Oct 072013

There is a remarkable essay by Matthew Scully at National Review Online this morning. I had no idea how long it was when I began reading it, and it’s probably too long to manage at work. Save it for when you have 20 or 30 minutes to read it carefully.

Be warned that it will likely make you uncomfortable, perhaps even greatly so.

One of my dad’s old friends used to tell a childhood story of sneaking out on the roof after he’d been put to bed. He would lie with his feet against the chimney and listen to the adults talking below. When he wanted to go back to bed, he’d lean up, grab either side of the chimney, and pull himself up.

Over time, he weakened the brickwork enough that one night he did it and pulled about a hundred pounds of chimney back onto his chest. (He wasn’t hurt, and my dad’s friend told this very humorously.)

It’s an apt metaphor for how I feel after reading the above essay. It’s sitting on my chest, not doing much of anything but being heavy and uncomfortable right now.

I’ll have to do something about it.

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 Posted by at 11:05 am

  5 Responses to “A vegan conservative speaks”

  1. I am 3 pages in and will have to return to the article. I come at this whole thing from a very different angle (my view on abortion is that the appropriate person to determine when/if it is necessary is the mother, who is in the best position to understand the needs of herself and he family. Legislating morality and sanctimoniously pushing “what is best for you” onto other people causes more problems than it solves in that it delays even medically necessary abortions, pushing them to become late term abortions. Well that and the fact that the whole “what is best for you” attitude is often what prevents these women from having access to birth control in the first place. And I’m getting really off topic now, so I’ll stop here.)

    Anyway, where I was trying to head is that, yes, I come at this from a different place, but am slowly reaching (what I assume are) similar conclusions. Not so much that I want to go vegan, but that I want to get a chest freezer and buy our meat from local farmers, where I know the animals had a decent life. I have little problem with the idea of eating animals, but I have a real problem with the commoditization of living creatures. Where this gets sticky for me personally, is restaurants. Because the only way to avoid supporting Big Agra completely is to eat only at restaurants which locally and sustainably source all of their ingredients. Second best is to eat only vegetarian dishes when you eat out, to at least eliminate supporting the suffering of animals. It’s something I’ve been mulling over, on and off, for a long time.

    I look forward to reading the rest of it, and I’ll be interested to see where this mulling takes you.

  2. I had never paid much attention to all of the shrieking about inhumane farming practices, because it’s almost always packaged in and around ridiculous crap like trees having souls and fish being the kittens of the sea and what-not. Easy for me to write off.

    This essay does a great job of making me say hey, wait a minute. Yes, there’s a lot of smoke here, but there’s also some fire. Even if I’m never going vegetarian—an assertion about which I’m pretty confident—there are reasonable, considered steps I can take to support the right ways to do things. Local farms have a role, for sure. I’m set up to get most of our eggs that way now. Longer post(s) coming on that.

    Scully ties abortion to it as well (which is a connection I had not thought of, and one which makes the piece usefully provocative). He is pro-life and I am not, though I have said for some time that a civilized society ought to be able to agree on the most heinous practices going on, and eliminate them.

    As with that, so with factory farming.

  3. I’ll have to give this a read. I too don’t think I can accomplish that at work given I see 10 13 pages to the editorial.

    I’m aware of an uprising against “big ag” (Mostly complaining about Monsanto and a push for “free range” meats as well as “Organic” produce) and I’ve been meaning to research into what everyone is up in arms about.

    I’m quite hesitant to latch on to any big movement blindly without giving due diligence to researching those that are for and against said movement. I’m always weary of the fact that in this day and age, there’s likely to be a good marketing and PR campaign stealthily at play, and someone with a big check book as the puppeteer.

    I am much more willing to embrace local economies with a lot less thought though. I’ve heard of a rising trend in local produce and meat co-ops, which is something I’ve been debating getting in to. I too am like MrsDragon, in that I feel I’ll need a deep freezer before I can really get into any kind of local bulk meat purchases, which interests me more than produce. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good spot for one at the moment, but I’m hoping to change that in the future.

  4. I did finally make it through this article. Admittedly, it was uncomfortable reading at times. Like you, Bo, I never had really tied animal cruelty/farming to abortion, but I do get some of the connection there that the author is trying to convey. This article is basically ‘Fast Food Nation’ on steroids combined with some ‘Silent Scream’ thrown in for good measure. I, too, am pro-choice for many of the same reasons that MrsDragon lists. Like you, I doubt I will ever be completely vegetarian, but after reading ‘Fast Food Nation’ I did change my thoughts (and choice of foods) considerably about mass farming of animals for consumption and “pleasure for pleasure’s sake, man.”

  5. I broached the topic with Lea tonight. I hadn’t been quite sure how to do it. She was more receptive than I thought she’d be.

    We’re going to change how we buy meat, milk, cheese, and eggs pretty substantially over the next few months.

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