Agriculture Is Imperialism

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Agriculture is the basis for models of the primitive and imperial state. Plant-based diets cannot support even paleolithic human population levels without agriculture. Therefore, a plant-based diet is a fundamentally imperialist diet.

The agrarian has offered us a devil’s bargain. By inducing population levels unsustainable by our planet’s naturally ecology through industrial agriculture, they now offer to sell us back the same product on the basis of said artificially inflated population. Their solution to unsustainable population? Shocker, doubling-down with more industrial agriculture.

“In the fertile lands of the Unites States and Canada a saying grew up that “the only good Indian is a dead Indian,” because the Indian encumbered the land which the farmer needed for cultivation of crops, and the miner for his digging and delving. The Indian was in the way and had to go, for we could not let questions of mere humanitarianism and justice restrain us from taking posession of the valuable lands that the Indian had inherited from his ancestors. In the South, economic and humanitarian interests were diametrically opposed, and the economic had their way. In the North, economic and humanitarian interests happened to coincide. The northern land was valueless to the farmer, and the country was of value to the trading companies only in so far as it produced fur; and furs could best be secured by perpetuating the Indian and keeping him in possession of the lands, because dead men do not set traps. The only good Indian in the North was the live Indian who brought in fur to sell.” – Vilhjalmur Stefansson, My Life With the Eskimo, 1912

The agriculturalists are quick to proclaim that we can’t survive without them. They declare that we’re better off under their management. These are, of course, imperialist lies.

“Some have said seventy-five million bison were on the Plains at the time of first European contact… Many think thirty million is a reasonable compromise… It almost doesn’t matter. The point is that… there were  tens of millions of buffalo, which means there was plenty to go around, especially for hunters on foot and armed with simple hunting weapons. There is no evidence that Aboriginal hunting of bison, over at least twelve thousand years, was making any serious dent in the population. On the contrary, evidence from the bones at many different sites of differing ages suggests that bison were certainly holding their own in terms of numbers, if not actually becoming more numerous through time.” – Jack W. Brink, PhD. Imagining Head-Smashed-In: Aboriginal Buffalo Hunting on the Northern Plains, 2008

Context: An average bison may yield 500 lbs. of meat after butchery. 500 lbs * 75 million = 37.5 billion pounds of meat. Assuming a 300 million population (roughly the current U.S. population), that equates to 125 pounds of bison for every individual in the U.S. at historic bison population. Obviously you can’t eat them all at once; this is just to provide some context. And… that’s just one species. How well did you say land management through barbed wire and farm agriculture are working again?

The agriculturalist has decimated the natural animal habitat of our planet. They have plowed grassland ecosystems naturally balanced with wildlife and offered us deserts and fossil fuel thirsty crops engineered on the barren lands of their parasitic tendencies. They have replaced the the equilibrium of an ecosystem in which we once thrived with mass extinction through mass extraction. Do not let the time that separates us from the agrarian subsumption of so many ecosystems serve as a chasm between us and the reality.

When speaking about the global ecology holistically, there is no such thing as sustainable agriculture. There are exceptions of course, agriculture ensures the sustainability of imperialist states. Agriculture ensures the sustainability of slavery — whether through slave labor, or its modern abstraction, wage slavery. Perhaps this is the sustainability we’re being promised by those offering agriculture as ne plus ultra sustainability.

The premise of all empires is that the backwards, uncivilized, primitives (read: the other) would be better off under the helpful guidance of their enlightenment. Despite a history of hunter-gatherers resisting assimilation by the state and its coercion, we’re told that those not blessed by our agrarian nightmare will be happy to subsist with the best of what industrial agriculture can provide. Forget that this claim has been demonstrated to be false time and again. The American Dream of unbridled consumption as a birthright is an illusion bearing the gift of an 80 hour workweek, alienation, and atomization. The dream is an easy sell, because we’re biologically driven to show off, but that impulse is a hollow replacement for living a vibrant life and demonstrating personality.

If you want less factory farmed meat, I have a solution: get the corn, soy, and wheat farms out of natural bison habitat. Of course, this is but one example.

And… for the sake of sustainability… I hereby forsake corn, soy, and wheat consumption… a practice not possible without fossil fuel agriculture and the GMO gestapo. Sustainability, you’re welcome.

Agriculture isn’t going away any time soon, but agrarians would do well to engage in some hard thinking on the full implications of their ideology. It’s certain that many veg*ns are unintentional imperialists — lulled by a life mediated by spectacular capital and swept away by its promises. It’s important to see its adherents as individuals, but ultimately: Veg*nism is imperialism. Drop the facade; self-righteousness doesn’t look good on imperialists.

And if you think hunters do not revere the animals that provide them with sustenance, you ain’t got no soul (in the James Brown sense). Try getting some via my recent post on life in ANWR, Robb Wolf on Discovery, The Wild Within on Travel Channel, or the San bushmen in a persistence hunt…

If you don’t at least begin to get it after that, you don’t know soul and I’ll let you get back to your robotic existence of denying humanity.