Whole Foods

After reading this bit on CEO John Mackey’s take on "health care reform," and the typical commies up in arms about it, I’m shoving everything else aside and heading to Whole Foods, instanter.

Moreover, I’m going to begin shopping there even more frequently. Win-win.

(link: Paul Hsieh)

Update: More, from Stossel

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Lute Nikoley on August 17, 2009 at 09:52

    Just shopped there yesterday. Wish we had a Whole Foods near Modesto.

  2. Aaron Blaisdell on August 17, 2009 at 10:10

    Just goes to show that adherents to any political ideology can (and generally will) become dogmatic. I thought his idea of a voluntary tax-deductible contribution on the income tax form to pay for uninsured health coverage was a brilliant and creative idea! I’d do it!

    I wonder if I’ll see picket lines outside of Whole Foods when I go shopping this afternoon?

  3. Tim Rangitsch on August 17, 2009 at 10:50

    YES! Health insurance should be blown open like auto insurance. Seems a decent model, cars are more important to most folks than their own health. Simplistic, I know. I suppose first all humans need to read and comprehend Good Calories, Bad Calories…..

    I do like the Whole Foods take.

  4. shel on August 17, 2009 at 11:12

    ironic. the “progressive” third world romantics bleat and insist on government intervention in, and regulation of the markets, yet are putting to practice their right to a means of control they’ve always had:


  5. Chris K on August 17, 2009 at 12:41

    It is not wise to boycott a good store, or blog, based on the political views of it’s founder. If it was, many of us would delete this blog from our bookmarks.

    The fact of the matter is that every single advanced nation in the world, but the USA, offers near universal health coverage. It is a simple matter of human rights. And it is barbaric to deny the poor and less fortunate medical care simply because you have some wrong-headed ideas about the free market.

    I travel all over the world and see how wonderful the health care system is in Europe and Asia. My wife was hospitalized in Paris despite having no insurance there and treated at almost no cost. My friend’s young son broke his arm in Wales and it was treated for free.

    In all my travels I’ve never seen a country where people know so little, and believe such completely false right wing propaganda as here. For God’s sake, talk to some Europeans or Japanese, or Taiwanese about how they like their health care. Most Americans are profoundly ignorant on the subject.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 17, 2009 at 14:08

      (To the folks who replied to Chris, it’s always best to use the “reply” link so as to keep things threaded.)

      At any rate, Chris, I actually have also travelled the world. I also lived in Japan for five years, in France for two, and am fluent in the language. I was no more impressed with their deep socialism then, than I am now with America’s slide towards it.

      There can be no such thing as a right to the production of others.

      Do you understand that? Because that is the only issue here. Health care must be produced, and it must be produced by someone, and it necessarily requires their time, effort, resources, capital, and many other elements.

      Health care — as _children _ (ehem…) are often told about money — does not grow on trees.

      It is produced. It is produced by someone. Asserting a right to it is tantamount to slavery and theft.

      Now, you can engage in all the euphemism you want, but I just set the record straight, called it all exactly what the holy fuck it is, and you are just going to have to deal with it.

      • shel on August 17, 2009 at 14:17

        i’ll use the reply link in the future.

  6. jess on August 17, 2009 at 13:23

    If there were a Whole Foods near me I would shop there more often after reading this! The quotes from people planning to boycott the store were ridiculous and hysterical! They expect everyone to pant after free health care but are indignant when anyone uses their freedom of speech to disagree. Ludicrous! he should make sure his beliefs match up to at least a majority of his customers? Somehow I doubt Whole Foods is going under due to this op-ed piece… thanks for the heads up, and the good laugh!

  7. Steve Jean on August 17, 2009 at 13:30

    @Chris: If it was, many of us would delete this blog from our bookmarks.

    I’m the opposite. I was here before the fitness topics, precisely because Richard had a very rare, rational grasp of politics. Reason instead of force, except in defense, was at the core of his arguments, and I’ve never seen a good argument against that proposition.

    [Universal health coverage] is a simple matter of human rights.

    It is upside down and backwards to call something a right if it amounts to an imposition on other people who are minding their own business.

    And it is barbaric to deny the poor and less fortunate medical care simply because you have some wrong-headed ideas about the free market.

    Apparently, you’re the one with the wrong-headed ideas about freedom. Any property owner has the absolute, 100% right to refuse to allow others to take from him/her without consent.

    Follow your argument here a bit. How much medical care is, according to you, required for one to not be called “barbaric” by you? Is a $10,000 operation a right? Who pays the $10,000? You? Or, do you demand that it be taken from people who have not agreed to it, who have done nothing to hurt the sick person? What if the people refuse to pay? Do you endorse locking them in prison? What if they don’t want to go to prison and try to escape or defend their right to freedom? Do you endorse killing them?

    Really now, who is the barbarian?

    For each of your anecdotes about good service, I can list a dozen horror stories of the NHS. Macular degeneration? Too bad. Want to pay for medicine the NHS doesn’t cover? You lose all NHS coverage.

