Liberal/Conservative Divide

Forest Nymph

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I think there is a clear liberal and conservative divide on vegans and vegetarians. Less than 2% of American registered Republicans identify as EITHER vegetarian or vegan, while between 16-17% of American Democrats are vegetarians, and American Democrats are between 2.5-3 times more likely to be vegan than Republicans.

I am a fan of some vegan activists who are obviously conservatives, but they also obviously live in other countries. Vegan Gains lives in Canada so would be considered liberal in the US with his hardcore environmentalism and vegan beliefs, but is actually conservative in his approach to politics, economics, and even marriage. That Vegan Lawyer lives in Australia, and would be no doubt liberal in the US for being a mouthy vegan but also a loud feminist. But she also loves Candace Owens and is pretty obviously to me not a liberal in her own country (I've often questioned where I'd fall in a different country, tbh).

I also complain about the bullying and religiosity of American traditionalists in terms of meat consumption et al.

ON THE OTHER HAND, I realized when I was ranting in another thread about roommates that some of the most respectful non-vegan roommates I had were conservatives. On the other hand. I also grew up in the South. So even as a liberal, I practically used to bow like an Asian grandmother to my exes Mexican father in my early 20s when we lived in his parents house. I've also easily lived with traditional Catholic South American people for a few years in LA, because there's something about being Southern that just sets you up to respect other people in their homes.

Imagine my shock, loving California overall as a whole, and the tolerance I enjoyed in work and school settings of different lifestyles then finding in intimate interpersonal interactions that liberal California people are some of the most interpersonally selfish, disrespectful people that have walked the Earth. I'm serious. I have lived a total of 15 years outside of the South and I still continue to be shocked sometimes by how people in California behave (and you see very well how I behave!!!) That's because I was pretty much raised with a level of certain decorum, that even if you're the town drunk who burns down villages, you honor people in their home and naturally obey the 10 Commandments. I just never questioned why someone wouldn't do this in another person's home. It actually makes me a more "tolerant" vegan than you might imagine from knowing me online in formal settings like work, school or other people's homes. Like you just don't do that IN OTHER PEOPLE'S HOMES. The young men I've known in CA free of jobs who live yet with their mothers and seem entitled to female support past the age of 21, the men and women I've met who feel like the ultimate "moral" is tolerance or passivity. Meaning that OVER AND OVER I've encountered living in a four bedroom home with roommates, people who expressed surprise that they were expected to honor the morals of other people who lived in the same home, or people who felt that saying "no" firmly was somehow aggressive. I actually had a teacher tell me this in college. "You say no to people very aggressively. I think that's normal on the East coast. People in California don't really do that."

It's like having healthy boundaries or house rules is against the moral law here. It's worse to ruin someone's mellow than to bring animal products flagrantly into a vegan's home or to spread COVID-19.

TBH, I know that people are also spreading COVID flagrantly in places like Florida. But Florida isn't really South just FYI and all "true Southerners" know it's a white trash hell that is populated by trailer park swamp dwellers. I can't even believe I'm pulling that card, but it's true. My dead Republican grandfather would roll in his grave if he knew Donald Trump was president.

I just find this to be an interesting dynamic and I think it should be explored more openly. I see even my own bias as categorizing leftists or liberals more freely as "vegan allies" but that hasn't always been my experience. Also animal rights intellectuals have posted entire documents about what exactly is wrong with secular humanism, so I'm not alone here.

Anyone else think about this at all?
 
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Indian Summer

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I suppose it's not so surprising that there's a divide since conservatives almost by definition are big supporters of tradition, and vegetarianism is not a very old tradition anywhere in the Western hemisphere.

I've never met a particularly conservative vegan or vegetarian in real life, I don't think, so I don't have a good idea of their reasons.

Since you mentioned the liberal - conservative divide in more general terms as well: I remember when growing up in the 1980s and 90s in Norway there was no such thing. The political divide was left vs right. Political discourse was dominated by questions about taxes and the economy. Immigration became an issue towards the end of the 80s, and the EU membership question was a big issue in the first half of the 90s. The conservatives were a small minority of Christians, sometimes viewed as the loonie fringe by society in general. The small Christian People's Party was actually considered a centrist party on this axis. Their greatest achievement was the ban on smoking indoors in public places, something I will forever be thankful for. And they've never been really anti-immigration - often they argue that Norway should accept more refugees, particularly children, because that's the Christian thing to do, after all.

