The departing CEO of Whole Foods, John Mackey, issued a stark warning this week about socialists taking over key institutions across the United States.
Liberties such as the right to bear arms and freedom of speech are being threatened by leftists who are dominating institutions, including universities, corporations, and government agencies, Mackey said during an interview with Reason. The chief executive made reference to 20th-century Marxist ideologues and their “long march through the institutions.”
“My concern is that I feel like socialists are taking over,” he said. “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, 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, who co-founded Whole Foods more than four decades ago, led the company’s growth into one of the largest grocery chains in the United States. He is scheduled to step down as CEO at the end of this month.
Over the years, Mackey has frequently criticized socialism, previously saying that it’s “generally hostile to business.” At the same time, he’s been critical of the academic community for promoting socialist and Marxist ideologies.
Last year, for example, Mackey told Fox Business that there needs to be a counter to the anti-capitalist, pro-socialist narratives that have been fomented in universities.
“Otherwise,” he said, “the socialists are going to take over—that’s how I see it, and that’s the path of poverty.
“They talk about trickle-down wealth, but socialism is trickle-up poverty. It just impoverishes everything.
“That’s my fear, that the Marxists and socialists, the academic community is generally hostile to business. It always has been. This is not new.”
Mackey told Reason that the benefits that were handed out during the COVID-19 pandemic made it more difficult to hire people.
“A lot of people were making as much money, if not more money, not working at all. And so guess what? They chose not to come back to work. They got used to it,” he said.
“I don’t understand the younger generation. … They don’t seem to want to work.
“They only want to work if it’s really purposeful, and [something] they feel aligned to. You can’t expect to start with meaningful work. You’re gonna have to earn it over time.”