Responding to Intelligent Criticisms of Veganism...? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 04-27-2011, 04:42 PM
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Hi, I'm Ben and I'm new to Veggieboards. I have been a vegan for almost a year now, and already I know how to brush off the usual arguments against veganism. But my roommate (who I actually respect a lot) pointed me to a couple of online articles/blog posts that present intelligent critiques of political veganism. I am a vegan mostly for ethical reasons, but I like to think that my actions have some sort of political effect. I want to be making a difference in the world, not just feeling better conscience-wise.


The first articleis specifically on veganism and argues that all of our dietary choices combined don't even make a dent in the factory-farming meat industry. It's kinda disheartening and I'm not sure how to respond.


The other post is from that same blog but is way longer, and only touches on veganism toward the end (you have to scroll down a lot), but makes some really mean criticisms about our lifestyle. I'm used to getting crap from conservative carnivores, but this guy seems to be a communist or something

Am I missing something obvious here or are these actually intelligent criticisms?? How should I (or we) respond to something like this?
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#2 Old 04-27-2011, 04:48 PM
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I've never come across an intelligent criticism of the vegan principle of avoiding exploitation whenever possible. I don't think I ever will.

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#3 Old 04-27-2011, 04:56 PM
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What is it about veganism or vegitarian that threatens people to the point of actually caring enough to try and come up with these articles?

seriously, even before I decided to go vegitarian, I cant recall giving anyone a hard time about their choice.
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#4 Old 04-27-2011, 05:06 PM
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Yeah I know I hate how people can't just accept that it's a personal decision...even though I think it's wrong for anyone to consume animal products. But the thing that bothers me about these articles is that they seem to be saying that the ethical dimension is nice and all, but in the end we're not really helping animals or the environment. And I like to think of myself as a pretty compassionate and eco-conscious person
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#5 Old 04-27-2011, 05:08 PM
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Stop obsessing over VB, "Ross Wolfe", and get a life.

This is, what, like 3rd time you're creating an account here. What's wrong with you? Don't you have any better use for your time?

Is there no one else on the Internet you could force to read your precious writings? Can't you get a friend and make them read them?



(I obsess over VB too and waste time, but that's different!)

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#6 Old 04-27-2011, 05:12 PM
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Uhm, what?
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#7 Old 04-27-2011, 05:16 PM
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It's very clear. If you want people to bother to read your writings, be honest and courteous about it. Don't make up fake accounts and force yourself in like a third grade spammer.

And remember, even if you yourself feel you've written the most thought-provoking thing to man, it may not strike someone else that way.

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#8 Old 04-27-2011, 05:18 PM
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Even if it doesn't hurt factory farms' revenue, it still saves animal's lives.

"If you are lonely when you're alone, you are in bad company."
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#9 Old 04-27-2011, 06:17 PM
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Sevenseas: I don't know how to convince you otherwise, but I'm not the author of the articles that are linked here. Check my IP address or something; I am who I say I am
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#10 Old 04-27-2011, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben Rosenblum View Post

Sevenseas: I don't know how to convince you otherwise, but I'm not the author of the articles that are linked here. Check my IP address or something; I am who I say I am


Don't worry about it, we just have a small problem with banned users being reincarnated. It just happened, so it's fresh in our minds.

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#11 Old 04-27-2011, 07:58 PM
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On the first article:
The author writes "the drive toward exploitation, war, and environmental destruction will always be essential." According to the author, there's no point in trying to change anything. He's just a complete pessimist with a puny immagination.
Responses:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g
http://dalailamacenter.org/blog-post...mpassion-talks
http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_pink..._violence.html

The other post:
He's basically just name-calling. His only real point is that he thinks there's no substantial consequence of veganism ("They are reduced to mere niche markets within the greater totality of capitalism."). But all that stems from his WRONG assumptions about veganism as a boycott against capitalism, which it's not. He just doesn't understand real veganism. (I explain that here and here).
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#12 Old 04-27-2011, 09:07 PM
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Thanks, ElaineV, for the support. I don't like capitalism or big corporations much but the important thing for me is that animals don't suffer just for humans' pleasure. So maybe the author just got the focus wrong? Maybe it's okay to just be a "niche market" or whatever, just a more compassionate one

But the thing that still gets me is from that first article saying the overall meat consumption has increased and that the supply and demand model of economics doesn't really work out, so that decreasing demand won't actually change the amount that is supplied. It ties my head in knots. Maybe this marxist theory is just full of crap
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#13 Old 04-27-2011, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Ben Rosenblum View Post

But the thing that still gets me is from that first article saying the overall meat consumption has increased and that the supply and demand model of economics doesn't really work out, so that decreasing demand won't actually change the amount that is supplied. It ties my head in knots. Maybe this marxist theory is just full of crap

Well it all comes down to you then. Do you follow your own conscience or go with the masses? If you woke up tomorrow in an alternate universe where everyone but you thought it was acceptable and enjoyable to have sexual intercourse with three year old children, and you could do nothing to change them, would you just give in and start raping kids too?

