August 08, 2007
Justin confesses that he is “perplexed by this paleocon jihad against McDonald’s, Walmart, and other commercial venues.” He shouldn’t be. He admits that he prefers Johnny Rocket’s (a good choice) to McDonald’s. And if the market is all about freedom of choice, shouldn’t we paleocons be free not only to choose not to patronize Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, and Microsoft, but also to convince others to do likewise? Or is freedom of speech a lesser freedom than that of a multinational corporation to make a quick buck selling an inferior product?
Justin’s lucky—even if the “paleocon [sic!] Board of Stupidvisors” in San Francisco were to allow McDonald’s to sprout like mushrooms after a rain, the wonderful restaurants that he took me to on my trip out there a few years back would continue to survive. There are lots of reasons for that, including the taste of San Franciscans and relatively high incomes. But the same isn’t true across the country. Justin’s been to my hometown of Rockford, and he knows that local culture and cuisine have been gutted here by the invasion of national restaurant chains and big-box stores. And yes—by the choices of Rockfordians, who have been convinced (largely by conservatives and libertarians) to think of themselves as “consumers” rather than as fathers and mothers and Rockfordians.
Justin’s wrong, of course, to lump the paleocon critique in with the leftist one, because (as he knows from his long association with Chronicles), we don’t call on government to do what ordinary people should be doing themselves. Instead, we try to open people’s eyes to better food, real culture, true civilization, and the virtues of family and local life.
Why do the partisans of multinational corporations (that part of the “free” economy that works most closely with government) find that so disturbing?