An Open Letter to Ben and Jerry’s

WeThePeopleby The Krell
Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc.
30 Community Drive
South Burlington, VT 05403-6828

Re: Get the Dough Out of Politics

Dear Ben & Jerry,

My wife and I were recently in Stowe, Vermont, and visited the factory there. We are both fans of Ben & Jerry’s and enjoyed the factory tour and the short movie about the company’s history. Based on that visit we felt compelled to write this letter.

You and your namesake company are involved in getting money out of politics through an initiative started by you called “Get the Dough Out of Politics.” You have expressed pique at the Supreme Court in the Citizens United decision. However, we wonder how familiar you are with the following:

We deal here with a problem that is fundamental to the electoral process and to the operation of our democratic society. It is whether a union can express its views on the issues of an election and on the merits of the candidates, unrestrained and unfettered by the Congress. The principle at stake is not peculiar to unions. It is applicable as well to associations of manufacturers, retail and wholesale trade groups, consumers’ leagues, farmers’ unions, religious groups and every other association representing a segment of American life and taking an active part in our political campaigns and discussions. It is as important an issue as has come before the Court, for it reaches the very vitals of our system of government…Some may think that one group or another should not express its views in an election because it is too powerful, because it advocates unpopular ideas, or because it has a record of lawless action. But these are not justifications for withholding First Amendment rights from any group—labor or corporate. First Amendment rights are part of the heritage of all persons and groups in this country. They are not to be dispensed or withheld merely because we or the Congress thinks the person or group is worthy or unworthy.

However, we would guess that you are familiar with the following:

We are therefore simply left with the question whether the speech at issue in this case is “speech” covered by the First Amendment. No one says otherwise. A documentary film critical of a potential Presidential candidate is core political speech, and its nature as such does not change simply because it was funded by a corporation. Nor does the character of that funding produce any reduction whatever in the “inherent worth of the speech” and “its capacity for informing the public,” First Nat. Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U. S. 765, 777 (1978). Indeed, to exclude or impede corporate speech is to muzzle the principal agents of the modern free economy. We should celebrate rather than condemn the addition of this speech to the public debate.

The first passage is from the dissenting opinion by William O. Douglas in United States v. Auto Workers, 352 U.S. 567 (1957). Douglas was one of the more liberal justices in these modern times. Yet he sounded very much like Antonin Scalia, who penned the second quote from his concurring in part decision from Citizens United v. The F.E.C., 558 U.S. _____ (2010). The point here is to show how far left we’ve moved when the alleged extreme right of 2010 echoes the far left of 1957, and to ask, how far left can we move before the United States that has given the world so much is no longer recognizable.

You claim that money in politics distorts the process and therefore corrupts the outcome. Yet the huge multinational, Dutch corporation that you sold your company too, Unilever, spent $43,132 in direct political campaign contributions in 2012, which does not include monies to PACs which need not be disclosed. In 2012 Unilever also spent $1,770,000 lobbying, up $1,000,000 from 2011. Furthermore, as number 139 on the Fortune 500 list Unilever had $64 billion in revenue and $6 billion in profits in 2012. Clearly, Unilever had no qualms about spending some of that money to corrupt the process. Let us not forget that but for your own personal wealth and the wealth and popularity of your company, you would not have the voice you have to, in our view, truly corrupt the process as Justices Douglas and Scalia warned against. Once you amend the Constitution to limit one group’s freedoms where and when does it end?

The issue of money in politics is truly a straw man issue to divert people from critically analyzing why this country is in the shape it is. We submit that 100 years ago three events took place that set the United States down the path that has led to now. Those events were the passage of the 16th and 17th amendments and the creation of the Federal Reserve Board on December 23, 1913.

The 16th amendment “clarified” the definition of direct taxes allowing for income taxes to be collected. Not sure exactly what needed clarification. The Constitution, as originally written, said that taxes must be apportioned among the several states based on each state’s population as determined by the census. Taxation based on income destroys the concept of apportionment based on population. The question is why would the Framers define the central government’s taxing ability in such a fashion? One of the main goals of the Framers was the delicate balance between a central government with sufficient powers to address the issues common to all of the states, and a central government that is strictly limited in its jurisdictions. One way to achieve that end was to limit the income available to the government so it cannot look to act outside its Article 1 Section 8 enumerated powers. Giving the government a virtually unlimited ATM destroyed that goal.

