Friday, August 14, 2015 at 8:51 AM

Why do smart people say such stupid things?

Here's an interview with John Mackey, co-founder of Whole Foods.

He says that intellectuals hate capitalism because they're jealous.

It's worth watching, imho.

Obviously Mackey is smart

I'd love to know how Whole Foods works. How do they keep all those stores supplied with fresh, tasty and expensive food. Their stores in Manhattan are juggernauts, always full, with long lines. I marvel at human systems at that scale. Especially ones that deliver such a good product.

If you do something unique on a large scale, over a long period of time, something that very few people do, then I think you're smart.

But he isn't god

But this crap about reading other people's minds, knowing that intellectuals hate people like him and why they hate him, well that's that just child talk. The world isn't like that. He's smart, but he isn't god. He can't see into other people's minds and souls. He isn't qualified. All the money in the world can't buy you that kind of power.

I know other people like that, especially in the tech industry. It makes them impossible to be with. It's as if they live in an Ayn Rand novel. But when you live long enough to meet a struggle you can't think your way through, when you can see the end coming, for yourself or someone you love, you start to feel less powerful, self-sufficient, god-like. Rand's philosophy doesn't incorporate that. Yes, people die in her novels, but not the way actual people die.

Stay in your power, JM

I love to learn from smart people speaking from their power. John Mackey is definitely a powerful person, when it comes to setting up large human systems, and working within the political and economic system we have today. I would listen to him talk about that as long as he wants to. But on this other crap, that's boring and powerless, it's hubris. Only god can see into other people's souls. The day will come when he'll get his ass kicked, maybe not by another grocery chain, maybe by life, and then he'll be a more interesting person to learn from.

This isn't capitalism

We now have bike lanes in Manhattan. No capitalist made or could have made that happen although it was orchestrated by our then-mayor Michael Bloomberg, who in different contexts, says things a lot like Mackey. But he had to get buy-in from other politicians, and ultimately the people, to make it work. And it's still not an accomplished fact. People park their cars in bike lanes, and walk in them. We need police to enforce them, and other people to respect them.

Mackey has to live in that world too. He depends on the government to clear snow from the streets so his delivery trucks can make it to his stores, so his customers can buy his food. Yes, he pays taxes, but poor people get to use the cleared streets too, even if they don't pay taxes. In other words, there may be some elements of capitalism in our society, but a lot of it is not capitalism.

Another example, also in Manhattan, he very cleverly places his stores near major subway hubs. People get off the subway on their way home, go shopping, then get back on. Guess who pays for the subways whether or not they use Whole Foods, or are a capitalist? Even intellectuals, who he feels hate him, help contribute to his success. Go figure.

Last built: Wed, Sep 9, 2015 at 1:31 PM

By Dave Winer, Friday, August 14, 2015 at 8:51 AM. You should never argue with a crazy man.