Socialism

New Cage-Free Animal Crackers Box Is Problematic Because It Doesn't Contribute to Capitalism's Demise, Says Vox

"The symbolic significance of changing the animal cracker box design does little to dismantle the elements of capitalism..."

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Animal Crackers
Louella38 / Dreamstime

Nabisco's animal crackers will be freed from their imaginary confinement. The company's newly redesigned boxes will no longer depict animals in circus cages.

That's not good enough for Daisy Alioto, who laments in Vox that "the symbolic significance of changing the animal cracker box design does little to dismantle the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people, and the environment." Corporate PR departments, take note: Nothing short of full socialism is good enough.

This has been quite the summer for lazy, poorly-executed attacks on capitalism. The ranks of the Democratic Socialists of America are surging in the wake of the Bernie Sanders moment, and fresh new faces like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have emerged to challenge a Democratic Party that they believe is too centrist and market-friendly. The New York Times' David Leonhardt handed the reins of his newsletter over to Bhaskar Sunkar, publisher of the socialist magazine Jacobin, for a week. The guys behind the popular far-left Chapo Trap House podcast released a book about awesome socialism is (for a much-deserved takedown, see this Politico review).

As a prominent center-left publication that often publishes reasonably pro-market articles—and appears to represent the neoliberal perspective so despised by the hard left—I'd like to see Vox take the threat of a resurgent socialism a little more seriously. A recent article about the DSA's hot new candidate, titled "Why Conservatives Love to Hate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez," certainly could have used some reframing. How about, "Why Conservatives Who Criticize Ocasio-Cortez Are Right About This One Thing, Even If I Am Generally Not On Board With Conservatism"? Would that be so hard?

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  1. In which left libertarians critique liberal performative “justice” and that’s not good enough for right wing ideologues for whom nothing less than servile obedience to exploitative financial systems is acceptable.

    1. Also this

    2. Socialism is the ultimate in exploititave financial systems. I don’t see many conservatives defending socialism. Capitalism, however, has been one of the largest drivers’ of liberty the world has ever seen.

  2. Yes, Yes it would be way too damned hard. Ask Tony or the Rev.

  3. This has been quite the summer for lazy, poorly-executed attacks on capitalism.

    Also quite the summer for lazy, poorly-executed attacks on left-of-center journalism.

    I’m usually the last person to defend Vox, but your characterization of the column is unfair. Alioto rightly notes that “swapping the art on the box doesn’t address the real issues PETA raises” — an argument that could just as easily have been published here at Reason, which regularly criticizes PETA for publicity stunts that do nothing to help animals. She’s also right that “the symbolic significance of changing the animal cracker box design does little to dismantle the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people, and the environment.” Would you really deny that elements of capitalism do exploit all three? There is nothing un-libertarian about noting that “corporate greed cannot be fixed with a new box design,” and nothing libertarian about pretending corporate greed doesn’t exist.

    1. I mean seriously to come away from this kicker:
      if you see me at the grocery store buying up the remains of his public legacy, it’s not because I don’t care about the ethical treatment of animals, or people, for that matter.

      It’s because the animal crackers box is my Balthus.

      With the conclusion that “Nothing short of full socialism is good enough” is hilarious. For a minute I almost thought Robby had stopped writing red meat for the right wingers.

      1. With the conclusion that “Nothing short of full socialism is good enough” is hilarious.

        So full socialism and rampant depictions of child rape?

        1. Catholic theocracy? No thank you.

    2. The libertarian position is that corporate greed is a prosocial force when tempered by fair competition. Not that you would know these things, yet you seem content to preach to libertarians what is properly libertarian.

      1. Yes, the libertarian position is in favor of free markets, not mindlessly procorporate.

        1. Interesting that advocating free market is the same as pro-corporate to Cathy L and she deems it all bad.

          1. The comment you replied to explicitly contrasted being in favor of free markets and being mindlessly procorporate.

            1. So, he sussed out your faulty reasoning, not sure why you think that is a problem.

              1. he sussed out your faulty reasoning

                So…you’re even dumber than him?

