May 21, 2016

Why libertarians and conservatives should take veganism seriously (Part Two)

James CampbellRebel Columnist

(For Part One of this series, click here!)

The core tenet of Libertarianism is the non-aggression principle (NAP). Animal agriculture is a direct violation of the NAP. It is violent, cruel and exploitative.

For example, four per cent of cattle will be improperly stunned during the captive bolt technique and thus go through agonizing post-processing in a fully conscious state. (CONTENT WARNING):

Chickens are treated much worse, and often remain fully conscious while they’re plunged into scalding-hot water for defeathering. (CONTENT WARNING:)

Dairy farming isn’t much better. The cows' oversized and highly sensitive udders are usually burned in order to remove any hair, and the cramped conditions contribute to a life of suffering arguably much worse than if the cows were reared for slaughter. (CONTENT WARNING):

Clearly, the above examples are a blatant violation of the non-aggression principle which libertarians attempt to apply consistently with respect to people and to pets.

“Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages” – Thomas Edison

Veganism is a powerful tool for those who wish to fight against the encroachment of government into our personal lives on health and the environmental issues.

It is an undisputed fact that humans do not need to eat meat or dairy in order to survive, albeit with some very rare exceptions for more isolated tribes, like the Inuit and Bedouin. Every protein, vitamin and mineral can be obtained from a purely plant-based diet.

(Vitamin B12 is one exception, but this is less and less of a problem now that so many modern foods are fortified in it and it’s nothing a supplement can’t deal with.)

Not only is a plant based diet nutritionally adequate, but it would make us much healthier as a species.

It would reduce heart disease, if not virtually eliminate it. It would drastically reduce obesity and diabetes rates.

A 12-year Oxford study published in the British Medical Journal found that vegetarians outlive meat eaters by six years.

For these reasons, going vegan is one of the most effective ways to take personal responsibility for your own health and reduce dependency on ever-growing government healthcare programs.

In addition, a vegan diet is a non-coercive tool to mitigate greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4 instead of authoritarian approaches like carbon taxes.

Adopting a vegetable diet shares many similarities with "going off the electric grid" as many libertarians and conservatives dream of doing.

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” -Albert Einstein

Big government is the enemy of veganism

For those vegans who think a few high profile Republican elk-hunters are their worst enemies, think again.

Animal agriculture is directly subsidized by government such that 63 per cent of total food subsidies go to the meat and dairy sectors, and only less than one per cent goes to fruit and vegetable cultivation. (The rest go to nuts, legumes, cash crops, etc.)

These subsidies keep the meat and dairy industry afloat. Bernie Sanders, for example, is a proponent of dairy farm subsidies:

Why would any vegan support big government types like Bernie Sanders, who subsidize the dietary choices and health care costs of carnivores?

"Oh, but only the government have the power to ban meat." Banning meat would only create a black market which could lead to even greater animal suffering. In my opinion, meat eating will only decrease by cultural shift, not by legal decree.

"The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men." - Leonardo Da Vinci

Both vegans and the Right wish to make society more free and more compassionate. Vegans can oppose animal cruelty by opposing big government and the Right can oppose big government by adopting veganism. It’s a win-win situation.

If only both sides could stop mocking, and start listening to each other.

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commented 2016-05-23 17:49:49 -0400
Well, Al Rose, you seam to be engaging me so I must have gotten under your skin a little bit. In fact, you’ve even reverted to ad hominem attacks about my limited intelligence. If you truly were unaffected you would have ignored my post and moved on. Besides, my initial comments were in response to a short exchange between James Campbell and myself from part one of this article, and not directed at anyone who posted comments. And if you can’t recognize tongue-in-cheek comments when you read them, that’s not my problem. Have a nice day.
commented 2016-05-22 21:03:02 -0400
I read about a desert nomadic tribe that didn’t eat meat or vegetables, all living organisms were sacred. They basically roamed the edge of the desert as their cows fed on grasses on the fringe. These people would not even walk upon vegetation as they thought it had a soul. They survived by bleeding and milking their cattle. Perhaps this is what animal rights activist want us to do?
commented 2016-05-22 14:16:36 -0400
James Campbell commented – " ‘holier than though “Compassionate” types.’This is what people say about Libertarians too"

