Dear Mr. King,
I was surprised to see an article in the Chronicle
that was in favor of a corporation’s right to limit the speech of its employees when that speech is damaging to the bottom line [“What Would John Galt Do … About Global Warming? Deny It.,
” News, Jan. 15]. Of course, Mackey’s speech does not agree with your political ideology, so perhaps it shouldn’t be so strange. Normally, I would expect more ethical consistency from a paid journalist.
I also found it jarring that you seem to equate a belief in anthropogenic global warming with environmentalism. While I admit that this is not an uncommon mistake, it is still troubling. Many people have worked very hard to change our minds and policies concerning the environment. Under Mackey, Whole Foods has done a lot to change the way in which people eat, and this change has undoubtedly been a net positive for the environment as a whole. However, AGW is a hypothesis based on mathematical models that could literally be false in their assumptions. Mackey is right to dismiss "hysteria" about global warming. All hysteria ought to be dismissed; we should listen to reason.
It is possible to be an environmentalist and have reasonable doubts about AGW, particularly with the recent e-mail scandal in the pro-AGW camp (on which I believe Mackey was commenting). You should stop painting Mackey as a rabid right-wing nut and show him for what he likely is: a modern, Texas-style "liberaltarian" who is closer to the real hippie ethic than your paper would like to admit.