Saturday, 27 March 2010

Beware the voluntary vegetarian

When people choose to adopt a cause they do so for reasons, it is not an accident it is the result of applying their mind to something and deciding to follow a particular course. Much of what we do is ingrained in us by the culture in which we grow up. Other cultures have different priorities and their people grow up following different practices. You can see this in all sorts of fields of life. In this context both national and local culture have a part to play, as does family culture.

Religion is an indication of this obvious truth. Why are most Pakistanis Muslim and most Italians Catholic? It's really very obvious and has nothing to do with people making an informed choice of religion after studying the core texts and the centuries of academic critiques of those texts. It is purely a matter of prevailing culture. One could say it is about default positions. If your parents are Muslim, Catholic, Hindu or whatever it is very likely you will be brought up to be a member of the same club, subtle pressures will be applied to you from the day you exit the vulva such that the default position is that you will align yourself to your parents' religion. It will take a deliberate decision on your part to follow a different path. And what made your parents Muslims or Catholics? Again the answer is usually that their parents were Muslims or Catholics. It is far more to do with culture than religious belief and the family religious culture can be reinforced by local or national usage.

The same applies to modes of behaviour. Those brought up to be polite and respectful tend to be polite and respectful, those brought up to bully others in order to get what they want tend to do exactly that. Of course there are exceptions, there always will be, but they are only exceptions they are not the bulk.

So it is again with food. In America very little lamb is eaten because it is not part of their culture. The country has no real tradition of farming sheep so the mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers didn't cook much lamb, in turn the current generation doesn't cook much lamb. There is nothing dogmatic about it, it's just not something they do over there. Jews and Muslims are intoned not to eat Pinky and Perky and Hindus keep Ermintrude off the menu. America's shunning of the sheep is not doctrinal or dogmatic it is simply the result of generations of practice based on lack of availability. By contrast, the meaty practices of Jews, Muslims and Hindus are based on doctrine or, if you prefer, dogma.

One might think that rejection of a doctrinal/dogmatic cultural practice would result in a radical desire to persuade others of the folly of the doctrine/dogma, but that does not appear to be the case in relation to dietary "rules". The reason for this, I suspect, is that a Jew who likes a nice pork chop has no axe to grind with his cousin who prefers chicken soup. Man cannot live by pork chop alone, so the dietary heretic will probably also take chicken soup and gefilte fish. He might suggest to his cousin that a bit of crackling and apple sauce makes a tasty addition to the diet but knows he has no way of forcing a slice of ham down his cousin's throat. The same applies to Americans who like a crown roast of lamb. All they can do is invite their family and friends to try it but compulsion is not feasible.

And that is where we arrive at vegetarians. Some vegetarians are unfortunate enough to have been brainwashed by their gullible parents into believing that eating meat is not a beneficial lifestyle choice. Others have turned from a sensible balanced diet and chosen to adopt the freakish meat-free path. Not quite all of them are swivel-eyed fanatics and not quite all of them feel the need to impose their views on others, sadly more fall into both these unsavoury categories than is comfortable for civilised existence.

There is a fundamental difference between those who believe others would gain benefits from doing something they do not yet do and those who feel others would gain benefits from ceasing to do something they do currently. The former have no means of securing their desired result other than persuasion. You cannot legislate for people to eat a nice bacon roll but you can, in theory, legislate against the eating of the same product. That ultimate sanction, the criminal law, is the ultimate reward for persistence in arguing a prohibitory cause. Now, I doubt that we will see the consumption of meat outlawed for at least another year or two but the possibility is always there, particularly while the extant Secretary of State for Agriculture is a swivel-eyed vegetarian from a family of hugely wealthy Marxists. All the radical vegetarians feel they need to do is press their dangerous case further and further in the hope of one day reaching their goal.

In reality, their goal is not for the world to be vegetarian. I believe their goal is nothing more than to get their way. Their cause could be anything at all, it is not the particular change of behaviour that matters, it is that they will have forced others to succumb to their will. They are selfish bullies.

Just recently this was exemplified in my local curry house of choice. One evening a week a cleaner visits FatBigot Towers to scrape some filth off the walls; on that evening the property has to be abandoned by all other human life, which decamps to the curry house. One week a vegetarian came in to order a take-away, a single dish of spiced vegetables with plain rice costing a grand total of less than £4. The curry house provides complimentary popadoms and pickles for take-away customers to eat while they wait. The vegetarian consumed the free stuff, paid her tiny bill using a card (thereby costing the restaurant transaction charges), borrowed a stapler, begged a few sheets of A4 paper and left. On a subsequent cleaning evening the same vegetarian returned and placed the same order. Again free food was consumed and payment was made by card. Before leaving she said she used to order from a rival restaurant and was always provided with a selection of free pickles and chutneys along with her order, clearly threatening them with the loss of her valuable custom if they did not provide the same. I happen to know that the other place does not give waiting take-away customers free popadoms but she clearly didn't care to take that into her tiny lentil-addled mind. One might think the owner could hardly believe his ears, after all a take-away order with a minuscule profit margin would be rendered almost worthless to him, but he complied with her request and told me later that take-away customers ordering vegetarian meals almost always wanted additional freebies.

This didn't surprise me at all. Voluntary vegetarians have chosen their dietary path for reasons. Those reasons are almost always borne of selfishness and self-importance, even self-aggrandisement. Like those who sport red Mohican haircuts or rings through their noses they feel they are different from ordinary people. Silly hair and adornments previously reserved for cattle are there for all to see - "look at me, see how different I am, look at me, I wouldn't do anything this absurd unless I were a higher form of life than you, look at me, look at me, look at me". And so it is with those who have chosen to abandon proper food. Never mind the wisdom of countless generations, they know better and because they know better and are superior beings everyone must bow at their knee. And they all look so bloody ill.


Stan said...

Great post, FB. My dad had three rules of trust ....

Never trust a man who wears a pinky ring. (He considered it the sign of a cad)

Never trust a man who doesn't drink alcohol. (They were either recoving alcoholics or pious puritans)

Never trust anyone who doesn't eat meat. (They're either soppy sentimentalists or ruled by dogma).

TheFatBigot said...

Your father was a sound fellow Mr Stan. Particularly astute is his pinky ring observation. Find a sixty year-old man with a pinky ring and nine times out of ten you have found a man with a history of ex-wives and disappointed mistresses.

On that general topic, a conclusion I drew after several years working in the criminal courts was that men with ponytails have a huge propensity to carry knives.