So I recently lost my job, and wound up getting one in L.A., rather than staying in Vegas. The funny part is, I got really, really excited about my new job, my new company, and everything it stands for, even though it is usually pretty associated with the left.
My new job is at a craft beer bar and restaurant with a very local, sustainable focus. All but five of our 72 beers are CA craft beers. All of them are on draft. Even our wine comes in kegs, to reduce waste. Our entire menu is locally sourced, with an emphasis on local, small, sustainable farmers. This is like a hippy's wet dream.
Thinking about it, though, it should also be every Libertarian, economic conservative, or free market Republican's wet dream too. Part of the reason we should not feel bad about deregulating, or about cutting social services is that we should insist that the free market is capable of "doing the right thing," without regulation and over-taxation. That is, we would wind up donating more to charity if so much of our hard-earned income didn't get taken away for welfare and social security programs. Businesses would have an incentive to protect the environment, and the rights of workers, especially in today's world of free flowing information, if the government let competition take its toll.
My question is this, though. How many Republicans or Libertarians have made a conscious choice to buy responsibly, or to help a charity, recently? Let's put our money where our mouth is.
I'm not really huge on the environment, or on animal rights. So why is local, sustainable, vegan-friendly dining such a big deal to me? The human rights aspect. Last time I took a class on this, the world produces enough food to feed its population three times The issue is not a lack of resources. It is an uneven distribution and supply chain. The vast majority of food produced in "developing" nations (poor places), goes to the U.S. market. Moreover, a lot of it is not consumed by humans as food. Instead, it goes into gasoline as ethanol, or gets fed to our livestock in factory-scaled farms. By buying locally sourced, grass-fed food, we leave more grain in those poor countries to support their populations. I guess it is also more humane, and more green, but more importantly, it is a good step toward basic human rights.
Prove the left wrong and prove that the free market can be green, humane, and compassionate. Donate some time or money this holiday season, do your Christmas shopping at a local small business, or eat a meal you know was sourced locally.