The neoliberals of today specialise in using concepts of concern and inclusiveness as a cover for their frankly fascist agenda. Censorship is being repackaged as “anti-hate”. The destruction of the core idea of “innocent until proven guilty” is being repackaged as protecting (mostly female) victims from their persecutors. Reasonable doubt is being repackaged as “denialism.” Minority opinion is being repackaged as treachery or subversion. Facts that contradict a current state-sponsored agenda are repackaged as “fake news.”
Conformity is being encouraged, presented as a cosy and reassuring “consensus blanket”, under which we can all snuggle together, safe from confusion, doubt or the horrendous experience of having our cherished beliefs called into question. Most journos operating in the mainstream have already opted to crawl in and curl up for the long snooze into intellectual and ethical oblivion, while others, the kapos, are actively herding the remaining doubters inside.
George Monbiot is one of the latter. The last few years have outed this one time supposed anti-establishment figure as nothing more than a fully establishment goon, posturing in the sad tatters of his “dissident Green” cosplay. His performance during the Syria crisis made this too obvious. His sub-intelligent smears on those independent journalists daring to question the narrative made his real allegiances, and limitations, more than clear. His preparedness to brazenly lie and his refusal to debate the people he smeared in an open forum cemented this view.
Monbiot is revealed as the guy the establishment uses to try and lure the Left-Greens out in support of the latest agenda roll-out by the likes of Soros, Gates and the Atlantic Council. He’s booked for the same gigs as Avaaz. His brief, as ever, is to sell fascism – but this time in a Green box.
Today George is busy selling us on veganism.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Veganism is fine. It’s a human choice and it has a place. This is not an attack on veganism, or vegans.
But we need to separate what a thing is from what it’s being used for. Everything, even the best things, can be exploited. And we can’t let loyalty to the thing itself stop us from seeing when its being used for less than good ends.
Veganism is being promoted right now by the usual suspects. There has been a rash of articles in the Guardian and elsewhere about the supposed health and environmental benefits of giving up meat and dairy. Even if we happen to be vegan, we’d be insane not to wonder why. Especially when Monbiot is getting involved.
George is a poster child for the New Wave Vegan. Strange, perhaps, given he’s only a “97% vegan” himself. But let’s just ignore the 3% carnivore, since it’s only road kill. The more important point, anyway, is that George wants us all to think he’s a vegan. Because a salesman has to be seen to use the product he’s promoting. His latest article breaks no new ground on this really. He’s said most of it before, as have others. But still, given the mounting evidence for the political mobilisation of veganism, it’s a good idea to look at what he says.
He starts by offering a binary choice – between the current wasteful and insane industrial farming system and a somewhat poorly defined alternative in which everyone eats a plant-based diet, which he implies without really saying, will put an end to this insanity. He tells us not only will this choice fix the problem of worldwide food shortage (because plant-husbandry produces far more calories per hectare than animal husbandry), but it will also remove the problem of all that unused animal waste currently pouring into rivers and creating massive pollution.
George’s ideal future will also be gratifying for the processed food industry. Because vegans need ready meals!
Unless you can cook well – and many people have neither the skills nor the space – a plant-based diet can be either boring or expensive. We need better and cheaper vegan ready meals and quick and easy meat substitutes
And fake meat grown in a lab!
The big shift will come with the mass production of cultured meat.
George recognises the latter will be a tough sell, but he’s up for giving it a try. An objection to this might be that “artificial meat is disgusting”, says George, but:
If you feel this way, I invite you to look at how your sausages, burgers and chicken nuggets are currently raised, slaughtered and processed. Having worked on an intensive pig farm, I’m more aware than most of what disgusting looks like.
Mmmm…Lab-grown pseudo-meat, pink-dyed and not quite as disgusting as someting even worse! Lovely Roundup-saturated veggies processed into some approximation of the kind of protein humans can digest, and piped into microwavable sachets.
Who knew utopia would end up looking quite so much like – now? Who knew the new way would be just like the old way but with more “progressive” slogans?
