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The Politics of Meat:
Dietary Anti-Marxism

2,543 words

If veganism is dietary Marxism [1], is the Carnivore movement dietary anti-Marxism? I think that the answer is yes. Indeed, the whole Carnivore subculture smells deliciously Right-wing — like a perfectly grilled ribeye steak.

But let’s be clear, I’m not setting up a false alternative: it’s not “either Carnivore is a truly healthy diet, or it’s just a reaction against veganism.” Both can be true, and I think that both are true. As I have mentioned, my own experiences with Carnivore have been mostly positive, and you can read about major success stories, in which chronic ailments went into remission, in Baker’s book or online.

Is this any surprise? Given how chronically wrong the Left is, how chronically set against life it is, wouldn’t it be a safe bet that simply doing the opposite of whatever Leftists recommend is a sure path to physical, mental, and societal health?

Of course, such a supposition can’t be the deciding factor. The Carnivore Diet is very new, and only time will tell whether the assertions made by its supporters actually hold up, and whether the long-term consequences of the diet are positive.

But whether or not the claims made by Baker and others are true, it’s quite clear that Carnivore is also born of a viscerally negative reaction to the shrill, brittle weakness of vegan lefties. “Anything but that!” the diet seems to be saying, and so we are literally enjoined to do the exact opposite of veganism. Let’s just consider a few simple questions. Even if we grant that meat may be the optimum human food, why must it be the only human food? After all, you have only to look at your own teeth to see that human beings evolved to be omnivorous.

The Carnivore answer to this is to bring up the issue of toxins in plants. But if some of these toxins can be cooked out of vegetables (as Dave Asprey asserts), then why shouldn’t I eat them? And suppose there are fruits and vegetables that contain none of these toxins at all? (I don’t know if there are, but just suppose.) Would Shawn Baker okay their consumption? He might respond that you can get the same nutrients provided by those fruits and vegetables from meat alone. But suppose I know that, and just want a little more variety on my plate. Is it okay to eat some non-toxic, completely benign vegetables? “NO!” the Carnivore community will roar in response. “That’s not Carnivore!” But this response is no less “irrational” than the vegans Baker mocks who would refuse to eat meat even if they thought it would make them healthier (“I find that kind of blind commitment to be a sign of a mental health disorder,” he writes.)

One Carnivore guru, Dr. Kevin Stock (a dentist) even advocates that we eliminate coffee from our diets [2] because (you guessed it) coffee is a plant extract. He also mentions that it is a “natural insecticide” — but it doesn’t follow from this that it is harmful to humans. Dave Asprey drew everyone’s attention to the fact that coffee beans are contaminated by mold. But what Asprey didn’t tell us (because he wants to sell $15 bags of his own coffee brand) is that the coffee industry has known about this for decades and uses a wet-processing technique to (very effectively) eliminate the mold.

So, tell me again exactly why I can’t drink coffee? Just because it comes from a bean? It begins to look like the Carnivores are not just out to avoid ill health, but also to avoid moral contamination. Consider: Vegans must carefully study the ingredients in whatever they consume, lest they inadvertently ingest something derived from an animal. This is not primarily for reasons of health, but for moral reasons. The Carnivores have simply transvalued vegan values. “Don’t put anything plant-derived in your body, no matter how innocuous, or you’ll wind up like that guy that cried over the Star Wars trailer [3]!” I guess this means I can’t put an olive in my martini, right? “Right! That olive is a one-way ticket to Cuck Island!” Oh and, by the way, no martinis either. Can you guess why? Yes, vodka is made from potatoes.

Don’t drink coffee, or you’ll wind up like this guy.

An observer from a distant planet might think that while vegans are out to save the animals, the Carnivores are the guardians of the plant kingdom. Actually, Carnivores just don’t give a damn that something had to die in order to feed them — which is their real rebellion against veganism. Baker’s attitude, and the attitude of all the Carnivores, is that life is impossible without killing. The vegans are slaughtering vegetables, but for them, that doesn’t count because they claim to know that plants are not “sentient beings.” Years ago, Joseph Campbell exposed the self-deception of this when he defined a vegetarian as “a person who is not sensitive enough to hear a tomato scream.” To be true to the real spirit of veganism, one would actually have to stop eating entirely; one would have to starve oneself like a Jain sage. For the real spirit of veganism is the death instinct of humans who cannot reconcile themselves to the realities of life, because they know they are not up to the task of living.