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#14 Old 04-27-2011, 09:26 PM
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Well it all comes down to you then. Do you follow your own conscience or go with the masses? If you woke up tomorrow in an alternate universe where everyone but you thought it was acceptable and enjoyable to have sexual intercourse with three year old children, and you could do nothing to change them, would you just give in and start raping kids too?

Of course not....but that's the whole thing. I would ethically make the choice to not have sex with three-year-olds just like I ethically make the choice not to eat anything with animal products. But that means everything just remains on the ethical level, and doesn't have any political or social impact. And that really bothers me.

I'm not about to stop being vegan just because it might make no difference whether i am or not....but I really wanna believe it makes a difference. And I think it has to. It's just that these articles make some strong points that I don't have an answer for because I don't know really how to respond. And if anyone can help me out with this (like Elaine V did) that would be really awesome
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#15 Old 04-27-2011, 09:35 PM
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Did we step on someone's wittle toes? Awwwwwwwwwwww ...

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But the lesser-known practitioners of lifestyle politics are hardly less smug, sanctimonious, and self-satisfied

Apparently so, and instead of 'ouch' the author goes with 'poseur' (albeit thesaurusically enhanced). All I can retort with is "I lost my thesaurus, so I'll just call you a poopy-head!"

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decreasing demand won't actually change the amount that is supplied

Ask 100 vegans if 'decreasing demand' is a PRIMARY motivator of their veganism rather than a desired effect and you'll get ... I dunno ... 3 or 4 yes answers. Only a handful anyway. Ask if they'd be vegan even if it would never have an effect on demand? Most probably would.

I submit the following evidence in objection to the "decreased demand not leading to decreased production" - VHS tapes and Kodachrome film to pick two products that recently achieved ZERO production.

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#16 Old 04-27-2011, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Ben Rosenblum View Post

but I really wanna believe it makes a difference.

Why do you want to believe? Why not just figure it out or make an elaborate justification?

If you want to actually determine something, then relying on other people's claims isn't going to help much. First off, I wouldn't call anyone's claims "Intelligent Criticisms" second, start with your response (as you'd respond) to both articles. In other words, write a response (assuming that won't mean you'll be responding to yourself ).

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Originally Posted by Ben Rosenblum View Post

But the thing that still gets me is from that first article saying the overall meat consumption has increased and that the supply and demand model of economics doesn't really work out, so that decreasing demand won't actually change the amount that is supplied. It ties my head in knots. Maybe this marxist theory is just full of crap

So, meat consumption has increased. What do you take from that? That veg*ism does nothing? Vegetarianism is only one aspect to a very complex situation. Saying that veganism does nothing simply because worldwide meat consumption has increased is cherry picking data.

Besides, if you don't think just being vegan makes a difference or that supply and demand aren't at least somehow related/correlated, then become an activist and encourage others. If 1% of the population is vegan, will that change meat consumption? What about 10%, 20%, 50%... Are you saying that this person claims that meat consumption will still rise?

I believe everything.
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#17 Old 04-27-2011, 09:48 PM
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Dude... you're f***ing terrible at this.
You're trolling for responses to your blog. It's beyond obvious.
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#18 Old 04-27-2011, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Ben Rosenblum View Post

Of course not....but that's the whole thing. I would ethically make the choice to not have sex with three-year-olds just like I ethically make the choice not to eat anything with animal products. But that means everything just remains on the ethical level, and doesn't have any political or social impact. And that really bothers me.

I'm not about to stop being vegan just because it might make no difference whether i am or not....but I really wanna believe it makes a difference. And I think it has to. It's just that these articles make some strong points that I don't have an answer for because I don't know really how to respond. And if anyone can help me out with this (like Elaine V did) that would be really awesome

You've got to get to a point where you begin to recognize which arguments are worth answering and which are not. As I have said, I have yet to see a truly intelligent, rational, and objective criticism of veganism. All the arguments I've seen to date are based on justifying the emotional attachment people have to their carnist ways. There's plenty of nit-picking and disagreement concerning the best ways to put veganism into practice, and the best ways to advocate it to others, but there really is no valid argument against the basic vegan ethic.

