophy on this board. I despise ballot access petitioners being told that they need to shut up and shop, or leave –unless they want the cops to be called. Although I despise such an un-libertarian threat, I understand that property rights dictate the ability to act in anti-libertarian ways, so long is one is on their own property.

    Since the anti-libertarian policies of Whole Foods’ corporate boards of directors annoy me, I encourage libertarians to boycott Whole Foods until Mackey informs his regional directors and their managers that they should err on the side of free speech. This is a voluntary solution to the problem of non-libertarian businesses taking up space that could be occupied by libertarian businesses. Ideally, Whole Foods will fail, because they chose not to come to the aid of liberty when asked to do so.

    Mackey can post a nicely-formatted letter to the effect of changing Whole Foods policy here, or elsewhere online, or he can lose my business for good. I drove an hour out of my way to buy Stevia Clear at his store just south of Birmingham, AL. I spent over $150 there on food, as I have done on many occasions. While doing so, I noticed that there was very little room for free speech in the WF parking lot, but they had huge entranceways and a concrete patio that would have easily accomodated ten petition signers without blocking the door. In any semi-free society that respects free speech, there would often be people there petitioning their government for a redress of grievances. The manager there told me that Whole Foods corporate policy not to allow ballot access petitioning at their stores.

    That there is no such free petitioning service allowed there, or at any other Whole Foods store, informs me that the CEO of Whole Foods is not committed to free speech. If he was, I bet he could get that changed.

    The whole “what if they block the door?” BS, and “what about the annoyance to our customers?”, etc… is all just that: BULLSHIT. Fascist bullshit. In fact, Whole Foods’ fascist bullshit annoyed me so much, I’m no longer a customer of theirs.

    So why does John Mackey favor his non-libertarian customers (those who complain that ballot access petitions are getting signed) over his libertarian customers (the ones who would be happy to sign a LP ballot access petition) and basically American customers (the ones who would be happy to sign any ballot access petition, or at least happy that the petitions are being circulated)?

    Never again will I shop at Whole Foods, until their “Libertarian” CEO is as libertarian as the 1997-2007 CEO of Giant Foods, Tony Schiano.

    Furthermore, I encourage everyone here to avoid shopping at all big box stores that disallow the signing of ballot access petitions in front of their stores. Any good petitioner can avoid blocking the entrance to the store. That’s a red herring. So long as petitioners are polite and agree to be mindful not to block access, or double ask customers who don’t want to be bothered, businesses should tolerate speech in their public, non-business areas.

    Similarly-physically-structured stores that I know allow petitioning, by their corporate policy:
    K-Mart, nationwide
    Giant Foods
    Thunderbird Market in Klamath Falls, Oregon
    Food World

    It hurts noone to be asked if they want to sign a ballot access petition before they put their groceries into their car. Or before they begin pushing their cart out to their car. In fact, it helps prevent our country from collapsing into a dictatorship. I would think that the value of that would be clear and unambiguous to a “libertarian” like John Mackey.

    It was clear and unambiguous to his MD competitor, Giant Foods.

    -Jake

    ——————————————————————————–

    Subject: free speech
    Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2008 05:16:24 -0500

    Hi Jake,

    My thoughts will be below yours in red: [Mackey’s red has been changed to bold for posting at LFV. -Jake]

    Jake Witmer | jcwitmer@hotmail.com | lp.org |

    Sent to Patricia. Dear John,

    Whole Foods depends on the limited capitalism we have left in this country. Capitalism depends on free speech, as does ballot access of minor parties that can provide a meaningful alternative to the major parties’ march towards Federal-Reserve-based socialism.

    [Mackey:] I agree with you that capitalism is increasingly constrained in the United States. However, the flourishing of capitalism doesn’t depend upon free speech (which is a civil freedom), but primarily upon economic freedom—the right to buy, sell, and trade. [Jake:](Ayn Rand disagreed with you, as do I. She went so far as to say that it was time for a violent rebellion when there was no more freedom of speech, since that means that one cannot change one’s political circumstances legally (say, for instance, by circulating a ballot access petition). Moreover, freedom of speech is necessary to sell anything. When speech is constrained, so is the market. Take for instance, the outlaw of speaking the truth about vitamin B17, AKA laetrile. Immediately following the outlaw of truthful information about Vitamin B17, it became much more difficult to sell it. The same is true of Stevia, since the FDA forbids speaking the truth about Stevia. It is still legal to sell it though, so long as you don’t print “Sweetened with Stevia” on the package. Nonetheless, this assault on free speech is a direct assault on the free market that defines capitalism. There are millions of other examples I could point to, since any limit on speech limits “capitalism” AKA “free trade”. It should be totally obvious to you that the right to buy, sell, and trade are totally dependent on free speech. Try selling anything that you are not free to speak about. Not an easy task.) Of course, freedom of speech is a very important civil liberty in its own right and one I enthusiastically support. (Not true. If you “enthusiastically supported free speech”, you would enthusiastically write to any corporate division of yours that disallowed the circulation of political petitions in front of their stores, urging them to reverse their policy. Such a thing would take less “enthusiastic support” in terms of time and effort than you have taken responding to me.