The 17th amendment now allowed for the popular election of senators, instead of their being elected by the respective state legislators. This weakened and has all but destroyed the concept of federalism and the Framers scheme to make sure that power does not become centralized. The House of Representatives was supposed to be the Peoples representatives and the Senate was to represent state needs. The popular election of senators all but made useless the 10th amendment which reserved all the rights and powers not enumerated in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to the people and the states. 100 years later states powers have been severely circumscribed by the fact that the Federal government takes so much money out of the economy and then bribes the senators with funds for their states if they pass and comply with federal statutes; see speed limit and drinking age laws.

Finally, the Federal Reserve Board has put in charge of the United States money supply, thus how much credit is available, into the hands of unelected and truly unaccountable individuals. In 1913 the United States was a nation with diverse economic needs that local banks would have the ability to monitor and provide credit as warranted. The country is still economically diverse; the needs of Davenport, Iowa hardly mirror the needs of New York City. Yet the banks in both locales have to play by the same rules and are subject to a money supply decided in Washington.

These three items represent in no small measure the reasons why we are in the mess we are in. Neither Democrat or Republican, nor liberals or enough conservatives, are willing to view our current problems based on the events of 1913. Why? Because doing so would show the depth and breadth of the problems; that the problems are seemingly insurmountable; and that the solutions are generational, not subject to election cycles. So, both sides create straw men, such as, immigration, political contributions, second amendment rights, and the like to keep the majority of people focused in the wrong direction.

The question then is it worse for the country when the Koch brothers use their considerable resources to influence politics in this country at this particular time and space, or is it worse for Ben & Jerry to influence political discourse in this country in a permanent fashion with a Constitutional amendment?

Therefore, we ask you to consider what we have written and if you find it compelling to use your considerable energy and resources to educate people about the real reasons for the country’s current state of affairs.

In a nutshell, our problems stem from an out of control central government that has eclipsed its Constitutional powers and forgotten what Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed… (emphasis added)

That consent must come from all the governed, not just the ones you or anyone else thinks are worthy of giving that consent. • (1844 views)

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15 Responses to An Open Letter to Ben and Jerry’s

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Good letter.

  2. ladykrystyna says:

    Absolutely well done! Bravo!

  3. RobL_V2 RobL_V2 says:

    This summer I visited two different science venues, at one saw an IMAX movie, ‘Space Junk’. The other, a planetarium, played ‘The Living Earth. Both made by grants from NASA, National Science Association and the usual respected governmental non-partisan science outfits. You know what, they both were filled with your standard leftist cliches about over population, industrialization, unthinking inconsiderate humans and good young pretty liberal girls scientists and hip bearded boy scientists saving the day and lecturing paeans to cease man induced global climate change. To think my taxes funded this crock and then I paid bonus $s to take my kids to see the liberal indoctrination porn.

    The point is your letter is wasted upon Ben and Jerry. It needs to go directly to their customer but I feel its too late, we are now a socialist nation and the people are begging for more.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Well said, Rob.

    • the krell says:

      While I agree that the message needs to get to a wider audience, but since I lack the resources of the Koch brothers or B & J, I decided to go for the “choke point”. One other option was to ask to have it posted here and hope it does slowly begin to reach a wider audience. Rob, I also agree that this nation has moved so far to the left, as the quotes from Douglas and Scalia crystalize, that getting back to the limited government we all would like is probably not poosible in at least my lifetime. However, writing the letter, even if it has no effect on those 2 aged Long Island hippies, it was good for my soul and I am enjoying reading all the comments from people whom I believe agree with me more often than not. (Full disclosure – I too am a late ’60s early ’70s former dope smokin’ hippie. However, I grew up when I began to smell to coffee.)

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        However, writing the letter, even if it has no effect on those 2 aged Long Island hippies, it was good for my soul and I am enjoying reading all the comments from people whom I believe agree with me more often than not. (Full disclosure – I too am a late ’60s early ’70s former dope smokin’ hippie. However, I grew up when I began to smell to coffee.)

        Mr. Krell, a good book for you to read might be Daniel Flynn’s “Why the Left Hates America.” However, this book is somewhat of a polemic (and thus was even a bit much for me to read as well) so let me extract what I thought was an essential point that Flynn makes in his book, and I paraphrase:

        Liberalism itself (in the classic sense…this word has been abused and bastardized by the Left) contains the need to safeguard freedom. And it is acknowledged by liberals that a certain amount of government is needed in order to do so. But it is also acknowledged by liberals that too much government is a threat to freedom.

        That is, liberals believe in limited government and do not pine for government to be used as the instrument to try to assuage every little bump and bruise on the highway of life. They know this is not possible and that any government with this kind of all-encompassing power is a threat to essential liberty.