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#19 Old 04-28-2011, 12:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Ross Wolfe View Post

Sevenseas: I don't know how to convince you otherwise, but I'm not the author of the articles that are linked here. Check my IP address or something; I am who I say I am

1. I can't check your IP. 2. Proxy servers.

The thing is, the fact that you have to resort to spamming your political views is sufficient for me to form an opinion on their quality already beforehand. They're written by Ross Wolfe, a spammer, and apparently there's not enough interest in them, so the writer has to spam them. That's not too good.

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#20 Old 04-28-2011, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

1. I can't check your IP. 2. Proxy servers.

The thing is, the fact that you have to resort to spamming your political views is sufficient for me to form an opinion on their quality already beforehand. They're written by Ross Wolfe, a spammer, and apparently there's not enough interest in them, so the writer has to spam them. That's not too good.

Maybe the OP is merely a hapless pawn of one of Ross Wolfe's minions, in the person of this highly respectable room mate?

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#21 Old 04-28-2011, 12:45 AM
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Just for people's information:

when you check Ross Wolfe's profile on his site, he lists Fichte as one of his interests.

Then, when you read "Ben Rosenblum's" () intro here on VB, he introduces himself as the Fichtean "I = I".

Of course, it must be pure coincidence that Ross Wolfe first tries to come here twice, and then after a short while, a third guy comes in, links to Ross Wolfe's views in his very first posts and desperately wants people to comment on them, and even shares a marginal philosophical interest in common with the guy.

Please.

The views written on the site are by a person who lies about being someone else.

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#22 Old 04-28-2011, 01:37 AM
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I probably should read the articles, but what's the point? Is killing okay? I'd say no. And that person might say we 'make no difference' but to every animal I don't kill or abuse, I reckon they notice the difference. And of course, th emore people that go veg*n, the more of a change we make. so if self-righteous commie went ve8n instead of wacing his **** about on a blog, he'd be part of the solution ratehr than part of the problem.
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#23 Old 04-28-2011, 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

The views written on the site are by a person who lies about being someone else.

This. Which, I should note, is typical TROT CRAP. Much as unironically quoting and slavishly parroting the opinions of outdated academics just because of who they are is TROT CRAP. People get on at atheists for their dogma, Communists come with a set of holy books alongside their dogma.

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We are executioners who parade ourselves as kings / As selfish and deluded as the blood-bathed Bathory. ~Kingdom, 'Bathory' xVx
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#24 Old 04-28-2011, 02:26 AM
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To anyone who says we're not gonna make a difference, I simply tell them I'd still rather not be part of the problem.
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#25 Old 04-28-2011, 03:00 AM
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Of course there's such a thing as supply and demand. If over the next five years, meat consumption went down by 50% each year, do you really think they would continue to breed and rear as many animals in an unjustifiable expense that would not be reflected in what they get back?

Veganism is something that is only going to have an effect in the long term. Anyone who has any political understanding will know that one person cannot make a difference. However if the amount of veg*ns increases slowly, along with others reducing their meat consumption for environmental/ health reasons, then gradual change will be affected. If you are bothered then take up activism and try and make the gradual change happen a little bit faster. It's not really worth worrying about whether you're making an impact unless you are willing to follow that through with trying harder to make an impact.

I have yet to hear an intelligent criticism of veganism. I think it is an oxymoron.
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#26 Old 04-28-2011, 03:07 AM
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Also the last part of the article about 'animal liberation' is utter drivel and makes no sense.

People who have this much energy to attack veganism must be suffering from a lot of guilt, or they are just self-important bores who want to sound intelligent by making totally irrelevant points- vegans accept that the animal suffering/ death they 'reduce' may be theoretical but they are going to be vegan anyway because they don't want that blood on their hands.
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#27 Old 04-28-2011, 03:43 AM
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I didn't read either of the blog posts just so I don't fuel talks of a self-obsessed blogger.
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#28 Old 04-28-2011, 05:28 AM
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To anyone who says we're not gonna make a difference, I simply tell them I'd still rather not be part of the problem.

This.

Be the change you want to see in the world.
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#29 Old 04-28-2011, 07:31 AM
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The first article is flawed, IMO.