I think the point I'm trying to make is that liberal vs conservative doesn't have to be the main political diving-line in a country. Also, this can change over time. And Christianity in politics can be a force for positive change, although it depends on what kind of coalition they form. In the US it seems they sadly often team up with socially reactionary (anti women's liberation, anti gay people, anti environment protection) and anti-immigration forces.
 
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fakei

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Maybe vegetarianism is an erased memory in the West but the tradition is at least as old as Pythagoras. By coincidence just happened to be reading about Gloria Swanson who was both.
 
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Indian Summer

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Maybe vegetarianism is an erased memory in the West but the tradition is at least as old as Pythagoras.
Yes, that is true of course. There have various been vegetarian groups in the West going back to Pythagoras - most of the older ones were religious in nature. I don't think you can say any of them were part of a single, coherent, unbroken tradition until at least the early 1800s, and the practice hasn't been particularly widespread until recent times.
 
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Lou

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I have yet to meet a vegetarian or vegan who was republican, and/or conservative. IRL i don't know that many vegans or vegetarians but thanks to VF I feel like I know quite a few .... um... virtually.

I don't think there is nearly the divide between religious and nonreligious vegans. And that doesn't surprise me. In fact, if there is something surprising to me is that there are more vegan Catholics (or for that matter other peoples who are devout). I watched that documentary on vegans and faith and it seemed pretty clear that the two things were compatible.

With that said, I think there are lots of vegan atheists. (raises hand). Unless you live in India or something going vegan is at least a little anti-establishment. Most of our Western vegans have rejected the beliefs of our society and parents. Thinking for yourself, questioning commonly accepted beliefs, and stuff like that seem to be prerequisites for going veggie. If you can question beliefs you might find that parts of the bible can be rejected and then I think you may end up rejecting the whole thing.

Here in America, in the days of Pre-Trump, the big political issues were guns and embryos. But I feel like those points of divisiveness have shrunk. Now I think the lines of division is more basic. Mr. Summer brought up how in Norway immigration has become an issue. And I know that is also an issue in most parts of Europe and here in America. And I think the "immigration issue" is at least partly founded on racism.

I'm pretty sure ethical veganism is incompatible with racism. How can you believe that animal rights matter if you don't think people's rights don't matter. I was going to say "lives" instead of "rights" but at the last second, I veered away from that cliff. :)
 
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fakei

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Agreed. However while Christianity completely obliterated the idea of avoiding meat for the sake of the animal that was promoted by ancient Greek philosophers, the practice of vegetarianism as a form of ascesis or to facilitate spiritual practices was incorporated in the Christian tradition. It was found in the Desert Fathers who lived on bread only or on a vegetarian diet, in Catholic monastic orders on strict vegetarian diets or meat restrictictions varying with the order, among Orthodox monks and in food restrictions that limited the consumption of meat and latter adopted by offshoots of protestantism like the SDA.
 
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fakei

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I have yet to meet a vegetarian or vegan who was republican, and/or conservative. IRL i don't know that many vegans or vegetarians but thanks to VF I feel like I know quite a few .... um... virtually.

I don't think there is nearly the divide between religious and nonreligious vegans. And that doesn't surprise me. In fact if there is something surprising to me is that there are more vegan Catholics (or for that matter other peoples who are devout). I watched that documentary on vegans and faith and it seemed pretty clear that the two things were compatible.

With that said, I think there are lots of vegan atheists. (raises hand). Unless you live in India or something going vegan is at least a little anti-establishment. Most of our Western vegans have rejected the beliefs of our society and parents. Thinking for yourself, questioning commonly accepted beliefs, and stuff like that seem to be prerequisites for going veggie. If you can question beliefs you might find that parts of the bible can be rejected and then I think you may end up rejecting the whole thing.
There are/were American public figures who are conservatives and vegetarians like the already mentioned GS.
 

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There are/were American public figures who are conservatives and vegetarians like the already mentioned GS.

Don't you think Pre Eisenhower Republicans would be democrats today? :)

I don't know enough (or really anything beyond the Wikipedia article I just skimmed) about GS, but I'm guessing her vegetarianism was based more on personal health than ethics.
 

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I have yet to meet a vegetarian or vegan who was republican, and/or conservative. IRL i don't know that many vegans or vegetarians but thanks to VF I feel like I know quite a few .... um... virtually.

I
🙋🏼‍♀️ Lol

Although I’m not sure how conservative I am, anymore, since meeting up with people, first on Veggieboards, then veggie views, and now vegan forum. 😁
 

fakei

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Don't you think Pre Eisenhower Republicans would be democrats today? :)

I don't know enough (or really anything beyond the Wikipedia article I just skimmed) about GS, but I'm guessing her vegetarianism was based more on personal health than ethics.
Don't understand much of American politics but Wikipedia says she supported Barry Goldwater and modern conservatives don't seem more conservative than him.

