I lead a double life.
By day, I shop for organic produce in local health food stores and farmers’ markets. I talk with people about what’s in season, new vegan recipes, the next fermented food craze, and how to displaced cooked, junk foods — excuse the redundancy — in our families’ diets. I meet many people who are trying to reverse the hardship and disease that our modern food and medical industries have wrought. These are thoughtful people, open minded and willing to make huge changes in their lives. They are taking responsibility for their own health.
By night, I socialize with freedom lovers. I feel a true sense of relief that I can comment against taxes, inflation, government schools, in fact all manner of regulation and coercion. These people agree with me and show admiration for my choices in life. They are a fellowship of honest, moral and wise people. Libertarianism is a club in which I am proud to have membership.
Now, here’s the rub. I cannot without derision expose myself as a vegan to libertarians. Similarly, I cannot reveal my libertarian politics to vegans and escape with my life. What’s a vegan libertarian to do?
Whenever I go to a vegan potluck, I’m forced to listen to stories of greedy capitalists committing horrors that only tougher government regulation can dispel. I have to keep my mouth full of kale and carrots for fear that a libertarian sentiment may escape my lips. Only my favorite soup — an amazingly flavorful tomato avocado chowder that I invented myself, email for recipe — prevented the murder of Terry when she said, "I like paying taxes. The more I pay, the more money I get back." And mango lime pie was all that stood in the way of Vivian’s demise the day she patiently explained to me that licensing is essential for keeping the riff raff out. "Not just anyone can sell insurance…" Would that celery up the nose could have done her in.
The frustration is different although equally acute with my libertarian friends. When they comment on my habit of eating salad for dinner, I hide behind the excuse of having to watch my weight, adding, "Wow, that steak looks great." I suffer in silence as they hoot and laugh at the crazy “granola crunchers” who are so stupid to think that organic matters. And I’m itching to break it to them that wisecracks about coffee enemas do not demonstrate even the slightest comedic genius. If only I had the courage to wear my "Thomas Jefferson was a vegetarian" sweatshirt — but alas, I don’t.
I’ve been living a lie.
I know one thing I absolutely can’t do, and that is approach vegans for understanding. To confess my libertarianism would be tantamount to proclaiming myself the devil incarnate. I would no doubt be subjected to emotional, ad hominem, socialist tirades from which it would be impossible to recover a cordial relationship. I would be pilloried with invectives such as "capitalist" and sneered at for having no heart.
Yet, I can no longer live this life of dishonesty, not 24/7 anyway. Mainly because libertarians eschew the initiation of force, I’ve chosen to come out of the closet to the libertarian brotherhood and throw myself on your mercy.
I am a vegan. I am, in fact, the worst kind of vegan, the raw food kind. That’s right, not only do I eat exclusively fruits and vegetables, I refuse to cook ‘em, too.
On this very website, Brad Edmonds recently said, "[Y]ou tend to find more paleolibertarians among carnivores than among vegans." Is the converse true as well? Are there more carnivores than vegans among paleolibertarians? Or are there many vegan libertarians hiding their orientation as I do, constantly in fear of being outed and branded quasi-antivivisectionist Marxists? (Or is that neo-antivivisectionists?)
I make my confession with the intention of slaying my own personal demons, yes. But I have a higher purpose, as well. I aim to free my fellow oppressed vegan libertarians and bring unity to the movement. My sacrifice can mark the beginning of a new era of peace and understanding among carnivore and vegan libertarians. We have more in common than you may think. The forces of fascism are destroying both the food and medical industries. Surely, there can be agreement on that. And I have yet to meet a hawkish vegan, so if we discount the fringe pro-war Objectivists — please — here is more common ground.
Libertarians of the world unite. Let us drop the snide comments across the dinner table and pursue the struggle against our true enemy; call a culinary truce so that we may defend our homes and refrigerators. Let us shop, eat and fight for freedom in dietary harmony.
And please, pass the kelp…
Cathy Cuthbert [send her mail] is a wife and homeschooling mother, who does not cook fruit and vegetables somewhere on the Central Coast of — where else? — California. She is the editor of the email newsletter of the Alliance for the Separation of School and State, The School Liberator.