Before I begin this piece, I do want to make it clear that I am in no way mocking those who live by straight edge principles. I wrote this to show why the ‘strategic’ message should be purged from veganism. In the same way that it would from other movements.
For those who came in late, those who are straight edge, refrain from using alcohol, tobacco, and other recreational drugs.
Despite being around since the late ’70s, early ’80s, being straight edge hasn’t caught on much outside of punk circles.
To make straight edge more mainstream, the ‘straightedge strategist’ starts writing blog posts.
The ‘strategist’ comes up with the idea that if straight edge becomes more ‘flexible’, it will attract more to it.
It should also be known that this ‘strategist’ isn’t really straight-edge, (he vapes every now and then, viewing it as a grey area).
Frequency and Intent
The ‘strategist’ is of the view that how others view those who are straight edge is the most important thing.
He believes that ‘edgers’ are weak, and have little will power if presented with alcohol. Whether this has resulted from his own insecurites or lack of will power is unknown.
Thus, he decides to refer to those who smoke when they go out, or those who have a drink at ‘special occasions’, to be straight edge.
His view is that if ‘edgers’ betray their beliefs, it will entice more to join the fold.
In the ‘strategists’ eyes, being straight edge is all about frequency and intent.
The ‘strategist’ comes up with pointless ‘thought experiments’ to reinforce his view.
For example, you are out at grannies place on the weekend for a visit. While there, she tells you that she has your favourite beer in the fridge, and offers you one.
What do you do?
Do you refuse the beer, thereby upsetting your granny who went to all the effort to buy the beer for you?
Or, do you drink the beer, going against your core beliefs, because it is much better to ‘look good’.
Redefining Straight Edge
The ‘strategist’ is one of those people who wants to leave some sort of legacy behind. And his legacy is an attempt to redefine what it means to be ‘straight edge’.
He wants to redefine straight edge to being:
Avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and other recreational drugs, insofar as practical, possible, and effective.
What this means is that if you upset someone by refusing a drink when out one night, you aren’t being ‘effective’. It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are, you MUST consume that drink. Failing to do so will cause someone to be turned off being ‘straight edge’ for life.
Enter The Reducers
The ‘strategist’ is embarrassingly obsess with reducers. You know, the people who think they are better than everyone else because they have a “dry” day every now and then.
He also thinks that those who drink non-alcoholic drinks now and then will be the ones who bring about an alcohol free world.
What he doesn’t, and refuses to understand is that those who reduce, have no incentive to reduce to zero.
They are also more likely to ‘fall off the wagon’, when the alcohol industry launches a new advertising campaign.
Somehow, he attributes the existence of alcohol-like products as proof that reducers are creating the demand.
What he fails to realise is that those who give up alcohol may not want to consume an alcohol-like beverage. They may simply choose something different entirely.
Enter The Dichotomies
The ‘strategist’ then creates a dichotomy as part of his message. He regularly tells those who are straight edge, that they cannot refer to themselves in this way. Claiming that by doing so will cause people to shun being straight edge for ever.
He goes further by saying that you can call yourself straight edge, even if you do drink or smoke every now and then.
Regular slogans of his are that edgers are “dogmatic’, “purist” and
the “fun police”.
Except that he expects everyone to follow his version of ‘straight edge’, without question.
Somehow, this ‘strategist’ has hoodwinked people into believing that the only way to get straight edge to grow, is by not being straight edge. Unless you are one of the group that the ‘strategist’ says are straight edge…
Why Do We Accept This?
This sort of rubbish wouldn’t be accepted or tolerated in any other movement, social or otherwise.
So, we are we allowing, and encouraging it to happen within veganism?
It is time to draw a line in the sand and stop those ‘professionals’ with an anti-vegan agenda from crossing it.
If we don’t, there will come a time where a vegan is a person who eats a plant based meal a majority of the time.
This article was written by the founder of VeganPolice.com.au, Cameron Blewett.
Cameron is a long term vegan (30+yrs), and is passionate about veganism, and helping people to understand more about it and giving other animals equal consideration.
You can find Cameron’s other rants on his website, CameronBlewett.blog