    Most Americans are profoundly ignorant on the subject.

    The most ignorant seem to be those advocating more government programs, after the long, long record of failures.

    How many times will you stick your hand in that fire?

  8. shel on August 17, 2009 at 13:40

    Chris K~

    i don’t know where to start with your comment…

    suffice to say, food, healthcare and politics are inseparable (gads… to live IS to be political, unless one is a fool content to drift with the tides). i’d like to answer your comment, but i’m not sure Richard wants his blog to turn into a political flamewar.

    i’ll say one thing though: no one has the “human right” to use the state to reach into my pocket and extract the money from my wallet.

    i don’t care if you’re a bleeding heart social liberal or a subsidised conservative farmer.

    i rant about this because i’m a Canadian forced by law to submit to “one of the best healthcare systems in the world”, a system that’s unsustainable and crumbling like the European welfare state model, but without a private hc option.

    …and yes, most Americans are profoundly ignorant of the subject because its never been a front burner issue. but they’re gonna find out real quick…

    remember Franklin’s comment about freedom vs safety? healthcare is the hill Americans will live or die on. if you accept this, say goodbye to what liberty you have left.

  9. Steve Jean on August 17, 2009 at 14:08

    After I submitted that previous comment, I thought of a couple other things. First, in a free country, no one would stop Chris K from helping poor people attain a level of health care service he decided was non-barbaric, so long as the money, time, and energy used to fund this service came from him or others who voluntarily decided to contribute to such a charity. Not that it affects the moral argument, but I think you’d find that many people opposed to universal health care or other government welfare happily give of themselves to help victims of circumstances, and would probably give much more if Uncle Sam wasn’t siphoning between a third and half of their productive efforts.

    Secondly, if health care is a “right” then are food, clothing, shelter, transportation, entertainment, et cetera a right? Tell me where to draw the line, Chris, between what you consider a human right and what you consider an “extra” commodity, which deserves no forced funding, in your opinion? Why? Show your work.

    To my mind, no one has any obligation to another person without a choice. You give someone your credit card to pay for something. That’s a choice. You drive too fast and smash up someone else’s car? That’s a choice. But if you get sick and I never met you, how could I have any moral obligation to treat you? I don’t. And, at the heart of any argument you’ll offer to the contrary is the threat that I’ll do it or else.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 17, 2009 at 14:15

      A long time ago on USENET, an anonymous poster wrote:

      “Is your concern for the unfortunate great enough to actually help them, or only so great as to force others to help them?”

  10. shel on August 17, 2009 at 14:12

    …one more minor detail comes to mind.

    if the US could not afford, militarily, to sustain its protectorate (read- Europe, parts of Asia etc.) and pulled out, these artificially inflated welfare states would immediately begin to sink, and their wonderful healthcare systems would vanish.

    there’s no such place as lollipopland.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 17, 2009 at 14:24

      Back when I was a US Navy officer on exchange with the French Navy, I often heard them talk about how the French social system was the most developed in the world.

      This was in the early 90’s, just as the USSR was beginning to crumble. I used to reply that the hundreds of billions that the US spent over four decades to keep the Soviets from running right over them, probably roughly equates to the cost of their wonderful social system.

      • shel on August 17, 2009 at 14:42

        when i listen to emasculated Canadians bash Americans (i’m in Alberta, so it doesn’t happen much here) and extoll our socialist system, i shake my head. these smug effetes don’t understand how lucky they are to have a powerhouse next door covering their dainty asses.

  11. warren on August 17, 2009 at 14:22

    I hope we can all agree that lifestyle changes (most of us being living examples of what that truly means) would go far in changing the overall state of America’s health. If people really did change the way they eat from the garbage to real food and got more intense exersise we would, as a society, public and private reap the benefits of less cost.
    However, these changes would mostly affect chronic illness costs. What about breaking a leg or other traumatic health issues?
    I am for single payer with private administration. Insurance companies make money from denying care and pay CEO’s tremendous saleries. People should not have to go bankrupt to pay for cancer treatment.
    I also respect Macky’s right to free speech. I don’t agree with everything he says but I will still shop there.

  12. bob r on August 17, 2009 at 15:04

    From the linked article:
    ‘He added that many of the country’s health care problems are “self-inflicted” and are preventable through “proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.” ‘

    From WSJ:
    ‘Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat.’

    He may have a “better” take on the politics but his science is sorely lacking.

    • bob r on August 17, 2009 at 15:07

      Oops! The first quote in the above is attributed to Mackey (presumably correctly); the second are his own words.

  13. h on August 17, 2009 at 15:35

    You know it’s a shitty world when people have to die because they don’t have enough money to pay for a life-saving operation.

    Yes, even though the technology is there, people die left and right all the time because of this.

    Of course, no one is willing to help others. People lack compassion. Instead, they focus on “me.” Although even then, most people can barely help themselves.