If more and more people become veg*n, and meat consumption goes down, then the amount of grain consumed by meat animals will also decrease. Since it's far more efficient to get calories from grains directly, rather than passing it through meat, the demand for grain should decrease, lowering the price, and making grain more affordable.
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#30 Old 04-28-2011, 08:07 AM
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Maybe it's okay to just be a "niche market" or whatever, just a more compassionate one

First, while it's possible that vegans have created a "niche market" in the short-term, if vegans continue to promote veganism and expand the number of vegan consumers, there will likely be a "tipping point" where we're no longer a niche market and instead we're the mainstream.

Second, the focus is wrong. The author is taking one type of conscientious consumer (the person who purchases vegan items in order to expand the market for vegan items and to decrease the market for nonvegan items) and wrongly applying that ideology to all vegans. Veganism is not a boycott. I don't know how many times I have to say it, but anyone who actually knows what a boycott is will agree that veganism is not one. Sure, people can choose to abstain from animal products for a variety of reasons and a boycott that they call "veganism" might be one, but those people are ultimately confused about what veganism is. For example, I'm guessing that you don't consume puppy placentas, your neighbor's fingernails, or the flesh of AIDS victims. Would you call your abstinence of consuming those items a "boycott"? No, it doesn't make sense. You just don't think of those things as food. They are not food. They are something else. THAT is what veganism is.

Animals are not food sources. Animals are not clothing sources. Animals are not science tools. THAT is what veganism is.
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But the thing that still gets me is from that first article saying the overall meat consumption has increased and that the supply and demand model of economics doesn't really work out, so that decreasing demand won't actually change the amount that is supplied. It ties my head in knots. Maybe this marxist theory is just full of crap

The worldwide consumption of animal products has increased, that is true. But the per capita consumption of animal products in places where veganism is promoted has generally decreased (or has become less accepted).

"Vegetarianism in the United States has been slowly creeping up in numbers over the past decade."
source: http://www.supermarketguru.com/index...articleId/1492

"During the twenty-five years [between 1980 and 2004], the downward trend both in beef production and real retail beef prices suggests a gradually declining demand for beef"
http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docush...GEC-603web.pdf

"Demand for turkey may have slipped slightly in the past decade"
http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docush...GEC-603web.pdf

“2008 per capita [meat] consumption stands to be at the lowest point in seven years”
source: http://www.meatpoultry.com/news/dail...rticleID=98633

“The [poultry] industry has never cut production to this degree before, but demand for chicken has never contracted to this degree either,”
source: http://www.meatingplace.com/MembersO...spx?item=10839

"Fishermen are hurting and quitting the business"
source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081229/...ling_fishermen

"demand for dairy products is stalling amid a global economic slowdown and credit crisis, even as supplies have increased. The result is a glut of milk — and its assorted byproducts, like milk powder, butter and whey proteins — that has led to a precipitous drop in prices."
source: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/02/business/02dairy.html

"[Americans] have become less accepting of medical testing on animals, and the use of animal fur for clothing"
source: http://www.gallup.com/poll/107380/Cu...-Grows-70.aspx

"A quarter of Americans say animals deserve the same rights as humans, while almost all of the rest agree that animals should be given some protection from harm and exploitation."
"38% of Americans express support for the idea of banning horse and dog racing altogether"
source: http://www.gallup.com/poll/107293/Po...al-Racing.aspx

"Only with respect to using animal fur in clothing and medical testing on animals are older Americans more tolerant than younger Americans."
source: http://www.gallup.com/poll/27757/Ame...al-Issues.aspx

* “Meat reducers,” “semi-vegetarians,” vegetarians, and vegans are growing segments of consumers.
* The USDA estimates show declines in red meat consumption.
* One in four U.S. adults (25%) is a “moderate” meat consumer who currently consumes meat with “about half” of his or her meals.
* Roughly one in eight adults (13%) is a “semi-vegetarian” who currently eats meat with fewer than half of his or her meals.
* Older consumers are more likely to be reducing meat as a component of moving toward a healthier diet.
* Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of ethical issues and skeptical of food safety.
source: http://cultivateresearch.com/vol_1_V...s_Overview.pdf

"Increasing numbers of students are asking to opt out of the science class ritual of dissecting frogs or fetal pigs, branding the practice cruel and insisting they can learn as much from computer simulations."
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/10/06/us...g-animals.html

"The [accidental extreme heat caused] deaths will hurt cattle producers who were already struggling with high feed costs and reduced demand for meat and animal hides"
source: http://www.cattlenetwork.com/Content...ntentID=326045

“Egg consumption has declined every year since 2006, according to the USDA.”
source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...199312374.html
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