Monday, April 6, 2009

Since when does being a vegan make you liberal?

You would be amazed how many people think, because I’m a vegan, I’m automatically a raging liberal. I’ve never understood this. For some reason, when I first tell someone, “Hey, I’m a vegan”, they think they know all of my political and lifestyle choices. One person, the first time I met him, even invited me to the largest drug selling event in all of the North East! He must have confused me with a weed smoking, free loving, dreadlock having, hacky sack playing, vegan hippie. Pretty close description of me minus the fact that I’ve never used drugs in my life, I think having promiscuous sex is gross, I wash my short hair twice a day, and the only time I’ve played hacky sack, I kicked it on top of a vending machine. But it’s not just people who I meet that have this idea that all vegans are liberal; my roommate even calls me a vegan hippie! Since when does being a vegan make you liberal?

Matthew Scully is a vegan. He is also pro-life, pro-war, and pro-just about every single issue liberals can’t stand(except the NRA). He helped the former president of the US, George Bush get re-elected and was Sarah Palin’s speech writer. Liberals hate him as much as they hate Pat Buchanan—which reminds me, Pat Buchanan won an award from PETA for his sympathy for animal rights. Now don’t tell these two animal rights is a liberal cause!

Conservatives can, and should be pro-animal rights as animal rights is by no means a patrician issue (though the reasons for animal rights may be patrician). Any serious conservative-right Christian should be able to answer this question pretty easily: Why would God put animals on this earth, who feel pain, squeal, and squirm in agony when we try to slit their throats, if he intended them to be killed every day? What kind of sadistic fuck do you think God is? There is no way He would prefer us to torture and kill his creations that feel pain when we can eat non-sentient plants. I suppose that’s why there are so many Christians who are now vegetarian—they already asked themselves this question, if Jesus was around today, would he slaughter animals who feel pain?

Another stance of conservatives is pro-life. It would be only logical to extend a conservative viewpoint to respect all life—after all, most people who are pro-life believe life starts at a few cells, so logically one of God’s creations, which is by far more developed, deserves some consideration. If not, the pro-life stance would be quite contradictory (like a pro-lifer who believes in the death penalty).Pro-life means all life, not just what is most convenient.

On the other side, I know there are motives why liberals should be vegans too. Going vegan is one of the best things you can do to the environment and your health, but I’m not a vegan for the environment or my health. In fact, if it was worse for the environment or health, I could care less, I would still be a vegan. Boy I would be a fake liberal! I’m a vegan because the way we treat animals is horrifically unacceptable, not because of my political ideology.

This idea that vegans and Animal Rights advocates are all liberal is ludicrous. People try and alienate themselves from animal rights by dismissing Animal Rights as an extremist issue. They will come up with excuse after excuse as to why killing animals is such a wonderful and necessary thing. Some would rather come up with excuses to kill animals rather than look at the reasons not to kill animals! I know, it’s sick! Animal rights is not a Partisan issue, so don’t make it one. If you are a conservative you should believe in animal rights and if you are a liberal you should believe in animal rights. Liberals and Conservatives, every time you go shopping in a capitalistic society, you are voting with your money. Do the right thing and vote to saves lives. Your God, your environment, your body, and the animals will thank you.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad I'm not the only pro-life conservative vegan out there. Although I do play hackey sack. hackey sack has nothing to do with politics lol

creaturetalk said...

Great entry!

The great thing about veganism is that it makes logical sense regardless of your politics - I really believe that. Granted, a lot of the vegans I know are liberals, but that is probably more just because of the crowd I hang out with (liberals, in general). I think being a conservative vegan makes total sense. In fact, sometimes I wonder how people who are so devoutly religious can be omnivores...

Gastronomers said...

Thank you for setting the record straight. Vegans and vegetarians get a lot of bad rap from being so easily stereotyped.

Anonymous said...

i hope that roommate you are talking about is the deusch and not me RP.

Bee said...