        The Left, on the other hand, acknowledges absolutely no limits on government. None. They believe that government power is good, if in their hands promoting their agenda. There can be no principled limit on governmental power in their view because all of their “good causes” require government to institute them.

        Government thus changes from a protector of basic liberties to a provider of a smorgasbord of new “rights” and other malarky as these deluded and power-hungry people on the Left try to create an earthly Utopia and simply end up enhancing their own power (which one could say was the real point all along).

        And this is where and why the hippies went wrong. They fell for the marketing. They didn’t notice the name change, that the word “liberal” now meant an entirely different thing.

        And hippies and the flower children must take responsibility for pining for an earthly utopia. They wanted to take a vacation from reality, to extend adolescence forever. And this entire movement was cultish in origin and was eventually taken over by the same type of authoritarians that the hippies were supposedly rebelling against. But because it was supposedly “their” authoritarians, it didn’t seem to matter.

        Hippiedom brought an intellectual wasteland to our country. I see it even now as people in their fifties and sixties try to create a Bob Dylan utopia as they try to figure out what to do in their early retirement days.

        But the “utopia,” such as it ever was, was always there waiting in the background. It’s what we call “The America Dream.” But this dream required people to work. And it required them to grow up and to take responsibility. But it was the path where you really could be anything that you set your mind to be if you worked hard enough, had the talent, and sometimes a fair amount of luck.

        But, instead, many went the route of Utopia. And we’re still paying the price for this naive foolishness. You woke up. But many of your hippie brethren have not. In fact, many of these fools are now running the country, and running it into the ground.

        I therefore task you, Mr. Krell, with talking about how and why you had a change of heart, how and why you began to smell the coffee. Right now those on the Left (hippie or otherwise) have soaked up decades of anti-right propaganda. They may have an inkling that Mr. Obama and his ilk are truly destructive, but they don’t have anywhere else to go, or so they think.

        Well, there is a movement that is liberty-based, and it is conservatism. We can also refer to ourselves as “classic liberals,” for it is much the same thing. And, yes, there may be some differences. There are some decidedly non-utopian factions in and around conservatism. There are those who believe in the sanctity of marriage and things like that. But I believe they do for good reason and not because they are “social conservatives” who just are out to spoil people’s fun.

        So keep writing your letters and I’ll keep publishing them. You have the talent to reach your pony-tailed brothers and sisters who are now lost in the lies of the Left.

        • the krell says:

          I will gladly explain my change of heart. However, you must forgive me as I have much planned this weekend and I want my response to be complete. Therefore, I need a few days to provide a proper response. Also, I had started a response to your discussion of tabula rasa, it too was going to take some time as I want it to be thoughtful and as complete as space will allow.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            No prob. The nice thing about this site is there are no deadlines.

            • the krell says:

              The best way to answer your question is to go back to the “beginning”. I entered a NYC high school in 1968. Not quite the “radical” I was to become. It was the summer of 1970 that I discovered cannabis. The ensuing stoned conversations with my friends revolved around overthrowing the government, the war, the subjective nature of reality insofar as that no one can ever know how another person experiences “reality”. We discussed the evils of being judgmental and having hang-ups. This was a problem for me because, while I played along, not being judgmental seemed impossible and against my nature. I innately knew that one had to judge things in order to evaluate their value to oneself but I was in the minority on that count and I hadn’t articulated even to myself what I just wrote. It was only a nagging sense that I did not agree with my friends. However, I viewed that disagreement as something being wrong with me, something holding me back from being a true hippie. I also believed I had many hang-ups that I only realized much later in life that those “hang-ups” were voices inside telling me that there is something wrong with this whole hippie deal.; that essentially it was my self-esteem trying desperately to not be totally destroyed. Also, I participated in my share of anti-war demonstrations.

              I did not go college like everyone else. I tried but I found that it was not yet for me. I was fortunate to have been able to turn a part time job into a full time one, very unhippieish. Furthermore, it was working for a butcher, almost blasphemous. However, I develop a good work ethic, understood the importance of doing honest labor and doing it to the best of your ability, all very unhippieish, yet I still identified with the culture of sex, drugs, and rock & roll, though a tad light on the sex. (At the time I didn’t view my activities as being counter to the counter culture.) I eventually studied electronics at a technical school which led to my working in a midtown Manhattan recording studio.

