7 Myths Dispelled: Part 3
P.Jenkins and M.S Jenkins (2017 May 29)
4) Vegans are crazy activists:
Granted, we’ve all seen the shockingly strange protests and intentionally misleading propaganda by PETA and others, however NOT all vegans are extreme activists. There does tend to be a large group of vegetarians and vegans roaming around like a colonial press gang, chanting, “for us or against us!” It’s important to recognize two big things about this. First, there are increasingly valid reasons to inform people about the benefits of our lifestyle and the encouragement to penalize animal brutality, especially where it’s not necessary and there are much better alternatives. Secondly, groups like PETA and their ilk, while having logical arguments and scientific evidence, have instead chosen a methodology for advancing the movement based on fear and shock, which are the evangelical equivalent of getting people to go to heaven by preaching a very hot hell; it breeds disingenuous acolytes and saves people for the wrong reason. This pursuit of noble goals in a dishonorable way has done much more harm than benefit to the community in the long run. These groups exist in a kind of purgatory between the vegan/vegetarian movement and the public where we, as moderates, often have to introduce ourselves as “Vegan, but not like them.”
All this being said, we understand that activism has its place and serves a useful purpose in many instances. However, if we wage an angry, shortsighted crusade against “those carnivores” we will become the proverbial bull in the china shop, full of sound and fury signifying nothing. A choice to change the diet should come from personal conviction because the conviction will carry them through the hard times and the personal interest will drive them to investigate, and therefore educate, themselves. When a change comes in this way, the results will be displayed openly and will cause a dialog without the need for extreme activism. And it’s not like we don’t have a huge mountain of great reasons piled up on our side of the fence to live a plant based lifestyle. There is both concise scientific evidence, as well as religious based theology to support the concept, so everyone from atheist to orthodox can come together on this point.
5) Vegans hate people who eat animals:
Okay, so if I haven’t already gotten a bunch of hate mail already, now I’m out looking for it. Frankly, I have experienced far more people discriminating against me being vegan, than vegans discriminating against carnivores. Of course, examples of this mental dwarf-like behavior exist, but not dominantly in my sphere of experience. I have met many sensible vegans out there who don’t attack people for eating animals. They generally understand that human beings have a choice, and that choice has to be made individually.
A vegan/vegetarian who hates people who eat meat is the intellectual equivalent to the most primitive description of humanity. It’s purblind, inefficient, foolish and, if studies on negativity are to be believed, negates most of the benefits of living a plant based lifestyle in the first place. There is something supremely frustrating and sadly ironic about a person who thinks it’s fine to kill a human, but a crime against the universe to kill a dog. Maybe this is an over simplistic view on the topic, and maybe I’m riding this a bit hard, but is there any benefit to hating the only cog that can make the machine work? Humans are the only ones who can make the kinds of decisions necessary to prevent the abuse of both our environment and animal life. If you think the solution to abusive humans is to make them extinct, then you don’t belong here on this website. You might belong in a museum somewhere as evidence that evolution can actually move in reverse.
I like what James Aspey said,
Don't blame and shame people.
Inform and explain. (1)
He makes the point that the former method hardens minds against change, while the latter encourages discussion. He wasn’t saying that meat eating is sinful, but we are to treat people with love and compassion when it goes against our own values. He then quotes Jesus, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.“ - Luke 23:34. Everyone is developing their own normal or trying to maintain it, we need to remember that we are walking into someone else’s normal with the intent to encourage them towards change. We must believe that people can, and will, make the right decisions in their own conviction, because the only alternative is the destruction of everything that has been accomplished in the history of man.
1) James Aspey