With Toban Wiebe recently founding a paleo-libertarian Google discussion group ( http://groups.google.com/group/paleo-libertarian ), and Richard Nikoley advocating a boycott of Whole Foods Market over their recent promotion of a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, clearly modern paleos can be political creatures. The question is, are we more political, less political, or just as political as anyone else?
More. Clearly more.
One has to have a certain amount of small-l libertarianism to buck the system 180 degrees and begin eating a high-fat, low-carb diet. Whether it begins with diet or some other topic, once you realize how wrong the mainstream conventional wisdom is in one regard you can't help but question it in every regard.
I've often wondered about why so many paleo writers seem to be libertarians (panu, free the animal, primal wisdom, protein power). Rather than the libertarians' own theory (that it's no wonder that people who are correct about one thing would be correct about another), I think there's a simpler explanation. As a trend it's overwhelmingly educated, affluent, higher class people who are concerned with a healthy lifestyle and precisely this same group who are more likely to be politically engaged and more likely to affliate with non-mainstream politics of all persuasions (not least because affluence heavily correlates with libertarian views). I definitely don't think (contra panu) that there's any particular assonance between paleo, free-thinking or libertarian views.
If we were to look at people who, diet-wise, were the polar opposite of paleo (ultra-low fat vegans), we'd see the same correlation with educated, higher class individuals. As as been noted before, once anything becomes regarded as healthy, those people who are more concerned with health gravitate towards it: hence why more health-concious people eat 'healthy' whole grains and more lower class, uneducated people eat higher saturated fats. Hence why population studies (uselessly) correlate higher meat eating with higher death and with every other thing correlated with being poorer and less educated (higher alcohol, higher chance of accidental death etc) which certainly aren't caused by the meat!
Don't forget the OEvolve mailing list for Objectivist evolutionary lifestyle practitioners! I would expect people interested in something so radical as the paleo lifestyle to be pretty radical in ideology in general. The people who get into paleo tend to be the passionate, idealistic type who think for themselves and analyze their beliefs.
Being paleo is about as radical as I get. I'm a conservative military member. I was drawn to paleo after a lot of research, reading, and introspection. I am looking for optimal health and performance. I don't particularly think of paleo as 'radical'. I've talked to my grandfather about what he ate on the farm. He said, "A big plate of meat, a few veggies and milk." Sounds pretty paleo to me...
In as much as political activism stems from a keen -- or maybe hyper, even -- "awareness", then I think so. You can't have ended up here, at least at this early stage of the game, by sleepwalking.
Well...doing the research, understanding it, and making the decision to buck CW regarding diet requires a certain amount of critical thinking ability. So it follows, if a person has the ability to think critically about diet and use some common sense, they'll probably apply that ability to other areas of life. When you apply critical thinking skills to politics and religion, you also tend to buck CW or tradition.
As I've floated back and forth between these paleo forums and a number of blogs I've noticed that too - a lot of progressive-minded people and atheists. As for me, I'm probably an atheist but I'm not quite sure where I stand politically. I'd have to say that I lean left when it comes to civil liberties, , the role of the military, the environment, and secularism but right-leaning when it comes to small gov't, the economy, capitol punishment, and immigration.
Either way, I think it takes an "open mind" to seriously consider a diet other than the one that the gov't tells us is healthy.
I think Paleo eaters are literally going "against the grain" (hee!) - and, like the other commenters here, I don't think you get to that place, going in that direction by accident. However, once you've adopted a Paleo diet/lifeway; I don't think that means you necessarily have to take or retain a political stance about it. Make sense?
Put a check in the libertarian leaning box for this paleo blogger. I was pretty active (understatement) in the last election.
I'm the only paleo person I know in the flesh, but most of the real food eating people I know are libertarian leaning also. Real foodists challenge CW ;)
Personally I don't see something like my diet as a form of activism but this is where I started. That is to say maybe individuals with a rather radical/polical bent will eventually trend toward such a diet because it's perceived as "radical" compared to SAD.
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