    With all the lip service you pay to being a good and beneficial free-market capitalist/decentralist, one would think that your store’s policy towards polite ballot access petitioners would be at least as generous as GIANT Food stores, in Maryland. (Giant is one of the few food stores to generally favor free speech, and their beneficial and pro-American tolerance of political speech has saved the Libertarian Party approximately $10,000 in MD alone).

    Each of our 11 Regions has their own solicitation policies, which is consistent with our decentralization philosophy. You don’t have a decentralization policy. If you did, you would decentralize the decision to your Store managers, and I could live with that. That would be decentralist. Some of our Regions choose to not allow solicitation on our private property because once we allow one group to do so, then we have to allow everyone else to do so. The fact that you “decentralize” things to a regional board that hides behind corporate lawyers gives lie to the first sentence you make in this paragraph of your reply. Just because you allow one group to speak doesn’t mean you have to allow all groups to speak. This is complete cowardly BS. You could always assert your right to control your property on a case by case basis, as you would have every right to do in a libertarian society, or in a society that was not completely fascist. That the state and their lawyers try to force an all-or-nothing choice on you, knowing that the path of least resistance is “nothing” is immensely to your detriment. That you cannot act in the defense of those who agree with you having the freedom of choice speaks very poorly of your character. In our experience there are many groups who wish to solicit that have agendas that are harmful to Whole Foods Market (such as Labor Unions) (Yet you refuse to allow the one group that defends your right to be selective, even though it’s a group that you’ve said you publicly support. I guess that if you’re that cowardly, nothing is going to get you to grow a spine. This is why I don’t feel bad about alienating you. If I befriended you, I would have a weak friend at my side, and you would be far more dangerous to the freedom movement as such.) and too many solicitors can also be very annoying to our customers. (Just to clear the record, a solicitor is someone who is selling something. Now, perhaps you have a market view of reality, and believe I am selling freedom: fine, but the law views political speech and commercial speech as two different things. I personally understand if you want to make a distinction, but even so, the law does not. I’ve never annoyed a significant number of customers, and even if I had, we don’t live in a reality where freedom comes without the occasional annoyance. In fact, noone else is selling freedom. In fact, we now live in a fascist society, because too many people can’t be bothered to sign a signature. Now then, ballot access petitioning is the only way you have of changing our society to a free society, but you’re worried about annoying a few of your more fascist customers? WOW. You are possibly the most cowardly non-libertarian I have ever met.) Some of our Regions solve the issue by not allowing any solicitation on our private property. (Great solution. It worked really well for Soviet Russia, Hitler’s Germany, and every other place it’s been tried. All that messy freedom can be annoying. Too bad every decent thing you’ve ever known depends on it. …And your brave defense of it.)

    Don’t get me wrong, Whole Foods has every right to call the cops on petitioners, and have them thrown off their property —I just wish they wouldn’t kid themselves that they are pro America, or even “capitalist” when they do so.

    Actually, use of our private property for our own private purposes is both pro-America and capitalistic. (No, it’s not. It’s politically-neutral activity. It would be politically-neutral activity erring on the side of Americanism, if you allowed basic public rights to the people who were accessing your publicly-accessibly places. Let’s not forget that Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy merged corporate interests with state interests, and called themselves “fascist”. Limited property ownership is not “capitalism” , “libertarian”, or “free market”, it is “fascism”. If America were free, you’d have a point. Since it’s not, you don’t.) We should have the right to use our private property as we choose and you should not have the right to use our private property in ways that we don’t approve.(I agree. I should not have the right to petition at Whole Foods. That you don’t allow me to seriously calls into question your libertarianism, and your basic level of Americanism. I have no right to force you to be libertarian, as you advertise yourself. I do have the right to publicly shame you for mislabeling yourself with that word. I do have a right to organize a libertarian boycott of Whole Foods.) If the local Whole Foods management doesn’t want solicitation because they believe it may be harmful to the fullest flourishing of the store then I support their right to make this decision.(Me too. However, they are un-American, un-libertarian jerks for making that decision. I support their right to be un-American, un-libertarian jerks, as I hope you support my right to call attention to the fact that they are un-American and un-libertarian jerks. Only an un-American, un-libertarian jerk calls the cops on someone because they asked someone else to sign a ballot access petition.) It is probably not the decision that I would personally make if I was there and in charge myself.(And they won’t listen to your suggestions? Keep in mind that ballot access costs your political party –which is severely limited by unjust laws that do not apply to Democrats and Republicans– over $1,000,000 for every election cycle in which they access 50 States of ballots.) However, I will not “over-ride” their local decision making authority which I believe is well-intentioned for what they believe is in the best interest of Whole Foods Market. (I never asked you to. I simply asked for you to encourage Whole Foods to adopt a policy of allowing free speech, to the best of your ability. Had you done this, I would still be a Whole Foods customer, and a friend and supporter of John Mackey.)

