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Veganism–the “Right” Thing to Do?

Actual image from Glenn Beck's website.

Actual image from Glenn Beck’s website.

I always like reading about vegan celebrities. Don’t judge. I mean, they have so much influence on people and they can promote veganism, which is just kind of awesome. Who doesn’t like a cool vegan celebrity? Alec Baldwin, Moby, Steve-O, Glenn Beck… Wait. What!? I know that’s what you’re thinking. But yeah, apparently Glenn Beck is one of us now.

I’ll admit, it was tough for me to watch the video Vegetarian Star posted of Beck talking about his veganism, but I wanted to know what he had to say. I mean, maybe I’m wrong about him. Maybe he’s actually a compassionate human being with political views just a tad different than mine. Well, I watched and I listened and I can say this: he’s not. He bitches about drinking wheatgrass and that it’s “not awful, it’s apocalyptic.” “I’m eating crap I don’t even know…” “Last night I had spaghetti and meatballs and there’s no meat! […] How are you getting a meatball?” He’s going vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free for health reasons. Yeah, it’s tough. But I’m sure he has people who cook for him, and they probably make it really tasty for him. Stop bitching, Glenn! Get over it.

I doubt that Beck even considered veganism when he called out celebrity environmentalists such as Al Gore and George Clooney for eating meat back in 2007. “I mean, I like to eat a nice pink-in-the-middle filet stuffed with ham, topped with chicken while wearing a full leather bodysuit!” Yeah, doesn’t sound too compassionate to me.

Anyway, this got me thinking. Aren’t vegans supposed to be all cool and liberal and progressive? I know all of my vegan friends are. But I guess I was wrong. Glenn Beck is actually in good company.

Rich Karlgaard, publisher of Forbes magazine and Republican came out as “(almost) vegan” in HuffPo about a year ago.

Matthew Scully has written countless speeches for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Sarah Palin. But he’s also written Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy. And he’s vegan. How does that work? How can someone be vegan but at the same time be anti-abortion and pro-war? I don’t know. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Billionnaire vegan Las Vegan casino devleoper Steven Wynn may be a registered Democrat, but he’s loudly criticized the Obama administration for its managing of the federal stimulus and health care.

I bet most of us have been asked “why do you care about animals more than about humans?” Well, I can only speak for myself here, but I care about humans just as much as I care about other animals. The difference for me, though, is that other animals don’t have a voice. And that’s is why I go to protests: to speak for the animals and to give them a voice. And I’ll go to pro-choice protests and anti-war protests, too. It all goes hand in hand. It’s not about choosing animals over humans; it’s about compassion for other beings, humans and animals equally.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy about anyone who switches over to a vegan diet. But this won’t change how I feel about Glenn Beck. How about you?

15 Comments

  1. Comment by

    B

    on #

    While you can avoid Mad Cow Disease by eating vegan, seems like it’s too late for Glenn Beck.

  2. Comment by

    Vadim

    on #

    Normally, it’s great when celebs go vegan, but if someone complains about it the way Beck does, I fail to see much positivity in his new way of eating. It doesn’t encourage others to go vegan. Worse, it may actually encourage them not to.

    That said, I think one’s political and animal-related ethics are two different things. Just as you can’t stereotype all vegans for thinking a singular way on any number of issues, you similarly can’t do so with those belong to a political party. And for the vegan cause, that’s a good thing. It’s good to show a wide spectrum of people in the movement.

  3. Comment by

    geminiimatt

    on #

    wow i had no idea! thanks this is a very interesting article. who would have thought dennis kucinich and glenn beck have something in common. http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-april-14-2011/dennis-kucinich-s-improbable-success
    i feel i have to agree with vadim. although it is also strange how living off a plant based diet effects your politics. when you call food the things that grow in forest or are picked by laborers and sewed by farmers. so we lost natalie portman but gained glen beck, mike tyson, and oprah winfrey (even if it was just for 7 days). hmmm psyched but i still kinda miss natalie. ;)

  4. Comment by

    Minime

    on #

    I know a lot of not-so-cool vegans. Well, I think the fact you know a lot of the cool/progressive/nice ones has much more to do with how you chose your friends, not your companions in ideaology – not every vegan is created equal.

    Unfortunately I have to say that even 80% of the people I meet at the local organic-food-store (which rank a fair bit lower than vegans in the self-discipline ranking…) are pretty much inverse-cool, upside-down progressive and seem anti open minded – but that’s just what I can read in their faces, which never smile.

    I used to do the greeny-spotting in the supermarket for a while and it really affected my mood negatively. You become what you focus on – wasn’t that what the self-helpers say? In this case, it’s felt true.

    Man those people were so stiff and often frustrated…
    Maybe that’s because organic food often isn’t that organic after all… or is it?

    Thanks for the article! Enjoyed it.

