Thursday, June 22, 2006

Whole Foods, Che Guevara, Karl Marx, and Friends

One of my former students honored me with a gift card to Whole Foods. If you don't know what Whole Foods is, think upscale-organic-hippie-free range-etc. They classify themselves as the "world's leading organic and natural foods supermarket". Among other things, I got some tasty green tea root beer (seriously! it's good!) and an amazing loaf of multi-grain and multi-seed bread on my trip there today.

The store is located near where I teach, meaning it's in a nice area and near a very upscale area. Still, it's Whole Foods. I expect expats from Berkeley to shop there, and I'm not often disappointed. There are plenty of people who shop there just because it's upscale and you can get "different" foods there that you couldn't get at the local Safeway, but there are plenty of Mother Earth types there, too.

It was for those Mother Earth types that I wore my "Commies Aren't Cool" t-shirt since my "Imagine No Liberals" t-shirt is in the laundry. =) Have you ever met a Mother Earth type who was a Republican? Me either!

I saw some coffee for sale there; it was from some "Stop The Embargo On Cuba" company. Now, I agree with that sentiment, but when they put a picture of freakin' Che Guevara on the package then I have no sympathy or love for that company. Put a picture of the Havana "skyline", or of someone growing the coffee, or something--not a political statement supporting a murderer. I thought of the delicious irony of my holding that very bag of coffee whilst wearing the shirt I was wearing.

I made my way to the bakery counter, where I saw some rather large cookies decorated to look like American flags. I asked the lady behind the counter for two of them. It didn't occur to me at that time that she might have noticed my shirt, but as she handed the cookies to me she said, "You're a good American."

That visit to Whole Foods was a pleasant experience for me.

Then when I got home I read a post about the left's poster boy and Guevara's political master, Karl Marx. Turns out that Karl wasn't as, um, tolerant or accepting as his adherents on the left claim to be. In fact, it turns out he may well have been a racist. Should we judge him by today's standards, and not by his own time's standards? Probably not; I grow tired of having Washington's and Jefferson's slaveowning thrown at me as "proof" of what horrible people they were. But if the left wants to play that game, I'll play a little of it, too.

14 comments:

EllenK said...

I told you what you could expect there. I mean really, what do you expect from a store that now refuses to sell fresh live lobsters because they might suffer? If I only ate vegan fare, I might suffer too. Did you read the vignettes about the "small farmers" that they supposedly buy from. It's bunk. All they are doing is marketing food using PC labels to justify the overcharging they do. It's a fun sidetrip, but I wouldn't go there regularly.

Chanman said...

Did I ever tell you about the time I was in Capitola (near Santa Cruz), wearing my "Viva la Reagan Revolucion" T-shirt? Boy did I get some looks; few of them favorable.

Darren said...

I refuse to cede *anything* to the liberals. They don't mind bothering me with their shirts and bumper stickers, and I don't mind bothering them with mine.

I'm not usually rude enough to challenge someone about their shirt or bumper sticker, though. Libs think it's ok to challenge me on mine.

David said...

The Whole Foods closest to me is a pretty unpleasant shopping experience: the parking lot is too small, and the aisles are too narrow. The staff, who seem to be mainly Africans, but an extraordinarily high proportion of the customers are rude and pushy.

BTW, there's a recent article by WFI's CEO on how he came to the realization that business is a good rather than a bad thing.

Darren said...

Looks like you lost your thought there about the staff. Are they rude to the customers, rude like the customers, or not rude at all?

I found the staff relatively nice, friendly, and helpful, although one didn't seem to appreciate my shirt. I hope I didn't create a "hostile work environment" for her!

David said...

..what I was trying to say is that the staff, who seem to be mainly Africans, are very nice...it's the customers who tend to be a bit obnoxious.

Darren said...

David, it's good to know that the staff, at least, is polite. You'd expect as much at a higher-end store!

As for shirts, Chanman, I like this one:
http://www.cafepress.com/jctshirts.12857997

BTW, we should get together for coffee some morning...you don't teach (gag!) summer school do you???

rightwingprof said...