I don't get the people who are vegan and then see abortion as the right of every free-born woman. But I'm not conservative and I'm not a Republican, either.
And I'm curious how Matthew Scully can be both pro-life and pro-war? To me, war equals death on a grand, political scale.
Btw, I'm 43 and I have no tattoos or multiple body piercings. :) And I like your blog.

Maria Rose said...

I'm a pro-life vegan actually surprises me that more vegans aren't pro-life.

I stand somewhere in the middle of conservative and liberal, it's strange that people jump to assumptions based on my diet.

Magdalen said...

I enjoy this quite a lot. I'm really quite sick of being lumped into some hippy pot smoking, lesbian group every time I talk about what I eat. As if though what you eat affects your politics and your sexual orientation. That's what I think is damn hilarious.

Rob Paterson said...

I'm vegan, and liberal—but not of the pot-smoking hippie type—but certainly think more conservatives should be vegan. You'd think pro-life would translate to pro animal life as well, but I guess not.

The Curvy Catholic said...

Another conservative pro-life vegan here! Thanks so much for your lucid explanation of this position - I totally agree, but was having difficulty articulating my reasons to my husband.

Luella said...

Hmm... I'm an open-minded Buddhist vegan pro-life pro-choice pro-woman who is attracted to the same sex and doesn't do drugs or alcohol. What labels have I forgotten?

I actually only use a couple of those labels. But honestly, I am pretty sure there's no such thing as a pro-war vegan, philosophically speaking. In lifestyle, perhaps, but not in philosophy. I know lots of "vegans" who actually think consuming animals is perfectly fine as long as it doesn't involve factory farms.

Veganservative said...

Wow, Sarah Palin's speech writer is vegan? That makes me like her even more!

I think one of the reasons that many vegans are liberals is that advocacy of animal rights often involves government regulation, which most conservatives think is harmful to the economy.

I am vegan, and I have to agree with conservatives on the government regulation question. If I were president, I would support funding to things such as cloned meat, and that kind of technology. I would also try and incentivize the meat industry to practice more ethicly, but not through regulation, through subsidy of ethical treatment of the livestock.

Amanda said...

If I were president, I'd do the best thing for everyone and subsidize people who grow produce and make healthy vegan meals. I'd also support truth and accountability in advertising. Why would I settle for something less? If the public had any idea what they were supporting, they wouldn't.

Anyway, great blog, I'm so glad you wrote it! I am also vegan, prolife, and hate drugs and promiscuous sex, but I am liberal in most other respects. It's hard for me to find a political identity, which is why I don't. I make decisions based on empathy and logic. I don't need any God, politician, or role model to tell me right from wrong. However I came to be on this planet (I'm agnostic), I am equipped with a sense of morality and there is no reason to suppress that in exchange for some kind of hedonism. It could never fulfill me the way doing the right thing does.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing what I've been struggling with on a daily basis myself. It's a lonely world out there for us conservative vegans. My fellow liberal vegans stop talking to me once they find out my political views and my fellow political pals just classify my as a PETA lunatic. I knew you guys had to be out there somewhere!!

conservegan said...

Hi there! Well, you can add me to your growing list of conservative vegans. I just started my own blog, - I plan to create a link list of conservative vegan sites/blogs - may I add your link to it? thanks!

americanvegan said...

You are not alone! It is so great to see others stepping up. Thanks for your post- I, too, have started a blog about being a christian conservative vegan...there have GOT to be more of us out there!

deedleweedle said...

I've been vegan off and on for a couple of years and find it very frustrating that every time I try to find good vegan information websites, I also have to read left wing wacko diatribes. Newsflash to liberal vegans: If you really want to get the message out about healthy eating and animal rights then keep the liberal rants out of it. It is a total turnoff!

Anonymous said...

I know you posted this a while ago, but I just googled "conservative vegan" and this popped up. You totally made my day. Just this morning I was talking to my therapist about how I must be the only pro-life, conservative, Fox News-watching vegan out there. I struggle with my identity for the exact reasons you stated above--people ASSUME that if you're vegan, you must be a pro-choice, weed smoking tree hugger. It's very frustrating. Thank you for putting my thoughts and the things that are so important to me into words!

Anonymous said...

