Friday, November 5, 2010

No Vegan Left Behind

Somehow, somewhere along the line, Vegan became a bad word. I don't know how it happened that refusing to be connected to the suffering of any living thing became tantamount to devil-worship, but let's see what we can do to fix our image. In tribute to the Republican Congressional takeover this week, I'm taking a look at some of the marketing strategies conservatives have used to successfully dupe the American people. Perhaps we can learn a thing or two?

Healthy Forest Initiative
The Bush Administration saw a bunch of trees and thought, how can we clear that landscape without people knowing that we're raping the environment?
They looked ahead and knew that a news-clip discussing any initiatives to clear-cut national forests would be bad publicity, so they decided to twist the truth and science of ecology around a few times, and call it something NOBODY could argue with. You have to admire the brilliance. How could an environmentalist argue with something called "The Healthy Forest Initiative"? Most Americans would think, "hmph, George Bush is doing something good for the environment!"

No Child Left (Behind)
This is a fine example of christening a destructive initiative with golden euphemisms. Who could argue with a purportedly pro-child initiative like that? Bush got to redirect millions of dollars from failing/noncompliant schools towards funding the Iraq War, all in the name of improved education! AND they got to send military recruiters to high schools that wanted to continue to receive funding. Ted Kennedy even helped pass this Act (he later regretted the diminished educational funding that resulted). Talk about a win-win.

Intelligent Design
Brilliant false advertising. What better way to introduce religion into elementary education science classes than to promote something which lacks any scientific evidence as "intelligent"? This really takes the cake for euphemistic abuse, and might explain why over half of Americans believe God created humans in their present form. God help us.

Anti-Animal Rights Groups Are Buried in Doublespeak
These days it seems like for every Animal Rights/Welfare group, there exists some similar-sounding group whose intentions are the exact opposite.
I decided to come up with my own names for some of the Anti-AR Groups:
Alliance for Truth- why didn't they just call themselves Puppy Mill Defenders?
Humane Watch- this one should be obvious- Inhumane Watchman
Center for Consumer Freedom- Consumers for Hardened Arteries
Californians for Safe Food - this was actually a group of farmers opposed to CA's 2008 Proposition 2 for improving conditions for farm animals. It should have been called Farmers Against Animal Welfare

What Can We Learn From Them?
Some of the above initiatives and groups have been exposed for their true intentions, but it can take awhile. They work in the short-term by using half-truths to convince people to vote against things they normally would have supported. Remember how easy it was for Bush to convince the masses that Iraq blew up the WTC? He just had to use Saddam Hussein's name enough times in conjunction with 9/11 and before you know it, we were invading Iraq.

The Alliance for Truth's mission was almost realized this week as Proposition B barely passed. Can we learn something from these groups' duplicity? I'm not suggesting we be dishonest, but I think we should take a look at why they are successful and see if we can't turn it around in our favor. Can we revive our own image and reframe our cause in a more convincing way? Or is the vegan agenda too complex to be universally accepted?


  1. The vegan agenda IS complex. So complex, in fact, that there are conservative and/or Republican vegans out there. Pick up some of the last few issues of VegNews, check out the letters from readers section, and you'll know that the right-wing vegans are SUPER offended by the notion that only lefties are the animal lovers. Just some food for thought...

  2. Oh man! I had forgotten about! Haven't been there in forever. That place is hilarious! "Soy is making our kids gay!" LULZ.

    Look at the forum of that site. It's amazing how many people are offended. I think there's something about veggies that makes us resistant to sarcasm and satire.

  3. AKM, you are correct- this is an opinion blog representing my opinion and I am not claiming all vegans are liberal. I am sure the conservative vegans are just as offended as I am to have religion and capitalism hijacked in the name of animal abuse. Duplicity in any political party is wrong- and the Democrats have their share of that- no question about it.

    Greg, yes, I have to wonder if that site is real- part of me thinks it's hilarious and the other part is sick to my stomach about it!