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John Mackey Confidential

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In a supposed expose (sorry, no French accent today–this is America, after all, where we only speaka da English), an outfit called the Corporate Crime Reporter unwittingly offers up five more reasons to really dig Whole Foods honcho John Mackey (who Reason readers will remember from his great October debate on corporate social responsibility with Milton Friedman and T.J. Rodgers [go here for bios and pics]):

Most people who shop at Whole Foods are liberal yuppies.

They have enough money to spend $9 on a pound of cherries.

They believe that shopping for groceries at Whole Foods instead of Safeway or Food Lion or Giant or Wal-Mart is the politically correct thing to do.

They probably believe that the President and CEO of Whole Foods is a liberal like themselves.

They of course would be wrong.

John Mackey is instead a libertarian….

Mackey says that Milton Friedman is his hero.

He's a devotee of Ayn Rand.

He's opposed to national health insurance.

He's a union buster.

More negative love, including an attack on Mackey for endorsing the new book, Trapped: When Acting Ethically Is Against the Law, here.

NEXT: Also, We Don't Like Those Hubcaps

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  1. If you know of another place to get high quality produce and all the exotic ingredients I want, plus free samples while shopping, I’m all ears.

    I cannot make my stuffed peppper recipe if I only shop at Safeway. The bell peppers there are usually old and leathery, and Safeway doesn’t sell goat cheese.

  2. Damn,

    Knowing this about this means I might have to actually start shopping at that overpriced granola filled, hippy, craphole of a grocerystore just help make sure this guy keeps his job.

  3. I need to read that book. According to the article:
    “[Book Author]Hasnas wants to do away with corporate criminal liability.

    If there is a crime committed by someone within the corporation, criminally prosecute the individual, he says.

    But a corporation can’t commit a crime and should not be criminally prosecuted.

    Ever.”

    Why is CCR so astounded by this? Eliminate the fictional person of Corporation, which is nothing more than a shield for the coporate board and shareholders from criminal wrong doing and you have nothing to prosecute except the people running the corporation.

  4. It makes me smile when “libertarian” is dropped in some conversations like “sexual predator” is in others.

  5. Dr. T,

    For real? Where do you live? There are generally quite a few options for exotic foods/spices. Again, I don’t know where you live, but I haven’t found Whole Foods to be all that unique in it’s selection.

    Jason,

    🙂

  6. kohlrabi-

    Giant is hit and miss. I guess I could try Trader Joe’s, but they aren’t exactly cheap either.

  7. IN Texas they have these things called Central Markets. Best high end everything you can imagine and very little of the wierdo organic crap they cell at Whole Foods. They are fabulous.

    Thoreau,

    If you get old vegitibles, does that mean that you have problems getting your stringbean theory equations to work out?

  8. Whoa — Safeway doesn’t sell goat cheese? Where do you live, Arkansas?

  9. Steve-

    Well, I couldn’t find the goat cheese. I’ll check again.

    There’s still the matter of the leathery peppers. I like them crisp and juicy, not dry and leathery.

  10. Ahh, cheap is the criteria. Well, dunno if I can help you there. Where I live we have

    http://www.papajoesmarket.com/index.php

    which is fantastic, and Detroit is hardly the cosmopolitan metropolis you’re probably imagining.

  11. John,

    That was a crime against humor.

  12. Oh my God, John Mackey, you are SO busted. Who knew you were part of a secret libertarian conspiracy, besides the reporters of this intrepid little crappy website?

    thoreau: I usually have to shop at a bunch of different places to assemble the best of various items. For my money, Trader Joe’s is best for vegetables and prepared food, and Whole Foods is best for fruit and meat/seafood selection, and for anything unusual I can’t find anywhere else. National brands are best acquired at Wal-Mart or Target for some fraction of pennies on the dollars.

  13. Thoreau, let me praise Trader Joe’s for you. Out here in the Bay Area it is much cheaper than Safeway or Albertson’s (except for the occasion sales the big guys have on produce, etc.). And the quality of everything is excellent. The dairy, the pasta, the fish, the oils, it’s all quite good and so reasonably priced. Great selection of quality beer and wine (all comparatively inexpensive). They often have free samples, too. Eat, doctor, eat!

  14. Trader Joe’s is OK, but their selection is so limited. Who wants to drive to a dozen different stores to make one recipe? Last time I went they dint even have tomatoes!

  15. Again, I don’t know where you live, but I haven’t found Whole Foods to be all that unique in it’s selection.

    Go to the one in Buckhead.

  16. “They believe that shopping for groceries at Whole Foods instead of Safeway or Food Lion or Giant or Wal-Mart is the politically correct thing to do.”

    Well, I don’t know what politically correct means in this context but I know that buying local, which is usually more possible at stores like Whole Foods, is more environmental and sustainable. And I’m not sure why that would be any less libertarian.

