Reading the bottle of Dr Bronner’s Soap I’ve always got a wiff of crazy mixed with peppermint. But the soap was damned good, so I didn’t really pay much attention. Someone else figured there was a story there. Grist has a post on a documentary called Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox that tells us all about the good Dr and his life. Sounds interesting. Quoth the post:
It turns out that Dr. Bronner — his actual name was Emanuel, but he adopted the “Dr.” randomly at some point — was a German-born, eighth-generation soapmaker. His parents were killed in a concentration camp during World War II, but Bronner immigrated to the United States in 1929. In the U.S., Bronner began a crusade to “unite mankind and spaceship earth,” traveling around and talking to anyone who would listen about his ever-evolving 30,000-word manifesto that he called “The Moral ABC.” The ABC is an odd hodge-podge of rhetoric from various world religions, boiled down to the main message that we’re all one people united in one god faith, with the “All-One!” mantra repeated, uh, repeatedly. Bronner was so obsessed that he abandoned his three kids with whatever random family was willing to take them so he could focus on his mission to unite mankind….
… The film also gets into some of the great work the company does today, in addition to creating organic, planet-friendly soaps. They also pioneered the 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottle, and they donate nearly 70 percent of their net profits to social causes around the world. They family has even capped their own salaries, making sure that they make no more than five times as much as their lowest-paid employees. Even though Bronner’s descendents seem to realize their granddad was a little off, his philosophies about fairness, equity, and doing right by the world have carried on. Which to too many people probably still qualifies them as crazy, sadly.