    On the other hand, when do you draw the line? A surgeon or a doctor cannot work for no pay. Everybody needs to make money. Especially those insurance companies…

    It is plain shitty either way.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 17, 2009 at 15:38

      Or, it’s just an adult approach to reality.

    • shel on August 17, 2009 at 18:20


      take heart. if you check the medical history books, you’ll find that doctors in the US did (and still do) charitable operations. left alone by government, people usually do the right thing.

    • Joe on August 17, 2009 at 18:51

      Every not-for-profit hospital is bound by federal law to give care to anyone that shows up. They receive significant tax breaks for this trade-off. If you have cancer and show up – they have to treat you. If you have heartburn and show up in the ER – they have to treat you.

      So you see – the statement that “You know it’s a shitty world when people have to die because they don’t have enough money to pay for a life-saving operation” is untrue. They die because they are not smart enough to pay attention to their health and show up with Stage 4 cancer and expect miracles.

      56,000 people every year die in this county. Not from the lack of insurance or medical care. They die because of embarrassment. They are too embarrassed to get a routine colonoscopy that would save their lives. Where is the outrage about this? How is obama going to get these people to show up for their appointments?

  14. Skyler Tanner on August 17, 2009 at 16:00

    A friend of mine said she wasn’t going to be shopping there anymore…I just didn’t see the problem with his statements and found the tax-deductible contribution to be a great idea.

    She is a very liberal grad student lesbian feminist so…yeah we don’t agree on a lot of things.

    • Steve Jean on August 17, 2009 at 16:30

      I agree with lesbians on one thing, at least.

  15. Joe on August 17, 2009 at 18:42

    Healthcare is not a right. It is a privilege and it should not be run by the government. president obama made the most accurate comparison to date – “FedEx and UPS are doing just fine, it is the postal service with all the problems”.

    That is as clear as I need it to be. Your own president believes that the private sector can run things better than the government.

    The government should run in the background. Once they take over healthcare, then they can pry their little tentacles into every facet of our lives. Imagine if we move to a single payer system (socialized medicine) and you want to become a avid skydiver or a SCUBA diver or a race car driver or any other activity that is considered extreme. The government can and will say that you can’t do those activities and will deny medical coverage because you wanted to do it anyways.

    The 40 million people without health insurance are not all people who want health insurance. Many are young active people that feel they don’t need it because they “will live forever”. But as soon as they need something, they want the other people to pay for it. No way.

    The best route is to open up competition and innovation within the insurance industry. Costs would decrease with TORT reform as well – but the bickering and lobbyist loyalty prevent any real progress.

    I for one will go out of my way to shop at Whole Foods – not because of his stance on healthcare, but because he had the balls to stand up for his beliefs.

    • Joe on August 17, 2009 at 19:03

      To add a little proof to my clam that the government would withhold treatment or make you pay for it out of pocket for extreme activities:
      I too was a Naval Officer and every time there was an accident of any sort, the first thing that was done was to make sure the injury occurred in the line of duty. Someone would investigate your car accident, your broken bone, your black eye, whatever. If you were found negligent, then you paid for any medical treatment out of your own pocket.

      Driving a car on saturday without a seat belt and get into a accident – too bad hope you have enough money to pay for it.

      Accidentally wreck your new motorcycle because you didn’t take the government mandated “Motor Cycle Safety Course”? Too bad

      Decide you want to skydive naked and accidently smack into the side of a cliff – too bad

      All real examples

  16. Mark on August 20, 2009 at 10:18

    I’m coming to this a few days late, so excuse my late entry. I’m a New Zealand-born Aussie living in the UK, so I’m quite used to my socialised health care systems 🙂 (the main difference between Australia’s and the UK’s is the UK has theirs specified seperately on your payslip, while in Australia it just comes out of your taxes).

    When reading about this health care crises in the US, I have to admit I have sided on the side of those saying everyone should be covered. But that’s because here in the UK you have no *choice* – if you work, and you earn, then you pay for National Insurance whether you like it or not (note, part of NI also goes towards you state pension (when you get it… they keep moving the retirement age)).

    See, here in the UK we’re aghast that the US government wouldn’t offer health coverage to *everyone*, but if we were in your shoes, and we suddenly lost X% of our wage every month to pay for insurance that goes into the public pot, how agreeable would be be? We already have people complaining about the cost of the NHS – would it be less burdened if only those who paid towards it used it? (ie, if the unemployed had no coverage) I think if the costs went down because certain people were denied NHS coverage, then some people in the UK currently pointing at the US system and sneering might be a little cheered as well.

    I’m glad my father in-law, a low-wage earner his entire life, had his cancer treatment and operations paid for by the state. The NHS is great, as is the health care in Australia, in that if you get sick – you’re covered. But if *I* don’t get sick, I still lose out on over £100 a month, so I am of two minds really.

    Sorry if this is incoherent 🙂

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Follow by Email8k