In her post, “Confessions of a Vegan Libertarian,” author Cathy Cuthbert describes the painful lie she lives, torn between ideologues with little compassion for the other.
At the thought of revealing her political philosophy to her liberal friends, she fears that she would, “be subjected to emotional, ad hominem, socialist tirades from which it would be impossible to recover a cordial relationship.” (She goes on to say some harsh words for libertarians, too.)
The position of the vegans raises some interesting questions.
First, I wonder how Cathy’s liberal friends would react if Cathy told them she believed in a different religion? What if Cathy was a vegan Baptist? Would they still be her friends? Or do we reserve a special venom for people who instead reveal their beliefs at the ballot box?
Second, I have to marvel at the contradiction between how a vegan views the idea of coercion.
If the topic is about forcing a chicken, cow or catfish to make a decision that harms them, but feeds others, the vegan clearly favors the liberty of the meat course. However, when you ask a liberal vegan if they endorse forcing a human to sacrifice if it help feed others, it’s a different story.
Why is the liberty of pigs somehow more important than the liberty of human beings?
Now, before we rush to the inevitable hyperbole of “libertarians want people to starve,” hold on a little longer.
Libertarians don’t want to starve children, destroy education, poison the environment or censor the arts. Libertarians donate to charity, read to children, volunteer at soup kitchens and do all the other acts of kindness associated with a being a person. However, they feel that people should be free to support their own causes. They believe that a moral act can only be performed with free will. Kindness at the barrel of the gun isn’t kindness. It’s orchestrated submission. And that’s simply unnatural.
Vegans, however, don’t embrace anything unless it’s natural. They think we should eat “as close to the earth” as possible. Our foods should not be processed in any way. Some take this belief to the point that we should eat raw foods instead of cooked ones.
Others vegans believe that naturalness in our food is not enough. We should avoid any artificial ingredients in our clothes, dish soap or toothpaste. We should eschew overly produced mass media. We should clear our minds with mediation to experience the stillness of the universe.
To these vegans, I ask, if natural is better in all things, then why not governance, too?
For in all the forms of governance that exist, only one is free from the pollutants of coercion and force.