              It was at this studio that the receptionist suggested I read “Atlas Shrugged”. This was 1981 or 1982, so I was just shy of 30. Many ideas expressed in the book spoke to me. She explained that the world is knowable, that the vehicle to know the world is human consciousness and that the tool is logic, Aristotelian logic. She explained that judging is indispensible to survival. However, the judgment made is only as good as how well you understand the reality or the facts of whatever is being judged, hence the ruthless application of logic. Because of how much I felt her speaking directly to me, over the next 2 or so years I read all of her non-fiction I could find, as well as the “Fountainhead” and “We the Living”. She opened my eyes to many issues and concepts; what differentiates humans from the rest of all living things was our conceptual consciousness, that the “golden rule” (my use of the phrase not hers) is that the initiation of force against another person is forbidden, that people need a moral code by which to live, that the basis of that code is that actions in the furtherance of life is morally good and that actions that lead to the destruction of one’s life is not, that it is immoral for a government to compel people to act against their own self-interest or for a government to take a person’s property for the sake of spreading the wealth, which is why capitalism is the only moral system because ones success under a capital, and thus a system based on individual liberty is dependent solely on the judgment of one’s own mind. The previous by necessity is an oversimplification of her system of thought for brevity’s sake.

              The point is that in actuality I unwittingly held many of those views except while I “felt” those things I did not understand them nor could I articulate them in a coherent fashion prior to my reading her works. While “Atlas Shrugged” inspired me it was the reading of her non-fiction that gave me the deeper understanding of her philosophical system. I know that many people in academia and many accomplished thinkers and philosophers don’t consider Ms. Rand a serious thinker or a real philosopher. I will not address that at this point, in fact I may be able to address in the manner necessary for a serious scholarly debate on that issue because of my own limitations in the area of the study of philosophy. I am merely trying to answer the question as to what was the impetuous behind my change of heart regarding the left and the right.

              The real bottom line is that I was never a hardcore hippie. It was against my nature. I did however feel more comfortable in that environment than with the “straights”. I believe that was because for the majority of my life I question conventional thinking, I was against the government intruding into my decision making process, and I accepted a wider range of human behavior as being ok than those on the other side of the generation gap.

              Therefore, the truth is I didn’t really change all that much. Ayn Rand open my eyes and my brain to who I was and to the convictions I already held even though I didn’t fully realize it. I still believe in a limited government, though now I understand why it is a prerequisite to a nation founded on individual liberty. In coming to these understandings I learned that politically and economically I was more attuned with the Right then the Left. I still tend to buck conventional wisdom, as I found it is usually less than optimal and I am fairly liberal from a social policy aspect, which is where I tend to disagree with those on the Right.

              I realize that this is a somewhat simplistic overview of the issues involved but, while it may lead to other questions, I hope this answered your question as to when I “grew up”. Though I hasten to say I don’t think I will ever grow up.

              • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

                I know that many people in academia and many accomplished thinkers and philosophers don’t consider Ms. Rand a serious thinker or a real philosopher.

                Fuck academia, if you’ll pardon my French. Those nimrods don’t know their asses from the elbows. They are an intellectual and moral wasteland. It’s enough to know that Ronald Reagan thought a lot of Ayn Rand and I believe Thomas Sowell does as well. He must because he sounds just like her much of the time.

                I’d like to take your above post and put it into an article headed something like “My Journey from Hippie to Human: Part 1.” Or whatever title you suggest. “Never the Hippie: Part 1”? “From Hippie to Happy: Part 1”?

                I totally understand the “shtick” you absorbed or were exposed to as one of THE founding ideas of the Left. It’s the idea of “openness.” No one is to be judged. Everyone is to be accepted. And you’ve already noted that although this might sound good, it’s got some whopping logical flaws to it.

                Allan Bloom writes expertly about this in “The Closing of the American Mind.” The prejudice against conservatives is that we want to spoil everybody’s fun, lock women in a chastity belt, and (sort of like an American Taliban), outlaw the bikini. But, in reality, conservatism is about making wise discernments. Bloom notes in his book that it was the traditional view of academia that it was to pass on the best ideas of Western Civilization. It was about how to live a good and meaningful life by choosing the ideas that worked best or were noblest.

                The Left (whether via hippies or however) started this “nonjudgmental” shtick. They were no longer about making discernments. They were emotional retards looking to stay forever 19 or 20. The call was for openness and acceptance of all things (well, all things accept traditional America or Western Civilization). It culminated in the modern ideas of “diversity” and “muliticulturalism.”

                And these are all stupid-shit ideas by stupid-shit people, again, pardon the French. These are naive Utopian ideas by a generation that was told that paradise (sexual, economic, and social) was just around the corner if we got rid of all those stodgy ideas of our parents. “Don’t trust anyone over 30.”