    “It makes me smile when “libertarian” is dropped in some conversations like “sexual predator” is in others.”

    It makes me sad when liberal is used in the same way, which happens quite often on this site.

  17. But a corporation can?t commit a crime and should not be criminally prosecuted.

    Jesus H. Motherfucker, how is this an even remotely controversial idea? Corporations aren’t people. They don’t commmit crimes. People commit crimes.

    And what’s up with the one-sentence paragraphs?

    They annoy me.

    They make the article hard to read.

    Really.

  18. I shop at Trader Joe’s because it is a better deal than Whole Foods, and anyway, Riverside,CA is too down scale in income for a Whole Foods Market.

    Joe Colanino who founded Trader Joe’s told California Magazine years ago that he votes Libertarian.(He no longer owns Trader Joe’s however).

  19. I’d like to add that a couple of months ago, I did a 180 WRT Whole Foods.

    I can’t afford to shop there often, but damn, they’ve just got good stuff there.

    And the box meals are outstanding and reasonably priced.

  20. Let’s look at the flipside of a few of these brilliant comments:

    “Most people who shop at Whole Foods are liberal yuppies.” This is like saying most people who shop at Safeway are child abusing rednecks.

    “They have enough money to spend $9 on a pound of cherries.” This is like saying that Safeway shoppers can only afford cheese made for giving dogs pills.

    “They believe that shopping for groceries at Whole Foods instead of Safeway or Food Lion or Giant or Wal-Mart is the politically correct thing to do.” This is like saying that rednecks shop at Walmart because they believe its patriotic.

    “They probably believe that the President and CEO of Whole Foods is a liberal like themselves.” This is like saying rednecks have to shop at Walmart, because nothing else stayed in business.

    What’s wrong with the old adage, you get what you pay for? A lot of people are tired of chemically treated, processed, and preserved food.

  21. Yeah it pretty much was coward, but Thoreau isn’t speaking to me these days so, it is my way or tortureing him.

  22. I love Whole Foods.

  23. That site is cracking me up. Check this out:

    Crooked grease monkeys! OH TEH NOESS!!!!!!!1!1!

    “We pay up, but they didn’t change the fuel filter,” KNBC reporter Joel Grover told his viewers earlier this month. “We know that, because before taking our car in, we lowered the gas tank so I could mark the fuel filter. After leaving that Jiffy Lube, we checked the fuel filter and the original one that I had marked was still on the car.”

    Is anyone else confused by that? I’ve never heard of a car where you have to lower the gas tank in order to get to the oil filter. It don’t make no see-ense.

    By the way, this is what you get for not changing your own oil, you lazy effete pricks. It saves you money, puts hair on your chest, and your hands look tan macho when you have grease ground into the cracks in your skin.

  24. I have to shop at Whole Foods and the like because of my multiple food allergies. They just don’t sell wheat-free bread, for example, at Safeway. Some Trader Joe’s locations carry it, but not all of them. And the variety of soy cream at Whole Foods is very, which is important to an ice cream fanatic who turned out to be allergic to milk protein. I didn’t like turning to Whole Foods, and endless soy products that proclaim their purity from GMOs, but I’ve had to give up so many foods already…

    The other day I bought expensive produce when I was in Whole Foods, thinking it would be much better than produce from Safeway. But it was not. Sour grapes and peaches is what I got. Not that I expect Whole Foods produce to be consistently great — but I sure was disappointed.

  25. Let me just say that your local farmer’s market will kick ass on both Trader Joe’s (overrated, small selection, crap for produce) and Whole foods (overpriced, always in icky strip malls) for both quality and price. Not all cities make them easy to find, but the ones NYC, or Seattle, or Santa Monica, or even Albuquerque make it easy to find good local produce for cheap…

    Off season, try your local coop. Some even have to your door delivery.

  26. Food Fight

    Anyone entering Whole Foods these days sees the signs: “Go Local.” Which has some Houston organic farmers grumbling. The chain’s definition of “local,” it seems, is pretty broad.

    “It’s a big PR campaign is all it is for them,” says Joan Gundermann, owner of the largest certified organic farm in the Houston area. “If they are buying from local farmers, who are these farmers and what are their addresses?”

    “What they are doing now is basically a joke,” says Jackie Bass, who owns a large organic farm in Montgomery County.

    Whole Foods actually stopped buying from local growers several years ago when it went to a warehousing and tracking system that required purchases of larger quantities of food than the locals could sell, Gundermann says.

    Other chains, including H-E-B, Kroger and Wal-Mart, do buy from Houston farms. For Whole Foods, apparently “local” means anywhere in Texas.

    The company, not for the first time, refused to answer questions about its policies.

    http://www.houstonpress.com/Issues/2006-06-22/news/hairballs.html

  27. As for Mackey and union busting… if my friend Jeremy’s experience is typical, he busts the unions with decent pay, decent working conditions, decent benefits, and employee ownership plans… a different kind of union busting than, say, Walmart.

