Friday, October 22, 2010

Conservative Vegans

 Earlier today I posted these thoughts on conservatives being vegan on another blog.  Here is everything that I wanted to say in reply to an interesting and intelligent post here:

"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.

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.  These are just ideas my friends."


  1. I as well am a conservative in my political views. I am in favor of smaller government. I also believe the government should get its nose out of my dinner plate. I am an oddity I guess to my friends and family. Because I do not tow the usual conservative line.

  2. Oh I think there are a lot of Conservative Vegans out here. Nutritionally focused more than animal rights focused to be sure. Still, being a dietary vegan does indirectly support the animal rights factions as eating no meat, fish, dairy or eggs reduces the demand and thus the environmental impact of eating animals (why are not all environmental liberals not vegan?). See more at