    I’ve been trying to call this inconsistency to the attention of Whole Foods for years, to no avail. It’s no wonder America has crumbled into Federal Reserve-based socialism since “the New Deal”, if the very most progressive of the defenders of free speech care nothing more for speech than for the supreme goal of not having to think about anything as they blunder towards their cars, grocery bags full of fresh foods that were only taxed (via inflation) at 90%.

    I’m sorry that you believe you have a “right” to access Whole Foods private property to exercise your freedom of speech.(Don’t be sorry, you just jumped to a wrong conclusion. I don’t believe I have such a “right” and I never said or indicated that I did. I simply think it’s a shame that your company is so intolerant of speech. In America, the default should be that interpersonal speech is respected in areas that are open to the public. Whenever such speech is not respected, tyranny and oppression quickly follow. The founders to our constitution knew this. Your generation had forgotten it, and most of the people in my generation never learned it.) I don’t believe that you do. (We agree. I know that I don’t have a right to speak on WF property, and you know it too.) Whole Foods should have the freedom to use its private property as it wishes.(We agree. It should have every right and ability to crush speech in front of its stores, even when such speech is as innocuous and beneficial as the polite circulation of ballot access petitions is.) Do you believe that people should have the right to set up solicitation on your own front lawn?(The right, NO. The privilege, YES. Especially if my lawn is open to the public, or doing so would confer a massive benefit to the libertarian movement. In fact, some people have opened their property to public speech for exactly such reasons. They are heroes for doing so. One such hero is a competitor of Whole Foods, named Giant Foods. Out of a sense of obligation incurred by his selling of American flags, he has opened the front of his store to ballot access petitioning, knowing that local and decentralized speech is essential to the continued existence of freedom in America. Too bad whole Foods chooses to exercise their right to silence capitalist political dissent. ) How about in your living room? (No again. But here, the analogy is even sillier, since my living room is not open to the general public, and has zero foot traffic.) How about in your bed? (You have proven your ability to make false analogies is fairly immense. Interestingly, by your failure to adequately stand up for ballot access, you have aided the police state in making laws against what we can do in our own beds. As such, I give you Paul Little’s recent conviction for “obscenity” as well as every US law limiting homosexual relationships.) Can someone organize a Nazi Party rally at your house and argue that they should have the right to do so on the basis of free speech? (No again, for all the reasons duly noted. In deed, everyone should have the ability to choose which speech they tolerate on their property and to what extent they will tolerate it. I have never indicated any disagreement with you on this subject. Just like you shouldn’t be called a hypocrite for banning statist speech on your property, you should be called a hypocrite for banning pro-freedom speech on your property. My calling you a hypocrite has nothing to do with your right to be one.) If you seek to prevent them from doing so does that mean you don’t support free speech? (No, again.)

    Give me convenience or give me death! (And of course, if the Libertarian Party is denied ballot access, the Green Party, and all other minor parties will be too. How many Whole Foods customers favor 50 states of ballot access for minor parties?)

