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More CEOs Should Take Notes From the Whole Foods Guy

(Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

John Mackey has courage.

The Founder and CEO of Whole Foods criticized the growing influence of socialism in the United States in a podcast interview with Reason magazine on Wednesday, as RedState’s Levon reported.

While it’s true that his tenure at the company is coming to an end in September, many business leaders are terrified to voice their opinions because they do not want to lose customers or employees.

“My concern is that I feel like socialists are taking over,” Mackey told Reason in no uncertain terms.

“They’re marching through the institutions. They’re…taking over education. It looks like they’ve taken over a lot of the corporations. It looks like they’ve taken over the military. And it’s just continuing. You know, I’m a capitalist at heart, and I believe in liberty and capitalism. Those are my twin values. And I feel like, you know, with the way freedom of speech is today, the movement on gun control, a lot of the liberties that I’ve taken for granted most of my life, I think, are under threat.”

It’s easy to dismiss Mackey’s perspective because he is a multi-millionaire, but here’s the hard truth: If you are an open capitalist in the United States, you’re hated, but not a hypocrite. If you’re an open socialist in the United States, you’re a hypocrite by nature.

Champagne socialism is the biggest joke in upper-middle-class America today, especially among yuppies in pricey metropolitan areas. The plight of champagne socialists in the U.S. is that they say that they’re stuck in an oppressive system, yet they tend to openly benefit from it at the same time. They then pontificate within their sphere of influence, in which other people are falsely sold a bill of goods about a seemingly more equal ideology that is disastrous in practice.

This is the ideology that Mackey is warning about. People who have influence are the ones shaking up institutions with an ideology that fails in every country it’s been tried. They ride on a moral high horse with an idealistic worldview, and they want to villainize anyone who disagrees.

The fact is that high-profile CEOs need to be vocal advocates against socialism because they and their businesses are the most threatened by it. When businesses get more regulations thrown on them, the burden trickles down to workers, if they’re lucky enough to still have jobs.

If business leaders are worried about cancellation, they need to remember two things:

  1. If you treat your employees well, they are less likely to leave. Paying your employees fairly and giving them good benefits not only shows the power of the free market but also creates a stronger reputation for your brand.
  2. As I mentioned before, most socialists are hypocrites. They may try and cancel you, but large companies like Whole Foods will survive if their CEO decides to voice their opinion.

The power of American innovation through capitalism is one of the greatest gifts to modern society, and socialism could backtrack that progress by decades. Businesses are already strained in blue cities and states, and the consequences of over-regulation became especially clear during the pandemic. CEOs need not worry about being liked on the internet, and they should instead realize their influence as one of the narrow blockades against political polarization and economic doom in the greatest country on Earth.

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