Not in any reasoned discourse outside cliquish dogmaic echo chambers.
commented 2016-05-22 14:11:23 -0400
MAURICE POTVIN you will have to dig a lot deeper in your bag of annoyances to annoy me, your comment just seemed pointless.
I could spew off about all the meat eating murderers, or meat eating child molesters,wife beaters etc , but there is no point to that because just because they eat meat does not mean this caused them to be that way as you seem hint with Hitler,as if just because Hitler was a vegetarian it caused him to go crazy and try to conquer the world
You called me a veggy crusader, show me one sentence in what i wrote that indicates that.
I made it quite clear but maybe not clear enough for someone of your limited intellect,
I said it is a personal thing and i could care less what anyone else does , i do not force my views on anyone ,eat all the meat you want ,it does not bother me,
I was just relating my experience and views on the above story
commented 2016-05-22 13:57:03 -0400
Thanks for being SANE and morally consistent, James Campbell! I can’t help but laugh at all these silly libertarians and conservatives who fall for the same logical fallacies that they criticize leftists for. They’re just pissed at you for having the courage to hold a mirror in front of them. X-D

Keep up the good work!
commented 2016-05-22 08:35:01 -0400
Is this NEWS or propaganda? Fail to see the connection!
commented 2016-05-22 06:56:11 -0400
I am 51 and I eat meat, dairy, fruit, veggies, grains and legumes of all kinds. I only drink green tea, water, pure apple or orange juice and a little milk every day. We grow our own fruit and veggies, along with many herbs as well. I like a little wine for the stomach here and there, and I like a cherry cigarillo occasionally. I wear sunscreen and do not suntan. I walk and hike everywhere and only drive once every three weeks to do errands an hour away. We have a small gym in our garage with a weight machine, treadmill and punching bags. I grew up in a family where my mom was a registered nurse, my aunt was a registered nurse and my two uncles were doctors. This is how they taught me to eat and exercise and they still would teach the same today. My neighbor is a vegan and I always wonder why her hair is so dry, her skin is so pale and her face looks sluggish.
commented 2016-05-21 22:37:54 -0400
I worked for several years as a fabricator in a poultry plant. There is no way that a chicken was scalded alive. They are stunned electrically before going through the kill which a spinning blade that cuts their throats. Then the track they are hung from zig zags back and forth until they are bled out and die. This is not a 30 second procedure. It takes several minutes after the throat is cut. Then they go into the scalder and then the plucker. I never saw a bird moving when it went into the scalder. I never heard anyone talk about it happening.

This is one plant in the whole of North America but I’m pretty sure they operate the same way. In Canada the process is government mandated.
commented 2016-05-21 22:17:43 -0400
My point, Al Rose, is just annoy you, and other veggie crusaders just a little bit. In other words, no point really. I’m just having a bit of fun at your expense. If my comment annoyed you (just a little) then my work here is complete.
commented 2016-05-21 20:21:57 -0400
MATTHEW LEWIS You make a lot of good points, most people do not realize there are different forms of " vegetarianism"
Many would think a vegan is a vegetarian but not so, a pure vegan diet takes a lot of effort to get all the nutrients one needs.
Personally i don’t identify as a vegetarian, just someone who eats no meat. other people attach that label.
That being said, i have eaten no meat for 41 years, i am 71 years old, take no medication, i am as active as i ever was, just my 2 cents
commented 2016-05-21 20:12:43 -0400
MAURICE POTVIN Hitler being a vegetarian is old, old news , so what is your point, we vegetarians want to take over the world?
commented 2016-05-21 19:42:20 -0400
I stopped eating meat in the mid 70s , my reason is i do not believe in the killing of animals for food and no animal will suffer in my name.
I could not watch those videos, i already know what goes on and those places to me are pure evil.
It is personal, i know no other " vegetarians" i do not try to convert people, in fact my wife is a meat eater.
Some people care little about the suffering that goes on there, it is not new, i knew that in the 70s and made my choice then not to partake in the suffering of any animal.
I have voiced my opinion on this subject on other forums and usually i get attacked for my views.
The one i get a laugh out of most are those people who say, “well you eat a carrot and that is alive”.
Animals are living breathing beings with the capacity to feel pain, and in their own way, love, they experience emotions and i can only imagine the fear they feel when they hear the other animals in front of them crying in pain as they are being slaughtered, they must be terrified.
Personally , i cannot fathom how anyone could work at an evil place like that where death and suffering hangs in the air like a thick fog.
Call me what you like, bleeding heart or anything else you like, i could care less, it always seems when i voice my opinion on this and my choice it seems to bring out the defenses in people .
I don’t force my views on anyone but when i voice my opinion, as i said people attack me and try to force their meat eating down my throat.
Eat all the meat you want, i care less what you do, its a moral issue with me, no animal will suffer or die for me.
commented 2016-05-21 16:23:16 -0400
‘holier than though “Compassionate” types.’
This is what people say about Libertarians too
commented 2016-05-21 16:12:58 -0400
JAMES CAMPBELL – you read like a member of PETA, or one of these holier than though “Compassionate” types.

Same message – but now going after the conservative/libertarian crowd

Reads like a sermon/lecture where instead of trying to convince people to convert to your religion, you are trying to convince people to convert to your ideology, which many of whom view as religion as being “compassionate” they seem to think they are superior to those, in this case conservatives/libertarians who are vegans, are compassionately superior to those who are not.