  28. “I’ve never heard of a car where you have to lower the gas tank in order to get to the oil filter”

    He says he marked the fuel filter, not the oil one.

    Hell no Jiffy Lube isn’t going to drop your gas tank to look for a fuel filter hidden up there.

    Back to Whole Foods, they do tend to have magazines like “Mother Jones” and “The Nation” in the checkout line. I’m assuming that they are targetting their core demographic with those.

  29. I have never lived in a place with a trader joes, but two buck chuck is actually some damn fine wine.

  30. One high school summer I was working in a law office downtown and instead of paying for lunch, I just went to Whole Foods everyday and buffeted on the samples. I didn’t spend a dollar on lunch the entire summer. I was kicked out once by a guy who caught me, but I just came back the next day.

    PS Ayn Rand sucks ass.

  31. This is like saying that Safeway shoppers can only afford cheese made for giving dogs pills.

    Thanks! Great imagery. I’ll be laughing for weeks!

  32. If you’re good at what you do, you don’t need a stinking UNION.

  33. IN Texas they have these things called Central Markets. Best high end everything you can imagine and very little of the wierdo organic crap they cell at Whole Foods. They are fabulous.

    In San Antonio the only Central Market is in the same part of town that Whole Foods is in: Alamo Heights. I can’t afford to live over there, and I refuse to drive 45 minutes out of the way to buy produce. And, besides, Central Market is run by the dread HEB. Goddamn that HEB.

  34. HEB? Why are you such an antisemite?

  35. Not all cities make them easy to find, but the ones NYC, or Seattle, or Santa Monica, or even Albuquerque make it easy to find good local produce for cheap…

    The best farmers’ market in America is the Dekalb Farmers’ Market in Decatur Georgia.

    http://atlanta.citysearch.com/profile/11494319

  36. This is a link to a great Mackey speech on the modern freedom movement as he refers to it.

    I consider it a must read, but I won’t try to coerce you into reading it….

  37. The Other Mark-I’d think a hairy-chested, mechanically minded fellow like yourself would know that fuel filters and oil filters are not the same thing.
    The really sad thing is that reporter apparently didn’t realize that fuel filters are not changed as part of the regular oil change service.

  38. Eliminate the fictional person of Corporation, which is nothing more than a shield for the coporate board and shareholders from criminal wrong doing . . . .

    The notion that the corporate board and shareholders can commit crimes without being prosecuted because they own or run a corporation is too bizarre and ignorant for words.

  39. I know this is the World Wide web, but is Chicago the only town with local independent grocers anymore? We’ve got Jewel and Dominicks up the wazoo, Wal-Mart and Target have a few grocery outlets, Kroger’s seeping back into the market, and there’s the occasional Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. But within a five mile radius of my house there must be at least a dozen independent grocers. Yeah they don’t have the massive selection of sundry items, but they also don’t have those goddman irritating discount cards and checkout-line-advertising-televisions either.

  40. Whole Foods is publicly traded (WFMI), so we can buy the stock as well. It’s a fine quality store. I love it. It seems that John Mackey put as much considered deliberation into his political philosophy as he does his with his offering at Whole Foods. A good marketing person should be able to figure out targeted strategies to parley John’s libertarianism into increased sales.

    Now I suppose that the clientele of his stores here in the Denver area tend to be more liberal than the general population. But it also wouldn’t surprise me if there was a disproportionate fraction of libertarian customers as well cuz libertarians tend to be into good health more than the general pop. Also, it’s my conjecture that many of the liberals who shop there are ripe for conversion.

    Next time I go to Whole Foods, I’m gonna wear a pro-liberty button or apparel. Get the communication going…

    Kudos to you, John Mackey.

  41. I don’t eat organic foods because I want to build pesticide residence so when America gets chemical weapon attacked, I’ll be immune.

  42. Good call, Rick.

    We walk to our local Whole Paycheck (so there!). Ground bison is a favorite in our household. Good fish selection. Ground venison is good too. Bison ribeyes are okay, and the best part: AWESOME hot sauce selection.

    Unlike other Whole Foods outlets, I guess, ours isn’t in an icky strip mall, either.

    Good post, as usual, Rick!

    cheers

  43. I don’t eat organic foods because I want to build pesticide residence so when America gets chemical weapon attacked, I’ll be immune.

    Brilliant!

  44. I realize this is out of most people’s experience, but asian grocery stores (Han Ah Reum is a big Korean chain on the east coast) typically have a gigantic variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. Exotic meats, free samples and very low prices.

    Cities with large asian populations usually have at least one.

  45. Russ, the local independent grocery I usually go to, Caputo’s, has advertising TVs at the checkout lines now. Oh well, I guess I’ll still go there for my feta cheese and sausage needs.

