Modern Paleo

I’d like to announce a great new resource that I hope you’ll check out and enjoy. My friend, Diana Hsieh, whom I’ve been aware of as an Objectivist philosopher since the mid 90s — and who emailed me out of the blue a couple of years ago to let me know she’d been reading my blog and had "gone paleo" — has now really contributed to the movement in a big and unique way: Modern Paleo.

One thing that has irked me to some extent about the paleo movement and I’d bet far more for Diana, is a sort of romanticizing of the primitive. If that also bugs you then you’ll be right at home where…

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute. –Ayn Rand

And how that works in paleo and in practice is…

We live by that philosophy. We do not seek to return to the past: we want to fully enjoy the amazing benefits of modern life. We do not cling to dogmas or submit to authority: we think and act for ourselves, based on our best grasp of the relevant facts. We do not sacrifice our judgment or our values to others, nor ask others to sacrifice to us. We seek the best for ourselves by producing and trading voluntarily with other rational, productive people. We reject government controls and welfare on principle: every person should be free to live as he pleases, so long as he respects the rights of others. […]

We regard Objectivism as compatible with a paleo approach to nutrition, fitness, and health. Yet we recognize that most Objectivists do not eat a paleo diet, just as most paleo diet advocates are not Objectivists. We’re happy to forge our own path to secure our life, health, and happiness. That’s what it means to be human.

And Diana has put together quite a list of resources. There’s the BLOG, of course, an amazing and comprehensive statement of paleo principles with expandable text with tons of resource info (including many, many links to articles here and other blogs you know so well), three email lists and that’s probably just to start with, an enormous list of resources, and finally, a description about what makes this particular approach to paleo modern & different.

So there you have it and rather than take up even more time talking about it, just go have yourself a good look and explore.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Diana Hsieh on March 18, 2010 at 16:44

    Thanks so much for the plug, Richard! It is hugely appreciated!

    FYI, pretty much anyone is welcome to lurk on my hugely awesome OEvolve ) e-mail list, although only Objectivists (narrowly construed) practicing some kind of evolutionary diet are permitted to post. In my experience, limiting the posters in that way provides a common foundation that promotes useful discussion as opposed to pointless debates and arguments.

    I’ve adopted the same general strategy with my three Modern Paleo lists: the membership criteria are somewhat strict for posters, but that means that the list can be awesome yet unmoderated.

    Since Richard didn’t mention it, I’ll say that those three lists are PaleoBloggers (for paleo bloggers, surprise!), SousVide (for folks cooking sous vide), and PaleoThyroid (for paleo-eaters with thyroid problems). If you’re interested, please do sign up!

    • Kurt G Harris MD on March 18, 2010 at 22:09

      I just swiped your posting as a privilege idea.

      Thanks again for the link., the site looks great!

      • Richard Nikoley on March 19, 2010 at 07:59

        From your post, Kurt.

        “The supply of stupid shit in the universe is infinite…”

        Ha! I may have to swipe that one from time-to-time.

    • Heather Lackey on March 19, 2010 at 07:07

      Just wanted to say that I’ve enjoyed lurking at oevolve the past couple months. (I can never get enough reading about paleo-related stuff.) New site looks great, too.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 19, 2010 at 08:01

        You can say that again, Heather. Frankly, with Diana’s recent thyroid issues she’s blogged openly about I didn’t expect a lot to begin with. Man was I surprised. There’s clearly at least dozens & dozens of hours of work there. Amazing job.

  2. Suzan on March 18, 2010 at 15:13

    Yes, it’s a great site! I don’t necessarily agree with everything in it, but so what? Exchanging ideas is what makes life interesting – and it exercises the brain, too. 🙂

  3. William on March 18, 2010 at 15:54

    This is very good. Seems I remember Diana commenting at FTR, that she has a Google group (?) that didn’t welcome non-Objectivists, nor folks from the David Kelley faction of Objectivism. Since I could not be a part of that site, [if I am indeed right about this] as I would not refer to myself as an Objectivist, even though I have much appreciation of Ayn Rand’s work. This is exciting news, and I look forward to reading Diana’s work daily.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 18, 2010 at 16:06

      Not sure whether she would ‘tolerate’ (kinda inside joke, there) kellyites, of which Diana was one when I knew her as Diana Mertz Brickell back on the O’ist USENET forums int the 90s, but which she broke from some years back.

      But they welcome lurkers and I’m one, as a free-market anarchist. Diana is well aware of that, I completely respect and abide by her disposition of her property, and there’s no prob.

      We’re friends. She seems to ‘tolerate’ me (there I go again).

  4. Jared on March 18, 2010 at 16:04

    Just a criticism of objectivist philosophy:

    I see man as a heroic being with reason as his only absolute an inherently contradictory idea. If man were reasonable, he couldn’t hold onto the very unreasonable view of man as a hero. That is, if hero implies man saving anyone other than himself, or his own family. This is a stronger reality of our existence than any in-discriminant heroism, our selfish genes.

    Romanticizing our own existence is not objective. Which is probably why it’s called objectivism, it needs the advertising. Something that was truly objective wouldn’t need such a loaded name.

