Introducing the Circular Firing Squad

It’s been nearly two centuries since a New York mayor first wrote that politics makes for “strange bedfellows.” Today there’s nothing unusual about sworn enemies working together for a common purpose. This month in Colorado, for instance, animal rights activists and libertarians are teaming up to push back against new restrictions in the ballot-initiative process.

Of course, alliances like this run the risk of making both parties look silly, which is a common outcome in Washington. When ambitious schemers with common enemies harm each other instead, the term “circular firing squad” applies nicely. And activists who practice food politics have this problem in spades.

Yesterday our executive director wrote about this phenomenon in his regular biweekly column on the popular Daily Caller news website:

We see some flavor of this with egg marketers. Some of them may find it appetizing, for competitive advantage if no other reason, to embrace “cage free” and organic niches and promote their supposed benefits in a way that undercuts larger, “conventional” egg interests.

This may — underline “may” — be a winning strategy in the short-term. But in the long run, profit margins on cage-free eggs will creep down closer to those of regular eggs. And the whole industry will be left more vulnerable to vegan-promotion organizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), whose foot in the door will eventually become two feet, and then a leg.

For the uninitiated, an HSUS vice president admitted a few years ago that her organization’s goal was to “get rid of the entire [animal agriculture] industry” by “promoting veganism.”

Similarly, organic-only purists can sound ridiculous when instead of projecting teamwork they play games of one-upmanship with their competition (“I’m organic and I play Beethoven for my crops!”). And even Whole Foods has found it has shot itself in the foot by posturing for holier-than-thou foodie ideologues, and then attracting their barbs later on. Click here to read the whole column.