                No, you’re the same person, because you’re both Tulpa.

                Try not using “sussed” so much, it’s one of your tells.

                1. I’m a long time poster with a history of engaging in fair discussions.

                  You’re better than blindly tossing around accusations Cathy.

              2. I dont hide behind socks, like you do Cathy L.

                1. Nor do I. It is sad she has descended to this level.

            2. What is pro-corporate?

              Is that like the bad version of free market where icky companies have people allow them to earn money with minimal government interference?

              1. What is “mindlessly procorporate” other than a leftist bromide?

          2. Beat me to it.
            That someone could write that and be even glancingly acquainted with the neighborhood is astonishing.

    3. They’re crackers and their still in a cage (a box).

      1. Yeah, and what do they do when PETA realizes that these crackers symbolically encourage people to EAT ANIMALS OMG!

      2. Yeah, and what do they do when PETA realizes that these crackers symbolically encourage people to EAT ANIMALS OMG!

        1. The squirrels agree

    4. This is your takeaway? Why do left-libertarians get so defense about progressives and their narratives? It’s almost as if they are just progressives

      1. Yes, my takeaway is that Robby 100% made up the idea that her column was calling for socialism. Did you read it? I mean, he seriously made that up, and I think that’s an extremely shitty thing to do.

        1. And I mean, look at his completely hacky subhead: “The symbolic significance of changing the animal cracker box design does little to dismantle the elements of capitalism…”

          The elision there, where the original sentence specified “the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people and the environment” changes the meaning entirely, and dishonestly.

          1. “where the original sentence specified “the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people and the environment” changes the meaning entirely, and dishonestly.”

            Is that really that different, though? Specifying that we should correct capitalism’s exploitation of animals and the environment sounds a lot like conservatives complaining about how capitalism exploits children and women through pornography.

            1. And to be fair, I’m sure Robby would generalize about the latter as much as you contend he has about the former

            2. Yes, “dismantle the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people and the environment” means something completely different from “dismantle the elements of capitalism.” Robby claims she is calling for “full socialism” when she is making specific criticism of certain practices that happen under capitalism. She may well be completely in favor of capitalism with protections for animals, people, and the environment, and nothing in her column suggests she isn’t.

              1. So then you’re fine with a conservative saying “dismantle the elements of capitalism that exploits children and women through pornography”, right?

                1. And just to clarify, I find the conservative argument about pornography to be as silly as the progressive argument here about dismantling “capitalism’s” exploitation of animals. They are both manufacturing a boogeyman for their pet cause.

                2. So then you’re fine with a conservative saying “dismantle the elements of capitalism that exploits children and women through pornography”, right?

                  I wouldn’t characterize that as them calling for the end of capitalism.

                  1. To quote the article, niggling nabob: “Yet the symbolic significance of changing the animal cracker box design does little to dismantle the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people, and the environment. When art in advertising bears the burden for corporate malpractice, the people involved in these changes get to feel good, but other mechanisms continue to thrive under the surface.”

                    The author then goes on to decry the recent CEO making “402 times” the average salary of the company workers, and the relocation of jobs the Mexico or a 60% pay cut.

                    So if the artist’s niece is not advocating for government control of industry, just what the hell is she asking for here? “Dismantling the elements of capitalism that exploit…” is a pretty broad brush.

                    1. So if the artist’s niece is not advocating for government control of industry, just what the hell is she asking for here? “

                      Responsible corporate stewardship in conjunction with unions for workers, it sounded like. She was at least as concerned with the fact that Mondelez didn’t even have the care to keep Nabisco’s archive of commercial art around as she was with CEO pay and outsourcing. But there’s no reason to think she was advocating government control as opposed to simply decrying shitty business practices.

                      But libertarians have to pretend there is no such thing as a shitty business practice.

              2. Yes, “dismantle the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people and the environment” means something completely different from “dismantle the elements of capitalism.”

