The Politics of the Natural
I was recently talking with a friend (a nondenominational Protestant) who is planning her wedding. When the conversation turned to her thoughts about having children, she identified herself, despite her very understandable worries about such a responsibility, as being “anti-birth-control”: she doesn’t want to put foreign chemicals into her body that might mess with her emotions and who knows what else, as we’ve both heard about from other friends. Whatever the reasoning, this self-identification would classify her as politically “conservative” in many people’s minds. On a different tack, the food for my friend’s wedding reception is all being locally sourced from people known to use organic farming methods, for reasons including environmental responsibility, health benefits, support of local economies and small-scale farmers, and concerns about the inhumane treatment of animals on factory farms. Thus many would classify my friend as politically “liberal” based on her preference for local and organic food.
Such categorization of the above concerns, however, is oversimplified. As manifestations of a desire to live as naturally as possible, they fit together – naturally. And that is what my friend is trying to do in her daily living and her major life decisions, without too much self-consciousness about how her conscientiousness will be labeled politically. In this way she is a living illustration of how the ways in which certain “issues” are politicized just don’t make sense.