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Boycotting good ideas? ^ | August 23, 2009 | Paul Jacob

Posted on 08/23/2009 5:45:23 AM PDT by Kaslin

Boycotts are as American as apple pie . . . with whole wheat crust.

Granted, the term boycott comes from Charles C. Boycott, an English land agent who got in a fracas with Irish tenant farmers over rents in 1880. Laborers refused to harvest Boycott's potatoes. Shopkeepers in the towns wouldn't trade with him. Even the postman declined to deliver his mail.

To bring people in to harvest the potatoes cost the British government, Boycott, and others over £10,000 — for spuds worth £350. In December of that year, Boycott left the Emerald Isle.

So, apparently, 100 years earlier, when American colonists boycotted English tea and other items in protest of British policies — most importantly, direct taxation without colonial representation — they must have called it something else altogether.

But whatever the name, it worked. The world's freest republic — ours — was fertilized through boycotts. And nearly two-hundred years later, the boycott proved instrumental in winning equal rights for black Americans.

Today, I won't buy gas at CITGO. A couple years back, a neighbor passed the station to pay a penny more a gallon somewhere else. When I asked why, she said she didn't want to fund Hugo Chavez. CITGO is a Venezuelan state-owned company. I was an easy convert. And we must not have been alone: The local 7-11 recently posted signs telling customers that their gasoline is no longer obtained from CITGO.

Common Sense e-letter, the impact of our financial decisions — even from us poor folks — is, for better or worse, usually greater than that of our votes.

But certainly not all boycotts make sense. Too often, they oppose common sense.

Ten days ago, John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods — a grocery chain self-dubbed as "selling the highest quality natural and organic products" — made the miscalculation of embracing President Barack Obama's call for more ideas on how to fix our medical care and health insurance systems. Mackey wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal offering eight specific solutions that could be implemented at little or no cost to taxpayers.

Mackey's proposals are geared toward creating a freer and more competitive marketplace for medical services — without a massive and (let's admit it) costly expansion of government involvement. Paraphrasing Margaret Thatcher (no doubt his first sin), Mackey wrote: "[W]e are rapidly running out of other people's money. These deficits are simply not sustainable. They are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or they will bankrupt us."

Then, he offered some simple steps in the direction of permitting a marketplace in health care: (1) remove obstacles to Health Savings Accounts, (2) allow individuals the same tax-deductibility as businesses on medical insurance, (3) allow insurance companies to compete across state lines, (4) repeal government mandates on what ailments insurance companies must cover, (5) pass tort reform, (6) require transparency on medical bills, (7) enact Medicare reform (since it is headed for bankruptcy), and (8) permit citizens to donate money on their tax form to provide medical coverage for those less fortunate.

One can agree or disagree with John Mackey's prescriptions, of course. But at least he has some. No plan has been presented by the Obama administration; our president has merely played the cheerleader for a moving target of proposals being negotiated in Congress.

And who can really be against allowing us to provide help to others on our tax forms? Why hasn't that been done?

But the biggest blasphemy by the Whole Foods CEO may have been to speak a simple truth: "A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That's because there isn't any."

Mackey argued that "Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges."

Politicians in Washington have long argued that medical care is a right. Those who believe all is possible through the federal government also consider this an article of faith.

They're mistaken. You don't have to pay for your rights. We only need to be left alone. In the case of medical insurance, citizens are likely to be forced to purchase their brand-new birthright, by federal government mandate.

A mandate runs on completely different principles than a right.

Still, a boycott of Whole Foods has sprung forth on the Internet and with pickets at stores in several cities. While the impact on the store's bottom line doesn't appear to be significant, the company is certainly taking the boycott seriously.

Let's take it seriously as well. Go to Whole Foods and buy some food that will likely make you feel better and live longer. My nearest store is only 12 miles away.

Thank goodness, John Mackey stepped up to the plate to offer his opinion. His company happens to provide excellent medical benefits to 89 percent of his employees (those working 30 hours or more a week). And his company makes a profit at the same time.

He deserves a thoughtful response. Not a boycott.

Boycotts battling unwarranted discrimination, unrepresentative taxation, and other tyrannical behavior have left a heroic legacy to this political activity. Boycotts against opinions? Well, not so much.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: boycott; wholefoods

1 posted on 08/23/2009 5:45:23 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Where I live there are fewer Obama stickers than ever...except at the Whole Foods parking lot. Inside are employees that haven’t bathed in a month, wearing African garb and Birkenstocks. I wouldn’t give my store the time of day.