    I have supported the Libertarian Party for many years. (Good. Your corporate board apparently supports the police state which –by default– disallows them access to the ballot. Too bad. I was hoping you’d make an effort to change that sorry state of affairs. ) However, I believe it would be inappropriate for me to over-ride the empowerment of the Mid-Atlantic Region to make their own decisions regarding their own solicitation policies. (Too bad. It might finally decrease the cost of accessing the ballot enough that the LP would finally have money left over to run more serious campaigns. Allowing ballot access speech at WF stores would amount to an in-kind contribution worth several thousand dollars. The great thing would be that such a contribution wouldn’t even need to be reported to the anti-speech election police –the FEC–, since it could apply to the general public as well.) I believe they create their solicitation policies based on their own subjective judgment of what is best for their customers (I guess they don’t know enough to know that fascism wouldn’t benefit their customers. Good thing for us, you do, right John?), team members, and investors (If capitalism and freedom wouldn’t benefit your investors, then perhaps it’s because they are the beneficiaries of government force, eh John?). If you have evidence that their solicitation policies are being selectively applied (Thus indicating that they were exercising their rights, as you alluded to them in the prior paragraph?)(that you are being singled out for discrimination (Ah. So you don’t really believe in, or understand rights. You think that selectively allowing speech should be disallowed on private property?! The irony is sick. You state that you should have a right to control your property, and then state the bland maxim of the status quo that Whole Foods should not have the ability to control their property by discriminating between speech that they find offensive and speech that they find beneficial?! You just showed yourself to be a member of the sheeple class, John. I’m very sorry you wasted my time and yours by calling yourself a libertarian.)), then I would be very interested in hearing it. (Nevermind, John. Go back to sleep. It’s bedtime for our Republic. I’ll email you when it’s time for violent rebellion (so you can use the wads of cash you made by betraying your libertarian conscience to flee the country), since you can’t be bothered to allow a peaceful alternative to violent rebellion at the stores you control.)

    I’m not suggesting that petitioners who are rude be allowed to stay and harass customers. I’m suggesting that if management gets a complaint or two that they take one minute to assess the situation (since enemies of speech and tolerance will complain about any speech), and be trusted with the decision to allow or disallow speech, with the general trend being towards toleration. After all, that policy works well for Giant Foods in MD, the leader in toleration of free speech.

    Giant Foods must do what it feels is best for its business and Whole Foods must do what it feels is best for its business. (It’s a good thing that Giant doesn’t assume that speech always favors fascism. Their number of stores increased by double to 143 when they decentralized speech allowance to their store managers, while sending the message that speech should be encouraged. Too bad Whole Foods isn’t so pro-American.) FYI—where I live and work in Austin, the regional solicitation policies permit the type of solicitation you would wish to do at Whole Foods (on public property—sidewalks next to the store). (Well, I guess even a speech-intolerant company like Whole Foods understands that they are required to allow speech on public sidewalks. Good for them. Too bad they don’t understand how much better off both they and America would be if they tolerated speech on their property. This would make them one of a dwindling number of stores that looks at the long view when they look at corporate profitablity, and understands that they would be much better off living in a free country in 50 years, even if they annoy a few of their more fascist customers in the short term. But I guess that that’s just too much to ask for, eh John?)

    They leave the decision up to their managers, whose competence they place confidence in. I’m sure they’ve lost a few customers because of it, (as well as gained a few). But that’s not the point. The point is: they don’t need to feel like hypocrites when they sell American flags in their checkout lines on the 4th of July.

    Thanks for your feedback Jake. (You’re welcome, John.) Best of luck with your initiatives. (I wouldn’t need as much luck with them if Whole Foods respected open political speech in front of their stores.) Take care. (I’ll try to take care while I’m out there dealing with thuggish cops who want to deny me the right to speak on public sidewalks, while I place your political party on the ballot. BTW: The LP failed to attain ballot access in 5 states and DC this year. Too bad there weren’t more speech-friendly locations to petition at, since several states limit ballot access work to the summertime, when the Universities are closed.

    Can you remind me again why it’s so hard for Whole Foods to tell their complaining customers that: “We don’t endorse the petitioners outside, we simply tolerate them because of our tolerance for free speech. If they are rude to you, please inform us, and we’ll investigate them the same as we would any other nuisance.”? I’d like to know, since your competitors grew by double while they were allowing the circulation of ballot access petitions in front of their stores.)

    I’m glad we had this exchange, John. If you ever get serious enough about winning back American freedom to suggest to your regional directors that they allow ballot access petitioning in front of their stores, then please, let someone in the LP know. I may be dead and gone, as may be the LP and any chance for America to reverse course and stop proceeding headlong into totalitarianism, but at least you can give it a shot. Hopefully, you’ll also read the book “The Shadow University” by Kors and Silverglate, so you can learn more about the vanishing American right of the individual to speak in defense of liberty. See also http://www.thefire.org

    Over and out. -Jake.

    Thanks for listening, all you “above average” humans!

  53. Just so the other “armchair activists” on this board who have been agreeing with Mackey without really thinking for themselves…

    Why do you assume that someone agreeing with Mackey isn’t thinking for himself?