    Seeing man for what we truly are, irrational, unreasonable, and controlled by our emotions, hormones, and instincts is, i think, much more useful for making decisions like this.

    For instance, knowing that man naturally procrastinates, it makes sense to implement public policy which either forces or strongly encourages people to take care of their health, or to save money for retirement. Having a romantic view of ourselves only prevents us from being effective with controlling our own behaviors. This is the main problem I see with philosophies like objectivism.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 19, 2010 at 07:54


      “Seeing man for what we truly are, irrational, unreasonable, and controlled by our emotions, hormones, and instincts is, i think, much more useful for making decisions like this.”

      Some men, sometimes, and in different degrees. But that’s not the ideal. What Rand was talking about, in my view is man’s potential as a heroic being, and that’s it’s essential.

      Mostly, it’s a counter-view to that espoused by most western religions and other philosophies: that man is a wretched and depraved being in need of repentance and salvation from an imagined supreme being.

      For my money it’s far better to view man idealistically, though we all fall short much of the time.

    • Jorge Vazquez on March 20, 2010 at 11:48

      If we are so unreasonable, why are you trying to use reason to convince us of our irrationality? What’s more if all humans are unreasonable then either your ideas have no merit (not that I would be able to evaluate them given your standard) or you are not human. Which is it?

  5. ToddBS on March 18, 2010 at 16:14

    I find that Objectivist-leaning people actually are fairly common in the modern paleo world. In fact, I believe it was a NYT article on the “new cavemen” that mentioned the typical “new cavemen” is a Libertarian. While the distinctions are at the same time fine and blunt, the two are fairly similar from the 100 mile view.

    In any case, I would consider myself to be an Objectivist for the most part. Save for my personal belief that corporate culture is antithetical to a free market. But that’s a subject for another discussion entirely and I am in no way stating any “truth”. Just my own personal feelings.

    I’ll be bookmarking her new site though.

  6. Suzan on March 18, 2010 at 17:20

    Not all Libertarians are Objectivists, and not all Paleo eaters are Objectivists either. Which is as it should be. Mixing it up makes for a lively community.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 18, 2010 at 17:26

      Yet there is the freedomthimg.

  7. shel on March 18, 2010 at 20:42

    i love ‘er. i won’t get into explaining the connection between her manifesto of romance and anchoring our subjective, easily misled minds in the objective reality of our world (which set her apart from all of the near-solipsistic philosophers out there). her brand (i quoted it! don’t come down hard on me, objectivists) of “libertarianism” is attractive because she wasn’t a stateless anarchist.

    …she understood that libertarian anarchism does not fit with human nature (just like the naivete of Marxism). Imagining a stateless society is naive at best, unreasonable at worst. if one can imagine the cops, army, courts and jails being run privately, i submit that a bit of imagination be put into where the scenario would lead. too many holes that can’t be crawled out of.

    and all the untried anarchist theory, the “we would”, “it would”, “everything would fall into place”, “it would happen like this” is all sweet speculation. the concept of a stateless society based around free markets and the individual sounds wonderful (to me), as did a people-state society based around controlled markets and the collective a century ago (to many others, still)… both ethereal, academic pipedreams; collectivism didn’t work, anarchism won’t work. human nature and power abhor vacuums, and some sociopath would come out of his little fiefdom and wreak havock.

    ~nope, Ayn Rand was right in her observation that a nation (yes, “nation”. we are stubbornly individualistic, but tribal all at once. frustrating, i know) with a minarchist system is the only reasonable, attainable goal of the practical libertarian.

    …a market driven system; a constitutionally limited state that protects the citizens from violence, coercion, theft and fraud; and from which the citizens’ property rights, free speech and gun rights are protected, constitutionally, is an attainable goal. basically, a “night watchman state”. not perfect, but realistic.

    …Rand was a minarchist. hell, Mises himself was a minarchist; as were Spencer, Friedman, Buchanan, Read, Hayek.

    ~i dug Spooner though. he didn’t just do the pie-in-the-sky, mental whacking-off, talky talky f:)cking talky. he was an anarchist who actually did stuff. i like that.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 19, 2010 at 08:12


      “collectivism didn’t work”

      Oh really? Then why seven paragraphs defending it? The truth is, even America began as a collectivist nation in principle, if not entirely in practice. Here:

      “We the people.”

      Now I’m pretty sure those various documents were not signed by ALL people, and even if they had been, what of newborns and so on?

      “…state that protects the citizens from…”

      Yea, and who protects the citizens from the state? I’m sure you’re aware that other than natural causes, no force in the history of the Earth has been responsible for more murder & death that the state.

      In the end, I’ve never been the sort of anarchist that attempts to tell others or imagine various utopias. Frankly, it’s self-contradictory to do so. So, I don’t go in for things like David Friedman’s “Machinery of Freedom,” for example. I don’t make meaningless distinctions between public or private initiators of force. And that’s all government is: force. And it doesn’t strike me as overly preoccupied with exercising defensive force but with wielding initiatory force and coercion against the very citizens it claims to “protect.”

      To sum it up, I’m an anarchist precisely because of Rand, not in spite of her. I’ve read everything she ever published including all the newsletters & newspaper columns. In all that volume of reading there’s one thing she could never instill in me: to value the state.