Don't know if this is true in the US but animal activism seems to be more present in politics than in the past and the right definitely took the side of the hunters and the food industry, or the bullfighters in my country. Maybe because of that it didn't make so much difference for a vegetarian in the past the political affiliation as it does today?
 
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Lou

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Oh, I forgot that you were from Portugal.
And again I don't know much about Gloria Swanson but Barry Goldwater was a racist. One of his main planks to his platform was to segregate schools. School segregation is racist. so....

Animal activism is just barely present in American politics. This is probably debatable, and probably my opinion is shaded a lot by my own experiences, but I think up until about 4 years ago, animal rights were showing up more and more in mainstream politics. but I think since Trump showed up it has gone back a step.

For instance, it's hard to get all worked up on animal rights when people's rights are being violated. It's like we have bigger worries now or something. I mean, it's bad to keep animals in cages. but now we put children in cages. I think we need to get the people out of cages first.

However, there are some good things happening. Booker and Warren are promoting a bill to outlaw big factory farms. And it is getting a surprising amount of support. I don't think the people who support it realize that if you outlaw big factory farms you pretty much eliminate cheap meat. I'm not going to tell them. I'm sure the Republicans will. (they are coming for your hamburgers!)
 

fakei

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Maybe Wikipedia got it wrong about GS, in a Mike Wallace interview she sounds quite liberal and very humane. She also practiced Yoga.

Hope things get better there, that sounds really bad.

The political system here is different but we have seen changes that were unthinkable in terms of animal rights some decades ago and thus the reason for saying that. Have the impression that at least in some European countries similar things have been happening.Here an animal rights party got a sit in parliament, now they have several sits, and got baned the killing of abandoned animals, although this did not work very well due to increased number of animals in the shelters. They also promote veganism, try to outlaw bullfights and implement the practice of mindfulness in hospitals among other things.
 
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Lou

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Hmm. and maybe I was too quick to judge Barry Goldwater. I labeled him racist because he opposed the civil rights act. but he was a supporter of desegregation.
 
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Fact is that you can't press people into stereotypes and label them one or the other.

Most people I know (including myself) don't have "mostly liberal" or "mostly conservative" views. They're not all "conservative" or "liberal". It heavily depends on the subject.

When it comes to topic x one might have a more conservative view on it while on topic y that same person's opinion would be classified as "liberal".
 

NYC Gardener

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I definitely eschew the divide. I have my own complex opinions on things.

We have some conservative vegans here on this forum.

I don't know if I've ever met a Republican vegan or even vegetarian. Many seem to be Democrats or hold non-mainstream views. Anarcho-primitivist, sure. And that could be viewed as ultra-conservative.

Ironically, what I encounter every so often is the anti-veg argument that vegetarianism is bad because supposedly the Nazis were into it. I have been told that Nazis popularized vegetarianism and that therefore it's a bad idea. Sigh. Offline. This goes beyond the, "Everything on the internet eventually gets compared to Nazis," rule, whatever it's called (there is a term for it).

So, if there is any truth to this, there have been fascist vegetarians.

On another note, I highly doubt that vegetarianism is brand new in any part of the world. I'm sure there have always been vegetarians by circumstance even if they didn't choose it.

Today, everything is really monolithic and branded. We're sold extreme opposite ways of life - liberal versus conservative. That's unnatural, and insulting to our intelligence.

Veg*nism doesn't have to align with any particular political viewpoint. It's just a diet.
 
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Lou

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The whole nazi thing comes from that Hitler towards the end was a vegetarian. But BFD he was also a Christian.

And we can assume that he was vegetarian for personal health reasons.
 

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I read Nazi Germany banned animal experiments too. With the exception of certain humans that is :(
 

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The whole nazi thing comes from that Hitler towards the end was a vegetarian. But BFD he was also a Christian.

And we can assume that he was vegetarian for personal health reasons.

I thought he and many of the other high ranking Nazis were neo-pagans.
 

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Nazis enforced animal rights legislation but the only famous vegetarian Nazi seems to have been Hitler, though like Lou said he only became completely ovo-vegetarian after the war started. Also, while he flirted with Christians I read somewhere he was not very fond of Christianity.

BTW while Hitler seems to have had conservative views the Nazis were not typical conservatives or fascists, they were also socialist, anti-family, neo-Pagans. Ernst Röhm was openly gay and Hitler when questioned about it didn't have a problem, although he latter got rid of him.
 
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