I heard two different stories about two different ice cream companies, reflective of Massachusetts and the fate of America. The first was that of the scheduled auctioning-off of my local, hometown ice cream shop, Peaceful Meadows: a family-run, locally and naturally-processed ice cream shop/cow-farm that has existed for 61 years in my hometown of Whitman, MA. The second was about internationally-famous Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, announcing publicly a call for the mandatory return of Mount Rushmore and other “stolen indigenous lands": to existing members of the Lakota Sioux tribe.
On a superficial reading, these data points are just two separate and unrelated stories involving different brands of ice cream. However, they’re symptomatic of an existential conflict: over values, identity, and the future, occurring both within American and within the greater Western mind at large.
With regard to Peaceful Meadows; as a kid, I remember my parents taking my sister and me there for our first ice creams. I remember watching the exploding fireworks in the sky—it was July 4th—through the back seat window of our family’s 1978 Chevy Nova as I rushed to finish the chocolate ice cream melting onto my hand. Like every kid who ever visited Peaceful Meadows during that time period, I got to pat some of the cows in the barn out back. Some years later, my mom, as well as some other family and friends, ended up working there for a time as servers. As a result, I was fortunate to witness two baby calves born in the stable on separate autumn nights.
I’m not sure when I first heard of Ben & Jerry’s. Probably sometime in my early-20s. I remember they had some interesting flavor combinations and names that signaled that they leaned to the left; names like Cherry Garcia, Phish Food, Half-Baked, and later Yes Pecan, in honor of Barack Obama. I also remember they were environmentalists and animal rights advocates. None of this struck me as all that bad at the time. It was just ice cream.
Fast-forward to the present, and Peaceful Meadows is going out of business; metaphysically evaporating once from the collective local memory of the families, friends, animals, and land from which it organically emerged, and replaced by a faceless, multi-billion-dollar conglomerate with an international supply chain and carbon footprint spanning 6 whole continents, and now calling, essentially, for the wholesale erasure of America itself.
The situation I’ve described isn’t one in isolation but could be an accurate description of Anywhere, USA. It isn’t isolated to just ice cream, but is demonstrative of the growing emergence of “woke capital,” the pernicious fusion of social justice ideology with features of the global free market. More examples: from razors, to beer, to chicken; to banks, to department stores, to chocolate bars; as hyper-individualistic elements of left-wing socio-sexual liberalism combine with elements of hyper-individualistic, right-wing economic liberalism into a potent acid that’s fast dissolving the remaining reference points of the traditional, local and familiar. Global market demands incentivize the kind of craven and irrational hatred and disavowal of one’s own heritage displayed by Ben, Jerry and others, since the bulwarks of faith, family, and flag stand as the most sturdy natural impediments against new potential markets and the optimal economic free-flow of more “Chubby Hubby.”
Such hyper-individualism, of both the left and right variety, is contrary to the nature and flourishing of man and society. The fast and growing emergence of woke capital, and its host of negative side effects, warrants a strong and earnest re-examination by American citizens regarding just what values, virtues, and practices are worth preserving, creating, and re-awakening, and what are in need of elimination. Some sort of change is in order.