      And that’s what it really comes down to for me. I simply do not value government, the state, the notion of “nations.” And I’m perfectly willing to take my chances and live the consequences. But I’m never going to waste time telling you or anyone else that you can have your cake & eat it too, i.e., have the benefits of state coercive force that a “good citizen” can enjoy, only without the state.

      • Jorge Vazquez on March 20, 2010 at 15:21

        Do you not understand the constitution or are you misunderstanding it on purpose?

      • Richard Nikoley on March 21, 2010 at 15:43

        I don’t value the constitution, Jorge. It has no authority (see: Lysander Spooner) as I never signed onto it.

        I consider the Declaration of Independence to be the founding document of America and every single code of law written since, including COTUS, has served only to undermine it.

        That’s every letter of every sentence of every government edict. Ever since.

      • shel on March 22, 2010 at 20:13

        ~Richard, i mostly agree with you.

        i meant to say “Marxist” collectivism didn’t work, because its based on the destruction of private property rights.

        the beauty of Objectivism is that its a philosophy that can be practiced pretty much anywhere because its based around an individual in control of his own mind and values. collectivist philosophies need groups (Kantianism, religions, humanism, etc), so the empowerment of these philosophies are taken away from the person.

        “who protects the citizens from the state?”

        nothing is perfect, but let me ask, “who protects the citizens from private armies, private police forces and private courts?”

        Rand wasn’t an anarchist, though. she was a minarchist who advocated a constitutionally bound government based on a voluntary tax system in which value motivates the individual’s willingness to pay. this is reasonable… no coercion involved.

        there are some who have the misconception that Rand advocated no government. let’s kill this misunderstanding right now:

        “Anarchy, as a political concept, is a naive floating abstraction: . . . a society without an organized government would be at the mercy of the first criminal who came along and who would precipitate it into the chaos of gang warfare. But the possibility of human immorality is not the only objection to anarchy: even a society whose every member were fully rational and faultlessly moral, could not function in a state of anarchy; it is the need of objective laws and of an arbiter for honest disagreements among men that necessitates the establishment of a government”

        …The Virtue of Selfishness

        Richard, nation states are here to stay. the nature of the human animal demands it. just too many people and too little area.

        practically, it might be a good start to concentrate on getting back to the original intent of your Constitution, push to kill eminent domain laws and anti-trust laws, and destroy conservative and liberal socialism.

        as for your last paragraph: theoretically, is there anything coercive about objective laws from a “night watchman” government protecting the person against violence, coercion, fraud and theft? and would a governmentless system do it better? on the contrary, i think.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 23, 2010 at 10:17


        First off, I am extremely familiar with Rand’s position so no need to hash over that.

        “who protects the citizens from private armies, private police forces and private courts?”

        As I wrote in another thread on this same post, I am not an advocate of Friedman-style anarchy, i.e., the notion that what we need is competition over the initiation of force rather than the monopoly we have now.

        I advocate very simply to oppose, shun, ostracize and live on’e life as best as possible apart from those who initiate force, be they a state or a private institution.

        Greg Swann in this article sets out what I think most closely accounts for my view in these matters.

  8. Diana Hsieh on March 19, 2010 at 11:50

    … The Nature of Government:

    You can also find her views on a whole lot of topics in the online “Ayn Rand Lexicon”: — including her (decidedly negative) views on anarchism:

    The plan for the Modern Paleo blog is to blog on diet and health on Monday through Friday, then post something on Objectivism — like why it’s not a form of libertarianism, for instance — on Saturdays, and then on free market medicine on Sundays. (It’s the reverse schedule for what I use for my personal blog NoodleFood, where I blog on politics and culture during the week, then on food and health on Saturdays.) Folks are welcome to read the whole week — or ignore the weekend posts — or ignore the blog entirely.

    • Jorge Vazquez on March 20, 2010 at 15:54

      This site has Batstiat’s “The Law” on audio format. I’m sure you and many on here will enjoy this presentation which includes an introduction by Walter Williams.

  9. William on March 18, 2010 at 22:58

    Shel, I understand what you are saying, but Robert Higgs, a man far more eloquent I would ever pretend to be, has this to say about the state. His words sum up what I have thought for a very long time.

    And with that, I shall go to my corner and try not to get into anymore political philosophy, on a site dedicated to a fine way of living.

    • shel on March 18, 2010 at 23:48

      paleo is a fine way of living, indeed.

      the sad fact is, many paleo guys are drawn to the anarchist libertarian end of the spectrum, with a seemingly romantic notion that we can live, socially, in accordance with a time passed; a time without borders.

      we live in a world of nation-states. that’s reality. the best we can do as libertarians is use the state system and try and chop off Leviathon’s tentacles, and use him in a limited way.

      anarchism keeps itself in the realm of outliers in their basements. Rothbard et al are fascinating to listen to, with their impossibly closed systems with no wiggle room for arbitrariness whatsoever; but it all starts sounding so surreal and sophomoric, that the movement loses credibility.