                I disagree. The elements are essentually the same, but with added specificIty. I doubt very much you could find an “element of capitalism” that hasn’t been associated with said exploitation.

                she is making specific criticism of certain practices that happen under capitalism

                Those practices comprise the essence of capitalism though.

              3. Exploiting people, animals and the environment/natural resources are pretty essential to capitalism (as they are to socialism and merely existing as living creatures too). The problem is that people read “exploit” as a necessarily negative thing. You can’t have a productive company without exploiting something.

                1. People have been ‘exploiting’ animals since forever, much like how animals ‘exploit’ other animals as a necessary condition of their continued survival. The same can also be said for ‘the environment’ and it’s amusing that they repeat themselves with ‘animals’ and ‘people’ since, well, they’re the same thing.

                  More proof that ‘intellectuals’ are so disconnected from reality that they no longer recognize it at all? Or should this be read as an explicit call to ‘cleanse’ the world of the human virus once and for all?

                  Sheesh, this is insanity right here. Blaming ‘capitalism’ for the human condition is full-retard level thinking.

                  1. Blaming ‘capitalism’ for the human condition is full-retard level thinking.

                    Factory farming is part of the human condition?

                    I mean for fucks sake people.

                    1. Except factory farms actually, according to multiple (the vast majority of) peer reviewed studies have less environmental impact then “free range”. Also, according to measured markers of stress (e.g. pukse, respiratory rate, body temperature, cortisol production etc) animals raised in a “factory farm” (a made up term to demonize modern, conventional animal agriculture and one that is piss poorly defined) have less indicators of high stress then do “free range” animals. Additionally, stress reduces production, therefore farmers/ranchers do everything in their power to reduce stress. Stress also reduces the quality of meat (long term stress produces dark cutters and short term stress produces PSE meat, both of which reduces the price processors are willing to pay for the meat).

                    2. Factory farms (whatever that means, see above) are an example of how capitalism has not only reduced cost of production but has reduced animal stress, increased quality and decreased environmental impact. Only fucking luddites are opposed to modern agriculture.


                    3. Factory farming is part of the human condition?

                      So, yes, full-retard level thinking. Factory farming isn’t inherently a capitalist thing you moron, it’s something that happens because people need to eat and land is finite. I don’t care what government or economic system you care to look at, you can’t legislate away those two things.

        2. She is advocating the control of companies by the state.

          Socialism.

          1. It certainly appears so.

        3. he said it should be easy for a moderate left publication to be able to distance themselves from an explicit socialist. At a certain point, not criticizing an explicit extreme position, makes you culpable. You cannot say, I am NOT for socialism if you cannot condemn that which is the closest to being that. You tell me, what is the minimum for someone to do if they want to say they are not for socialism? “I don’t agree with the government owning absolutely everything, but absolutely everything else, including 90% taxes and massive regulation is ok” isn’t good enough.

    5. Alioto rightly notes that “swapping the art on the box doesn’t address the real issues PETA raises”…
      She’s also right that “the symbolic significance of changing the animal cracker box design does little to dismantle the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people, and the environment.”

      And so what is your point? Robby ridicules the absurdity of it all. Do you not find it absurd to assume that it’s the role of the makers of a box of children’s crackers to address such societal issues?

      1. She does not expect Nabisco to address this social issue. It’s PETA that wanted that.

        1. “…does little to dismantle the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people, and the environment.” Followed by tales of a greedy and overpaid CEO and job relocation vs. huge pay cut. Marxist villains [oppressors] and victims [oppressed].

          These are the author’s words and examples, not PETA’s. Classic VOX diatribe.

          Give it up already. Your position is defenseless. At least relent with honor. or something like it.

          1. Yes, only Marxists think it is possible for CEOs to make bad business decisions or for corporations to immorally exploit animals for profit.


            1. …immorally exploit animals for profit food.

              Wow, yeah, that sure is evil of them. Feeding people, can’t do anything worse than that.