  46. Russ, the local Chicago independent grocery I usually go to, Caputo’s, has advertising TVs at the checkout lines now. Oh well, I guess I’ll still go there for my feta cheese and sausage needs.

  47. As for the Whole Foods stock, I would stay away. It trades at really high multiple with a PE around 57, doesn’t generate much free cash flow and has a poor dividend. You can certainly support the CEO, but I don’t think his firm represents a good investment.

  48. Herrick- Bad news, man. All the military nerve agents are organophosphates. In other words, they’re based around a phosphorous atom covalently bonded to an oxygen atom. Most (but not all) modern pesticides are based around a nitrogen complex.

  49. Herrick-

    My brother-in-law had the same thought. He also wanted to build up resistance to chemical warfare.

    So he got a job in New Jersey.

    Me, I’m a test subject for an anthrax vaccine. Laugh all you want, but the next time somebody sends those little envelopes of death I’ll be fine while everybody else is re-enacting the hotel scenes in 24.

  50. And instead of concluding that we should fix the criminal justice system so that corporations and federal prosecutors can no longer gang up on individual employees…

    Because experience shows that fixing the criminal justice system always works so well.

    The notion that the corporate board and shareholders can commit crimes without being prosecuted because they own or run a corporation is too bizarre and ignorant for words.

    Technically correct. But prosecuting boardmembers and shareholders (particularly of large corporations) can be enormously more difficult because of the shared responsibility. And incorporation does provide some protection against civil actions.

    At least until the board designates a sacrifical scapegoat.

  51. If this mean i have to now eat hippy food you can count me out!

    Anyway it is always good to hear a libertarian making money.

  52. Off topic anthrax response:

    I couldn’t recall the outcome of the anthrax terrorist attack that the MSM and Bush Administration seem to not rememeber whenever Bush claims we have been terrorist-free since 9/11 thanks to him.

    So I looked up anthrax at wikipedia and came across this hilarious quote:

    A common electric iron adjusted to the hottest setting (at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit) and used for at least 5 minutes destroys all anthrax spores in a common envelope contaminated with anthrax.

    Maybe I am just reading it wrong, but I’m inclined to think it would also destroy your mail too if you used it as a preventative measure. It seems pointless to use it after the fact.

    This is the wiki link to the anthrax attacks that occurred a week after 9/11.

  53. If you live out in the country, you probably have the land to grow your own produce. The bad news is, it seems you’ll need to grow your own produce to get the good stuff if you live there.

    Here in the Bronx there are loads of little places that have the best price & quality on a good variety of fruits & vegetables. They used to be owned & operated by Koreans, but a few years ago, all at once, all the Koreans sold them to Dominicans or someone. But even in this little space, my landlady grows her own, and I’ve just come in from picking mulberries on various properties (mostly park or former railroad).

    When I visited my friend Nancy Wilson on US route 12 in Jonesville in southern Mich. a few summers ago, you could either drive for many miles to a produce & pie stand or settle for the fairly crappy & expensive vegetables at Wal-Mart. The local cuisine tended to be salty with emphasis on olives, cheese, and chips, as if refrigeration had never made it out to the country with the electricity. Even the meat was pretty dry…well, OK, it wasn’t the meat but my bad barbecuing.

  54. Lannychiu is right; Ranch 99 and Uwajimaya have awesome produce and exceptionally high quality seafood for cheaper than Safeway or Albertsons. They’re also a good place to get cheap dairy products because not a whole lot of their Asian clientele are big dairy consumers.

    My last trip to Whole Paycheck, a couple of months ago, I bought chips and salsa for a meeting of 20 people at work: $60. Ridiculous, and never again. Since the Pike Place Market is about the same distance from me as Whole Paycheck, thanks all the same, but I’ll stick with the PPM.

  55. I live in a place without Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Our grocery stores are owned by three different companies — none of them national chains. The only competitor to them is Walmart.

    I like good food, choice, low prices, and all that. The quality of the produce at Walmart is awful. But he quality of the produce at the three chains of grocery stores is worse. And you pay twice as much.

    I have lots of friends who look down on anybody who shops at Walmart. They like to shop at the one grocery chain that isn’t a “discount” chain since they don’t have gimmicks like discount cards. I took a Walmart receipt into the store once to compare the prices, and they were 25-100% more at the grocery store. Yet that is the only grocery store that can give Walmart a run for its money in terms of selection of grocery items and quality of produce.

    When I lived in Chicago I wouldn’t shop at Whole Foods since it was so much more expensive than the chain grocery stores. Whole Foods is about equal in cost to my current grocery stores, but with much better quality. But I don’t have that option, so it’s Walmart for me.

  56. Just replace the word “libertarian” with the European word “liberal”* and he’ll be OK.

    * liberal: one who favours economic and social freedom.

