Can Conservatives be Vegans? —TeeGee

 

I am pretty much just a lurker here, but I’m going to take my cloak of invisibility off for a moment.

DocJay had a thread a few days ago about diet and health weirdness. My confession: my wife and I lean toward being vegans. While she would prefer to embrace veganism entirely, I still enjoy meat from time to time.

Here’s the thing: I find I feel better when I keep meat consumption minimal. I feel mentally sharper and in better control. I also feel more energetic, focused, and productive when my diet is more Spartan than Epicurean. 

Switching to a near-vegan diet did not lead to spiritual enlightenment. It did not clear up my complexion, make me happier, or produce any dramatic changes at all. It simply seems right.

There are two extreme points of view regarding veganism, both of which frankly bug me. 

First: yes, absolutely, there is an abundance of left-wing nut jobs who eat vegan and who insist on calling it the “vegan movement.” I’ve met any number of vegans who insist their diet is a pathway to enlightenment. That’s not me. Food is just fuel for my body. If there is any spiritual component to my diet, it comes from the company I keep when I eat. I might be nuts, but I am emphatically not left-wing, new age nuts. Nor am I particularly given to evangelizing about eating vegan.

Second: A lot of people on the right seem to think that people who prefer eating fruits and vegetables can’t possibly be conservative.

I am a conservative and I generally prefer meatless meals. It’s got nothing to do with my spiritual, political and philosophical convictions. It’s just about what works for me.

So can conservatives be vegans? What do you think?

Invisibility cloak back on.

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  1. user_7742 Inactive
    user_7742
    @BrianWatt

    Yes. Next question.

    • #1
  2. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    I met Matt Scully back when I was an intern at NR in 1990… He’s done OK.  (Although I’m not sure if he’s vegan or vegetarian, he is the only Conservative I’m aware of who trends that way.)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Scully

    As a practical matter, being a vegan is a fundamentally Progressive position, but as I outlined in another post, there are Right Progressives who are generally labeled Conservative.

    Why is veganism Progressive and not Conservative?  Because there are no traditional societies that were vegan.  So it’s not conservative, by elimination…

    But I’m a big tent, libertarian kind of guy.  Eat whatever you want. :) 

    BTW, if you’re eating mostly veggies with some meat, you’re technically Paleo, which is the most reactionary, conservative diet out there.

    • #2
  3. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Sure. Why not. Freedom is freedom.

    • #3
  4. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Brian Watt:

    Yes. Next question.

    I concur. Something to consider is that there is no real “generic body chemistry”. We’re very similar, but individuals respond to specific diets differently.

    What tends to tee off most people, conservative and liberals alike, are the “Well this is great for me, so it must be awesome for everyone” types and the “my not eating this kind of food is a superior moral choice — everyone would be better people if they were like me” types. Which is why I get annoyed by self-righteous vegetarians as well as meat-eating mockers.

    Heck, maybe diet is best a Libertarian discussion. Live and let live. Do no harm.

    • #4
  5. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    So can conservatives be vegans?

    You can be a conservative and be a vegan because it works for you if you don’t feel a compulsion to force others to have it work for them.  Otherwise, not so much.

    I think the key to being a conservative today is toleration.  Not in the modern, politically-correct meaning of enthusiastic approval of behaviors endorsed by the politically-correct regardless of your true attitudes towards that behavior.  Rather the original meaning of toleration:  I think what you are doing is wrong, misguided, or even bats*t crazy, but it is your life, what you do with it is your business, even if I disapprove.

    Seawriter

    • #5
  6. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    C. U. Douglas:

    What tends to tee off most people, conservative and liberals alike, are the “Well this is great for me, so it must be awesome for everyone” types and the “my not eating this kind of food is a superior moral choice — everyone would be better people if they were like me” types. Which is why I get annoyed by self-righteous vegetarians as well as meat-eating mockers.

    IMHO, that wouldn’t be a Vegan. That would be a Veganist.

    When it stops being an individual choice it becomes an “ism”.

    IMHO.

    • #6
  7. Matede Inactive
    Matede
    @MateDe

    Your not alone. My cousin is a libertarian and a vegan, so to answer your question. Yes

    • #7
  8. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Food is not politics. You can’t eat progressive carrots or devour a conservative steak. 