    6. Has it escaped your notice that zoos are hardly a capitalism-only invention? I’m sure Moscow had a zoo with animals in cages. I believe Venezuela used to, until hungry peasants ate them.

    7. She’s also right that “the symbolic significance of changing the animal cracker box design does little to dismantle the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people, and the environment.” Would you really deny that elements of capitalism do exploit all three?

      Would you deny that every potential system of government exploits those things more than capitalism does? Or is simply understood that you’re advocating for a return to agrarian feudalism and a mass exodus from science and a return to simple theocracy?

      Sheesh, you are a dumb one Cathy. There are a sadly expanding group of people that think all the evil in the world is caused by ‘capitalism’ regardless of how little evidence there is for that claim, or how much evidence there is that capitalism actually does better than any other system yet devised by man.

      1. Would you deny that every potential system of government exploits those things more than capitalism does? Or is simply understood that you’re advocating for a return to agrarian feudalism and a mass exodus from science and a return to simple theocracy?

        I am advocating no such thing. I am advocating responsible journalism from Robby, who is cheaply using the Vox article as a hook to talk about other socialist stuff, when it’s really about the pointlessness of PETA publicity stunts — something Reason usually agrees are pointless.

        1. So, deflection. That’s about your speed. For the record, I was quoting you above.

  4. The fuck?! They’re a fucking kid’s snack, why do they need to “dismantle the elements of capitalism?” Socialists can ruin anything, including kid’s snack time.

    1. I think we need to start regarding these people of caricatures. 30 yrs. ago if you’d found a group of people painting furs and said, “What we really need to do is free the cartoon animals on the outside of animal cracker boxes.” they’d have painted you and laughed. If you’d walked into the nearest newspaper’s editorial office and said, “PETA’s gonna liberate the cartoon animals on the front of animal craker boxes, we *have* to cover this.” they’d have laughed. The whole thing just screams out to have everyone involved rounded up and pelted with rotten fruit.

    2. Exactly.
      It’s a fucking cookie.

  5. There is nothing un-libertarian about noting that “corporate greed cannot be fixed with a new box design,” and nothing libertarian about pretending corporate greed doesn’t exist.

    No sane, rational individual would ever make such an absurd claim.

    As for corporate greed, the business of businesses is to mazimize profits.

    1. *shareholder value

    2. The business of business is whatever the owners want it to be.

  6. Interestingly, before going on her anti-corporate rant, the author mentions this:

    “Though the change is symbolic, it stirs up some mixed feelings for me ethics-wise as well as personally ? because the designer of the previous box was my great-grandfather’s brother. Swapping the art on the box doesn’t address the real issues PETA raises, but it does do a disservice to my uncle’s art and legacy.”

    She then describes her relative’s seeming capitalist success story as a worker for Nabisco.

    Only then does she go on to complain about the evil capitalists. (including Nabisco outsourcing jobs to Mexico)

    1. So she’s an SJW anti-corporate gal, who suddenly discovers that some of her fellow crazies have messed with a relative’s artistic legacy, and she fails to see the logic.

    2. Evidence of cognitive dissonance if the Leftist. Simultaneously wanting to fix jobs in amber while socially “progressing”.

    3. She then describes her relative’s seeming capitalist success story as a worker for Nabisco.

      Only then does she go on to complain about the evil capitalists. (including Nabisco outsourcing jobs to Mexico)

      It’s completely crazy that someone would have specific praise for as well as specific complaints about the same broad system. Cognitive dissonance!

      1. When she is using irrational comments that dont have a basis in reality and are based on FEELZ, its cognitive dissonance.

      2. Please then, outline the specific differences. I don’t see them, and you appear to see them quite clearly.

    4. If Vox were printed… it should be offered up as toilet paper.
      So if anyone likes animal crackers, then enjoy. If they don’t that’s their business. It just goes to show how decrepit the communistic mind is: politicizing crackers? That’s a small and constipated head space.

  7. It is on the Vox author for politicizing something that should not be political, i.e. the box art for a small child’s snack food.

