Thursday, April 07, 2005
This has to be some sort of parody
From the Gazette
Anti-Wal-Mart coalition shows anti-capitalist colors
The declaration of war comes belatedly, after many salvos already have been launched. But the announcement last week that a new coalition is forming to escalate the war against Wal-Mart, led by environmentalists, labor unions and academics, at least made the group's goals explicit. What these groups have in common, even more than a disdain for the world's biggest retailer, is an abhorrence of the capitalist system Wal-Mart symbolizes. Also on the coalition's hit list are the things that make Wal-Mart possible, including free markets and free trade, competition, consumer choice, a unionfree workplace and the allegedly wasteful lifestyles of average Americans.
The war against Wal-Mart is also an effort by special interests to pre-empt the consumer choices of Americans who patronize the stores. As such, these groups also are targeting the pocketbooks, buying power and quality of life of millions of Americans.
"We recognize that we are much more likely to win the battle against a giant like Wal-Mart if we act on multiple fronts," Carl Pope, president of the Sierra Club, told the New York Times. "You don't want to challenge Wal-Mart just on health care or just on the environment or just on sex discrimination. You want to pressure them on all three. This is an assault on a business model. We're not trying to shut Wal-Mart down. We're just trying to change the business model."
But if your goal is to "assault" a business model that has resulted in such success, might you not also succeed in eliminating the profits that sustain the company? We don't believe for a moment that these groups are merely reformers. If they can't impose a new business model or succeed in unionizing the company, they are bent on discrediting and destroying it.
There are many ironies in such an agenda, since it is capitalism and all the good things that come with it that also make these groups possible. Without the wealth and leisure class capitalism generates, there would likely be no environmental movement. Without capitalism, and the jobs and industries it makes possible, there would be no labor movement. Without capitalism, and the premium an affluent society places on higher education, there would be no academic ivory tower from which collectivists and statists could lob bombs.
All three factions are - let's be frank - parasites that live off the host called capitalism. But unlike parasites in the natural world, such groups don't know enough not to kill off the source of their second-hand sustenance.
Perhaps most instructive and ironic is the environmentalist attack on Wal-Mart. It's instructive because it confirms that there's an economic agenda lurking beneath a movement most Americans naively equate with saving trees or eagles. It's ironic because the wealth generated by capitalism creates the conditions in which environmentalism can flourish.
After all, poor nations are too focused on survival and productivity to engage in such preoccupations. Only a nation as wealthy as ours, successful as ours, capitalist as ours can afford to hamstring economic productivity in the name of mitigating environmental impacts. Only a relatively wealthy people have enough discretionary income to donate to such organizations. And most of the large foundations underwriting the movement were the creation of — who? — hugely successful industrialists and capitalists. Therefore, greens do the planet and themselves no favors by undermining the political and economic system that permits the luxury of conservation, the luxury of stewardship, the luxury of taking their expensive and extreme demands seriously.
An argument might even be made that Wal-Mart is good for the environment and reduces "sprawl." Think of all the driving made unnecessary and strip malls that don't have to be built because Americans can find so many items under one roof.
Nor is it surprising that the coalition's war on Wal-Mart is being coordinated by the former executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and former political director for the Howard Dean campaign. The bias of liberal Democrats against capitalism has for decades been apparent, a subtext of the party's class-warfare rhetoric, industry-killing regulatory agenda and "soak the rich" tax policies.
So the battle lines are drawn and the stakes are explicit. This coalition's crusade isn't just against Wal-Mart; it's also against an economic system that's made America the envy of the world. Once this subtext is understood by more people, it should provoke a backlash against the coalition.
-Daddy Brooklyn 00:39 EST |