Progressives say “Nyet” to the free market

For all their bleating about conservatives wanting to constrain personal choice, as in their anti-abortion stance, progressives are quite comfortable limiting the choices of others themselves. The result is a kind of ruthless do-gooderism, forcing others to live their lives according to the narrow precepts of smug true believers who know best.

Take retail gun and music sales.

The members of the Trinity Wall Street Church, an Episcopal parish in New York City that champions progressive causes, want Walmart shareholders to have a say on whether the company should establish policies governing the sale of offensive items.

Gus for sale at Walmart

Gus for sale at Walmart

That would include products that are “(1) especially dangerous to the public, (2) pose a substantial risk to company reputation and (3) would reasonably be considered offensive to the community and family values that Wal-Mart seeks to associate with its brand.”

The church’s objective?  To force Walmart to remove from its shelves high-capacity rifles and sexually-charged or violent music.

What’s next, shareholder votes on stores stocking water pistols, banned or challenged books, white American Girl dolls, 50 Shades of Grey or American Sniper DVDs, gory video games like Gears of War 3 and Call of Duty Black Ops, or the “Plan B” contraceptive pill?

In essence, the church wants to substitute its judgment and the judgment of other left-leaning true believers for the free market.

Just like the plastic water bottle zealots.

plastic-water-bottles

I’m no fan of paying for water in plastic bottles. For one, It’s obscenely expensive, compared with household tap water. Two-thirds of the bottled water sold in the United States is in individual 16.9-ounce bottles, which comes out to roughly $7.50 per gallon. That’s about 2,000 times higher than the typical cost of a gallon of tap water. Most often the bottled water isn’t of higher quality than tap water either and the containers generate tons of wasted plastic.

But progressives aren’t satisfied with urging people not to buy bottled water, to use a reusable water bottle instead. They want to go much further. “Rally your schools, workplaces, and communities to ban bottled water,” they implore.

Another case of progressives wanting to impose their values and choices on me.

Companies should be free to develop and market safe products and consumers should be free to decide whether to buy them. Banning stuff because some slice of the population opposes a product for ideological reasons is offensive.

And of course I can’t pursue this topic without talking about Hillary Clinton.

HillaryClinton_2326613b

Hillary wants to require that prescription-drug companies spend a set portion of their revenue on research and development, or forfeit federal support such as tax credits or research money.

Does Clinton really think the government should go so far as to instruct how private businesses spend their revenue, all in the name of a higher good as defined by Hillary? And Bernie says he’s the socialist in the race.

Ignore the busybodies

RosenblumIgnore the busybodies.

That’s my advice after learning that Oregon’s attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, and attorneys general representing 27 other states and territories, have signed a letter to big pharmacy chains, including Rite Aid, Walgreens, Kroger, Safeway and Walmart, calling on them to stop selling tobacco products in stores that also have pharmacies. (http://nyti.ms/1ht1aLl)

“Pharmacies and drug stores, which increasingly market themselves as a source for community health care, send a mixed message by continuing to sell deadly tobacco products,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman of New York, a leader of the effort.

Following the line of thinking that it is immoral or contradictory for these businesses to sell tobacco products alongside healthcare products, are the attorneys general as outraged over all these company’s stores also selling tooth-decaying candy, life-destroying alcohol, and snacks like Twinkies that are contributing to an epidemic of obesity? And good grief, what about guns? WalMart sells guns. Talk about something that can ruin your health.

What individual stores stock should be based on customer preferences, not the headline-grabbing antics of state attorneys general eager to impose their views on the marketplace.