Do you hate pot-smoking vegans but love raw milk? Have I got a website for you. On its face, Thoughtful Living is meant to be a refutation of two pernicious cultural trends: the belief that cannabis is harmless fun and the belief that a diet free of animal products is healthy. But it is actually an exercise in distinguishing subtle satire from earnest crankiness. Here are a few reasons why I favor the latter interpretation:
1) The anti-pot propaganda is not as over the top as it could be. Yes, there is the obligatory anecdote about the guy who got hooked on the reefer because he mistakenly thought it was not addictive, the criticism of medical marijuana laws as covers for recreational use, and even a call to boycott Progressive Insurance because of its founder's support for marijuana reform. At the same time, however, Thoughtful Living concedes that cannabis has medical applications and even holds up New Jersey as a model because it is "taking steps to make sure that medical marijuana, when available, will only go to the chronically sick patients." The site says "some [but not all!] advocates are using medical marijuana as a backdoor excuse to full legalization" and worries that people may "believe there are no other remedies for certain illnesses" while overlooking marijuana's "harmful [but unspecified] side effects." All in all, the writer sounds more tolerant and compassionate on this subject than the Obama administration.
2) The site's concerns about the risks of veganism seem largely well-founded, although overemphatically stated. In particular, the diatribes against soy are a bit unhinged, although I was amused by the charge that supposedly all-natural vegans who rely on soy for protein are committing the sin of eating highly processed food.
3) The faith in raw milk as an elixir of life, warding off "the many epidemic of allergies, autism, ADHD and auto-immune diseases our children have from the increasingly processed food supply," seems sincere, if strangely at odds with Thoughtful Living's ridicule of "pot magic." Raw milk is so powerful, in fact, that it leads the author, who otherwise does not seem inclined to a live-and-let-live philosophy, to embrace the libertarian cause of resisting heavy-handed bureaucratic interference with distribution of the stuff. In short: pot raids, sí; raw milk raids, no.
4) Judging from the comments (assuming they are real), readers interested in these subjects are taking the site at face value.
5) The T-shirts inveighing against pot and veganism are wonderfully lame if they are for real but not that funny if they are meant as parody.
What is the unifying theme that links these superficially unrelated causes? I'm not sure, but the combination makes at least as much sense as the platforms of the two major political parties.
[Thanks to Paul Armentano for the tip.]