Get them a gift certificate for this coffee.

MikeAT said...

Darren, two things.

1. Your drinking coffee now? When we met you couldn’t stand the stuff. To paraphrase Garak, “There’s hope for you yet, Mr. Miller.” :)

2. There is a Whole Foods a few blocks outside of my patrol district. A couple of years ago I was looking for a suspect who was watching a woman through her window at night. His last know employment was there. I walked in to try and find him and you should have seen the looks I got from the staff and customers. I know I was the bad guy in their eyes, not this Peeping Tom punk. If he was there I have no doubt someone was saying “Get out of here it’s the cops….”

Darren said...

No, Mike, I don't drink coffee. It was Che's picture on the label that attracted my attention to it.

Whenever I see bulk coffee I always look for bulk tea. Unfortunately, I never find it--everyone sells just teabags. How gauche.

Vicki said...

David said: "BTW, there's a recent article by WFI's CEO on how he came to the realization that business is a good rather than a bad thing."

I saw that too. It's at: http://libertyunbound.com/archive/2006_06/mackey-winning.html

Darren said...

It's beautiful. Here are some snips:

At the time I started my business, the Left had taught me that business and capitalism were based on exploitation: exploitation of consumers, workers, society, and the environment. I believed that "profit" was a necessary evil at best, and certainly not a desirable goal for society as a whole. However, becoming an entrepreneur completely changed my life. Everything I believed about business was proven to be wrong...

At this point, I rationally chose to abandon the leftist philosophy of my youth, because it no longer adequately explained how the world really worked. With my l eftist interpretation of the world now shattered, I looked around for alternative explanations for making sense of the world...

What I love most about the freedom movement are the ideas of voluntary cooperation and spontaneous order when channeled through free markets, leading to the continuous evolution and progress of humanity. I believe that individual freedom in free markets, when combined with property rights through rule of law and ethical democratic government, results in societies that maximize prosperity and establish conditions that promote human happiness and well-being...

I believe that business has a much greater purpose. Business, working through free markets, is possibly the greatest force for good on the planet today. When executed well, business increases prosperity, ends poverty, improves the quality of life, and promotes the health and longevity of the world population at an unprecedented rate...

When I was a naive (some people in the audience by this time probably think I'm still naive) and idealistic young man, I migrated to the Left for my value system. Why did I do that? Because the Left provided an idealistic vision of the way the world could be. However, the reality of the Left's vision proved to be terribly flawed. Its socialist economic system not only didn't work very well, but in its communist manifestation it justified monstrous governments directly responsible for the murders of over 100 million people in the 20th century. Despite the horrible track record of leftist ideology, millions of young Americans continue to migrate to an intellectually bankrupt Left because the Left still seems to be idealistic, and idealism is magnetic to the young. Idealism will always be magnetic to the intelligent and sensitive young people of the world...

That is the secret of the success of the Left, despite its bankrupt economic philosophy. The Left entices the young with promises of community, love, purpose, peace, health, compassion, caring, and environmental sustainability. The Left's vision of how to meet these higher needs in people is fundamentally flawed. But the idealism and the call to the higher need levels is magnetic and seductive, nonetheless. The irony of the situation, as I see it, is that the Left has idealistic visions of higher human potential and social responsibility but has no effective strategies to realize its vision. The freedom movement has strategies that could meet higher human potential and social responsibility but lacks the idealism and vision to implement these strategies. I assert that the freedom movement can become a successful mass movement today if it will consciously adopt a more idealistic approach to its marketing, branding, and overall vision, and embrace a vision of meeting higher human potentials and greater social responsibility.


I think I love this man.

Stephen said...

The doublespeak and blackwhite that goes on at the "Holier than thou" stores is exceptional. I've often wondered out loud how Che would feel about people using his face to sell merchandise. From watches, T-shirts and coffee, Che is now Ronald McDonald. I am a little pleased it happened. If only liberals got the joke of a communist being used for commercial gain.

Darren said...

Stephen, I have no doubt there's a justification somewhere. As I've said too many times to count, hypocrisy is a mainstay of the left.