  57. Just replace the word “libertarian” with the European word “liberal”* and he’ll be OK.

    Republican politicians don’t like that kind of liberal either.

  58. The notion that the corporate board and shareholders can commit crimes without being prosecuted because they own or run a corporation is too bizarre and ignorant for words.

    Well…it’s not like they can commit things like fraud, rape and premeditated murder and get off behind the corporate veil. There are plenty of executives prosecuted for white collar crime. If that weren’t the case, the Enron, Tyco and World Com executives wouldn’t be in the shit they’re in.

    I googled “criminal prosecution corporation” and got hits like Software Piracy, Negligent Homicide, Antitrust Violations and Environmental Violations. Those kind of things often (but not always) reflect corporate policies or board decisions. Often management is complicit and successful legal remedies are sometimes dependant on the deeper pockets of the corporations.

    In any case, I see some merit but also a lot of problems with the notion of “never prosecuting a corporation ever.”

    For some time now – and more so over the past century – a corporation is a de facto person. You can’t just tease out the criminal liability issue because you don’t like it. Criminal liability against corporations is based on centuries of law involving other types of corporate liability. A lot of other accountability issues could crumble down in its wake.

    Other than being the president of my own corporation, I’m not an expert on corporate law. But I’ve seen the law of unintended consequences bite things like this in the ass.

    Still, I would like to know more about his premise.

  59. This is like saying that Safeway shoppers can only afford cheese made for giving dogs pills.

    There is such a thing?

  60. By the way, this is what you get for not changing your own oil, you lazy effete pricks. It saves you money, puts hair on your chest, and your hands look tan macho when you have grease ground into the cracks in your skin.

    Because local mechanics are ALWAYS on the up and up.

  61. One thing that no one discusses about Mackey and unions is that generally Texas grocery stores are not unionized, so Mackey’s position was pretty typical in the business. Mackey’s achievement was in actually treating his employees really well, when the general practice at the time was to regard employees as more expendable and much less important than the shopping carts. In response, most grocery stores, at least in Austin and Houston, have really improved their employment practices. (I used to work as an appeals officer on unemployment claims and learned all of their employmee handbooks by heart. I still have nightmares.) In light of what was expected when and where he started the company, their employee policies are pretty amazingly progressive. Also, they support lots of tuition assistance programs and other self-improvement stuff.

    The competition worked. Since Whole Foods did so well, HEB Corp. has launched Central Market as a direct competitor to it, but with less emphasis on “natural” and more on local and exceptional quality. (HEB started in Kerrville and operates principally in south and central Texas. I think there are a couple of CM’s in Dallas and Houston, but that’s it. Shame, too, as it the most wonderful grocery store.) We in spoiled rotten Austin have the two original Central Markets. HEB has also opened a regular store within six blocks of my house that offers Central Market products, including $6/ each “coeur de bouf” tomatoes, which are huge and the most perfect tomatoes grown. (John, if you get a chance, they really are worth $6. One slice covers an entire hamburger bun and they taste like heaven.) They also have a bookstore and a gigantic wine department. This is the first of a series of hybrids between CM and the more ordinary HEB.

    Now, don’t you all want to move down here?

  62. Number 6 –

    You got me good there. I read it as oil filters, not fuel filters. I had to go back and read it again to make sense of your comment. Stupid brain.

    Seriously though, changing the fuel filters with an oil change makes no sense whatsoever. It’s almost as great as the old headlight fluid scam.

  63. Mackey has sucked donkeys ever since his glory days with the Colts.

    I feel sorry for all you benighted sorts that don’t live in a place with excellent independent markets offering much better selection and quality than Whore Foods at much lower prices. But that sorry feeling doesn’t last too long; I think that morel risotto is about done. Gotta go.

  64. Hi VM!

    You walk to your local Whole Foods huh? Sounds like you guys live in a charming part of Chicago Land/Chi-town. I’ll try the hot sauces. Thanks for the tip! I buy wild salmon wherever I can get it cheapest-wild cuz the wild variety is supposed to have more of something (I spaced just what exactly) that’s good for you.

    Among others, I shop at both Wal-Mart and Whole Foods. Wal-Mart for value on the price end, Whole Foods for value on the quality and selection end. Is capitalism great or what?

  65. Now that Mackey’s been outed I wonder what kind of splits, physical or psychic, we’ll see among his most loyal customers. How many will leave and self congratulate themselves for their moral backbone? How many will stay and find rationalizations for staying? Ooh, I can almost feel the spooky tension in the store now.

    Of course, it might be nice if they actually read what Mackey said about libertarianism (he said he admired Ran but actually disagreed with a lot of what she said), or it might be nice (I hear a Beach Boys song in the background) if they were to actually read a book about libertarianism or free market economics, or if they were to actually argue against real libertarian positions with evidence and logic instead of just screaming like little children, “Ayn Rand Lovers!!!”

