Meat

Meat consumption is a popular arena for performative ethical grandstanding. Articles such as Supermarkets cut the number of bargain meat deal abound.

It really is odd since it amounts to the Bill Gates class of people harping at the peasants to eat bugs.

We need the apocalypse is the best article I’ve read about the whole thing from the elites demanding the hoi polloi eat less to the Dutch farmer protest:

For our extractive industrial mode of living really can’t go on forever. This, though, leaves ordinary farmers in the crosshairs. For most agriculture is as industrial as an Australian iron ore mine, thanks to fossil fuel powered farm machinery, nitrogen fertiliser and chemical pesticides. And these practices really do risk future food security.

Yet for the knowledge class, the world of atoms is something to be counted, rationalised, financialised, streamlined or otherwise manipulated in the course of the actually important work of abstraction, high-level thinking, and making more money. So when spreadsheet sociopaths of this type decide it’s time to force a “transition” out of such environmentally harmful and carbon-intensive work, people whose livelihoods are inextricable from that work may, understandably, have questions.

After mentioning that Bill Gates is now the largest owner of agricultural lands in the United States, the article continues:

Absent some kind of redistributive revolution, it seems more plausible that agriculture goes high-tech. Robotisation is already in use in some farms, while gene-edited crops are on their way to being waved through by the current Tory administration. And we’re forever being told that insect protein is the food of the future. But this, in turn, means even greater consolidation: fewer workers, bigger fields, larger parcels of land. In other words, more small farmers being forced out of business. And more tech implies an increasing dependency on Big Finance and biotech. If this is the future we get, those now fretting that we’re going to end up as a microchipped useless class, spending our meaningless, UBI-funded, AI-governed lives staring out of a pod home at hundreds of thousands of acres of robot-tended agroindustry while awaiting our drone delivery of insect protein, may be exaggerating only a little.

And indeed, grand top-down plans often seem indifferent to predictable human consequences — a fact underlined again by the Dutch protests. Here, farmers are furious that the government appears to have imposed strictures on nitrogen emissions to meet climate targets, with little thought for how the transition will be managed and how farmers’ livelihoods will be affected.

Nor is this the first time top-down idealism has fomented human-scale backlash. Last year, the Sri Lankan government was awarded an “Oscar for best policy” by the WEF, for a decision to ban nitrogen fertiliser. This government edict forced the nation’s farms to go organic more or less overnight, despite experts warning that this would be a disaster. The livelihoods and even lives lost have driven a popular uprising; last week, an estimated 300,000 protesters took to the streets, and forced the resignation and flight of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on a military plane.

What I take away from this, is that the current mode of industrial agriculture isn’t sustainable in the long term. We’re not headed towards a simpler, more human-scale and sustainable agriculture. Instead, It’s going to be a top-down techno-utopian “solution” a la lockdowns, masks and vaccines passports.

No thanks. As someone that didn’t eat meat for years and even now eats far less meat than most, I don’t need Bill Gates telling me what protein to eat, nor do I want bureaucrats seizing farmland.

And in conclusion:

Against this backdrop, the Dutch farmers emerge as tragic reverse-Luddites, battling not against the onset of industrialisation but its end. At root their cause is the defence of livelihoods that depend on the continuation of an extractive mode of production that feeds and clothes most of us, but is also slowly killing the planet. But those imposing grand schemes aimed at forcing change don’t come out much better. Techno-futurist visions on the scale proposed by Davos Man imply a vantage-point from which all possible variables have been assessed and the rational way forward determined — a perspective that routinely obscures the human costs of knowledge-class hubris.