Years ago I met a highly-educated man, very obviously a liberal, who confided in me that he was worried his son’s veganism was harming his health. He made it clear that this veganism was motivated by his son’s horror of doing any harm; of existing at the expense of any other living thing. Patiently, and very tactfully, I explained that the man’s son was in revolt against life. I explained (echoing Campbell and Alan Watts) that life feeds on life. I quoted the tomato line. I quoted Heraclitus: “Strife is father of all and king of all.” [1] [4] I thought it was pretty tame. The guy said nothing in response to me, but as I spoke his face changed. His eyes widened, his lips parted slightly, and the corners of his mouth crinkled a bit. He seemed to stop breathing. It was as if he was working to contain a reaction of horror or disgust. I’d seen this look before. It says, “This guy is a conservative!”

The essence of conservatism ultimately seems to be nothing more than realism. All you have to do is to display some realism about life — especially human differences — and liberals will instantly suspect you of hiding a pair of jackboots in your closet. Baker describes how he was immediately pegged as being a Right-winger as soon as he started talking about Carnivore in public (of course, his physiognomy and demeanor didn’t help matters):

As the media continued to struggle with the carnivore diet, many people tried to politicize it by claiming it was a diet of right-wing conservatives and neo-Nazis. Sometimes during interviews, I could sense the reporters trying to steer me into confirming their suspicions that I was involved in a Right-wing conspiracy, like they thought I’d say that anyone who eats only meat must somehow harbor anti-gay, racist, or other bigoted tendencies. For the record, I am none of those things, and I have seen people of all races, religions, sexual orientations, and political leanings adopt this diet with success. A delicious steak does not care who you voted for!

The “anti-hate” rhetoric here is par for the course. It is most likely sincere, but Baker is also keen to sell books and not to be deplatformed. In a recent video dealing with the BLM riots [5], Baker takes the position that race “shouldn’t matter.” Absurdly, he offers us his assurance as an orthopedic surgeon that when you cut people open they look exactly the same. This just strikes me as a recycled version of the old white-trash justification for interracial sex: “it’s all pink on the inside [6].” Baker probably thinks this is a moderate position, but the ideal of “race blindness” is now almost exclusively mouthed by Republicans (many of whom don’t actually believe in it), so this isn’t exactly going to throw Baker’s Left-wing critics off the scent.

Indeed, Leftists already made the connection between meat and “toxic masculinity” long ago, and Baker seems about as toxic as they come. Back in 2017, a woolly-headed Ph.D. candidate named Anne DeLessio-Parson, studying some pseudo-discipline at some pseudo-university, published an article on meat and “hegemonic masculinity” in Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography [7] (!). DeLessio-Parson (why do they always have names like this?) writes, “I contend that . . . we cannot separate the ways people ‘do vegetarianism’ from how they ‘do gender.’ Doing vegetarianism in interactions drives social change, contributing to the de-linking of meat from gender hegemony and revealing the resisting and reworking of gender in food spaces.”

Do you remember when we could laugh at people like this? Do you remember, twenty years ago or so, when Saturday Night Live ran its hilarious Thanksgiving song “Basted in Blood,” which was a parody of humorless vegans and feminists? Well, oddly enough, “Basted in Blood” is now nowhere to be found on YouTube, despite being regarded as a classic of the series. These fruitcakes aren’t funny anymore. They are not just coming for your guns, they are coming for your steaks. No, I am not kidding.

Last year, Forbes magazine published an article by a vegan titled “We’re One Step Closer to Shattering the ‘Meat is Masculine’ Myth [8].” Also in 2019, the Independent published a piece with the unwieldy title “Fragile Masculinity Says Meat is Manly: If We Don’t Challenge that, People Will Die and the Earth Will be Irreversibly Damaged [9].” (If you were thinking that those dire predictions are all about cow farts, you would have hit the bullseye.) The Left has laid the groundwork well, so when Carnivore became a “thing,” they were quick to pounce and to brand it as Right-wing. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