      • freeman on March 19, 2010 at 11:36


        Do you have any substantive, logical statements to make regarding anarchism, or should we expect nothing but ad hominems, strawmen, baseless assertions, and other non-arguments?

      • shel on March 22, 2010 at 20:40

        “ad hominems”? yeah, maybe i was a bit mean. but Richard’s blog isn’t always meant for uber-polite discourse. here, hyperbole abounds. that’s why i like the blog.

        if my rhetoric doesn’t do it for you, there’s a wealth of substantive, logical statements regarding the folly of anarchism on the web and in books. heck, you can start with Ayn Rand.

  10. Marnee on March 18, 2010 at 23:18

    I think it is so interesting how quickly the very good, as in rational, ideas/premises of paleo lifestyle swept through the Objectivism world. So very many Objectivists I know have adopted paleo diet in some significant way. And then there is the popularity of Fivefingers, Crossfit, and Body by Science.

    Plus, the irony of Objectivists goin’ primitive is not lost on this Objectivist. Lurve it.

    • Jorge Vazquez on March 20, 2010 at 15:35

      For Objectists such as myself it’s not about going primitive, it’s about properly identifing the human digestive tract and feeding on the food it is optimized to process. Having said that I’ll admit that I am an Objectivist but not a paleo. I prefer the Atkins diet simply because I’ve used it to lose ALOT of weight and keep it off. Another reason I do go paleo is because I also eschew most vegestables, seeds and nuts because of their carbs and because of their contribution to daiberticulites.

  11. John Campbell on March 18, 2010 at 23:27

    This paleo thing just keeps getting bigger and better – thanks for the heads up Richard!

    I am all for the modern paleo – hail to humanity!

    As I understand it, Ayn Rand stressed the importance of adhering to the nature of man and of objective reality in all aspects of life – paleo certainly fits that.

    Diana is a welcome addition to this wonderful community of which you, Richard, are such a valuable part.

  12. peterlepaysan on March 19, 2010 at 00:55

    Since when has Ayn Rand (of all people) been necessary to understand paleo thinking?

    I am almost tempted to give up supporting paleo thinking on the basis of THAT connection.

    Logically Rand is irrelevant.

    • Paul on March 19, 2010 at 07:19

      Objectivists used to smoke a lot, nowadays they eat paleo


      Did u give up smoking in the 60’s?

      This site is awesome. The resource page is amazing. Who knows what Ayn Rand would eat today 😀

    • Richard Nikoley on March 19, 2010 at 08:20

      “Since when has Ayn Rand (of all people) been necessary to understand paleo thinking?”

      Who’s claiming she is? From the posted quote:

      “We regard Objectivism as compatible with a paleo approach to nutrition, fitness, and health. Yet we recognize that most Objectivists do not eat a paleo diet, just as most paleo diet advocates are not Objectivists. We’re happy to forge our own path to secure our life, health, and happiness. That’s what it means to be human.”

      Don’t know how it can be any clearer than that. Works for some, not all, and is clearly not essential for pursuing health.

  13. Baldur on March 19, 2010 at 02:44

    I agree with most of those who have commented here. If you’re required to be a fanatical “hands-off” anarcho-libertarian to be paleo then it’s not very appealing to me. Some government is required for society to function (think street lighting and sewers for instance..), and if you really want to live in a place where the government does as little as possible, then there are plenty of those places around the world, and they all have in common that they are in the Third World.

    If you put everything in “private” hands you will just have sociopathic corporations governing society, that have no regard for anything but profit (and not necessarily win-win profit like the fanatics insist). Refusing to acknowledge this is just plain naive.

    • freeman on March 19, 2010 at 11:41

      “Some government is required for society to function…”

      Baseless assertion presented as some sort of factual statement. Tsk tsk.

      “and if you really want to live in a place where the government does as little as possible, then there are plenty of those places around the world, and they all have in common that they are in the Third World.”

      Care to provide any specific examples? Seems to me that places deemed “Third World” are quite often plagued by authoritarianism.

      “If you put everything in “private” hands you will just have sociopathic corporations governing society, that have no regard for anything but profit (and not necessarily win-win profit like the fanatics insist). Refusing to acknowledge this is just plain naive.”

      Strawman, followed by ad hominem.

      As for your “sociopathic corporations” appeal – um, look around. Seems to me that corporations already govern society, thanks to their symbiotic institutional partners in crime, i.e. nation-states.

  14. Thomas on March 19, 2010 at 05:53

    “paleo” is definitely taking on a new face-being tied Rand/objectivism, atheism (yes, I get it, but its not a necessity), HIT, etc. Remember when it was a diet? I think I’ll keep paleo in the eating for health arena in my world. I simply cannot adopt it as a new religion. It is fascinating to watch this evolution, however.

  15. Scott S on March 19, 2010 at 07:40


    Enjoy the site – have enjoyed it back when it was a political rant blog ala Beck. Just wanted to say I get a kick out of how it seems any post that touches on the political realm tends to devolve into bickering on how naive people are for their various views on how limited government can and should be. It’s like arguing for what amount of rape should be tolerated in a healthy society.

    As for the essential and most important topic, paleo living…I’m still working on it. Thanks for your site and inspiration.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 19, 2010 at 08:24

      Yea, thanks Scott.

