Skip to comments.The Parable of the Good Vegetarian
Posted on 03/08/2012 8:18:33 PM PST by Huber
Nikki Coles upbringing was unremarkable; her father was the manager of a smallish manufacturing plant in the Midwestern town where they lived, and her mother was mostly stay at home although she volunteered two days a week at the county hospital. Nikki and her two siblings all attended the local Catholic schools through high school. High School is where Nikki had come to vegetarianism.
Initially Nikki came to feel that it was unnecessary for animals to die for her meal when there were so many healthier alternatives that would meet her nutritional needs. At the time that Nikki grew up in the early 70s, it was still the practice for many Catholics to give up meat on Fridays as well as on certain other days during Lent, so learning to give up meat entirely was only the next step. The fact that vegetarianism was a healthier lifestyle choice only reinforced her decision. Over time, Nikki became aware of the factory conditions and corresponding mistreatment of animals pervasive in most agriculture and gradually went all-in as a Vegan.
In the early days, there were no vegetarian markets or restaurants in Nikkis town, and she learned to improvise. One of her prized possessions was her dog-eared copy of Laurels Kitchen, an invaluable aid to discovering new techniques and recipes to add variety to her diet. As her talent grew, her friends began to suggest that she open a restaurant, which she did in 1979. Over the years Nikkis built a loyal following, and not just among vegetarians. Non vegetarians loved the atmosphere and the occasional live music as well as the occasional vegetarian dish.
In 1984 things started changing. The Reagan administration, caving to pressure from big-agriculture began a campaign to encourage a program that it described as improved universal nutritional care for all Americans. Reagans wife Nancy was put forward as the spokeswoman for a healthier America and began making appearances in classrooms and various town halls across the country. The concept was that only mammalian meat contained the necessary protein, iron and healthy fats and oils to build strong muscles and maintain better cardiovascular health. The program cited controversial studies showing that indigenous societies whose diets consisted primarily of mammalian meat had substantially lower instances of cardiovascular disease. (Even more controversially, one of those societies was the hunting region of Uummannaq , Greenland where the diet had consisted primarily of sea-mammal meat from seals and whales)
As part of this program, the administration issued an executive order requiring that all restaurants offer at least two forms of red meat to their customers who requested it. Not surprisingly, vegetarian restaurants protested loudly, and were supported by organizations like Greenpeace and the newly formed People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Having realized the degree to which this executive order would violate her freedom of conscience, Nikki became active in PETA, joining in protests, distributing reports and generally helping to organize and create awareness of the extent to which factory farming harmed the environment, wasted precious resources, was cruel to animals, relied on extensive use of hormones and other questionable ingredients in feeds and ultimately created food that was in fact harmful to the diet.
The coalition of vegetarians and their allies grew and angrily opposed the Order. They argued that 1) they didnt agree with the administrations opinion that meat was a necessary part of a healthy diet and that in fact more objective research proved the contrary, 2) vegetarian restaurants provided an alternative for those people who did not want to eat meat, but did not by their existence force others to become vegetarians and 3) their choice of vegetarianism was an ethical decision and an example to their communities and that forcing them to serve meat would violate their freedom of conscience and their core mission. They argued further that the executive order was arbitrary, and that there were plenty of other ways for Americans to conveniently obtain meat without it being served at vegetarian restaurants. Lastly, they pointed out that there were many, many healthy protein alternatives, including a large variety of soybean, nut and high protein grains that would be better to promote than animal products. On a personal level, Nikki realized that she would need to close her restaurant rather than play a part in the unnecessary destruction of a single animal.
The administration replied that the vegetarian restaurants were being unconstructive and un-American in standing in the way of better nutrition solely on the basis of their unscientific personal beliefs. Declaring that all Americans should be entitled to superior nutrition throughout the country, the administration offered what they described as a substantial compromise, indicating that the vegetarian restaurants would not in fact have to prepare and serve any meat products, but would be free to purchase meat products for their customers who requested them from a third party subcontractor who would handle actually preparing and serving any meat dishes in the restaurant. To add insult to injury the press began to write stories highlighting how the vegetarian industry was trying to convert meat lovers to eating more soy, labeling the issue and the protests as The Soy Wars.
Nikki was outraged at the gall of the administration. They were in effect telling her that while she didnt personally have to cook meat, she had to take money from her customers and walk outside a pay a butcher to bring prepared meat into her restaurant! And they were totally obfuscating the real issue with their Soy Wars propaganda. The protests began to escalate as more people became aware of the duplicity of the administration, but the administration simply dug in its heels. Nikki helped to organize one protest that grew so large that the government used teargas to disperse the crowd. In the confusion the ensued, a close friend of Nikki was struck by a car and severely injured. Furious, Nikki charged at the police who had fired the canister and ended up being arrested under a variety of charges. During the resulting legal process that followed, Nikki was forced to sell her business to cover her legal expenses.
During her ordeal, Nikki reflected on what had become of her country. She realized that the same distorted logic of better healthcare that had so infringed on her rights could have just as easily been applied to any other business or organization attempting to abide by its core ethics. At an extreme level, she thought, it might even be used to compel religious institutions to offer so-called reproductive healthcare services to their employees if such services were determined by a politician to also be in the National interest. Based on her Catholic upbringing, she realized how fundamental the respect for all human life was to her faith and how such a mandate could never be accepted by the Church. Unfortunately, churches and religious groups with whom she spoke dismissed her argument, and accused her of being nothing more than a left-wing PETA activist motivated solely by partisan interests.
Over time, the executive order was declared unconstitutional in the courts, but it took Nikki several years to rebuild her business. She thought to herself, some day, those people who didnt believe that this sort of thing could ever happen to them might have a rude awakening
1. a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.
2. a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy, or the like.
This is a parable. Any similarity between actual people or Administrations, either living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Please ping. Thanks!
She’d have loved living with ice-aqge neanderthals, their diet turns out to have been nearly 100% meat, including other neanderthals and any other hominids or humans they could catch.
I think this was already posted once.
The Reagan Admin NEVER forced restaurants to serve meat
Oh so you’re just libelling the Reagans. I get it.
Whatever the poster’s intention, this thread is a total FAIL.
Yes, the Reagan Admin NEVER forced restaurants to serve meat. But a Liberal with a short knowledge of history might believe that they did.
It's a parable (a fictional literary form intended to convey a greater truth). It's written in terms that a liberal might understand to illustrate the implications of the HHS mandate on freedom of conscience. Read the whole thing to get the point.
See comments above and read the whole thing. If it still doesn’t make sense to you at the end, let me know.
It’s a clever analogy but it takes too long to “uncloak”. I’d try shortening it to one or two paragraphs. Then you won’t be accused of libeling the Reagans.
Thanks for the feedback. The Reagan bits were “red meat” for the liberal readers. My assumption is that many liberals especially hated Nancy for her “just say no to drugs” campaign.
SOY IS EVIL!!
Read “The Whole Soy Story” for starters.
Thanks for improving this thread! Bacon makes everything better.
Fridays during Lent is also known as “fish day”.
I understood it. Of course, I have a long experience with John Semmens’ threads ;-).
Since today is Friday, we had fish tacos tonight. ;-)
We can do another parable to deconstruct the big the “big soy” agenda some time in the future.
We can do another parable to deconstruct the big the “big soy” agenda some time in the future.
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