Whole Foods CEO John Mackey stepped in fresh, um, produce on NPR when he associated Obamacare with fascism.
Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it, and that’s what’s happening with our healthcare programs and these reforms.
America’s locally grown nutjobs already think Obama is a fascist (not to mention a Communist, Muslim terrorist, and Battlestar Gallactica cylon), so the idea of making states set up health exchanges, and the uninsured buy a plan or pay a small penalty, will seem fascistic. But for sane people there’s clearly a fallacy here. What is it?
It’s a false analogy. Two things sharing one trait or ingredient don’t make them equivalent. Homer Simpson committed the same fallacy when he told his daughter that his doughnut was a fruit since it had purple in it, and “purple is a fruit.”
While it’s true that Obamacare increases government influence over health insurance, that’s not the same as “controlling the means of production.” (Observant Figarists will spot a hyperbole in this leap.) And so, in the fresh air of logic, the analogy spoils quickly.
Here’s another false analogy: Successful businessmen and wise pundits. Being good at selling expensive food does not translate into intelligent policy analysis. Maybe we should honor Whole Foods Guy with an eponym: to mackey. Definition: to turn business success into a political joke. Or, in this case, the transformation of a fruit seller into a fruitcake.