  5. Comment by

    Alan Roettinger

    on #

    The way I see it, every person who stops eating animal products is helping to turn the tide–environmentally, ethically, and in their own way, socially (even if they bitch about it). Think about it: if Glenn Beck is making the choice to eat this way, surely some of his adoring fans will stop and consider it–even if only for the personal benefits.

    I didn’t make the switch until I was just about done writing “Speed Vegan,” and even then I was just going to “try it for a year.” Now I’m writing my second vegan cookbook, I have a vegan blog, and I have no intention of going back(wards).

    So, I can’t believe I’m saying it, but maybe Beck isn’t a worthless creep beyond redemption after all…maybe when he’s dropped that pudgy flab and starts to feel human, he’ll see beyond his angry cultural programming.

  6. Comment by

    Cat Clyne

    on #

    GET OUT!!! At first I thought this was a great April Fool’s post, but hey, it’s April 20th. Thanks for posting this. You are a brave soul to have watched the video–thanks to you, I don’t have to watch it myself.

  7. Comment by

    sri

    on #

    doubt this will last. & if it doesn’t,its just going to fuck up history and confuse comedians 50 years from now just like hitler’s one-week hospitalbed vegetarian experiment is now fodder for izzard

  8. Comment by

    Kathleen

    on #

    I think being pro-life is being compassionate to humans. I think being a vegan and pro-life go hand-in-hand. We both speak for the innocents who cannot speak for themselves –the unborn babies and the animals. I am often surprised at people who can be so compassionate toward the treatment of animals, but turn a blind eye to the pain and suffering an aborted baby goes through.

  9. Comment by

    Noah

    on #

    Glenn Beck is not practicing veganism. He is eating a plant-based diet. He’s said nothing about shopping for animal-free clothing, eschewing zoos, or respecting animals in any way.

    If people want to report that he’s on a plant-based diet for health reasons, I’m all for it. But labeling people who eat plant-based diets for health reasons “vegans” erases what veganism is about.

  10. Comment by

    Noah

    on #

    @Kathleen: Animals can speak for themselves. Animals resist their exploitation all of the time. We needn’t put words in their mouths. Similarly, women speak up for themselves all the time and demand control over their own bodies. When you “speak up for” a fetus, you are actually silencing adults and refusing to respect their bodily integrity.

    Veganism is about not controlling the bodies of other animals, and being pro-choice is about not controlling the bodies of other humans.

  11. Comment by

    Kathleen

    on #

    @Noah
    Did you know that unborn babies resist being aborted? Read the book “Unplanned” to get a better idea of what actually happens during an abortion. Unborn babies are humans too. You only need to look at an ultra sound and see the life growing within the woman’s body.

  12. Comment by

    Matilda

    on #

    How did we get on abortion from Glenn Beck??
    I can’t say I like the man… or even that I respect him at all, but I’d love to hear him say just one good thing about plant-based diets to the people that would never take a moment to listen to the kind of folks that enjoy reading this web site. I hope he does well, loses weight, and that his health flourishes… if only to prove us right!

  13. Comment by

    Kathleen

    on #

    @Matilda I know that the abortion issue seems a little off topic. I was responding to the author’s question on “how can someone be anti-abortion (pro-life)… and a vegan?” I was just trying to say that it really isn’t much of a stretch if you believe, as I believe, that the unborn baby feels the pain of an abortion. I mean no disrespect to people who are pro-choice (I have friends who are and we just agree to disagree). I was just presenting my side that people with certain conservative views can also show compassion for animals.

  14. Comment by

    F

    on #

    “How can someone be vegan but at the same time be anti-abortion …”

    I think if you are arguing for compassion for all it is a logical conclusion. I am a “right winger” but am appalled at the treatment of animals on our factory farms. Compassion is not just a liberal flag to wave, just like being a patriot is not just for conservatives.

    That being said it does not do anything for the animals for him to talk about being a vegan and not bring up the cruelty issue.

  15. Comment by

    Tapion

    on #

    Your diet has nothing to do with your views and personality. I hate when people think that. ” I’m vegan, so I am morally and ethically better than you” ” I’m omnivore, so I am natural, right wing, and better than you”. I will say something right hre: Some people may be better than others in some way, but it is not because of their diet! It’s just your food, it ends up out your ass enyway. Charlie Manson was didn’t eat meat, Jesus did. ( Some self righteous vegans say he didn’t, he just ate sea weeed. Well, he lived in the desert, and he was extremely poor, and hered sheep. As a kid, he would have died if he gave up meat, he was to poor to be choosy. And God asked the Jews to kill a lamb, eat it, and smear it’s blood on their door. Eat it. ) Jack the Ripper ate meat, Hitler didn’t. I am saying that your diet does not make you a certain kind of person. I could decide to eat nothing but crackers, but I would still be a douche. Stop being douches about your diets, omnivore or vegan, bushman, whatever.

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