I don’t think there is anyone more self-righteous than an ex-smoker.
Something about jumping off the nicotine carousel seems to compel the new non-smoker to proclaim the evils of what Rudyard Kipling called “the great god Nick o’ Teen.” And I’m not sure I blame them. Research has shown nicotine to be more addictive than heroin and the health benefits of quitting are certainly nothing to cough at. I’ve read that the day after one gives up smoking the lungs begin to clear up and circulation begins to improve.
Consequently, I’m inclined to grant a bit of leniency to ex-smokers who want to boast a bit about quitting. I’ll listen. I’ll encourage. I’ll even pat them on the back and say good for you and best of luck.
But I’m not so certain I can be quite as magnanimous with a new-age conceit—the arrogance of organics.
As I’ve said many times, I have nothing against folks growing, buying and eating organic food. I have nothing against people wearing organic fabric. I think organic agriculture serves an important function.
I appreciate the opportunity organic production provides landowners with a few acres and a lot of energy. Organic agriculture offers them a means to fill a niche in local markets and to attract a clientele eager to buy their products. That’s good business. It’s sound economics. Organic agriculture gives local farmers the means to compete with industry heavy-weights.
I rarely buy organic, however. I am not tempted to pay an extra 30 cents for an organic apple. I have more confidence in the safety of traditionally-produced fruits and vegetables.
I’m also not apt to grant concessions to those who would preach to me about the health benefits of a vegan diet. I don’t begrudge them their choices. If soy burgers and bean curd lasagna appeal to them, I wish them bon appétit.
I like chicken—baked, stewed, grilled or fricasseed. I enjoy a juicy ham, surrounded by sweet potatoes. A tender Kansas City strip steak cooked medium rare has little competition as far as good eats go. And a thick hamburger, grilled in my own backyard and topped off with a home-grown slice of tomato may be as good a meal as I could ask for—except maybe for bacon and eggs or fried catfish and hushpuppies. And I won’t turn my nose up at a Thanksgiving turkey, either.
So what is it about organic and vegan that makes people want to evangelize, convert the masses to their way of eating? I do not proselytize to them. I do not to knock on their doors with pamphlets and tracts declaring conventional and carnivorous diets as the only way to health and happiness.
I might try to talk someone out of a bad habit on occasion. But a person’s eating choices are none of my business. Vegan or organic, it’s their choice to make. I pretty much leave them alone. And expect the same in return.