I've been a lifelong conservative...and meat eater. For the past couple years I have been trying to understand where our food really comes from. I'm at a point now where I'm making an effort to rid my diet of meat and dairy products. I would like to be able to visit a grocery store and find food that's fresh, honest and fair. I think we would be healthier as a country. Today I saw a Peta ad where a girl stripped down to nothing. Leave it to our permissive culture to take something good...and cheapen it.

Free-of-Jews said...

I am a Conservative Libertarian (although not Republican) and I just became a Vegetarian. I plan on becoming vegan over time. I am not "pro-war" in the way that it has been carried out recently. Although, I would support just wars if they became needed. I am pro-life, pro gun rights. I am pro gun rights because people need to protect themselves from a tyrannical government. People killing animals is their own choice I guess, although I don't support the idea of killing them for game (or any other reason). I am for small government. I don't believe in the concept of global warming, so saying that animals cause global warming is not a good argument in favor of being vegetarian. I care about how the animals are treated, and also it is healthier to eat vegetarian! Adam and Eve were vegetarians. The first time God allowed meat to be eaten was after the flood. I don't think it was the ideal plan. It was just PERMITTED.

Johnny B said...

A true conservative loves steak, buffalo wings and hot dogs. Communist liberal thought police try to force their food fads down everyone's throat. If a sissy, wussy liberal is bothered about stuff like cholesterol or trans fats, that's his/her/its business. Corporations have First Amendment rights and should free to label foods as they choose. Schools and workplaces should not be forced to give in to liberal Stalinism about "healthy choices".

Pablo S. Guapo said...

I've been a conservative for years, but only recently have come to the conclusion that I can't be a part of the inhumane and downright torturous treatment of any of God's creatures, especially the innocent ones. While I'll never try to tell someone what to do with their own life or their own body (I'd never dare try to mandate that stuff either) I can still make my own choices for my own life and body.

I stumbled upon your blog today while searching for answers to my personal conservative/vegan paradox. Thanks for doing what you do. I don't feel quite so alone now.

Anonymous said...

I've been vegan for 16 years and "conservative" for a lot longer. I protect innocent life and I believe in the rights of the individual to be free of government meddling. I'm drug-free, vegan and anti-abortion. I see no contradictions in my beliefs.

AnimalWrites said...

Hmmm, I commend you for recognizing the illogic in labelling all vegans as liberals, which seems a form of confusing cause and effect (a logical fallacy). Vegans often get labelled as liberals, however, not just because there are a lot of vegan liberals, or stereotypes and such. Veganism is a dramatic change from the norm. The norm in North America, especially Canada and the US (I'm from Canada) is resoundingly one of factory farming and more fundamentally animal commodification and objectification. That is not to mention that the latter is our tradition, our heritage.

It seems then that this is not a conservative position, in that it is not attempting to conserve anything; rather it is moving towards change (whether that is in the individual or a matter of governance). And, hey anyone who thinks on this issue clearly may recognize that something has been lost, and we need to conserve that which has been lost. That just seems like trying to fit everything into these strange political labels, however. Even if we want to return to the way things were, as a conservative mandate, that would not necessitate or even suggest veganism. We did not evolve vegan, nor has it ever been widely practical without the mechanisms of the modern world to become vegan. Veganism involves social and even political change, not conservation. Perhaps I am being too literal with the word "conservative", but it really doesn't mean anything to me as a political self-label on a person anyway; rather it seems more comprehensive to apply it, at most, to someone’s view on a particular issue.

Furthermore, animal rights is about changing laws and government regulation, not keeping things the way they are or returning to the way things were. As you’re aware, self-regulation is allowed in animal industries and that has been a resounding failure. Let us be honest too, it is only getting worse. I would not be surprised if someday, within my lifetime, 1 billion pigs are slaughtered in a year, if our planet can handle that anyway.

Yes, in America, “Conservative” is more than just a position to conserve; it is a label. Perhaps in this post/issue there is some confusion between political self-labelling and the issue itself. Is conservatism simply what conservatives (someone who calls themselves conservative) believe? In that case it is entirely subjective and essentially meaningless.