George uses twisty self-contradictory arguments to claim one minute that eliminating livestock farming would “be a chance to break our complete dependence on artificial nitrogen”, while in his very next para admitting the exact opposite will in fact be the case.
the transition to plant protein is unlikely to eliminate the global system’s need for artificial fertiliser
Though he throws us a bone in the shape of
the pioneering work of vegan organic growers, using only plant-based composts and importing as little fertility as possible from elsewhere
This is blatant bait and switch. Green or green-sounding proclamations being swapped out for their very opposites with a deftness he hopes will fool us. We may, in some misty future time, not need to rely entirely on synthetic chemicals – but yes, ok, for now we will still be sucking up carcinogens with our lovely all veg diet.
Of course we could just use the animal manure to fertilise our veggies, which would entirely eliminate the need for chemical fertilisers…But let’s not think about that too much. Let’s instead soften that focus and just picture fields full of lovely cruelty-free plants waving in the even lovelier breeze…
In case you haven’t noticed, George’s entire article is hand-waving nonsense predicated on a lie, or a system of lies, and his trademark nifty footwork.
His claim that we need to produce more food is used as a blanket rationale for everything he advocates, but it’s a lie. We don’t need to produce more food. We currently produce more than enough food to feed the world. What we need and don’t have is equitable distribution. And that is because of the stranglehold of the minority interests George is carefully eliding.
His initial binary choice is a lie. We don’t need to choose between intensive animal farming and intensive cereal/veg farming. We have the option of non-intensive farming methods that treat the land, the animals and the crops with respect, and use age-old, sustainable methods to produce chemical-free and healthy food.
His dishonesty is nowhere more apparent than when he tries to elide this simple truth. Look at how he acknowledges the illogicality of unused animal waste
Today, the link between livestock and crops has mostly been broken: crops are grown with industrial chemicals while animal slurry stacks up, unused, in stinking lagoons, wipes out rivers and creates dead zones at sea.
but dodges away from the obvious solution – use the “slurry” to fertilise the land in place of synthetic chemicals – with a weak excuse:
When it is applied to the land, it threatens to accelerate antibiotic resistance.
Notice how he avoids mentioning the fact non-intensively reared animals don’t need to be pumped full of antibiotics in the first place. He even links to the source for sustainable husbandry I cite above, but does so only to dismiss it (without data) as “worse” than anything else on offer, by using, once again, the fake claim about the need to produce more food per hectare:
More damaging still is free-range meat: the environmental impacts of converting grass into flesh, the paper remarks, “are immense under any production method practised today”. This is because so much land is required to produce every grass-fed steak or chop
And adding that it’s also bad for the environment
Those who claim that “regenerative” or “holistic” ranching mimics nature deceive themselves. It relies on fencing, while in nature wild herbivores roam freely, often across vast distances. It excludes or eradicates predators, which are crucial to the healthy functioning of all living systems. It tends to eliminate tree seedlings, ensuring that the complex mosaics of woody vegetation found in many natural systems – essential to support a wide range of wildlife – are absent
You thought Monsanto, GM, monocultures and the ripping up of hedgerows was the problem? Nah. It’s fences. And herbivores eating the grass they’re designed to eat. And implicit in this nonsense of course is the greater nonsense that massive veggie monocultures drowned in pesticides and herbicides, are just teaming with wild life, tree seedlings and predators.
Just as he used frank lies to promote the Soros-backed White Helmets as unsung “heroes”, here, in the fake guise of promoting a healthy, organic, back-to-nature solution to the world’s problems, George is promoting the current power system of Big Ag and Big Food monopoly. Just as Avaaz sells us imperial regime change as grass roots activism, George is selling us industrial farming and denatured food as a return to Eden.
Don’t buy what he’s selling. Don’t surrender your sense of the real to this snake oil salesman. Go vegan if you want – that’s a fine personal choice. But not at the expense of the small producers who are already struggling to survive without the subsidies the big guys get.
Don’t vote for some future “meat tax” that will drive them out of business, and penalise the poor, just as Big Ag wants.
Don’t buy into this soft focus dreamland where our entire livestock herd disappears bloodlessly and completely from our landscape without being killed or culled, and is somehow better for it.
Don’t be whispered into campaigning for a new and self-imposed serfdom, in which 7 billion compliant vegans munch their potage or their shrink-wrapped lab-grown Soylent Green, while the 1% quietly eat grass-fed steak and snigger with duping delight.