    How much mental and emotional energy is wasted by the “if you’re ‘X’ then you must hold the following political views or you’re a (traitor, Uncle Tom, self hater)” ?

    • #8
  9. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    TeeGee:

    Here’s the thing: I find I feel better when I keep meat consumption minimal. I feel mentally sharper and in better control. I also feel sharper, more energetic, focussed and productive when my diet is more spartan as opposed to more epicurean.

    Sure, if that works for you, great! I have a relative suffering from gout who feels the same way about meat.

    Several of us who put in a good word for less starchy, more meaty diets have done so for similar reasons: when we started eating that way, we felt better. For some of us, the improvements have been, if not dramatic, fairly noticeable in helping us manage other medical problems.

    Whatever works. I’m happy you’ve found something that works for you.

    • #9
  10. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    EJHill: Food is not politics.

    Try ordering pork in Tehran, beef in New Delhi, or horse in the United States.

    • #10
  11. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Of course.   I know many conservatives that eat vegetarian or vegan for health reasons.

    • #11
  12. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Tuck: Because there are no traditional societies that were vegan.

    What about the Jains?

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jain_vegetarianism

    • #12
  13. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    It is interesting to me how food has become a moral flash point these days.  Sex used to have lots of moral implications and rules (and for some of us it still does) but now people get very self-righteous about food, which is also related to environmentalism and “sustainability”.  I think that’s why being vegan is associated with the left.  Most conservatives won be self-righteous about food, though nutrition types can have strong opinions.  Most of us see food as a personal choice rather than a moral issue.

    I still can’t get my mind around thinking nothing of having sex with everybody in sight but being outraged at the person who eats a steak or smokes a cigarette.

    • #13
  14. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Merina Smith: It is interesting to me how food has become a moral flash point these days.

    Food has frequently been a moral flash point throughout human history. Nearly every religion has its own dietary proscriptions.

    • #14
  15. tabula rasa Inactive
    tabula rasa
    @tabularasa

    Not a problem with me.  Last I checked, neither Edmund Burke nor William F. Buckley, Jr. made meat-eating an article of faith for conservatives.

    My only problem with vegetarians and vegans is the overt or implied sense of moral superiority that some of them tend to exude.  I’m a humble carnivore.  I have no problem with humble vegans.

    • #15
  16. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Misthiocracy:

    Merina Smith: It is interesting to me how food has become a moral flash point these days.

    Food has frequently been a moral flash point throughout human history. Nearly every religion has its own dietary proscriptions.

     That is true, but often they are temporary, for example no meat on Fridays or during lent or some such thing.  The point is not the food per se but using deprivation as a reminder of giving things up for spiritual reasons.  

    • #16
  17. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    EJHill:

    Food is not politics. You can’t eat progressive carrots or devour a conservative steak.

    How much mental and emotional energy is wasted by the “if you’re ‘X’ then you must hold the following political views or you’re a (traitor, Uncle Tom, self hater)” ?

     Now here in Oregon, where we have vote-by-mail which is almost the same as fraud-by-mail, it’s quite possible we have a few carrots registered Democrat.

    • #17
  18. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Merina Smith:  That is true, but often they are temporary, for example no meat on Fridays or during lent or some such thing.  The point is not the food per se but using deprivation as a reminder of giving things up for spiritual reasons.  

     Quilter and I follow the traditional Orthodox fasting rules:  vegan most Wednesdays and Fridays and during most of the fast periods.  On some fast days no wine or oil as well, although there are some days where fish is allowed.

    And there are four fast periods – pre-Christmas, pre-Easter (the Great Fast), the Apostle Fast in June and July and the Dormition Fast in August.  

    We do it because it is expected of us as Orthodox Christians.  Visitors are not expected to share our diet, so we provide meat and dairy for those not observant Orthodox.

    It is probably healthier for us, but I view it as deprivation.  The fasts do make you appreciate meat and dairy though.  Boy does it.

    Seawriter

    • #18
  19. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Misthiocracy: What about the Jains?

    Jains are vegetarian, not vegan.  The difference is that the Jains will eat yogurt and butter, a vegan would not.  Nutritionally, yogurt and butter have the vitamin B12 that is the most obvious nutritional short-coming of a vegan diet. 

    • #19
  20. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    I love the way these ads work . . . 

    Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 11.43.35 AM

    • #20
  21. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    EJHill: Food is not politics. You can’t eat progressive carrots or devour a conservative steak.

     You have no idea.  Let me introduce you to Marion Nestle, the Progressive who wants the Federal Government to tell us all what to eat.

    Her blog is titled, Food Politics.

    • #21
  22. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Merina Smith:

    I still can’t get my mind around thinking nothing of having sex with everybody in sight but being outraged at the person who eats a steak or smokes a cigarette.

    I can get my mind around that. I’ve met too many of ’em to avoid it.

    What I can’t get my mind around is people who can understand and sympathize with those who keep food and drug taboos, but not with those who keep sexual taboos. It wouldn’t seem too hard to understand. If you expect me to show courtesy toward others’ food taboos, should I also not get some courtesy from you regarding my sexual taboos?

    To be fair, most friends I’ve talked to privately about this seem to get it. I had a great many bohemian, rather promiscuous friends in college.  They  were not the ones who tried to violate my sexual boundaries, as they extended courtesy to my preference for chastity, and for all I know admired it a little, seeing how difficult it evidently would have been for them.

    • #22
  23. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    No kidding, Midge.  But logical thinking is in short supply these days.

    • #23
  24. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Tuck:

    Misthiocracy: What about the Jains?

    Jains are vegetarian, not vegan. The difference is that the Jains will eat yogurt and butter, a vegan would not. Nutritionally, yogurt and butter have the vitamin B12 that is the most obvious nutritional short-coming of a vegan diet.

    It’s a fair cop.

    • #24
  25. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor
    Midget Faded Rattlesnake
    @Midge

    Misthiocracy:

    Tuck:

    Jains are vegetarian, not vegan. The difference is that the Jains will eat yogurt and butter, a vegan would not…

    It’s a fair cop.

    Jains do, however, believe in avoiding violence against root vegetables:

    Jains make considerable efforts not to injure plants in everyday life as far as possible. Jains only accept such violence inasmuch as it is indispensable for human survival, and there are special instructions for preventing unnecessary violence against plants.[12] Strict Jains don’t eat root vegetables such as potatoes, onions, roots and tubers, because such root vegetables are considered ananthkay. Ananthkay means one body, but containing countless lives. A regular vegetable such as cabbage has number of leaves and lives as could be counted by a layman. However, a root vegetable such as potato, though from the looks of it is one article, is said to contain multiple lives (‘ekindriya’) in it. Also… the bulb is seen as a living being, as it is able to sprout.[13] Also, consumption of most root vegetables involves uprooting and killing the entire plant.

    They’ve heard the screams of the vegetables

    • #25
  26. danys Thatcher
    danys
    @danys

    Of course.

    • #26
  27. Foxman Inactive
    Foxman
    @Foxman

    Misthiocracy:

    Merina Smith: It is interesting to me how food has become a moral flash point these days.

    Food has frequently been a moral flash point throughout human history. Nearly every religion has its own dietary proscriptions.
    OK, but what aboout hair?  How did how you groom yourself become such a big deal in so many religions?

     

    • #27
  28. Tuck Inactive
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake: Jains do, however, believe in avoiding violence against root vegetables

     They have interesting beliefs.  I shared an office with a Jain for a couple of years.  I don’t share their beliefs, but I respect them, as they make what is in practice a difficult choice for clear ethical reasons.  And unlike vegans of the PETA ilk, they don’t attack their fellow humans.

    Jains deduced the existence of microbes thousands of years ago… Interesting folk.

    • #28
  29. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Foxman: OK, but what aboout hair? How did how you groom yourself become such a big deal in so many religions?

    Hygiene is a pretty big topic in most ancient religions, seeing as the were found before modern sanitation and medicine. A proscription on certain hairstyles may be a reflection of hygiene requirements in the religion’s region of origin. Sometimes.

    • #29
  30. Foxman Inactive
    Foxman
    @Foxman

    Misthiocracy:

    Foxman: OK, but what aboout hair? How did how you groom yourself become such a big deal in so many religions?

    Hygiene is a pretty big topic in most ancient religions, seeing as the were found before modern sanitation and medicine. A proscription on certain hairstyles may be a reflection of hygiene requirements in the religion’s region of origin. Sometimes.
    But mostly the proscriptions are on cutting hair, which can be anti-hygiene.

    • #30
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