    1. It’s on her, even though she’s against the change that was instigated by someone else? Hmm.

  8. center-left publication
    Hahahahahahahahahha…

    publishes reasonably pro-market articles?and appears to represent the neoliberal perspective so despised by the hard left?I’d like to see Vox take the threat of a resurgent socialism a little more seriously.
    But Vox’s economic stance IS socialist, or more accurately fascist (not the nationalist bit that usually accompanies it, but the corporatist economics bit) which is a branch of socialism. Syndicalism and corporatism as Mussolini and other syndicalist theoreticians said “Fascism is the socialism of ‘proletarian nations'”, and this is essentially the economics platform to which Vox subscribes.

  9. This is how decayed Lefty power has become.

    They only have enough power to get animal crackers uncaged on the box.

    These animal crackers are still, of course, in a box (which is a cage of sorts).

    1. These animal crackers are still, of course, in a box (which is a cage of sorts).

      Again, I don’t know about the rest of you elitist coastal capitalist pigs, but my family has eaten animal crackers from a bag for several decades now.

      1. A plastic bag?

        1. Plastic cage.

          What else you got?

          1. Even worse… worse than straws… literally.

            1. Who called it that paper straws would be sealed in plastic for sanitary safety?

              1. So they’re putting deli-sliced tree meat in cages now too?!?!? OUTRAGE!

  10. This whole thing about Animal Crackers is sillier than the movie Animal Crackers. Not funnier, just sillier.

      1. Maybe you saw a different movie.

  11. Can vegetarians eat animal crackers?

    1. Reminds me of the Ron White joke… “Your body is kicking back… broth?”

  12. Daisy’s childhood undoubtedly bereft of animal crackers.

    1. Someone extremely didn’t read the article

      1. You once said that Ben Shapiro called for Gunn’s firing when the opposite was true. You seem awfully concerned with taking a nuanced view on every tedious progressive complaint, but seem very comfortable with smearing anyone who is to the right of Ezra Klein.

        I think people wouldn’t think that you were just a progressive if you didn’t behave exactly like a doctrinaire progressive.

        1. Yes, doctrinaire progressives routinely defend free markets and child liberation. They’re totally into that.

          That idea that “changing the art on animal crackers boxes doesn’t help real animals” is a “progressive complaint” is laughable.

          1. Its a fantasy argument of the Left.

            Not only are these fake animals, they are fake animal in the form of crackers that people eat.

            Then you have these fake animals freed from fake cages but still in a box, which is a cage or sorts.

            The PETA position that people shouldnt eat animals because its ‘cruel’, is at least grounded in some reality.

            PETA does not go after spaying and neutering of domestic animals, of course. PETAs many positions are utterly dismissed by most of the USA, which supports the fact their campaigns are utter failures. They resort to little wins to keep the money flowing in.

          2. Yes, doctrinaire progressives routinely defend free markets and child liberation.

            Is that what you’re doing?

            Because it really looks like you’re cynically using those concerns, and don’t care one whit about children or free markets.

            1. Yes, I, not Robby, am the cynical one.

      2. incorrect. if Daisy had a nice childhood full of animal crackers, no story.

  13. And yet some libertarians think reaching out to these individuals and joining in common cause is a good idea.

    Well it isn’t, it’s fucking insane, because there is no common cause at all, none.

  14. Someone might point out that the political campaign of Bernie and Ocasio-Cortez is slightly market oriented. Compete for donations, compete for votes, sell your message. These are idiots with idiot minions. They’ll end up like E. Warren who claims to “love the free market” ( as long as I can regulate, control, manipulate and punish anyone who doesn’t see it my way)

    1. That’s why the left keeps demanding publicly funded elections and candidates. They don’t even want that level of market orientation.

  15. “As a prominent center-left publication that often publishes reasonably pro-market articles”

    It’s depressing that we’ve reached the point where Vox is considered to be center-left

    1. Guess that makes the NYT center-right. Don’t you just love New Speak?

  16. That’s not good enough for Daisy Alioto, … “the symbolic significance of changing the animal cracker box design does little to dismantle the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people, and the environment.”

