Often in my writing, I like to take a bit of an ignorant blowhard viewpoint on things and complicate the issue by being liberal 80 percent of the time, then ridiculously conservative in a way that's inconsistent the rest of the time, because that makes me laugh. So right now I'm hopping on the vegan bandwagon in opposition to about everything I've ever written about vegans in the past.
Why does anyone care if someone is a vegan?
If you Google "hate vegans," you'll get over 1 million results. This alone is offensive, simply because if you Google me, you get way less, and half of those are pages Gladstone started. A lot of the results are kind of jokey in the way you, too, perhaps in your younger days, would half jokingly tell your one vegan friend in high school about how delicious meat is and why they're being ridiculous. Lots of people do that, because we're still in a curious carnivore renaissance where bacon is somehow funny and things like Epic Meal Time offer a curious representation of both manhood and a criticism of the super healthy push that Western society really started in on a decade or so back. We feel that veganism is the new hipster trend (it isn't, but that's how some people view it), and we're being even more awesomely cool by rejecting it and embracing beef like the dirty cow lovers we all are.
I would punch a toddler right the hell out for a delicious burger if he got all uppity and thought to deny me that meat, but I also would require a team of MIT-trained researchers and maybe a robot designed by NASA to help me devise a way to give a shit if you want to grill up a portobello mushroom and call it a hamburger.
And yet there is a lot of genuine anti-vegan hatred on the Internet. Some people really want to slap that beet away from your mouth. Some of the hatred is directed not at the practice itself, but at what is perceived as a self-righteous attitude that vegans may have, that they have to tell you they're vegan and condemn you for eating meat. And sure, anyone who judges you for eating a ham sandwich can go fuck themselves with a tube sock full of jacks, but does every vegan do that? And is that because they're a vegan, or just because they're an asshole? Assholes, you'll find, are omnivorous. Also, Omnivorous Asshole would be a fine name for either a band or a porn site.
Here's an awful video and the first YouTube result for hating vegans:
Notice that most of this illiterati's beef with vegans (ha, meat joke! Fuck, I'm writing that down) come from vegans just espousing their beliefs. Kind of like this guy does, but in reverse. And then he tosses in complete horseshit like #5 about how vegans are evil. As much of a facetious point as that seems to be, I've heard it before. Hitler was a vegetarian, y'know? Yeah, well Jeffery Dahmer wasn't. Pass me some cornbread.
If you don't like vegetables, that's great. It's kind of lame and childish, you should eat some vegetables, you overgrown baby, but whatever, it's your thing. If you don't like assholes who push their beliefs on you, that's fine as well, because all of those people deserve crotch rashes. But not liking someone who chooses to not eat meat, just because they choose to not eat meat, is like hating someone for choosing to not watch HBO. Is that weird? Of course it's weird, HBO is awesome. But where did you get the time to worry about it at all? Does it change your life in any way? No. No sir.
#1. Health Care
This is not about Obamacare exactly, it's about not being dead. Obamacare is one example of many health care initiatives countries all around the world employ as part of what those nations offer their citizens by way of security and protection. Health care is a thing that protects you from dying. But holy shit do some people really want to see some death.
Do you not want to pay extra taxes or insurance rates? Fine. Do you already have health coverage? Awesome. But at the end of the day, there are kids with leukemia, parents with Parkinson's and superheroes with Only One Thigh Sclerosis who maybe can't afford to go to a hospital. Or they go and their insurance says "Sorry, annual cap," or maybe lifetime cap, if it's an untreatable condition. Or God forbid a pre-existing condition that will then limit them from coverage at all. Health care in America sucks, it really does. Don't feel bad about that, it's like saying John from Cincinnati was a crappy HBO show. HBO is still good, it just had shit on it. It happens.
Despite the fact that access to health care stops people from dying and/or living with festering head wounds and the like, the big critique is how awful and socialist such a thing is. People have even said that they're going to leave the country because of it and move to someplace like Canada. The people who say this are dumb as damp burlap sacks full of shit, mind you, but they're saying it enough that the media is covering it.
Libertarian-leaning people don't like the government stepping in and giving them insurance because they like to be difficult. That's really the gist of it, and you can try to argue differently, but come on. No one can say, with a straight face, that if they have a heart attack they'll be pissed off that the government forced an insurance on them that helped them survive that heart attack. Damn, I'm alive! Now I can get revenge!
Are there good arguments against a health care mandate on paper? Sure. You can argue points of contract law and precedent, but is any of that any more than sour grapes? It's not like the government wants you to wear genie pants all day, they want to let people go to the damn doctor. All other arguments against it are smokescreens that cover two arguments -- it costs too much and it's a filthy socialist initiative.
Every other developed nation has universal health care. Every one. Because the government and the people they represent see the benefit of not having streets full of lepers. The cost is not unbearable and, in fact, repealing the act would increase the deficit by billions. Hundreds of billions.
So there is no cost argument. It comes down to people not liking the fact that this is perceived as socialist and, in principle, that must be bad. No matter how much good it does, the word sounds bad. If we replaced the word "socialist" with "Robot Rainbow Fucksplosion" and had to listen to Fox News pundits tell us that Obamacare is a Robot Rainbow Fucksplosion policy that means insurance companies have to treat us with basic human dignity, we'd all be in the streets with signs demanding more of it.
For more from Ian, check out 13 Things You Won't Believe Are Against the Law Somewhere and 5 Sex Experts Who Made the World a Worse Place (To Do It).