      To a great extent this is the fault of anarchist “theorizers.” One the one hand you have those arguing for “what amount of rape should be tolerated in a healthy society” and on the other, those arguing that when you have a monopoly on rape, monopoly is the problem.

      It’s a mess.

      Just stop valuing rape. That’s it.

      • Dave Mc on March 19, 2010 at 09:01

        @ Richard

        “Just stop valuing rape.”


  16. Steve on March 19, 2010 at 07:52

    So I guess this means it’s ok to eat dairy?

    • Mallory on March 19, 2010 at 09:53

      i mean really… do you like it? does it give you gas? is it raw? does it make you gain? do you overconsume it if you eat it? dairy is individualistic, as is paleo- no one can decide for you what is right or wrong to eat.

  17. Mallory on March 19, 2010 at 09:52

    good site… same paleo principles as them all… i regret to see she calls my Roman Catholic practice or eucharist “cannibalistic” showing she has NO idea about the religion or the principles involved in celebrating the last supper every Sunday at Mass… yes, that pissed me off

    • Diana Hsieh on March 19, 2010 at 11:11

      Hi Mallory —

      In fact, in one of my graduate philosophy classes on “Early Modern Philosophy” with well-respected medieval scholar Bob Pasnau, we discussed transubstantiation at some length. It has implications for general views about the nature of and relationship between substances and their accidents (i.e. entities and their attributes). We even discussed Aquinas’ views about when the body and blood of Christ becomes bread and wine again. It must happen sometime, because no one wants to flush Christ.

      So I understand the theory of transubstantiation and the Eucharist well enough. However, I’m an atheist — as I have been all my life — and I find the practice bizarre and … well… gross. That being said, I have an enormous respect for Thomas Aquinas. He was a first-rate genius. His commentaries on Aristotle’s works are better than any modern commentaries, hands down.

      Anyway, for anyone interested in my (snarky) comments on the eucharist, you can find those here:

      For more serious arguments about religion, folks are welcome to check out my podcast series on arguments for the existence of God:

      I’ve still got a few to do, but I was interrupted by my hypothyroidism. I hope to get back to them in April.

      • Mallory on March 19, 2010 at 13:39

        GEE…thanks? im obviously not an atheist, nor do i believe my “bizarre practice” to be gross but i will leave it at that so i dont act like a coonass and i am so uninterested in your view on God’s existence (funny you capitalize God as a proper noun and youre atheist btw)

        i have done plenty of reading on St Thomas…actually the church i attend is called St Thomas Aquinas

      • Diana Hsieh on March 19, 2010 at 14:00

        Well, I capitalize “Santa Clause” and “Mother Nature” and “Easter Bunny” too. It’s basic grammar: they’re proper names, even if they refer to figments of the imagination rather than real people.

        I don’t expect you to agree with my views about God or the Eucharist, of course. It’s your right to believe whatever you like for whatever reason, and it’s my right to disagree with you. If you’re offended by the fact that I’m very up-front about my views, well, you’re entitled to that too. I prefer people with somewhat thicker skin, myself.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 19, 2010 at 14:51

        Well Mallory, I think you asserted that Diana had “NO” understanding and she showed she did. So why the beef?

        At any rate, the Catholic Church represents quite an enigma for me on a number of levels. Here’s some random points.

        – Back when I was an exchange officer to the French navy, every ship had a Catholic priest, France being 95%+ Catholic. But as a drinking man, they were also my best and favorite drinking buddies (scotch, always). And they were more than willing to discuss religious philosophy for hours, including atheirsm and were wholly non-threatened. They all readily admitted that the doctrine of Original Sin, for example, was pretty untenable logically. Since Ayn figures prominantly in this post, here’s her on OS:

        – Have you seen the high ranking Catholic bishop interviewed in front of the Vatican in Bill Maher’s “Religulous”? Pretty interesting. He actually laughs at the literal aspects of the religion. One gets a sense that it’s simply a fantasy worldview that works for many and gives parents an easy way to instill a value code in their kids. It’s for the children.

        ~ I’m married to a woman of Mexican descent and her family is all Catholic. Apart from the fact that I just have to wonder about the general mental health of taking on your conqueror’s religion (like yours wasn’t “good enough”?), they all seem to get along fine with it. I’ve attended a function here and there like fist communion and such, and it’s unlike the more literal, guilt inducing scheme I grew up with in fundamentalist Baptistism before I went to divinity school and dropped out after a year.

        Then, Catholicism is the only organized Western religion in my experience where I know atheists who are practicing Catholics.

        Here’s one:

        That’s an old friend, Greg Swann (Diana knows him, too). Back when he had a politically oriented blog he used to post regularly about Catholic things (he hugely defended Mel Gibson’s film, as I recall) and practiced the various things Catholics practice. But he also regularly admitted he didn’t believe any of it, and that it was “ridiculous.” Nonetheless, he finds value in the rituals from himself & family.

        …I think that atheism and anarchism are simply going to keep cropping their ugly heads in the “Paleosphere” (just thought of that term, right here, so you’re a witness to history; and see my latest post). Both are products of the neolithic and agriculture, at least in their organized, processed, refined, extracted, enriched, chemically deodorized forms.

