THE ILLOGIC OF “BUY LOCAL” AND OTHER FEEL GOODISMS
I remember it was a beautiful morning in Charleston, and I had walked over to the Farmer’s Market at Marion Square. A nice, hippyish gal was selling her locally raised fruit and truck vegetables. She had one of those “Buy Local” signs. I was with an attractive blond. We were off to an early start that was sure to be a most pleasant day. That is, until I ruined the mood. I couldn’t help myself! It was that sign, and the self-righteousness of her moral preening. Somehow, I was an evil capitalist if I didn’t buy her locally grown green peppers over ones grown in California. So instead of paying attention to the blond and doing something chivalrous to enhance my prospects, like buying her flowers, I decided to engage the hippy farmer chick in an economics discussion.
I told her that it didn’t help anybody in Charleston for me to waste money buying her vegetables over cheaper ones trucked in from California. We live in a world economy, and she can’t assume that the 500,000 people in greater Charleston are better off not trading with the outside world. (As Charlestonians believe that the Cooper and Ashley Rivers meet to form the Atlantic Ocean, one can see why they may think there is no outside world). The extra money I save means I have more capital leftover. Multiply my savings by 500,000 and there are millions of dollars of investment capital left in Charleston. Capital does not sit idle, it goes to work, it seeks efficiency, and the more of it I and others have, the more good can be done with it. I explained other things, like supply lines and the many people and suppliers who benefit from the California vegetables being shipped to Charleston. Then I called her a selfish bitch! Just kidding. I was very polite, but her mouth dropped, and the blond was aghast. Neither could believe that anyone could be so cantankerous and mean spirited to question the ubiquitous, feel good “Buy Local” sign. I hate those signs. I hate all signs that try and guilt me into supporting some panty waist feel good cause. I get triggered!
Then there are the Starbucks “do-gooder” signs in their stores that say all of our coffee is “ethically sourced.” Of course, this is a namby pamby made-up phrase that means whatever Starbucks wants it to mean. If the implication is Starbucks won’t buy coffee from growers that don’t pay what Starbucks considers a proper wage, then how are these low wage people helped by not having a job? The only way for people to be lifted up out of poverty is to have a job and a skill set, so they can begin to accumulate wealth that can circulate through society to create further wealth and the capital needed to start new enterprises and better paying jobs.
When Jim Ryan, the new commie president of the University of Virginia arrived in Charlottesville, his first matter of business was to announce to the world how all the employees of the University were to get paid a “living wage,” another made up, feel good phrase. 3 years later he still bloviates about it. In every publication and news release, we see the words “living wage.” I am surprised he has not erected a huge bill board on Rugby Road with the words “Living Wage” blinking in purple neon. Shut up already! Of course, ole Jimmy Boy lives in a University house that just received $14 million in renovations and his salary is about $ 1 million/year. Red Jim is supposed to be a steward of the University’s money and not hand it out to pet political causes in efforts to have his fellow travelers think he’s a sweet, kind hearted bloke. Of course, there are plenty of jobs in Charlottesville. There is no “Royal Navy” press gang that goes down East Jefferson Street capturing able bodied humans and forcing them to work for the University. These employees choose to work for the University. I think Red Jim wonders how can these ordinary folks can afford their caviar and truffles or to keep up their summer homes in Maine without his help? They need his benevolence. Of course, his benevolence comes from the taxpayers and not his own pocket. Bravo Jim.
Another feel good word one sees on all sorts of signs is “diversity.” It first became popular in the 1978 California v. Bakke case decision. The spineless Supreme Court rightfully denounced race-based admissions policies, but then came up with a way to perpetuate race-based admissions policy by creating a new use for the word “diversity.” Today, this feel good-ism means whatever the Left says it means. Mostly it means left wing monolithic thinking cannot be challenged by diverse forms of thinking because such diverse discourse is at odds with “diversity.”
Sustainable? I won’t buy anything with “sustainable” on the label. I hate the “Please Recycle” signs at Whole Foods. I always throw my plastic bottles in the wrong bin on purpose. Capitalism does a better job of eliminating waste than these feel good measures, which waste much more resources than letting market forces squeeze the profit out of waste and then dispose of it. I also hate the feel-good bike signage one sees everywhere. All over Richmond, our local politburo has shut down traffic lanes for cars and given them over to the 6 people/day who ride their bikes on city streets. When driving by, I always try to clip them just enough where they tumble over their handlebars onto the sidewalk. Then there are the snarky ones who think they are morally superior because they are “saving the planet.” They purposefully ride in the middle lane to slow you down. I usually do the Richard Petty thing and bump them with the nose of my car. God that’s fun! Due to all these bike lanes, it takes me an extra 15 minutes to get downtown. So I and everyone else, including those taking valuable goods to market lose productivity and profits. It is the generation of capital that solves all societal problems by creating new technologies that advance living conditions and the state of the human condition. Instead, we have hundreds of millions of dollars of underutilized infrastructure for the benefit of 6 sweaty, granola eating bicyclists instead of carrying labor, goods and services to productive ends at a quicker pace.
“Science” has become another do-gooder word. The etymology of the phrase “follow the science” stems from the root word “tyrant.” Whenever a left-wing tyrant steals your liberty by seizing your person and property, he calls what he is doing “science” and then announces “we must follow the science.” Of course the discussion of real science is not allowed because real science is at odds with politically manufactured science.
The signs that make the blood vessels in my temples pulsate the most are “Be Kind” signs. In my neighborhood, every block has one or two of these signs screwed into the brick work near the front door. As I walk by, I always flip each such house the bird. Sometimes, the occupants are on the front porch. As all these signs have a floral pattern circumventing the lettering, it is obvious the woman of the house is doing the virtue signaling. Look Gladys, don’t tell me what the hell to do. By the way, I thought the whole point of being kind was to just be kind, not to tell others to be kind, which by the way doesn’t seem very kind. Shut your pie hole Gladys!
The best do good-ism that helps humanity the most is to produce a good or service that is so helpful and so appreciated by your fellow man that he is willing to PAY for it!