Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Primal/paleo libertarians.... there seem to be a lot of them.

I generally try not to push hard on a political point of view here, but the subject of politics fascinates me. Sites like Real Clear Politics and Politico get my attention on a daily (or more) basis for the latest blahblahblah on the 2012 election. I am an unreformed political junkie of the most addicted sort.

My own political viewpoint is best described (or I haven't figured out a better description, anyway) as "libertarian-ish." I am a registered D, for no reason at this point other than that is where I started at age 18. But I find myself squarely in the middle of the overall political landscape -- an "average" obtained from landing all over the map on individual issues. I am -- to use a phrase that I really desperately wish *I* had thought of -- "pro-choice about everything," which means that on personal-freedom issues, like marriage rights, end-of-life decisions, reproductive choice, etc., I tend to side with the Dems, and on fiscal matters I am more conservative, prone to believing in the value of balanced budgets, free trade/markets and lower taxes, and I say things like: "Do whatever you like as long as (a) no one else gets hurt, and (b) I am not forced to pay for it." And that "protecting me from myself" stuff, like seatbelt and helmet laws, just drives me batty. But.... (and politically, for me, there's almost always a but) I walk a generally pro-environment line that offends hardcore "big L" Libertarians, and I can't say I really care about/understand the Federal Reserve very much, so the Ron Paul folks get mad at me for *that*. It seems, in the end, that *no* politicians agree with me on most things (although I am amazed at how often this guy does).

Since my politics tend to piss off almost *everyone* at some point, I try not to go there too often on my little blog, lest you inappropriately/incorrectly begin to believe that I care what *your *politics are, and, by and large, I really don't. I am friends with people from all over the political spectrum, and I believe that respecting one another's viewpoints are the only way we can all get along. (Or maybe it's that I think that if I am polite enough about it, you'll start to agree with me... muwahahahaha). So it is with some fear and trepidation that I begin to muse, out loud, right here on this little blog, about a question that keeps coming up in my head:

Why do so many CrossFit/primal/paleo people lean libertarian in their thinking?

No, I am sure it is not all of us by any means, but some of the leading luminaries of a lot of this stuff -- folks with names like Glassman, Wolfe and Wolf, to name a few -- have made it quite clear from their posts that they take a libertarian-ish view of things political. And down the ladder of importance, 850 or so rungs below those folks, there's me.

So what gives? I suppose there's a simple/stupid "caveman" answer that involves mere defiance of convention combined with a self-reliant burning urge to slay the nearest elk with an atlatl and feast upon its carcass, eating its entrails like grapes, of course followed by heavy deadlifting and grunting.

Or maybe it's more akin to this:

But I think it is a little more than all that (admittedly appealing) caveman/punkrock/hippie stuff. Yeah, sure, there's a thread of "don't tell me what to do, maaaaan," running through many of our thoughts, but there is actual human experience at work here too. It's the experience of having doctors, nutritionists and, since the advent of that damn food pyramid, *the government* tell us the wrong way to eat (grains! low fat! margarine, not butter!) and then having the government follow all of that up with policies -- particularly subsidies to grow grains that are at the heart of many of the health issues in this country -- that are making the problem worse. Then you see the behemoth machine of government going further, expending money to prosecute people who are -- gasp! -- selling raw milk to people who want to buy raw milk, and you have a large WTF moment.

So it's no surprise that folks who already lean toward a pro-freedom, less-government political stance find that paleo pushes them just a little further in that direction. It underscores the libertarian point nicely (and substantially closer to home) when you find a lifestyle choice that does wonders for how you look, feel and perform, and you realize that government policies are set up in a way that encourage you to live and eat in a way that is exactly the opposite of what is working for you. And then, in some cases -- the raw-milk prosecutions, for example -- you find that people can go to jail for selling a food product that other people want to buy for their own personal consumption. It's enough to send a person who is already flirting with libertarian thought into a full-blown romance with Reason Magazine.

Or you might come at all this from the other direction. You start eating paleo, without a political thought in your head, or even with *other* non-libertarian political views. And then you might begin connecting the dots, and you realize that there are lots of analogies to be made from the government's intrusive actions in the realm of food/nutrition to other topics that you might ordinarily think of as more overtly "political."

Some wise person once said, "All politics is local." Things don't get any more "local" than what you choose to put in your piehole. It seems that large numbers of us would like the government to play a much smaller role in all of that. If you are one of those people, however you got to that point of view, good for you. Keep thinking. I like thinkers.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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