      • Greg Swann on March 19, 2010 at 17:29

        Catholicism is a social condition for me. I love the people and deeply despise the codified doctrine, but I don’t actually care very much. From my own first hand experience, Catholics have been much better behaved people than many libertarians I have met, and infinitely better behaved than big-O and small-o objectivists. Just in terms of the ability to live by the KYFHO rule, Catholics are much better libertarians than many libertarians. Not absolving myself — they’re better libertarians than me, too.

        My world: In my spare time, I am teaching real estate professionals why the only hope for human civilization in anarch0-capitalism:

      • Richard Nikoley on March 20, 2010 at 11:25

        That’s a great essay, Greg. I highly recommend it as it’s a essay on anarchism unlike anything you’ll ever have read.

        You know, back when I fist became interested in AC, ’round ’91 or so, I was introduced to the concept of ostracism as really the only valid enforcement mechanism in society beyond actual self-defense.

        Later, I became enamored of ideas a-la Friedman, et al, probably because it tends to [badly] answer all those questions (instead of with “Dang” and you do) everyone always asks.

        But it was you my friend one day a long time ago who said something like the following that finally brought me full circle:

        “David Friedman looked at government’s monopoly on force and concluded that the problem was monopoly.”

        So to bring it even more full circle, this is certainly one aspect of Rand’s general critique that I fully agree with.

      • Jorge Vazquez on March 20, 2010 at 15:47

        The “ugly head” of Atheism can’t possbily any worse than that of the Catholic church.

  18. pecanmike on March 19, 2010 at 11:06

    I have been following the drift of several of the last few posts moving towards a big post by you on atheism. I get it that you are an atheist and believe that enlightened, thinking people should think likewise. I also get it that this is your blog and if we dont like what you say we can move on. I really enjoy your blog and it has helped me physically in many ways but I dont think you have anything to offer us spiritually or lack of as the case might be. I believe in evolution but also believe like I believe our ancestors for thousands and thousands of years believed that there is a “Great Spirit” who began all of this. We may envision the Great Spirit (God) in different ways but most humans believe this Spirit exists. I just hope for the good you do you dont make this blog about paleo/objectivism/atheism because these issues are so personal and divisive.

    • Diana Hsieh on March 19, 2010 at 11:50

      (I have to break this comment up into multiple parts, because it seems “spammy” due to the number of links. *grumble*)

      As a kind of general point, since Ayn Rand’s pro-limited-government politics have been discussed here somewhat, I should mention some further reading on that:

      The major anthology is _Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal_:

      Some of the essays from that book can be found online:

      Man’s Rights:

      Collectivized Rights:

    • Richard Nikoley on March 19, 2010 at 12:24

      “I just hope for the good you do you dont make this blog about paleo/objectivism/atheism because these issues are so personal and divisive.”

      Well I suppose one man’s notion of divisiveness is another’s unifying principle. I mean, how divisive is LC, high-fat, or paleo to the dietary world at large?

      At any rate, I’m an ebb & flow kinda guy; so, just when you think all my posts are going to be loaded with expletives, they’re not. Actually, this new resource should go a long way towards touching on other aspects of the neolithic harmful to human beings besides just grains, refined sugar, processed food and franken oils. I think there are aspects of religion generally harmful to human being as well as government. I think they’re very valid subjects for a blog about “the paleo way.”

      That said, no, I don’t intend to dwell on them much. In most cases, just about the time you begin to wonder how hung up I’m going to get on something, we move on.

      • pecanmike on March 19, 2010 at 12:40

        Fair enough. Most human activities taken to extreme can be harmful but that does not mean the activity itself is harmful or wrong. In my mind athiesm and “the paleo way” have no correlation and I find it interesting that there is this association. I, however, do lean strongly libertarian and love the general fuck what they are trying to feed me feel of paleo. But when I walk out in nature I feel a higher power and that is not anti human animal.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 19, 2010 at 12:52

        I suppose it depends somewhat on what one means when they say “atheist.” If you mean atheist activism that seeks to use government force to prevent people from believing what they want, associating with those of like value and observing their traditions publicly, I’m entirely with you.

        If you mean by “no correlation” that paleo man must have had some sense of wonderment or spiritualism, I’m still with you.

        But if you mean that we need to conjure up some notion of a supreme being that rules over creation demanding penance, observance, sacrifice, well, that’s just unhealthy.

        For me, organized, institutional religion, just like statism comes around to the same aspect: I don’t value either. They are disvalues. Practice them if you like, just leave mea out of it please and I’m happy to take my chances.

      • pecanmike on March 19, 2010 at 13:04

        Again, fair enough.