    I’m content to let Whole Foods continue in its quiet support for fascism unmolested by my troublesome words.

    That’s big of you.

    BTW: I will concede one more point to Mackey: John Mackey has the right to say that he’s done more for individual freedom than I have,

    I didn’t see JM trying to declare – let alone win – any sort of liberty pissing match with you.

    …so long as he’s donated more money to the LP than was lost by them overcoming intolerance to polite political speech in public areas.

    You mean areas that you claim are ‘public’.

  54. Jake (and others),

    Do NOT post the email addresses of other people in your comments. ENM may disagree with me, but I don’t see anything inherently wrong in reposting correspondence that others have sent you – although it can be rude, and it may make people less inclined to email exchanges with you in the future – but do NOT include the email addresses of the people whose emails you are reposting.

  55. I’m really getting sick of these whiny petitioners, whose livelihood is dependent upon the state and who are in love with communistic “public” property. Get real jobs.

  56. I am the President of the Mid-Atlantic Region, which includes Southern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Maryland, DC, and Virginia. After reading the various posts regarding our policy on solicitation and petitioning our customers I’d like to clarify. The No Solicitation Policy is a regional policy, not a company-wide policy, made many years ago in the Mid-Atlantic Region. Our stores receive requests all of the time to allow solicitation outside our stores, and we have found it best to have a consistent response in order to maintain fairness and respect the wishes of our customers.

    The reason the Mid-Atlantic Region does not allow solicitation on our private property is because once we allow one group to do so, then we have to allow everyone else to do so. In our experience, there are many groups who wish to solicit at Whole Foods stores that have agendas that are harmful to Whole Foods Market (such as Labor Unions). We have also experienced many situations where solicitors were very disrespectful to our customers. When our customers are negatively impacted, then we must take a stand to protect their privacy. To solve the issue, we decided not to allow any solicitation on our private property in the Mid-Atlantic Region. We have many groups soliciting our customers in areas where we are on a public street or shopping center.
    There may perhaps be one option for consideration to allow petitioners a specific location in front of our stores. We could identify a space for groups to petition our customers without negatively impacting the customers’ experience as they enter our stores. Of course, there would be conditions agreed to before permission to solicit is granted. I’m not against solicitation personally. However, this is a decision I cannot make alone, as I would need to present the option to our store team leaders, who could then vote on the idea of allowing petitioners in a specified location. They are the ones who have to police the petitioners and respond to customers that dislike the idea of being solicited when they enter our stores.
    Most of our customers have appreciated the fact that we don’t allow this, and we hear concerns from many of our customers when solicitation happens on public streets like P Street outside of our control. We believe that this collective decision by our leadership team to not allow solicitation on our private property outside of our stores is in the overall best interest of all our stakeholders.

    Ken Meyer

  57. Ken,

    Thanks for your response. This is especially interesting:

    There may perhaps be one option for consideration to allow petitioners a specific location in front of our stores. We could identify a space for groups to petition our customers without negatively impacting the customers’ experience as they enter our stores. Of course, there would be conditions agreed to before permission to solicit is granted

    That would seem to me to cover the bases pretty thoroughly – groups or individuals could reserve a particular time to run a ‘community outreach’ table (which might include petitioning, or might not). Having the petitioners (or other outreach people) behind a table would allow for the comfort of shoppers who disfavor being approached, but allow those who are interested to freely approach.

  58. Jason Seagraves wrote:
    “I’m really getting sick of these whiny petitioners, whose livelihood is dependent upon the state and who are in love with communistic “public” property. Get real jobs.”

    We, the petitioners, occasionally get sick of whiny internet critics who blame us for the ballot access restrictions, as if we created them, and as if we want them to exist. We also get sick of thoughtless people who mischaracterize our nuanced arguments, after having clearly been too lazy to read them. Of course, bitching about petitioners who take the free market approach (the boycott) by criticizing fascist corporations (instead of illegitimately trying to put them out of business using force or fraud), is easier than ever lifting a finger to fight tyranny.

    Luckily for us “whiny petitioners”, our critics are typically ineffective people who exist entirely online, away from any political decision or political action of even negligible consequence.

    If Seagraves thinks he heard any petitioner on this board argue in favor of “communistic ‘public’ property”, then perhaps he’s less intelligent than I now think he is.