I know a few vegans, they don’t try to convert me or act superior because they are vegans, maybe because they would not like meat eater treating them in a similar way.

I don’t think it is healthy in either extreme. Some meat and potatoes, whopper/big mac diet is not healthy, neither is abstinence of all meat and dairy products
commented 2016-05-21 15:46:58 -0400
I don’t eat ‘factory-food’, I mostly grow it, hunt it or forage it and this carnivore thinks that vegans are queer folk…
About the men you cited Campbell:
Thomas Edison – He stole Nicolai Tesla’s ideas and money…
Albert Einstein – He stole many ideas when he worked at the Swiss patent office.
Joe Biden – C’mon. The guy’s an idiot.
Leonardo Da Vinci – As much as I admire his many amazing mind, talents and abilities, he did keep a boy for a sex toy and he was a homosexual – the High Renaissance notwithstanding…
I suppose next you vegans are going to want to give personhood status to all the animals we breed for food…Hello Agenda 21/30.
commented 2016-05-21 15:08:10 -0400
I still don’t give a damn. I’m still going to eat meat, and what others do is done of my business. Oh, and I still think Hitler was a vegetarian, just to piss you off.
commented 2016-05-21 14:32:14 -0400
Being more libertarian minded I have no issue with people that choose veganism. I believe in freedom of choice. However I don’t think it is the healthiest diet. Nutritional deficiencies tend to crop up slowly years later as a health issue. It is often hard for the practitioners of the diet to realise that it is their eating habits that are to blame. They felt a huge positive change in health and vitality when switching to veganism, mainly because they unintentionally cut out most processed crap foods. However the nutritional deficiencies come on so slowly they have trouble making the connection.

It isn’t just vitamin B12. Vitamins A,D and K are problematic. Also certain essential fatty acids. Vegans will claim there are plant based versions or alternatives of these nutrients . In many cases these are precursors or inferior versions to those obtained by animal sources. Beta-carotene for example is not Vitamin A it is a precursor and is not always converted in the human body at a level needed for optimal health.

Vegetarians tend to do better then vegans health wise because they still consume some dairy, fish or eggs so are still getting some animal products, vitamins and fats in their diets. Vegans often qoute studies on Vegetarians as proof that veganism works. This is erroneous thinking because the inclusion of some animal products makes a huge long term difference in health.

Read my response in part one to see why the environmental argument for veganism is limited thinking. Vegans basically acknowledge the problems with modern agriculture and then come to the conclusion just doing less of it is the answer. I believe that big agra and corporations are behind pushing this mindset as it allows them to maintain control and market share. Instead I would propose switching to completely different systems of food production that by their nature tend to be decentralised. Of course this is counter to big government and big business interests.

As for the cruelty factor, once again vegans can’t see past the modern industrial system. Buying locally produced and slaughtered animals from small farmers will take care of most of the egregious abuses immediately. If killing livestock still bothers you vegetarianism is the better answer. Most small egg and diary operations do not treat their animals the way industrial agriculture does and they are not hurt or abused in the production of the milk or eggs. A lot of farmers will let you visit the farm if you have any concerns. It is important to do this as consumers. If enough of us switch to small local agriculture it will influence the mainstream market to do better.
commented 2016-05-21 14:23:05 -0400
commented 2016-05-21 14:22:14 -0400
commented 2016-05-21 14:13:23 -0400
A very thoughtful article. About time the Rebel published a different point of view. I hope I can look forward to those 6 extra years. Thank you.
commented 2016-05-21 13:45:11 -0400
Gabriel Scheare Thanks!
commented 2016-05-21 13:06:21 -0400
Fantastic articles, James. Thanks for putting in the time and effort. Much appreciated. :)
commented 2016-05-21 13:05:55 -0400
I don’t think we’ll be going vegan any time soon. We are however growing our own fruits and vegetables and will be introducing free range chickens and maybe a goat to the mix. Not because we’re animal rights people, but because food and electrical independence are important goals
commented 2016-05-21 12:57:23 -0400
Thanks James for the thoughtful articles.

I’ve been vegan for 6 years now, I’m healthy, have even gained 20 pounds (starting working out and weightlifting again too). The only supplements I take are Vitamin B12 and creatine.