    That is absolutely bat-shit crazy*.

    * I apologize to any bats and any shit who may have been offended by my previous remark. I will try to start being more woke to the plight experienced by both bats and shit in this society.

    1. Guanocentric?

  17. This woman’s position doesn’t even approach logically consistent.

  18. Holy shit, I read the piece and Vox didn’t say a damn thing. Some shallow spoiled brat self-absorbed Little Miss Know-It-All 20-something-going-on-13 said some shit that no self-respecting adult should give a second’s worth of consideration to.

  19. You never go full socialist.

  20. Commie clickbait

    1. No, this was actually anti-commie clickbait.

  21. Leftist culture keeps finding bigger and bigger sharks to jump. It’s like they’re competing with rightwing culture to see who can be more stupid.

    1. The difference is that left wing culture produces abject failure, destruction, and collapse of any form of civilization… Right wing ideas produce very stable, productive, and strong cultures… That just happen to be a bit boring.

      Between the two, I know which one I’d pick.

      1. Haphazard lefty shit show? Well at least it might be fun.

  22. It’s good to remember that when people like that say “capitalism”, they mean “the socialist-defined fever dream they call by that word”.

    They’re not talking about the real world and actual notionally-free markets.

    They’re not even talking about the real world and the constrained ones we have.

    They’re talking about Marxian theory, divorced from real-world checks or basis.

    1. To be fair, once they get into power, they quickly try to implement all the ideas they say they hate so much.

  23. What’s the odds that Vox relies on capitalism to stay alive?

  24. She wants ANIMAL CRACKERS to dismantle capitalism? How exactly? Perhaps have the animals represent the animals from Animal Farm? ahahahahah that would be great. Boom! How can people say things so idiotic? There are so many places with very little capitalism, like subsistence farming parts of Africa–please move there and tell us how your life is better.
    Yeah, capitalism is terrible. All the wealth. People getting educated. Inventions. Internet. Hot water. Highways. It simply is so tough living here. Why are they so angry? WTF?

  25. A commenter agreed that “the animal cracker box design does little to dismantle the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people, and the environment.” All this exploitation going on, how does it work? My friend started a business and ended up hiring 20 people. How exactly did he exploit them? Did he drag them in and force them to work? No, they agreed to work for him at the wage he offered. Looking at many employees I would say they are exploiting their employer not the other way around.
    Exploiting animals: ok, you don’t want to exploit animals become a vegetarian but most of us will not do so. People have become much better at treating animals but nothing is ever good enough for PETA anyway.
    Exploiting the environment: it is called natural resources and we need them to survive. Last time I checked in the US we have gotten better and better at making the environment clean and protecting wildlife.
    So I call BS on the basic premise. All the “destruction” and “exploitation” that is being lamented is WORSE under socialism. When Germany re-united, they had a big mess to clean up in the formerly communist part.

  26. This makes me want to start a company that sells animal crackers in boxes that have them caged, chained down, and also being beaten at the same time. That’d teach them pussies at PETA!

  27. “As a prominent center-left publication that often publishes reasonably pro-market articles”

    Pretty good characterization of Reason.

  28. I didn’t read the full article on Vox, and I hate to be that guy, but Robby you have included the full quote,

    the elements of capitalism that exploit animals, people, and the environment

    which is actually somewhat more specific than, “dismantling the elements of capitalism”.

    I don’t know if she is talking about using government regulatory power to destroy those elements, or simply sharing ideas and potentially influencing others to make choices in a free market. A lot of the more “environmentally friendly”/”vegan” choices available for people are actually the result of markets responding to what people want and providing those alternatives. Perhaps it’s just a fad like Atkins, gluten-free everything, paleo, whatever, but effectively, sustainable change comes via markets responding, rather than authorities demanding, and I feel like, although it may not seem that way, more and more so-called progressives will begin to realise this. That would be ideal. Perhaps I’m just feeling very optimistic today.

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