    Shoot me an email and let me know what a real job is, OK? Maybe I’ll get a job as a security guard at a big box store, that trades in paper money, and when my boss orders me to “throw the bums out” (for asking for people to sign a petition that would end the Federal Reserve), I’ll do it. I guess in your muddled philosophical world, that wouldn’t be “communistic”, but in fact would be legally and morally proper defense of justly-acquired public property!(…Since you apparently are here to kiss John Mackey’s ass, for his virtue of calling himself a “libertarian”). I guess that having lost 97% or so of the wealth of the Nation to the Federal Reserve is OK, as long as some liar says that he “wishes it were all different”. (While using armed guards to silence those people who are doing something to change that reality). Makes sense! It’s an interesting irony that a lot of the people who championed the passive supporters of the American minutemen would now recoil in horror at someone who supports the equivalent of the British tax collectors (all while claiming to be an American Patriot!).

    Just shows you that “libertarians” want political change a lot less than your average Demopublican scumbag. At least they’re usually willing to lift a finger for what they believe in. Now then, if our philosophy is righteous, then why do so many libertarians like Jason refuse to lift a finger to implement it? At least Mackey has –I presume– contributed financially in the past, even if he won’t write a letter to his corporate board urging them to take a moral stand in favor of free speech and perhaps even urging them to stand up for their right to —gasp!— DISCRIMINATE!

    (Heaven forbid that there should be any discriminating minds in America that dare to judge the value of speech that is transpiring on their own property! You can all see how much Mackey fiercely believes in private property, right?! …But apparently not enough to tolerate speech that respects individual rights, while curtailing speech that opposes individual rights! Nope! He stands for speech as strongly as most libertarians do: Enough to favor one-size-fits-all silencing of speech, but not one-size-fits-all allowance of free speech! Duhhr.)

    I could write a book about this subject. In fact, maybe I will. Of course, if it was in book format, maybe someone would actually read it, since for every libertarian out on the street making a difference, there are 10 behind computers, and 10 reading books.

    …Thanks for inspiring me, Jason!

  59. Jake, I told this to Jacobs and I’ll tell it to you:

    Build a business out of it. Develop training for new petition gatherers across the nation. Then implement it. Take over your field, seize the opportunity, and make the most of it. Quit bitching about the LP and make yourself indispensible to them.

  60. “…so long as he’s donated more money to the LP than was lost by them overcoming intolerance to polite political speech in public areas.

    You mean areas that you claim are ‘public’.”

    No, Susan, that’s completely NOT what I mean –you are defining the word in a manner opposite of its obvious context, which you’ve seemingly deliberately ignored. Amazing! Not one single honest or aware reply to what I wrote. Y’all aren’t much for book-larnin’ are you?!

    Apparently, everyone here seems to want to mischaracterize my argument as “John Mackey should be forced to allow me to petition on Whole Foods’ property”

    Well, that’s not it! …And you’re a complete dolt if your arguments are still beating on that straw man.

    You obviously want to misinterpret what I’m saying rather than be forced to face an uncomfortable truth. Either that, or you’re clueless. Either way, you don’t get a polite response, because you’re talking down to me without having the slightest clue. Read the book “The Shadow University”, educate yourself, and we can have this discussion in some kind of moderated debate …if you actually care (which I doubt).

    I know it would be easier if I was a thug, demanding rights I didn’t have. Then you could take a simple side that didn’t need to address
    1) politeness or social structure amongst libertarians, or
    2) changing technology, (the founders did not anticipate that the base political structure would grow allowing electronic petition signing, but that the public –including libertarians– would still be cowed into being forced to put pen to paper in unreasonable numbers and with unreasonable clarity, subject to unreasonable restrictions. …In areas where there is no foot traffic, this essentially makes ballot access illegal. Thus, the purpose of protecting free speech as a separate right to that of property, was to ensure a forum for public political action, and to ensure a CULTURE of open discourse. That culture is GONE today. That ALL grocery stores exist in an unfree market means that those stores that survive are capable of existing in an unfree market, and possibly secretly a)favor that lack of freedom or b) are cowed by it. If either of these is the case, with respect to Whole Foods, as I loudly proclaim it to be in the lack of countermanding evidence, then the boycott is the only alternative towards opening up the effectiveness of the original intent of the founders’ protection of speech. IE: We won’t simply and lightly give up our personal right to ballot access because people now drive everywhere and the speech/ballot access limits are too high to satisfy door-to-door. …Sorry. To be allowed to get away –uncriticized– with calling yourself a libertarian, you need to actually allow polite discourse on your sprawling, foot-traffic-laden property. Otherwise, your libertarianism fails the basic test of “what should be done voluntarily” when one is living under tyranny, even if it doesn’t fail the test of “what can rightfully be done”. Apparently, as always, the answer of “what should one volunteer for” is different for the rich and the poor. The poor may fight, the rich will simply pay them to fight. –Just as Sam Adams so aptly pointed out, and as the so-called libertarians defending Mackey on this board MISERABLY fail to address.)
    3) the level of freedom in society today,
    4) the necessity of the boycott and social ostracization in providing a minimum level of discourse necessary for capitalism to exist.
    and
    5) a real debate over the value of capitalism, and why failure to adequately protect it merits social ostracization if speech is not allowed in forums _accessible to the general public, in settings where silence admittedly serves no or negligible functional purpose to the property owner_