I know it’s not for everyone but I do get sick of people saying it’s only for leftards and that it’s unhealthy. For those with a history of heart trouble in the family or obesity going vegan could save your life.
commented 2016-05-21 12:46:09 -0400
I cook for a very large family of mostly boys and men. Sometimes I cook in my kitchen for baby showers and other functions. The last shower I did was for fifty people. My freezers are stocked with red meat, poultry, pork and fish. There is stacks of bacon too and sometimes there is bear and dear meat courtesy of the hunters in my family. My fridge is stocked with dairy, fruits and veggies. My pantry is stocked with grains and legumes. Moderately eating of all the groups is beneficial and I haven’t any guilt about it no matter what any vegan says.
commented 2016-05-21 11:51:13 -0400
Okay… So where do I find the libertarians with three-digit IQs?
commented 2016-05-21 11:44:50 -0400
While I would not adopt vegan lifestyle in the near future, I see your point. I’ve raised animals before I moved to Canada and appreciate that every-time I eat meat, it is a result of a living being dying before it’s time and thus reminding myself that the energy that I gain from it better be put to a good use. The big government is certainly a problem that creates incentives towards large factory farms that anonymously slaughter millions of souls and sells them for dirt cheap to the end consumer. Municipalities ban local animal husbandry, including, ridiculously, chickens, thus alienating people from the animals that they consume. Lots of local people are into farming, but all the red tape and lack of proper food flea markets does not incentivise larger production and environmentally-friendly local trade. Thus, ridiculously, much of the greens are from South America (!).

Another ill policy is the ‘take nothing but pictures’ policies of the conservation areas. Just next door in Quebec, they got zones d’exploitation contrôlées. Every culture forages for vegetables, berries and fungii, but in the North American anglosphere, we treat ourselves at perversely separate from our natural environments, bc pointy headed govt pimps said that you can look, but can’t touch. The most ridiculous part is that various levels of govt hire squads of people to trample over everything in plucking garlic mustard and knot-weed, because nothing here is able to eat and keep the plants in check. Nothing, except for us humans, for whom they are delicious and nutritious legumes.

And don’t get me started on the milk, egg, poultry, pork, cheese, etc govt cartels in our provinces. Those pricks pour milk in the drain in order to keep the prices high, while families can’t afford a glass for their breakfast.
commented 2016-05-21 11:12:20 -0400
You fail in 3 of the core Libertarian ideals here with this fallacious argument James:

First a diet is not about “survival” but flourishing and remaining healthy – pure vegan diets lack essential aminos not found in non animal sources – these essential complex meat based aminos are critical to our immune system and cell regenerative functions and are part of our omnivore evolutionary metabolism – as a scientist you should know that but I assume are making these fallacious statement to be polemic.

Secondly, the “golden rule” of Libertarianism is not simply non aggression but citing the original crime as using force or coercion to make someone do something they do not want to do – unwanted force against a peaceful individual. As Libertarianism springs from natural law (the law of humanity in its natural state), an animal cannot be an individual because it is not a natural “person”, it has no capacity for reason, empathy or remorse. – It deserves only humane utility from us commensurate to its level of consciousness- IOW it is in the food chain as are we and when we utilise it we, being conscience-driven entities with the power of empathy, do not terrorize or torture our food or domestic stock by ripping it apart while alive and devouring it or causing it undue pain and stress. I wish Vegans had the same misplaced empathy for an unborn human as they do a chicken embryo. And where do we stop with this misplaced empathy? Does celery scream when you rip it apart live, can the plant feel terror? You are still in an upper rung of the food chain where some living thing must die so you can survive – so the moral appeal argument on diet is moot. Failure of reason and logic there James.

Lastly, using an appeal to emotional or fallacious argument about the morality of the food chain is quite different that what the vegan political front engages i – which is loby to remove choice of diet and intervention by the government to remove choice and damage producers. Very anti-libertarian James and not to be embraced as a liberty-based ideology because dogmatic veganism is about bullying others in their choice using the state as a sledge hammer. That is a greater threat of government intervention than any conservative ideal.

Summary: the proper ideological Libertarian approach to Vaganism is like most other Libertarian self directives; be vegan if you want, that’s your right but don’t force it on me, and don’t lie or manipulate me to make something of your chosen diet which it is not.
commented 2016-05-21 10:28:45 -0400

There are ethical considerations when dealing with animals and their death no doubt – torture should be discouraged or what are we?

On the other hand to say that factory farming is a violation of the NAP is stretching it because to do so would assume that animals have the same rights as human beings. They do not. They are not human beings – they are the property of human beings and are incapable of reciprocating the respect required to assume the mantle of these things we call “rights”. It is why we keep our dogs on leashes and are held responsible for their behaviour when they harm someone else or their property while off them.

The issue of how animals are treated in factory farms is one that the free market ought to take care of. It starts by exposing the truth as you did above and by embracing a personal mantle of ethics much in the same way that we might embrace a particular religion or any other ethical system of behaviour. So, while it is an example of callous behaviour it is not a violation of NAP per se.
commented 2016-05-21 10:17:28 -0400
I don’t want to live 6 years longer without my meat.