Also, for the other commenters out there, let us all remember that veganism is not just about diet. It is important to be careful with that. Ambiguity is great for creating different layers of meaning in literature and poetry; the same advantages do not apply when we are attempting to describe ourselves, however. We don't want people asking us if we wear leather, eat fish (or honey), or if we are going to participate in the good ol’ fashioned American past time of fishing (*hihyuck*-that’s a hillbilly chuckle) or teach it to our kids.

In the end, I am not saying that I am liberal, and I disagree ... I really don't care about those political labels. I guess in America (or Britain) that would make me liberal, or anarchist, or antichrist, or something like that, lmao! I'm just trying to create some clarity on this. The fact that some conservatives are vegan does not mean that veganism and animal rights are conservative (and liberal, neither, or both). To say so is to employ faulty logic, which is beyond liberal or conservative. The fact that there are “conservative” vegans does not mean that it is consistent or that it can be labelled as a conservative position, or labelled as bipartisan or nonpartisan. It is important that you raise the issue of whether or not conservatives can be vegan; however, it seems that that brings us to the point where the political labels seem kind of silly. If we take that political label seriously, which creates partisanship, veganism does not seem consistent with the labelling, of conservatism at least.

AnimalWrites said...

It wouldn't let me pust my whole post in there.

Here is the last bit:

This is the apparent argument of why conservatives can be consistently vegan, reduced to a syllogism:

A (Brian) is B (conservative)

A (Brian) is C (Vegan)

Therefore, conservatives can be consistently vegan.

Nothing has been said about the consistency of Brian’s being vegan. It is the undistributed middle term in this argument (speaking logically here, not “argument” in the colloquial). Nothing has been said about what actually matters.

Anyway, I respect you and what you are saying. I just disagree. I mean absolutely no offence whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

i am for "life and freedom". So I am vegan, pro-life, minimal-state, monarchist
Please visit my site, it contains some information about world

What are the effects of global warming? said...

I support your position! Right on. May you fight only to win your cause. and May we all wake up to a better world one of these days.

Mark Vanselow said...

A direct quote from the article above:

"Another stance of conservatives is pro-life. It would be only logical to extend a conservative viewpoint to respect all life."

Firstly, you shall find very few "conservatives" (whatever THAT means nowadays) who are truly pro-life. They are usually "pro-life in some cases" at best.

Secondly--let's be honest here--the authour's position is full of shit. He talks about extending the "pro-life" mentality to all living creatures. I guess that warm and fuzzy idea turns cold when it comes to invading sovereign nations and indiscriminately butchering countless foreigners.

Thirdly, anyone who equates communism with veganism (as one jerko did in the Comments section above) is a complete moron. None of the Marxist/socialist parties in my city hold veganism/animal rights as a core value. In fact, mention animal rights to your garden variety red and you shall most likely get a blank look. When I decided to become vegan, I sure as hell didn't have a copy of the Communist Manifesto in my mitts.

As a matter of fact, let me take this one step further: the majority of people in the Greens party in my country are NOT vegan...not even vegetarian.

Speaking for myself, I am a vegan, pro-life, anti-war, anti-capital punishment (war is a form of capital punishment in case you haven't worked it out).

I find it ridiculous that so-called "conservatives" wish to protect children from abortion (a noble stance) yet obviously don't care if defenceless infants are disintergrated in an air strike in some foreign country.

Also, not everyone fits into either the "conservative" or "liberal" pigeonhole. Too many people choose a side, THEN customise their lifestyle to fit in with their "team", instead of working out what they believe on an issue-by-issue basis first, THEN worrying about where that puts them.

And if the sum total of your beliefs makes you neither liberal nor conservative, who gives a damn? What's the matter: people can't think for themselves anymore?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post!

Anonymous said...