  66. David Ernst Duke is a malignant narcissist and a Domestic Terrorist.

    Dr. Duke invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. Dr. Duke maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and the trappings of power further exacerbate this. Real life authority and David Ernst Duke?s predilection to surround him with obsequious sycophants support David Ernst Duke?s grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience.

    David Ernst Duke’s personality is so precariously balanced that Dr. Duke cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference, the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not. Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as “victims of persecution”.

    Duke fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, and mythology. The leader is this religion’s ascetic saint. Dr. Duke monastically denies himself earthly pleasures, or so Dr. Duke claims in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.

    Duke is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people – or humanity at large – should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, Duke became a distorted version of Nietzsche’s “superman”. But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral.

    In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things “natural” – or by strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to, as “nature” is not natural at all.

    Duke invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully orchestrated and artificial – though it is not perceived this way by him or by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols – not about veritable atavism or true conservatism.

    In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle, and be subsumed by it, the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment.

    Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism – and the cult’s leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature.

    Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the “old ways” – against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon David Ernst Duke like, and rather psychopathic, toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.

    Minorities or “others” – often arbitrarily selected – constitute a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is “wrong”. They are accused of being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part of the establishment, they are “decadent”, they are hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin … They are different, they are narcissistic, feel and act as morally superior, they are everywhere, they are defenseless, they are credulous, they are adaptable, and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction. They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred and pathological envy by relishing in their aspirations by masking anarchy with a well-developed smokescreen of order.

    This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by Erich Fromm – together with Stalin – as a malignant narcissist. Dr. Duke was an inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. Dr. Duke acted out our most repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. Dr. Duke provides us with a glimpse of the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. Dr. Duke was not the devil. Dr. Duke was one of us. Dr. Duke was what Hannah Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. Dr. Duke was the perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls.

    Duke prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions. In the aftermath of his regime – Duke having died, been deposed, or voted out of office – it all unravels. The tireless and constant prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely held empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to pieces. “Earth shattering” and “revolutionary” scientific discoveries and theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem exposing the voracious jealousy and covert treason.

    It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. It must accord with the self-image of David Ernst Duke. It must abet and sustain his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform David Ernst Duke like narrative. Thus, David Duke who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite – is highly unlikely to use violence at first. The pacific mask crumbles when David Ernst Duke has become convinced that the very people Dr. Duke purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, and the prime sources of his narcissistic supply – have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, David Duke strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. “The people are being duped by, the media, big industry, the military, and the elite,? ?they don’t really know what they are doing,? ?following a rude awakening, they will revert to form,? when these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail, David Duke becomes mortally injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized – is now discarded with contempt and hatred. This primitive defense mechanism is called “splitting”. To David Ernst Duke, things and people are either entirely bad, evil, or entirely good. Dr. Duke projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. Duke is likely to justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country.

    The “small people”, the “rank and file”, and the “loyal soldiers” of David Ernst Duke – his flock, his nation, and his employees – they pay the price. The disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having been deceived, exploited and manipulated – is drawn-out. It is difficult to trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of David Ernst Duke. This is his sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

  67. The truth about organic foods

    (I share this cuz I feel protective of my fellow libertarians, and joe too)

    Abstract:

    Organic foods really do tend to be good for you, not cuz of what they don’t contain, but rather what they do contain. But there is evidence that if you eat less total fruits and veggies in oder to afford more organic, you may be doing yourself a mischief. So eat organic but not so it results in less total fruit and veg consumption. Aspirin can confer some health benefits similar to organics.
    .

    The case for organic is that there are nutrients in organic foods due to the fact that the plants have to protect themselves because we don’t intervene with chemicals to protect the plants.
    These “self defense” substances in the plants turn out to be nutritious for us, in addition to the anti-oxidants and phyto chemicals found in plant foods. There’s good evidence for this but there is also good evidence that if you wind up eating enough less total fruits and vegetables because of cost of organic, you might well be going the wrong way. There was a study that actually showed bad health effects for people who exclusively ate organic fruits and veg but less total fruit and veg. There have also been studies that reveal health benefits for those who eat organic for at least part of their fruit and veg consumption.

    This relates to aspirin. It’s been wondered why aspirin in such a wonder drug and prevents so many maladies. It turns out that components in aspirin are chemically similar to the chemicals in organic foods that are naturally generated for defense of the plants. Some folks think that aspirin should be considered a vitamin (like the B’s, E, C, etc.) instead of a drug.

  68. …Of course it shoulda been: “It’s been wondered why aspirin *is* such a wonder drug and prevents so many maladies.”

  69. Just to be clear, the preceding was of my own creation and represents the facts as I see em and my perspective on organics. It occurred to me that since I put an abstract in, folks might think that I copied it.

