Charlie's Blog: Travails of the Vegan Evangelist


Travails of the Vegan Evangelist

Vegetarians, and their Hezbollah-like splinter faction, the vegans ... are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit.

I love Anthony Bourdain. His show is the best thing on CNN now. The man is utterly entertaining in everything he does. He is the Evel Knievel of the culinary world. This man has eaten some of the tastiest food from virtually every corner of the world. He has also eaten some of its worst crap. This would include cobra, a seal's eyeball, and putrefied shark. The cool thing about being vegan is that it spares you from eating this crap. But Anthony Bourdain proves that he will try anything once.

I can understand Bourdain's disdain for a plant based diet. It cuts you off from a wide range experiences that life offers like cheeseburgers, cheesecake, foie gras, and explosive diarrhea. Of course, chastity and fidelity do the same thing as it cuts you off from homosexuality, S&M, bestiality, and gonorrhea. Life is full of trade offs, and I am glad that guys like Anthony Bourdain boldly venture where I refuse to go.

Veganism is not popular in the same way that chastity is not popular. People want their pleasures. If the pain that accompanies those pleasures are no deterrent, nothing I say about the virtues of plant based eating are going to make a difference. This is why I am less than enthusiastic when someone approaches me about becoming vegan. I just tell them that they don't have the discipline and self-control to stick to it, so they should just keep eating crap until it kills them.

I am not frustrated about the unpopularity of the vegan gospel because you have to care in order to be frustrated. I think people suffer from what I call the "will to convert." This is a variation on Nietzsche's will to power concept. Basically, people want others to agree with them and jump on board because it gives them a feeling of control and vindication. This is how conversion can often lead to coercion. But I reject this desire to control, so I am mostly indifferent to what people put in their mouths or what religion they practice.

My travail in being a vegan evangelist doesn't come when people don't listen to the vegan gospel but when they ask to hear it. For some reason, vegans have earned this popular image as zealots for a cause which is why Anthony Bourdain can compare them to Hezbollah. But the fact is that meatheads are more obnoxious about you being vegan than you are. No matter how silent you may be about being vegan, some meathead will air their opinion to you the moment they discover you don't eat meat.

The reason meatheads are so obnoxious is because they know they are wrong. You can't eat crap and not realize that it is crap. It makes you feel bad, gain weight, and all the rest. Then, you have some vegan that shows a better way, and it produces cognitive dissonance. So, they go through the usual routine of citing junk science, ad hoc reasoning, and ad hominem attacks to convince you that you are wrong even though you used to be a meathead and now feel awesome as a vegan. The mere existence of a healthy vegan is enough to upset the meathead myth. Reality has this effect.

I think it is possible for people to change, but I think it is highly unlikely that they will. So, I tell them this. You're not going to become vegan. You're going to listen to that information that confirms your meathead beliefs even if that information is false. And you are going to tell me the 50 pounds I lost was just "water weight."

Telling people that they are going to fail at something makes them mad, but they still do exactly what I say they are going to do. One guy recently asked me about veganism, and I just told him to watch Forks Over Knives knowing that he wouldn't even finish the documentary. And, of course, he didn't. My dim view of human nature is constantly affirmed.

I am also tired of pointing to some famous vegan that lost weight on a plant based diet only to have them relapse back to meatheadism. The biggest example of this would be former president Bill Clinton that reversed his heart disease on a vegan diet but who went on a paleotard diet at the urging of Hillary. That was pretty stupid and a good reason as any to not vote for her.

I've reached the stage where I just want to eat my plants, and everyone else can eat their dead animal flesh. This has been hard as I hear people complain about their type 2 diabetes, the relative that had a heart attack or stroke, or the guy I know who inflamed his gout on an Atkins style diet. All of this is preventable and reversible on a vegan diet. So, I say something, and no one listens. People would rather die than give up meat. I can accept this. The next time I hear about a guy complaning about the poor circulation in his feet, I'm going to save my breath even if they put the hacksaw to his foot. If someone told me that I didn't have to lose a limb to diabetes, I would listen even if I thought the guy was a nut. This is because I want to keep my feet. But I am the only person I know that actually listens to people.

People love meat. That is the bottom line. LOVE IT. They will do anything to have it. Their nightmare is a world without meat. If you banned meat in prison mess halls, they would cry out over "human rights violations" and win. Prison rape is more tolerable to these people than a menu free of hamburgers, pork chops, and gravy. I am a fool if I think I could ever make these people vegan when even the vegans like Bill Clinton can't stay vegan. I am out of the vegan evangelism business.