  19. 03/20/10 – Strength & Sprints – Day 20 on March 19, 2010 at 22:24

    […] Modern Paleo […]

  20. James on March 20, 2010 at 00:39

    I always have to laugh when I hear Rand tell Phil Donahue and crowd that “we” should take the oil in the middle east, because it’s “ours”.
    Not a pure objectivist.
    Similarly, in “Atlas Shrugged”, she’s got people working together in collectivist fashion in order to cripple the tax monster; an action I would agree with, but technically it’s collectivism.
    Here’s the problem with objectivism…
    A baby boomer generation could be spoiled by the state while at the same time be conditioned to think with the “I’ve got mine, fuck you” philosophy – even toward their own children.
    Baby boomer generation: “Yea, the U.S. is going to shit, but I’m comfortable. Just glad I won’t be around when the shit really hits the fan.”
    I can’t respect that.

    • Paul on March 20, 2010 at 14:04

      yes, those interviews are classic
      hard to imagine there was a time on tv when subjects were actually discussed

      Actually i have to agree with Miss Rand. I don’t believe in the idea, that national resources belong to the state. She would say the same to the Oil in the US.
      At which point it is not a state owned resource? Everything we create comes from resources. Oil is just a major one, but you need tools to get it. Tools are made from men.

      The Oil over there sponsored a bad regime. A Profit seeking US Capitalist wouldn’t use the income to spend it on terrorism. I don’t care about there state over there, but if it affects us, i do.

      By this given circumstances i am happy we have an army and i marvel at the fact, that Richard himself is an anarchist, since he served the army several years.

      Greetings from Germany and keep on the “off topic *” posts. It makes your Blog very lively and one of my favorite paleo blog 😀

      * “boring science” ^^

  21. On Romanticizing the Primitive « Paleo Princess on March 20, 2010 at 09:16

    […] I love, how a recurring theme is the idea that those who follow a paleo lifestyle are not – NOT, they say, with emphasis – romanticizing the primitive. We’re modern folk, they say, we like high tech clothes and electronics. We are modern. I […]

  22. Jesse Bastide on March 20, 2010 at 13:25

    The tie-in between a paleo way of eating and a world view that emphasizes individualism and ‘moral’ capitalism is completely at odds with, well…reality. If anything, deregulation in our financial markets, through the weakening and eventual repeal of Glass-Steagall, for instance, set us up for the biggest global financial meltdown since the Great Depression.

    Likewise, as a way of eating, strict paleo adherants need to be aware that they don’t live in a bubble. When you choose to eat meat, grass-fed or otherwise, you’re affecting the environment to a greater degree for each calorie ingested than a comparable vegetarian meal. And unless your source of fish is low on the food chain and plentiful (sardines and mackerel anyone?), you’re either depleting wild stocks or encouraging environmentally destructive aquaculture practices.

    Now, I enjoy eating mostly in the paleo style myself, but there is a place for awareness as to the ecological impact of our food choices. There are over 6.5 billion of us walking the planet, and neither food, water, nor land are becoming more plentiful. It’s going to take a more collective mentality to face these problems as a species, and burying our heads in the sand and allowing individual freedom to negate our collective responsibility for the well-being of our planet and its inhabitants is just plain wrong and irresponsible.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 20, 2010 at 13:31

      “…our collective responsibility…”

      Don’t include me in your schemes. I’m happy to slit any throat that tries.

      Fuck “collective responsibility.” Good & hard.

      • ToddBS on March 20, 2010 at 14:33

        This reminded me of one of my favorite quotes:

        Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats. -H. L. Mencken

      • Jesse Bastide on March 20, 2010 at 16:11

        Wow. Sounds like Captain Jack Sparrow. Now I’m completely convinced otherwise. I guess that means USAID, Medicare, Medicaid, Interstate Highways, the VA, the USPS, all branches of the US Armed Forces, NPR, the NEA, Public Education, the FAA, the Smithsonian, and public libraries are a useless infringement on my civil liberties.


        The great thing about this country, though, is that if you actually believe that to be true, you can write and speak about it all you want. You can even go live outside of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, in your very own compound in the middle of the woods surrounded by like minded white people and collect guns to protect yourself during the Second Coming. And don’t forget the ammunition at WalMart.

        It’s all cool under the Constitution. Meanwhile, some of us can continue to labor under the assumption that maybe, just maybe, it’s not bad to think about other people and work towards the common good. Maybe it will even make the world a better place for our kids.


      • James on March 20, 2010 at 16:17

        Social cronyism and privatizing profits while socializing losses is NOT going to make the world a better place for out kids.

        And the ol’, “You better be thankful you can complain and live” line. Gotta love those who worship force.

      • ToddBS on March 20, 2010 at 16:42

        Wow. Hyperbole much?

      • damaged justice on March 20, 2010 at 17:05

        maybe, just maybe, it’s not bad to think about other people and work towards the common good

        How will your gun help me do that?

      • Paul on March 20, 2010 at 17:36

        Just move to Europe 😀
        i recommend Greece.
        I hear this “common good” shit everyday here and it’s totally bullshit.

        At least try to make a living (like u do right now) in Greece, Spain or Portugal (the next bankrupt) and see how it is to live under nations who are more headed to the “common good”.

        I bet Europe is romanticized in your country, but for real, Greece is one of the countries whose standard was “The common good”
        Think of the others, the poor : they said this shit all the time and asked for fresh money from the EU for several years, because those “poor people” try so hard to get it done. HAHA The other Countries need to push up the poor ( bankrupt ) countries and shouldn’t be so selfish. Collectivism was the answer and now there is riot, savings by the Greece are kinda worthless, as well as payments to public insurances.

