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Living the ‘Crunchy-Con’ Lifestyle

What does politics have to do with pilates?

by
Helen Smith

Bio

July 13, 2012 - 9:45 am

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I don’t think of myself as any kind of “Crunchy Con,” author Rod Dreher’s phrase for those who live a kind of hippy, organic lifestyle but who are conservative in their outlook and politics. I like meat and guns, and I am a libertarian rather than a conservative for the most part, though I often think of myself as conservative since that’s what others say I am and I lean to the right on most fiscal and defense issues (though not on many social ones). What it really means, of course, is that I don’t follow or believe much about liberal dogma; thus, I am the “other.” But one thing I have found is that my lifestyle is often similar to someone on the other side of the aisle, and I find it puzzling that lifestyle choices are often reflective of one’s politics because — for me — they are not.

I headed to a pilates class today, for example, and I sometimes go to a yoga class where many of the students and the teacher embrace a passive, vegetarian lifestyle. The parking lot where I shop afterwards is often full of bumper stickers calling for Obama to be re-elected or to “Give Peace a Chance.” Me? I am more of the peace through superior firepower type. I cringe when I see a vegan or vegetarian smug with some type of moral reasoning that borders on the pathological giving someone grief about eating meat. Yet I frequent vegetarian restaurants (like the one I plan to go to tonight) that feature tofu as a main course. Yeah, I know, tofu probably causes breast cancer and men probably shouldn’t eat it, but I actually like it. Why does vegetarianism have to be a political statement? Can’t one just like vegetables once in a while without being inundated with leftist politics?

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I also like organic produce and food. In fact, I just stopped by my financial guy’s office to pick up organic eggs and tomatoes. He has a farm, grows his own food, and worries about pesticides and the environment. But like my family, he stockpiles MREs, and if I had to guess, I bet he votes more to the right than left, but I could be wrong. It’s hard to say anymore where people are politically just because they like certain foods or because of lifestyle choices. And why should it matter?

Who says the left should act as if they own health food or yoga — or pilates for that matter? Who died and made them God?

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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