The unhinged reactions of vegan Leftists now seem to be pushing the carnists further to the Right. In particular, Baker seems to have been “triggered” by the triggered vegans. His recent videos bear titles like “Don’t Tell Me I’m Not Allowed to Say That!,” “Are the Thought Police Coming for You?,” “Scary Black Mirror Future,” “Vegans at High Risk for Censorship and Self-Harm,” “The Deeper We Go, the More Sordid it Gets,” “More Bogus Advice from the WHO,” and even “I’ve Got Big Balls” (in fairness, this one is about the heavy medicine balls he uses in his workouts; check out his channel here [10]). Lately, Baker’s tone has also become angry and bitter. His videos are now peppered with profane barbs aimed at vegans, calling them “pussies,” “fucking pussies,” “assholes,” “fucking assholes,” “weaklings,” “beta males,” etc. This is actually a shame, since it makes him seem like a Trumpesque narcissist who’s way too concerned with what other people are saying about him.

Honestly, a little of Shawn Baker goes a long way. Make no mistake, his Carnivore Diet book will give you all the basic information you need to know. But I actually prefer the work of Paul Saladino (yes, ironic), who is also a medical doctor. Saladino is author of The Carnivore Code, which was originally self-published, but is now being republished by Houghton Mifflin [11]. This is an indication of how the diet is catching on, and also a reflection of the fact that Saladino is a somewhat more palatable spokesman for it. Yet he, too, unmistakably belongs somewhere on the right end of the spectrum. Saladino is a COVID lockdown skeptic who has created YouTube videos with titles like “Is it Okay to Question the Status Quo?,” “Have We Begun to Reach Herd Immunity?,” “Time to #FlattenTheFear,” and “Does Social Distancing Save Lives?” (not really, he answers). Saladino has recently launched a YouTube series called “Controversial Thoughts.” Hmm. You can watch him lurching toward the Right in real time here [12].

However, my favorite Carnivore guru, hands down, is a guy named Tristan Haggard who operates a website [13] and a YouTube channel [14] called Primal Edge Health. Tristan lives somewhere in the backwoods of Ecuador with his wife Jessica and two children. They raise and slaughter their own food, and Jessica is the author of The Carnivore Cookbook [15]. Tristan, who is a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, spends a large portion of his days creating YouTube videos with epic running times: two, three, and even four-hour videos are not uncommon in his oeuvre. I can’t sit in front of a screen for that long, but somebody must be, because Tristan has more than one hundred and thirty thousand subscribers (which far exceeds Baker and Saladino, who, at the time of this writing, have sixty-eight thousand and fifty-two thousand respectively).

Blue-eyed carnivores Tristan and Jessica Haggard.

What I delight in, however, are the short vegan parody videos Tristan creates. With titles like “Eat the Kibble, Bigots, [16]” “I am a GOOD GLOBAL CITIZEN — I Stand with SCIENCE. We Must TRUST the EXPERTS [17],” and “I am a Vegan Now, We All Must Do This [18],” these videos not only skewer vegans, but also climate change activists, SJWs, and globalists. Tristan combines cringey scenes of teenaged activists screaming about the planet, cringey scenes of celebrities virtue signaling, and rather sinister scenes of elites like Bill Gates and Prince Phillip letting it all hang out. The visuals are set against a monotonous, electronic voice (that of a male Brit speaking in RP) intoning lines like “I am a good global citizen,” “This horrific global crisis requires an immediate global solution that we obviously don’t have time to question or discuss,” and “I do not hate children, I am not a bigot.” A favorite target is Greta Thunberg, who the voice describes as a “sixteen-year-old human shield.” These videos are priceless entertainment, though I suspect they were made by the stoned and for the stoned.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting that any of these people are as far to the Right as I am. I find all of them likable, and I don’t want to cause them any trouble. Nevertheless, they are all extremely open-minded and willing to question orthodoxy. This means that it is almost inevitable that they will continue to move rightward. The vitriol the Left is now throwing at them will only speed along this process. I don’t know how many more steaks it would take to get these people on our side, but I don’t think it’s going to be a lot.

If you want to try the Carnivore diet, I’ve given you all the resources you need to get started. But proceed at your own risk.

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Notes

[1] [21] The usual translation of polemos is war, but “strife” is correct also, and I used “strife” rather than “war” to avoid triggering the guy.