In my own personal life, for reasons that are valid for me alone, I have been a vegetarian for nigh on 20 years.
I live in a part of the world where meat eating is almost mandatory, but I still manage to persevere. I never judge anyone else for what they eat, and I don’t “preach” on the topic. I don’t make a “show” out of refusing to eat meat dishes. And I never bring it up or discuss it unless I absolutely have to.
But by saying, “I am vegetarian,” it goes against the prevailing wisdom, and this opens me up to a lot of criticism and vitriol. And the worst kind of criticism is something that I call Hitler’s carrots.
You see, Hitler was a dedicated vegetarian. At the dinner table, he used to tell gory tales in order to try and dissuade his companions from eating meat.
Therefore, if someone said, “Sam agrees with Hitler,” they’d be right – at least partially. On this one topic, yes, it is unfortunately correct that I do agree with Hitler that carrots are good.
Of course, I’m virulently anti-fascist and abhor everything about what Hitler did and stood for. But for a certain kind of critical person, it’s easy to conflate a coincidental sharing of one belief with full and complete support for all their other beliefs.
Almost without fail, I regularly get criticized for being too “friendly” or supportive of Russia. Sometimes, people even suspect that I work for the Russian government (in reality, I doubt that anyone in Russia even knows that I exist).
Why? Because of Hitler’s carrots, that’s why! Sometimes, what I say matches or is in agreement with something the Russian government (or a Russian-speaking person) has done.
But if you take a step back and think about it for a second, the entire premise is absurd. I was born and raised in the United States and taught to fear and hate the Soviet Union (and, by proxy, the Russians). I’ve never been to Russia. I don’t really speak the language, and no one in my family is Russian or has ties to Russia. So why in the world would I have some natural affinity for the Russian government?
The truth is that sometimes I support what the Russian government does (i.e. ban GMO foods) and sometimes I strongly oppose what the Russian government does (i.e. abuse and vilify LGBTQI people). Theoretically, at least, I guess you could say I support Hitler’s vegetarianism while strongly opposing his ideas about fascism, anti-Semitism, and eugenics.
Look, I tell it as I see it. And that means I believe neither that the Russian government is an angel of goodness nor that the Russian government is composed of evil devils who want to take over the world.
Sorry, but I’m an adult.