I'm a Christian vegetarian but am Independent...I'm pretty much pro-life, I would rather rape/incest victims get counseling to prevent abortion if possible, but everyone else is s.o.l...I definitely don't like left wing health care gun, but mainly for protection rather than hunting...I'm more for less immigration laws, but mainly because I think asian & latino guys are hot and have sexy accents, but if you bring in drugs or slaves then something like permanent deportation for marriage is neutral to me, just keep it out of my face...being Christian I support Israel but I really don't know what going on over there with the war or what it's about, but if we (USA) have "real friends" that are getting picked on then I support sending troops to help out...I know the death penalty is allowed in the Bible, but I'd rather give them as long as possible to change/convert...and lastly in the Bible it does say something like "if your friend doesn't eat meat then don't eat meat in front of them" which is like God saying "hey don't pick on the vegans, they're cool with me", so that goes back a long way in time.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I'm centre-right and I agree with your perspective on animals.

I would be OK with it if very humane methods were used such as gas based methods which put an animal into a sleep first.

For me it's all about the sentience of the animal. They will suffer just as much as we would and so it is right that if we are going to eat them, that we should do it in a compassionate way.

I also regret that it seems to be associated with the left because it pushes conservatives away (stigma) and I also seriously doubt the motivations by some of this demographic. I think not as many are really concerned about the suffering of the animal and rather have other reasons.

One point I think is true is that compassion for sentient beings is not a political alignment issue but is based on one's own ability to empathise with the sentience of another creature.

VeganPatriot said...

I'm a Conservative Vegan and proud of it. Compassion is a Conservative virtue, so being a vegan conservative makes perfect sense and neither of those ideals have conflicting principles. Being in Los Angeles i am surrounded by liberals and most all of the vegans i know are liberal. i use to stay quiet while they would spout off nonsensical, progressive rhetoric. I can't do it anymore, though. I'm smart, informed and don't mind challenging the college kids at vegan festivals trying to get me to sign some progressive petition. I am so tired of the liberal stereotype, that i make it my mission to break it. Hmmm... maybe i am pro-war after all.

Anonymous said...

maybe you should follow the same advice i give liberal vegans all the time

"shut the hell up about your personal life and stop being an attention starved baby who needs validation constantly"

nobody gives a flying fuck what you eat, you self-righteous prick.

KL said...

Am I the only liberal vegan here? I'm not just center-left, actually; I'm a socialist (though one who highly values individual rights outside the economy) and, at times, a pretty self-righteous atheist.

I know one regular vegetarian who is a conservative. All of the other vegetarians and vegans I know are liberal in some form.

Anonymous said...

Right-wing vegan here! We do exist!

Isn't it incredible that pro-lifers are often killers of animals, and vegans are often killers of babies. Makes zero sense!

Anonymous said...

Found this site and was happy to find any other vegan conservatives out there. Sure is a lonley existence -- Hope we can break the if-vegan-then-liberal bond.

Anonymous said...

"You would be amazed how many people think, because I’m a vegan, I’m automatically a raging liberal. I’ve never understood this. For some reason, when I first tell someone, “Hey, I’m a vegan”, they think they know all of my political and lifestyle choices. One person, the first time I met him, even invited me to the largest drug selling event in all of the North East! He must have confused me with a weed smoking, free loving, dreadlock having, hacky sack playing, vegan hippie."

-- And you did your own bit of stereotyping with the following:

"weed smoking, free loving, dreadlock having, hacky sack playing, vegan hippie."

All weed smokers are free loving? Folks with dreadlocks all smoke weed? Hack sack players are all of the above?

See how that works?

profwatson said...

I am a vegetarian-vegan purely for health reasons. Sometimes I do fall off the wagon. But as the Swami said, it is the goal.

Deva said...

I've been a Vaishnava vegetarian all my life. The Vedas (the eternal texts actually spoken by God Himself) state emphatically that animal slaughter is the number one reason for the destruction of our environment. If you are not ready for the seemingly subtle facts beyond the senses, such as the animal torture and murder is offensive to Krsna (God) and his associates, then at least try to recognize the toll this industry has on the environment. Unless you are a vegetarian / vegan, you are most certainly not a conservative. Conservatives should ask themselves what they are actually conserving - their intelligence, their consciences, their compassion, their sanity?