2 posted on 08/23/2009 6:00:13 AM PDT by albie
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To: Kaslin

“American track star Lacey O’Neal coined the term girlcott in the context of the protests by male African American athletes during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Speaking for Black women athletes, she advised that the group would not “girlcott” the Olympic Games as they were still focused on being recognized. “Girlcott” appeared in Time magazine in 1970, and then later was used by retired tennis player Billie Jean King in The Times in reference to Wimbledon to emphasize her argument regarding equal pay for women players.”

>> Wikipedia

3 posted on 08/23/2009 6:21:13 AM PDT by canuck_conservative
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To: albie
Inside are employees that haven’t bathed in a month...

EEuuuuuuwwwww! Are you serious?? And in food handling/marketing/stocking no less...

4 posted on 08/23/2009 7:08:02 AM PDT by brushcop (SFC Sallie, CPL Long, LTHarris, SSG Brown, PVT Simmons KIA OIF lll&V, they died for you, honor them)
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To: Kaslin
the term boycott comes from Charles C. Boycott, an English land agent

I've already learned something new today. Thanks.

I shopped in Whole Foods last week (I go there about once a month, usually to pick up some specialty items) and while I was on the check out line, I went into a loud monologue to the cashier (who hadn't read his column, but was aware of the boycott plans) about how what he wrote was a very intelligent discourse on the subject, how lefties who are mere ideologoues dont know any better than to be upset with anyone who isn't completely in confromity with their agenda, how I would be proud to work for Mackey, and I added that my reading of a "conservative message board" (this one) indicated to me that he was about to pick up a LOT of new customers nationwide.

She promised she would read what he wrote when she got home, and as I walked out I noticed a bunch of employees and customers watching me (this was in blue country- Long Island.)
5 posted on 08/23/2009 8:09:18 AM PDT by Canedawg (FUBO)
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To: Kaslin

It’s hard to keep up with the commie boycotts. First Trader Joe’s. I started shopping there after the boycott was announced. I’d never heard of the place before that. Pretty good place to shop.

I’ll have to look up this Whole Foods now and see it they exist in my area.

6 posted on 08/23/2009 8:42:09 AM PDT by gitmo (History books will read that Lincoln freed the slaves and Obama enslaved the free.)
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To: gitmo
I won't “list” my boycotts because there are simply too many of them .. and they extend to the CD’s I buy, the movies I see, the gas I buy etc. For me, a boycott is not trying to take a company down .. it is simply ME not supporting THEM in any format. The boycott is about ME ... because it makes ME feel better. If those I “boycott” go down, terrific ... but I don't expect it to happen. They simply will not get my business ... and I sleep better. PERSONAL symbolic acts ... even tho they are not really seen by others ... are good therapy in these times. I made a little web page for ME ... and the hits that are there are MINE (editing it). But it makes me feel better ... I feel like I'm doing something, regardless of how small it is or how (or even if) it is viewed by others. So I'm a fan of “personal boycotts”.
7 posted on 08/23/2009 9:03:37 AM PDT by DHC-2 (
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To: Kaslin

That whole mentality is a rip-off to American consumers. I’m sorry, but it has to be said. This is another “fad” and in about 5 years, someone will finally “test” these foods to find they are no healthier than homegrown or fresh produce and homemade foods...I’m not talking about all the packaged food that is hardly suitable for dogs. (No offense intended for dogs, you understand!) So-called bio-foods and whole foods are just another market-manipulating advertising gimmick. Even now, some are beginning to realize the scam.

8 posted on 08/23/2009 9:47:52 AM PDT by Shery (in APO Land)
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To: gitmo

The nearest Trader Joe and Whole Food stores are each over 60 miles away from me, which makes it not practical for me, especially since they are quite pricey, especially Whole Foods

9 posted on 08/23/2009 12:25:31 PM PDT by Kaslin (Acronym for 0bama: One Big Ass Mistake America)
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To: Kaslin

If you avoid all the stores that get trashed on FR, the only alternative left is the St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop and food pantry.

Personally I have no political problem going to Wal-Mart, Lowes, Target, Sam’s Club, etc.

10 posted on 08/23/2009 12:28:55 PM PDT by nascarnation
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