    I’m tired of being the only one who cares enough to get out on the street and talk to non-libertarians (and uneducated libertarians like the ones replying to me on this board). I’m also tired of being the only guy on any libertarian board who understands the basics of political organization or the absolute necessity for it.

    On one hand, Mackey claims to be a libertarian, but he doesn’t act like one, by doing the bare minimum to help a libertarian brother out, while that libertarian brother is doing battle on behalf of Mackey’s publicly stated goals ……..which is well within his rights and abilities! I can’t reiterate this enough apparently, to prevent you from erecting some very impressive straw men. …But it’s not a hard concept.

    Squashing such essential speech makes one well-deserving of a boycott, especially when compared to the vastly more meritorious actions of Giant Food Store 1997-2007. …And especially after one’s criticisms are met with the same BS and crappy straw men that you’re still spewing at me.

    Not a hard concept. Read through Don Lindsay’s online list of logical fallacies and get back to me when you want to argue in an honest manner.

    Rather than address the concepts above, all I get are ad-hominem mental-midget attacks on “straw man” arguments that have nothing to do with the points I’ve raised.

    Susan Hogarth, Jason Seagraves, both argue as honestly as E*** D****** R*******. I simply don’t have time for it. Kors and Silverglate did a great job articulating the issues in “The Shadow University”. Read that, then come back here, and we can talk.

    Until then, my vastly-better-informed self has better things to do than watch you fumblingly try to kiss John Mackey’s ass by arguing Ayn Rand’s most basic point regarding “free speech vs. private property”, which I have already openly agreed with, and which is noncontroversial here, other than in Andy’s posts.

    Andy –UNLIKE ME (PLEASE, NO MORE ARGUMENTS THAT CREATE A STRAW MAN WITH ANDY’s ARGUMENT DIRECTED AT ME)– has not agreed with Ayn Rand’s point (that you all incessantly address, ad nauseum), yet still argues from a 100% free-market-favoring standpoint. His argument hinges on the fact that
    1) what we have is in no way a free market, and that
    2) correcting that unfree market’s massive thefts makes vastly lesser retaliatory thefts acceptable. (Much like it was OK to violate a tax-collector-harborer’s rights during the American revolution, because that revolution was undoing that tax-collector’s damage, and if it violated the rights of his harborer to get at him, for 1-1 retaliation, then that was simply the price that any decent American should be willing to pay.)

    My DIFFERENT argument hinges on basic human decency and politeness and American-ness for those who avowedly share one’s alleged goals, as well as in rational self-interest of such people. My arguments were seeds seeking intelligent soil, and instead they found a hurt CEO of a big “one-size-fits-all” fascist bureaucracy that can’t handle honest debate. So then, rather than force him to allow me to petition at his stores (which would unfortunately be fairly easy in an Obama administration), I am going to ostracize him until he changes his mind.

    He gets none of Jake’s appreciation, until he allows Jake to be his All-American, libertarian, political petitioner self while on Whole Foods property. This is vastly different than claiming a right to walk onto Whole Food’s property. I claim no such right.

    But where I go, my right to free speech follows (with exceptions for movie theaters, and other inappropriate venues). Now, before the dolts tell me that “a grocery store isn’t an inappropriate venue”: Why isn’t it an “inappropriate venue” for Giant Foods which has less area to petition in than most Whole Foods’?

    But the interesting thing is, JOHN MACKEY HIMSELF STATES THAT I HAVE A “RIGHT” TO ENTER HIS STORES. As long as I shut up! (The same thing “Ken” says above!!!!) …So the issue isn’t that he’s forced to stand up for his rights even though he doesn’t really want to, because he’s standing for nothing if he doesn’t reserve the right to throw me out because he doesn’t like the color of my scarf. He isn’t standing up for his rights, he’s standing up for his corporate board’s cowardice!

    My argument and Andy’s arguments are different, and both are worthwhile. This simple fact has apparently eluded both Jason Seagraves and Susan Hogarth.

