Of all those exceptions, is Whole Foods CEO John Mackey. On previous occasions, Mackey has expressed libertarian beliefs. In a few weeks, he is expected to leave his CEO role — a move that would allow him to more freely express his political views.
In an interview with Reason’s Nick Gillespie, John Mackey said “My concern is that I feel like socialists are taking over.”
“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,” Mackey added.
Generally speaking, many business people will naturally take pro-free market, or at least, free-market leaning positions with regards to regulation. This is often done out of pure self-interest and self-preservation, not so much out of genuine ideological conviction. Mackey’s recent positions reflect an authentic belief in the concept of freedom, which includes the right to bear arms.
Cam Edwards is correct in noting that “There are plenty of CEOs who believe in the free market but aren’t big fans of individual freedom, from Michael Bloomberg to former Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Ed Stack.”
Mackey’s retirement from Whole Foods is largely due to board pressure. “In six weeks, I will retire from Whole Foods, and I have muzzled myself ever since 2009,” Mackey proclaimed. “My board basically shut me down. It’s like a father, they started attacking the child, and I was intimidated enough to shut up,” Mackey said during the Reason interview. He likened his experience to that of Bernie Marcus, the founder of Home Depot who is an outspoken conservative and donor to conservative and pro-Zionist causes.
“People were constantly going after Home Depot to get them to shut up Bernie Marcus. Home Depot has to say Bernie retired over 20 years ago, we can’t get him to shut up, you have to take it to Bernie,” Mackey stated. “I was telling my leadership team, pretty soon, you’re going to be hearing about ‘crazy John’ who’s no longer muzzled, and you’re going to have to say, ‘We can’t stop John from talking any longer.’”
It will be interesting to see how Mackey will behave now that he is no longer shackled by his corporate position. Having elites on our side in the fight to restore liberty is essential. Elites ultimately shape public policy and political outcomes. If we want to see genuine political change in a pro-Second Amendment direction, we will need to have a parallel elite to challenge the present ruling class.
Having John Mackey on our side is a good start.
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