  70. I live in an urban neighborhood with:

    1.) A great, small independently-owned grocer. They compete by having a fine selection of beer* and wine, a local-award-winning deli, odd stuff like Mexican Coke and Jarritos. This store is closest to me.

    2.) Further north, on what is pretty much the neighborhood’s “main drag”, a Whole Foods is being built from scratch. It is mere blocks away from the most popular vegan/vegetarian/fake-veggie restaurant/deli in the city. Those guys must be shaking in their boots.

    3.)Further north, and maybe not really in walking distance, is a very nice family-owned grocer. Their butcher and fishmonger counters are excellent. I used to shop there just because they had smoked, peppered bacon. They sell bison. Their wine selection is even better than the other small store, on a par with many liquor stores known for their wine. They have a great selection of hot food for takeout. These guys have more than one outlet, plus another branch of the family is in the same biz, with even more stores.

    4.) Heading in a more westerly direction, we have a Jewel (Albertsons). It is big.

    By car I can reach a Wal*Mart, but it doesn’t have a full grocery store. They’ve got nothing fresh. There are other chain grocers, including some that just operate in our state.

    A weekly farmer’s market is held on the same street where Whole Foods and the herbivore restaurant are located. That should be interesting when the WF opens. Downtown, the city has put up a Public Market on the Seattle model, which hasn’t taken off yet. There’s supposed to be some good produce there.

    The people who are really staring down the barrel of the Whole Foods gun are the local food co-op, which is practically a church of crunchigranolaism, with 2 locations, one of 2000 square feet. 30 years of volunteering, grape boycotting, solidarity with __________ and buggy lettuce, threatened by an organic libertarian. Priceless!

    Kevin

    * Van – They sell gluten-free beer!

  71. You’re with me, leathery peppers.

  72. Get away from me, jd jackson!

  73. actually, there is no consensus on health benefits of organic foods – which is why you do not see labelling on said foods like “20% more healthy” or some such adspeak. most of the people polled about organic foods in consumer studies buy it because they believe it’s healthier for them. i don’t think it’s healthier or less healthy (fears about e-coli, etc) but i am fascinated by how upscale food marketing works. (i shop at the local greenmarket for the most part, for what it’s worth, because it’s generally not that expensive.)

    but the whole thing is an interesting expression of how people invest “authenticity” in their foods. if you take note of the first paragraph of this guy’s “article” the driving thrust is not only is whole foods not “authentically” activist enough, but the ceo is a libertarian, which further frustrates the general perception of what organic foods should and should not be. when you tell people that whole foods is the 2nd largest non-union grocer in the u.s. – right after wal-mart – it’s an interesting cognitive dissonance.

    the term “organic” itself is an interesting study – no one eats mechanical foods – and plays into a wide variety of inferred values with regards to the term: much like “natural” is used by many parties (in this case, the people who buy these foods) to describe not only a baseline state but also a goal.

    p.s. the “local foods” and “slow foods” movements are the next big things, and where whole foods’ largest challenges will come from in the next 5 years. i did a bunch of research on their advertising techniques and valuations so this is like, fresh and stuff in my, um, mind.

  74. Is the Reason staff taking today off or something? There’s usually three or four new blog items by now.

  75. Angus,
    Why is everyone always dissing me. I think you’re just jealous.

    Narcissus

  76. The case for organic is that there are nutrients in organic foods due to the fact that the plants have to protect themselves because we don’t intervene with chemicals to protect the plants.

    Those chemicals are known as “poisons.”
    And yeah, “the difference between a poison and a drug (or nutrient) is the dose,” but there’s no evidence that they’re more common in ‘organic’ foods than in anything else.

    Some folks think that aspirin should be considered a vitamin (like the B’s, E, C, etc.) instead of a drug.

    http://www.med.umich.edu/opm/newspage/2003/aspirin.htm

    “Aspirin is not benign,” says Fendrick. “Thousands of people die each year in the United States from complications related to taking aspirin and other NSAIDs.

    “Ask your clinician if low-dose aspirin is right for you,” says Fendrick. “While aspirin is potentially a life saver in many instances and we want to encourage its use, there are also many people taking this drug who don’t realize that the risks of bleeding may greatly outweigh the health benefits gained.”

  77. The Associated Press reported that members of Vice President Dick Cheney’s staff took Cipro on the night of the September 11 attacks as a precaution, a week before the first anthrax attack.

  78. Colonel Angus,
    You talking to me? You talking to *me*?

  79. the plants have to protect themselves

    Option 1: A tomato that is dependent on chemical pesticides that I can wash off.

    Option 2: A tomato that is selected by man to produce its own pesticides that are distributed throughout the flesh.

    Why does Option 2 appeal so greatly to the same people who oppose StarLink Corn? At least with StarLink we know what the freakin’ pesticide is. With “natural” crops it’s God’s own concoction of toxins.

