I’m always questioned by conservatives as to how I am vegan and why I would ever want to associate with something so liberal, and by liberals who question if I’m doing it for a joke.
My university recently changed our ice cream machine to vegan and so many times I was asked why ‘I did it’. Fellow vegan students, typically the Never Trumpers and SJWs, apprehensively look at my ‘What Would Reagan Do’ and ‘I Support Free Speech’ stickers and seem to get flustered. Why? Are they uncomfortable with my disrupting of status-quo-identity politics? Is it weird to wear my ‘Make America Great Again’ hat while at Vegan club? Perhaps this is my inner Milo Yiannopoulos coming out. As robust conservatives, we both share a unique appreciation for two not-so-conservative life choices.
Why I became Vegan
A brief overview of why I became vegan: On a Guatemalan mission trip in 2015, I decided to purchase a reusable water bottle to reduce the amount of money I had to carry around. I wound up keeping it and recording my daily water intake. After only one month, I saved 150 bottles. I did a project on this during my Advanced Placement Environmental Science class during my senior year of high school, a class that changed my perspective from the lackluster appreciation for environmentalism to a plant-based patriot.
Thankfully, I learned how modern American consumption methods have begun to see diminishing returns in the form of severe health problems and resource depletion. Honestly, all of the reasons for veganism were manifesting themselves so obviously; I woke up one December morning making a rash decision to be vegan and have never returned. Any reliable source can make a simply curious lurker an informed one; the information is there, it’s just up to us if we want to know it.
The Benefits Of Veganism
As for conservatism – Yes, there are clear economic benefits. As a conservative, I fundamentally take responsibility for myself, including my physical well-being.
I do appreciate the success of companies who have instigated factory farming; surely they are profiting largely and enjoying the increased ease resulting from the mechanism of food production. However, the first-world is so clearly marked by obesity tribulations and body positivity; health consciousness is real.
When did becoming overweight (more than 2/3 of Americans!) and when did steadily increasing chances for medical complications become the norm? A plant-based diet does wonders for the body and personally contributes to my fitness maintenance and goals. Each body and circumstance is different, but the facts are not. The necessity for physical health is unfalsifiable. The next time you’re in a Whole Foods Market, take a look at the customers around you. It is not just the wealthy who choose to eat clean, but it is people who prioritize it. Priorities and personal responsibility, this is the true foundation of conservatism!
The Christian Aspect Of Veganism
As for Christianity- Yes, Genesis tells us God gives us animals for human purpose. I find it hard to believe that God would approve of the complete and utter disrespect of some modern industrial animal farms as well as the gluttonous use of them as a resource.
While I do believe animals, plants, and nature are gifts given for our usage, I believe they should be used with respect. Check out this interview between vegan activists and public streetwalkers in Britain:
At 4:35, the interviewee, an outspoken Christian zealot, explains that God created animals for us but thinks it is the way we have come to farm that needs tweaking. At 10:15, she states that she thinks God is disappointed in modern methods. Interesting. Uscatholic.org says,
“ [Pope Benedict XVI] discussed his love of animals and echoed an idea found in Genesis and restated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: Animals are indeed God’s creation and therefore should be respected. He condemned factory farming, saying the commodification of animals is a sign that something is broken in the relationship between the creator and creation.”
As a Christian, I find moral obligation to speak and act out against this brokenness, and veganism is a simple solution.
The Ethical Aspect
As for veganism- Yes, there are ethical treatment and health issues associated with animal consumption.
The majority of vegans exemplify leftist principles such as animal rights and their rights to life. Though it’s not the sole factor of why vegans should continue plant-based eating, there is truth to this.
While words can be manipulated for the desired perspective to seem more attractive, the truth is that vegans do proclaim some real, horrifying facts. For example, some famed ones such as “660 gallons of water are required to make one hamburger” and “methane is 10x more potent than carbon dioxide” are quite blunt and gain immediate attention. Cowspiracy does a fantastic job at bringing animal treatment and ethics bluntly to its audience. There are some horrors of the agenda that I simply do not wish to contribute to.
The Status Quo
As with any argument, multiple perspectives must be personally weighed to our own lives. I have thoroughly invested time into learning about these topics, as they directly relate to my passion for politics, heath, and religion. They have established that IT IS OKAY TO DISRUPT THE STATUS QUO. It is okay to step out of the box of your political party or interest group while still being loyal.
After all, is life all not about learning? The way this is best done is through new and challenging perspectives. College campuses and their liberal bias stories are by no means lacking…
Yet in the midst of this identity politics culture, I proudly standby conservatism, Christianity, and veganism.