    Susan and Jason and Johnnie and Ken don’t want to address any of those arguments, which apparently might make them feel bad about their training-diaper philosopher selves, so I’m going to leave now, and play with the adults. I wish I could say “it’s been fun”, my fellow luke-warm defenders of freedom, but it hasn’t been! It has been a total waste of my time, except in showing any lurking trolls how dishonest and retarded people get when they view themselves to be philosophical “authorities”.

    Too bad Kors and Silverglate aren’t on this board. They have the intellectual machinery necessary to address my statements. Even if my exasperated style would probably piss them off too.

    Whatever.

    Zaijian.

    PS:
    Susan also quoted Ken and wrote:
    There may perhaps be one option for consideration to allow petitioners a specific location in front of our stores. We could identify a space for groups to petition our customers without negatively impacting the customers’ experience as they enter our stores. Of course, there would be conditions agreed to before permission to solicit is granted

    That would seem to me to cover the bases pretty thoroughly – groups or individuals could reserve a particular time to run a ‘community outreach’ table (which might include petitioning, or might not). Having the petitioners (or other outreach people) behind a table would allow for the comfort of shoppers who disfavor being approached, but allow those who are interested to freely approach.

    This is known as “tabling” a petitioner. It can be good or bad, but either way, it is a limit on common-sense allowal of normal and polite interpersonal speech. (What children we’ve become that politely asking someone to sign a ballot access petition is seen as potentially threatening to one’s clientele! Even if it were true, which is rare, does Mackey really want those people as his customers more than he wants libertarians? If so, he can have them! ) Being tabled often results in people not being asked to sign, because in order for them to be asked, the petitioner would need to speak in an impolitely loud tone of voice. In a foot-traffic thoroughfare, people are quickly walking by, and are not looking for petitions, because they’ve never seen them before in this location, (or any location). “Tabling” then typically results in the table being placed in an unreasonable or out-of-the-way location, so that an institution can appear to tolerate speech without actually tolerating effective speech.

    In addition, this arrangement it more annoying to everyone than simply relying on the petitioner’s common sense in avoiding those who want to be avoided. Duhhh. Is a petition that offers pro-freedom political choice that threatening? “…Land of the free, home of the brave?!”

    That said, it appears that if Whole Foods followed Ken’s advice, it would be a step in the right direction. If it was actually followed with the intention of allowing speech, and not the immediate prior “out-of-the-way tabling” phenomenon of putting someone far out of foot traffic and then claiming that “people could sign if they (were more interested and aware than anyone actually is) wanted to!”

    My opinion? It’s polite political speech and petition-signing that we’re asking for. It is the bare minimum speech required so that our government does not turn into a mass-murdering democidal dictatorship. It contains no swearing, rudeness, or anger (all of which make successful ballot access petitioning impossible). If you want to call yourself a libertarian CEO of a grocery store that is open to public foot traffic, then you should tolerate that kind of speech, or be revealed as vastly less libertarian than the 1997-2007 CEO of Giant Foods, who did not publicly claim to be a “libertarian who believes in corporate responsibility”.

    We asked for this simple kindness and this incredibly minimal aid to the cause of individual liberty that is actually necessary to maintaining a market that is free enough to sell groceries. Rather than be thanked, we were threatened with arrest if we did not leave. Wow!

    When we questioned further, rather than correcting the error, we were met with dishonest “straw man” arguments. (Such as “Whole Foods already allows petitioning on the public sidewalks in front of our stores” …LOL)

    Finally I had to say: AS much as I like the quality of Whole Foods’ products, I am a human being who understands the meaning of the word libertarian. I read Reason Magazine! I also understand when I am being pissed on and told it’s raining. Don’t tell me you believe that I SHOULD HAVE A “RIGHT” to stand in front of your store and shop there, but that from a libertarian perspective, it’s proper for me to give up that “right” if I ask anyone to sign a ballot access petition. (The term “right” is used here as Mackey’s insinuation, when he asked if I had been “discriminated” against. He believes he has no “right” to control his own property, or he’d be allowed to discriminate against communists, while allowing capitalists to petition. Which addresses the bogus argument from Ken above, such that “If we allowed anyone, we’d have to allow everyone”) If I politely speak in front of it to individual patrons in a reasonable, unamplified voice, in the service of a freedom that the CEO himself says he himself wishes to obtain, only then is there a “problem” worthy of security being called. That is completely insulting to my intelligence, or it is terribly cowardly. Neither is acceptable if we are actually going to move towards freedom in the USA.

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