Wednesday, February 19, 2014
An Open Letter to the Facebook Commenter Who Said that Vegans Are Hippie Fascists
Dear angry guy,
I am guessing that it felt gratifying for you to come to our Facebook page and expose vegans as hippie fascists who are trying to ram our extremist, hardline agenda of consideration and compassion down your innocent throat. I am imagining that you sat up a little taller, your chest puffed out a little more proudly, and you maybe even uttered a sassy little riposte like, “Top that, tree-huggers!” as you hit the return key. Oh, burn. You caught us. We’ve pulled off the nearly impossible by managing to be both hippies and fascists simultaneously (“You will buy me a pack of the very best sandalwood incense and you will like it,”) but we weren’t able to sneak past by the likes of you. You’ve exposed our so-secret-we’re-not-even-trying-to-hide-it-that’s-how-sneaky-we-are agenda: We are going to stomp on your rights and oppress the ever-loving daylights out of you. Ooooh, you are going to be so flipping oppressed when we get done with you. But first, we will disband the U.N., NATO and the ACLU, then we’re going to put all your human rights through an enormous paper shredder (and we are going to cackle as we do it) and then we will stomp on your shredded rights. Finally, we will pour stinky, hippie-certified patchouli oil over the shredded mass that was once your personal rights and we will set it all ablaze because that is how hippie fascists roll. (Oh, we should probably have a drum circle, too, since we’ve got a good bonfire going and, as hippies, we cannot resist.)
That’s right: We are an army of highly organized, powerful and sadistic bohemians who tyrannize humanity with our bunny hugging and constant chugging of green smoothies.
Given that you clearly have our number, one has to wonder why you walked into our den so ill-prepared. On the one hand, you think that we’re all writing our own terrifyingly menacing manifestos (I call dibs on “Mein Kale”), organizing our troops of joy-crushers, green dry-cleaning our grim uniforms and on the other hand, you characterize us as dreamy idealists. Why do you do this? It seems unwise.
I will concede that some of us are hippies (the hippie population within veganism is holding steady at approximately 19%, give or take five percentage points according to the most recent Gallup national poll) so it makes sense at this point to simply examine and address the vegans’ putative fascist tendencies. According to my Oxford Concise English dictionary, this is the definition of Fascism, n. “1 The totalitarian principles and organization of the extreme right-wing nationalist movement in Italy (1922 - 43). 2 (also fascism) a) any similar nationalist and authoritarian movement. b) (loosely) any system of extreme right-wing or authoritarian views. Fascist, n. & adj. (also fascist). I think we can safely rule out the first definition, though the Italian vegans of 1922 - 1943 will have to speak for themselves. Reading the definition, I am going to venture that it is the aspect of “authoritarianism” connected with fascism that is the specific charge levied against us. So this is the definition of authoritarian: adj. & n. “1 Favoring, encouraging, or enforcing strict obedience to authority, as opposed to individual freedom. 2 Tyrannical or domineering. n. A person favoring absolute obedience to a constituted authority.
Apparently we are authoritarians and we are really, really lousy at it. Pitiful! Maybe it’s our hippie nature winning out, but we are supposed to be cracking our pleather whip at all the omnivores and forcing them to follow a joyless diet of steamed cardboard with tears gravy, yet where are we? Rocking out at a measly two percent of the population, barely able to get our parents to understand that we don’t “eat around” dead bodies in the Thanksgiving stuffing, and being served a boiled broccoli plate at the catered annual office holiday party. How is that for a domineering, tyrannical authority figure?
Clearly, we suck at it.
It would maybe make sense at this juncture for vegans to re-assess if we want get that fascist regime off the ground better by honing our latent autocratic tendencies. I think it’s time to study another group and see if we can get that whole brutal despot thing going a little bit more effectively. I think I have the perfect one.
Let’s see: We could develop entrenched systems that keep billions of sentient beings subjugated in order to serve another population and have that industry be underwritten by the government. We could impose our will on their freedom of movement, their bodies, their reproduction and their capacity to raise their own offspring. We could force them to eat food that is not chosen for their digestive systems but to help them reach market weight the quickest. We could keep them locked in a cycle of reproduction until they are considered worth more dead than alive. We could be in control of the method and timing of their slaughter. We could sell their product or flesh and financially benefit from it. We could create an industry that has a proven detrimental ripple effect on human health, water, air, and climate, for starters. We could do all that.
Are you really sure this is the direction you want to go with your argument? Or should I conclude that you’re just pulling random insults out of your ass and you don’t really know what you’re talking about?
I think I’m going with that.
Your favorite hippie fascist