        You’ll regret everything u said 😀

      • William on March 21, 2010 at 03:13

        Thanks for your diatribe, Jesse. I haven’t this shitty since the last time I ate rice, wheat, or nectarines.

      • Richard Nikoley on March 21, 2010 at 15:38

        “USAID, Medicare, Medicaid, Interstate Highways, the VA, the USPS, all branches of the US Armed Forces, NPR, the NEA, Public Education, the FAA, the Smithsonian, and public libraries are a useless infringement on my civil liberties.”

        Absolutely, by definition. It’s a priori, meaning you don’t even have to get off the couch to know it’s true. You don’t have the “liberty” to not finance any of these things through taxes, so it’s an infringement.

        “You can even go…”

        Yea, in one variation of another, Spiro Agnew always comes up. I have a home, thank you very much.

    • James on March 20, 2010 at 13:45

      What most people who are critical of objectivist/libertarian philosophy fail to factor in is the return of individual property rights, which would put anyone into deep liability if they were to harm your land, water or air while practicing their own freedoms/liberties. In other words, one person’s freedom and liberty ends where your freedom, liberty and property begin.
      Also, since the beginning of this country, there has been a battle between mercantilists and free-capitalists.
      The mercantilists won and are now wreaking havoc while wearing the false label “capitalists”, effectively demonizing their own rivals, causing widespread support for socialism, which pleases the mercantilists to no end.

    • Jorge Vazquez on March 20, 2010 at 15:57

      So it’s fine for you to eat lots of meats, fish and vegestables, but no one else?

      • Jesse Bastide on March 20, 2010 at 17:01

        “…there is a place for awareness as to the ecological impact of our food choices.”

        Awareness is just that. It’s not a mandate that you must eat a certain way. It’s not a pronouncement that some inherently have the right to eat meat but others do not. Simply, without awareness, you can’t make intelligent choices about what you do eat.

        For instance, it wasn’t until fairly recently that people realized that not all meat was created equal, and that some meats were pumped full of hormones and antibiotics while others were pasture raised at lower population densities. The meats that were not finished with grain and unadulterated by hormones and antibiotics had a much healthier fatty acid profile, as Loren Cordain’s book, “The Paleo Diet”, made clear.

        Raising livestock without antibiotics and growth hormones also means that the incidence of drug-resistant strains of bacteria is lower.That has a tremendous benefit for public health. Since livestock are breeding grounds for human diseases, minimizing or eliminating our reliance on factory-farming methods give us a better chance, as a general population, of staying healthy and ahead of the ‘superbugs’, not to mention the viruses that thrive and recombine in potentially deadly new biological cocktails on high density poultry and pig farms.

        Where animal husbandry in a traditional form (ie, grass-fed, no grain finishing, longer time to market) fails is in producing enough quantity to satisfy the tastes of Western consumers. People are used to being able to get cheap meat. And unfortunately, the ground beef in a McDonald’s burger is nothing like what Paleo hunters speared, stoned, or ran to death in the wild. It’s also extremely resource intensive to raise animals in a factory-farm setting, which raises questions about the long term environmental sustainability of such an approach.

        No problem, right? You could say, ‘it’s a free market, so I’ll just buy the good stuff.’ And that’s what many of us, as practitioners of paleo-style eating, do, because we have the means and opportunity. But if you approach nutrition as a cornerstone of health, and you shift your focus from personal health to public health, you see a different picture. There are over 1 billion people who suffer from hunger, and protein energy malnutrition is rampant (from While it would be nice for those people who are suffering to be able to eat meat every day, or even every week, it’s not going to happen. Awareness of such inequality, especially when the contrast between the haves and the have-nots is so large, is one step towards making more informed decisions.

  23. Jesse Bastide on March 20, 2010 at 13:27

    Interesting read to follow up on my previous comment — a David Brooks article in the New York Times where he makes the case for collectivism:

    • Richard Nikoley on March 20, 2010 at 13:41

      Well in part I agree with that article in that centralization is a scourge. And I’m not against cummunitarian ideals, so long as voluntary.

  24. CapitalistSwine on March 20, 2010 at 17:11

    “burying our heads in the sand and allowing individual freedom to negate our collective responsibility for the well-being of our planet”

    Yes, let us limit our freedoms, especially when the unleashing of technology through unhindered industry and research firms along with universal property rights with property laws would solve the majority of the environmental problems we squander in today. How absolutely nauseating that comment is. I really don’t think people understand what freedom means anymore. A bit disheartening since we had the liked of “can I find some food underneath the masses of bodies” Russia and Nazi Germany were only a few decades ago.

  25. James on March 23, 2010 at 10:43

    The thing about objectivists is they don’t die in revolutionary wars. But I would recommend, if you look and were to see that you, yourself, are the beneficiary of a revolutionary war, examine your perspectives for you are likely spoiled.

  26. damaged justice on April 25, 2010 at 03:32

    Did you say something? I tried to pay attention, but all I’m hearing is a Charlie Brown adult going “wah wah wah”.

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