    Maybe they think the “natural” crops defend themselves with karma.

  80. Via the Fark thread:

    “The main difference between libertarians and classical conservatives is that libertarians smoke a lot of reefer and conservatives want kids to get off their lawn.”

    -BlindMan

  81. Finally, the convergence of deadspin and a reason comments thread.

    Beautiful, or sign of the apocalypse?

  82. “Herrick- Bad news, man. All the military nerve agents are organophosphates. In other words, they’re based around a phosphorous atom covalently bonded to an oxygen atom. Most (but not all) modern pesticides are based around a nitrogen complex.”

    Dammit! I knew that the strategy of deliberately injesting pesticides had to have a downside.

    If it looks too good to be true…

  83. “It makes me smile when “libertarian” is dropped in some conversations like “sexual predator” is in others.” -Jason Ligon

    “It makes me sad when liberal is used in the same way, which happens quite often on this site.” – Mark Ander

    Quit advocating the forceful coercion of the unwilling to “improve” society according to your personal values, and you’re more likely to get love in THIS room.

    If you don’t think liberals advocate forceful coercion, think again.

    As far as I am concerned, “liberals” and “conservatives” are alike in that characteristic, and consequently, I don’t have a very high regard for the droogs of either gang.

    What is “funny,” is that the people who champion every individual’s right to call his or her own shots in life without external coercion (and to suffer the consequences or reap the rewards, accordingly), are so thoroughly marginalized, despised, and piled on by those who call themselves “conservatives” and “liberals,” not to mention, “Americans.”

  84. but there’s no evidence that they’re more common in ‘organic’ foods than in anything else.

    But the chemicals that plants produce to protect themselves in organics because we don’t intervene with chemicals to protect the plants are nutrients-good for us.

    There is abundant evidence of disease prevention, including cancer, as a result of ingesting aspirin. I’ll cite links later cuz I wanna split now.

    Live long and prosper

  85. But the chemicals that plants produce to protect themselves in organics because we don’t intervene with chemicals to protect the plants are nutrients — good for us.

    Hmm. Interesting, but … It seems to me that any chemicals in a plant that make it more nutritious for animals to eat must do a piss-poor job of “protecting” that plant.

    Organic plants must be a bunch of dumbasses.

  86. Stevo,

    Perhaps they’re bad for bacteria and/or insects while still being good for us.

  87. I just posted lotsa links about aspirin and cancer prevention but the spam screen caught me. When it’s approved, it will be posted

  88. As I understand it, nicotine, caffeine, and cocaine are all natural pesticides.

  89. Fine. I’ll do it myself…

    “Aspirin May Help Prevent Pancreatic Cancer”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/08/020807063316.htm

    “Aspirin Inhibits Ovarian Cancer Growth, Lab Study Finds”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/11/021107074244.htm

  90. “An Aspirin A Day May Keep Colon Cancer Away, Dartmouth Researchers Find”

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/03/030306080102.htm

    “Aspirin to Lower Breast Cancer Risk”

    http://www.breastcancer.org/research_risk_aspirin.html

  91. The active substance that is found in elevated levels in organic foods and also found in aspirin is salicylic acid (SA):

    Scottish researchers (from the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary and the University of Strathclyde) published a study in the European Journal of Nutrition comparing the levels of salicylic acid (SA) in organic and regular varieties of vegetable soups. They discovered that the organic soups contained almost six times the amount of SA as the regular ones.

    What’s the big deal about SA? It is, according to the New Scientist, responsible for the anti-inflammatory action of aspirin, and helps combat hardening of the arteries and bowel cancer. The researchers speculate that SA in the diet may help to prevent these conditions.

    http://www.hfienberg.com/clips/organic.htm

  92. If you’re talking about Bt crops, then no, you have nothing to worry about. The Bt toxin disrupts insect metabolism, but it has no effect on us. Heck, Bt toxins used as a spray are popular with organic farmers because they have no effect on animals that aren’t insects.

    There are some serious potential problems with the long-term efficacy of Bt crops (specifically, what if the bugs develop resistance?) but there are zero, zilch, nada health risks to them.

  93. I just read Mackey’s manifesto from the June Liberty. I thought it was a great read and agreed with most of his points. Most pointedly, was his comment that Ayn Rand had probably done more harm than good for the libertarian movement. I think this is largely true. Whenever I talk to people about libertarianism it seems like I have to spend the first part of the hour, wasting time on a discussion of Rand. And we sometimes never get back to the issue at hand.

    Perhaps the argument that ‘greed’ is bad is a bit philosophically shallow. Afterall, one man’s need is another man’s greed. But maybe this just needs to be recast in a way that is more philosophically palatable to the people who haven’t really thought very much about it. Just coming right out and defending greed, or using the Randian in-yer-face rhetorical whip, without a philosophic context probably turns off a certain percentage of would-be libs.

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