Saturday, April 15, 2017

Omnivores on the right

In a podcast on veganism, two red-pilled herbivores lament the putative association between veganism and leftist politics. Richard Burgess implies this is some sort of new phenomenon*.

If Hitler's vegetarianism gave it cachet on the right, that effect had long since worn off by the nineties. I can still vividly recall a time during my coming of age when a group leftist activists throwing paint on patrons coming out of an Alaskan Fur store.

A couple of times in the mid-nineties the GSS asked respondents if they avoided eating meat for "moral or environmental reasons" (I realize this is effectively grouping vegetarians and vegans together, but we work with what we have). The percentages of those who said they did so either "always" or "often", by political orientation (n = 2,792):

Compare that to hunting, the following showing the percentages who hunt or have a spouse who hunts, by political orientation:

Two decades ago liberals were 51% more likely to avoid meat than conservatives, while conservatives were 49% more likely to hunt than liberals.

It's as reasonable to associate not eating meat with political liberalism as it is to associate hunting with political conservatism.

GSS variables used: HUNT(1-3,4), NOMEAT(1-2), POLVIEWS(1-3,4,5-7)

* It's worth noting that he is from Canada and Tara McCarthy is from Great Britain while the subsequent evaluation of their assumptions comes entirely from US data, so the trends may not hold across the Anglosphere.


The Z Blog said...

In the movie Sleeper, Woody Allen plays the quintessential cosmopolitan liberal and he is the owner of a health food shop. He is a vegetarian. That was 1973 so for at least to half a century now, vegetarianism has been associated with the Left in America.

Nature cults in the West seem to have their origin in southern parts of Germany. The first "hippies" in America were Germans, who migrated to America. Many ended up in California. There are stories from the 30's and 40's of them camping in the Hollywood hills and advocating various "natural" diets.

The Nazis really into this stuff were from Austria and the Munich area. Even today, the Green Party is a major party in Austria, despite being mostly a fringe party everywhere else in the West. For some reason, nature cults have been strong in this region of Europe. The Czechs have always had a thing for this stuff too. It's also where the first revolts against the Catholic Church started.

Of course, cults always seem to include appeals to nature, along with special diets. The Jews are the most obvious example. Pythagoras was a mystic as well as a mathematician. His cult adopted vegetarianism in the 6th century BC. Throughout the classical period, cults came equipped with diets and food rituals.

A pretty good rule is that the appearance of a magic diet coincides with magical thinking.

chris said...

In Australia vegetarianism and veganism has the same associations as in America.

Audacious Epigone said...


Thanks for corroborating my impressions.


New Zealand, too?

chris said...

I would not know as I have never been to New Zealand but I would imagine it does. Although I get the feeling that New Zealand is slightly more left wing in general than Australia. In some ways they are to Australia what Canada is to America.