I live in the San Francisco Bay area, and ruling majority here have zero tolerance for heterodox thinking or activism. For example, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors once passed a resolution telling pro-life Christians planning a demonstration that they were not welcome in what we call The City.
It is in this “our way or the highway” spirit that Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey, has been receiving grief in the local media because of his criticism of Obamacare as “fascism,” (along with his claim that the climate is always changing, and moreover, that warming could have some benefits).
Mackey has repeatedly walked the word back, but no matter. It is all the news as he is in the area on book tour. Today, he is interviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle, and asked to explain himself. From the story:
Q: There has been much ado about your comments to NPR. So what exactly is the problem you have with the president’s health care plan, which frankly seems to jibe with the philosophies of Whole Foods?
A: I believe in free enterprise capitalism. It’s helping humanity to progress. I don’t see any innovation in industries where the government intervenes. Prior to health care reform, health care was already very regulated by the government. It’s not a system any longer where people are able to innovate; it’s not based on voluntary exchange. I’d like to see health care be like any other business.
Q: Has calling Obamacare fascist affected your business, especially with your liberal customer base?
A: I certainly hope not. I’ve apologized for it 30 times now. I did not mean to offend or harm anyone. It was a poor choice of words.
Of course he did, because in the current politically suppressive climate, the Left doesn’t permit truth telling.
Let me explain. Mackey was asked on NPR whether Obamacare is “socialist.” Here is his answer:
Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it — and that’s what’s happening with our health care programs and these reforms.
Now, if he had meant the jack-booted tyranny led by an evil man with a funny mustache who tortured and slaughtered people in concentration camps–the popular meaning of the term–that would have been wrong and clearly vile. But that popular understanding isn’t the actual meaning of fascism, which–as Mackey said, technically speaking–refers to an economic system. Here’s the Wikipedia definition:
An inherent aspect of fascist economies was economic dirigisme, meaning an economy where the government exerts strong directive influence, and effectively controls production and allocation of resources. In general, apart from the nationalizations of some industries, fascist economies were based on private property and private initiative, but these were contingent upon service to the state.
In this sense, Mackey wasn’t off the mark–although it was clearly a poor choice of words due to the ubiquitous atrocities committed by the 20th century’s fascist states.
But back to the “technically” part: Consider the Free Birth Control Rule under Obamacare that directly controls how businesses allocate their resources for the purpose of achieving a state-desired end, e.g.,–as the DOJ’s legal briefs have repeatedly stated–gender equality. In this sense Mackey was technically accurate in his use of the economic f-word. Not wise, but technically accurate.
Yes, I apologize.