                It was all naive baloney. No society (especially the idea of America) can function without separating the desirable from the undesirable. It is undesirable, for instance, that millions of dirt-poor unassimilated Mexicans be let into this country and given citizenship.

                However “open” and “tolerant” one wants to be, it is impossible to have limited government and self-responsibility if there is no alternative to government being our surrogate parents or spouse. That is, if the family is undermined (via welfare, gay marriage, and a thousand other ways), it will be tough to hold onto freedom (let alone a decent America). Family is the main and only alternative to living a life that is not government-centric.

                Being a part of noble Western Civilization means being able to look back, and not just look ahead. This is why the idiotic battle cry of the idiotic Left is always “Forward” or some such brainless slogan. That’s all they care about. They don’t care about reason, logic, or what has been proven to work.

                Anyway, what you just wrote is sincere, bold, honest, and would make the start of a good series of articles.

              • the krell says:

                Brad, I have no issue if you want to use this as the jumping of point for a series. Maybe we can get David Horowitz to contribute. (While I like some of what he says I find him rather self-righteous and kinda hard to take.) However, there is some tightening up I would like to do first. Give me a day or 2 and I will submit it with a title suggestion as well.

                I would also like to say I am a bit surprised and most appreciative of the kind things you’ve had to say about my posts. Thank you.

                Oh, by the way, I speak the same French dialect.

  4. Kung Fu Zu says:

    I like the letter, but fear Rob is correct.

    I disagree immigration, political contributions and second amendment rights are straw men. They may not be as fundamental as the points you mention, but if we loose on these smaller points, you can be sure there will be no chance to address any of those problems you mentioned.

    As you may have noticed, I think the question of amnesty is the most acute problem facing our nation at this moment. I think the failure of our public education system is the most serious long term problem. If, over the next ten years, we create 30 million new citizens, 80-90% of whom would come from Latin America, only more government will come. If we continue to allow the public schools to spew out functional illiterates, only more government will come.

    By all means keep up the pressure on the areas you point out, but don’t neglect the Peninsular War now in favor of a Waterloo in the future.

    • the krell says:

      When I wrote the letter I was uncomfortable with the “straw man” characterization. Since the letter hasn’t been sent yet I will re-work those parts.

      Your other points are well taken. However, the problems we face are so dire, as far as the continued existence of the US goes. The substantive repairs are so fundamental that they are generational in nature. You are correct that the short term problems must be effectively dealt with, but we must take care to do so without making the long term solutions more difficult. I wish I had a plan to accomplish that.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    If everyone wrote a letter like this, the liberal nuts and flakes couldn’t get away with what they commonly get away with now. Their bubble-like insular enclosure can only exist in the rarified air of agreement or passive acquiescence.

    I swear to God, I spent about ten minutes looking for some generic “Nuts and Flakes” photo or symbol to use to go with this article. I couldn’t find anything so I went with that nice “We the People” graphic. But that’s what I think of Ben & Jerry’s. They are yet another libtard group with stupid and uninformed ideas. Nuts and flakes.

    The only thing I’ll say in regards to this letter by The Krell is that it is probably too good for them. Jefferson or Madison would have understood it fully. But your modern low-information voter (even if they do own a corporation)? Not very likely. I think The Krell needed to provided color charts and graphs using Crayons.

    But there’s another aspect of this. Liberal Fascism is simply good marketing these days. I believe that Ben and Jerry probably really do believe their own BS. But it’s quite possible that they don’t and are just going with what they think is the flow.

    And to some extent, that’s a smart business move. Businesses all over America are caving to your average low-information-voter’s simplistic and narcissistic conceits born of misinformation and an ego that hasn’t yet graduated from Kindergarten.

    As someone reminded me lately, no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. That’s not cynicism talking, nor is it a holier-than-thou attitude. I don’t consider myself better than the average low-information-voter. Just not as ignorant.

    Also, what The Krell did was to declare to the world (and to him or herself), “Two plus two equals four.” Look at this rodeo clown guy who made a joke about Obama. Now I hear he’s being sent to reeducation camp (or the equivalent of it). I would tell them to stick it in their ear. I would still insist that two plus two equals four.

    But there’s a harsh reality out there. There are a lot of snot-nosed fascist-like liberals who insist that you acquiesce to two plus two equals five. And many people might insist that they are conservative and think that all that PC stuff is just BS. But when push comes to shove, they are still psychologically neutered and will not disobey their masters.

    This is the kind of American letter that says “I have no master.” More people should follow the example of The Krell.

  6. Kung Fu Zu says:

    H.L. Mencken was the man who made the observations about money and the American public.

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