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Why can't we all just get along? - Page 4

post #91 of 133

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post

I guess the "loose ethics" phrase was yours and I was responding to that, too. It probably didn't sound like a loaded term when you introduced it, but I can easily see it striking people that way and alienating them, whether they are meat eaters or vegetarians or vegans whose ethics are of a different flavor or intensity from your own.

 

Put it in the context that I said it:

 

Quote:
However, someone who makes the moral judgement that, for example, raping children is unacceptable because they've determined that it's wrong to take away someone else's body integrity for sexual pleasure, but thinks it might be o.k. if YOU do it, because "you have your own path to follow," has kind of a loose sense of ethics. 

 

What's your analysis of that person's sense of ethics?


Edited by Irizary - 7/18/13 at 3:31pm

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

Every animal you eat
was running for her life

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"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

Every animal you eat
was running for her life

Reply
post #92 of 133

Just so we don't all have different ideas about moral relativism (because it is quite a large umbrella term), lemme pull up what Wikipedia has to say:

 

"Moral relativism may be any of several philosophical positions concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different people and culturesDescriptive moral relativism holds only that some people do in fact disagree about what is moral; meta-ethical moral relativism holds that in such disagreements, nobody is objectively right or wrong; and normative moral relativism holds that because nobody is right or wrong, we ought to tolerate the behavior of others even when we disagree about the morality of it."

 

My beef is with the idea of a moral vegetarian who is also a meta-ethical moral relativist (and, consequently, a normative moral relativist), which I find quite odd. Meta-ethical moral relativism is named as such because it deals with what people refer to as 'morals', and is a metaphysical argument about the existence and nature of this entity. What most meta-ethical relativists conclude is that there is, in effect, no difference between morality and preference, tradition or culture. In this case, a meta-ethical moral relativist's moral beliefs are no longer quite regarded as moral beliefs any more, because there is no longer a quality that distinguishes them from all of his/her other beliefs.

 

However, moral vegetarianism IS a moral belief, and the term exists because it is necessary to distinguish between people who abstain from meat because it is wrong (this can be for environmental reasons as well), and people who abstain from meat because they prefer not to, whatever the reason. Without this distinction, moral vegetarianism has no meaning. It's acceptable for a meta-ethical relativist vegetarian to think that moral vegetarianism is a meaningless term, but a meta-ethical relativist cannot be a moral vegetarian because he/she simply does not match the description.

 

Anyway, I'm not saying that Siv is a meta-ethical moral relativist. These positions are all simplifications, and there are many shades of grey in between. He does argue that people should associate eating meat with the act of killing an animal (which sounds like a moral argument to me), but it stops short of moral vegetarianism because he admits that people can do so and still continue to eat meat, so vegetarianism is not the logical conclusion. It's half morality, half preference. Ultimately, I don't think that moral vegetarian is the appropriate term.


Edited by Yingchen - 7/18/13 at 5:48pm

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post #93 of 133

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aristede View Post

The Definition of Morality (2002; 2011, rev.) from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
 
The term “morality” can be used either
descriptively to refer to some codes of conduct put forward by a society or,
           a. some other group, such as a religion, or
           b. accepted by an individual for her own behavior or
   2. normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.
 
The definition of many animal rights advocates would fall in line with 1a (e.g. There is a code of conduct in regards to the use of animals and derived products) vs. 1b. (e.g. I believe this about animals and the use of derived products). All of us are entitled to our opinions as rational human beings, but that doesn't mean that our personal moral stances will mesh with the consensus of a particular group.
 

 

Remember, the idea of what morality should be can also constitute a moral belief, because it affects what kinds of moral beliefs we have. In my case, I believe that morality should be 2., aka a perfect morality should be the same for everyone, and also that everyone should strive to have perfect moral beliefs. To me, this is the logical conclusion of the belief that morality is absolute.

 

However, the definition implies that this kind of morality is easier to achieve that it actually is; that as long as you're committed to being rational, you will somehow end up having perfect moral beliefs. That's not true at all. A perfect morality is maddeningly elusive. Not only are we not there yet, I don't think we ever will be. With the tendency of humans to harbour subconscious prejudices and to empathise more with the 'Self' over the 'Other', we are just not well equipped to obtain it.


That does not mean it is fruitless to try. I recognise that my moral beliefs are basically 1b., but I'm trying to make it as close to 2. as I humanly can. Someone who believes that slavery is justified is further from 2. than someone who doesn't. Someone who believes that animals are not objects and should not be abused is closer to 2. than someone who doesn't. My personal yardstick on the closeness to 2. is the extent to which we are able to identify and mitigate our prejudices about the 'Self' and empathise with the 'Other'. To me, perfect morality is perfect empathy. It is an ideal that we will never fully grasp, but the beauty in humanity is how we struggle to get closer to it.

 

EDIT: Sorry, here's the Wikipedia definition of Other:

A person's definition of the 'Other' is part of what defines or even constitutes the self (in both a psychological and philosophical sense) and other phenomena and cultural units. It has been used insocial science to understand the processes by which societies and groups exclude 'Others' whom they want to subordinate or who do not fit into their society. The concept of 'otherness' is also integral to the comprehending of a person, as people construct roles for themselves in relation to an 'other' as part of a process of reaction that is not necessarily related to stigmatization or condemnation. Othering is imperative to national identities, where practices of admittance and segregation can form and sustain boundaries and national character. Othering helps distinguish between home and away, the uncertain or certain. It often involves the demonization and dehumanization of groups, which further justifies attempts to civilize and exploit these 'inferior' others.


Edited by Yingchen - 7/18/13 at 6:15pm

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post #94 of 133

All this discussion above is symptomatic of why we struggle to get along. Why is there a need to define what type of vegetarian I am? Will it help you understand me better if you find a label to give me? Surely all that matters is that I am meat free?

 

More importantly, how many others are there who share a meat free lifestyle but remain silent or are driven away because they do not conform to some kind of "animal loving" norm? Take for example the support thread where someone was having challenges staying away from fish - some are trying to understand why and explore the situation and were genuinely helpful and others post fish killing videos - and that OP hasn't been back (yet).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 'IckenNoodleSoup View Post

[my bolding in the quote above]

 

If this quote pertains to the post from Siv that you queried previously, then I thought, at least from my reading of his post, that Siv actually went to pains to describe how choosing not to eat animals was a moral choice for *him* informed by direct personal experiences that strongly impacted upon him, rather than making the claim that killing animals is necessarily immoral according to some objective ethical imperative. I don't think Siv ever made a claim that it was immoral to kill animals. That said I may have got it wrong and I don't want to put words in his mouth. Hopefully he'll be willing to clarify.

 

'Icken, we understand each other!

post #95 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siv View Post

All this discussion above is symptomatic of why we struggle to get along. Why is there a need to define what type of vegetarian I am? Will it help you understand me better if you find a label to give me? Surely all that matters is that I am meat free?

More importantly, how many others are there who share a meat free lifestyle but remain silent or are driven away because they do not conform to some kind of "animal loving" norm? Take for example the support thread where someone was having challenges staying away from fish - some are trying to understand why and explore the situation and were genuinely helpful and others post fish killing videos - and that OP hasn't been back (yet).

'Icken, we understand each other!


Sorry, you're completely right, focusing on labels is not a good way to get along. I'm not posting according to the title of the thread at all. Guess I got carried away.

I tend to see the compost heap as place to let my thoughts flow. The amount I've said is just a reflection of how much I'm interested in discussing animal rights and morality.

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post #96 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siv View Post

All this discussion above is symptomatic of why we struggle to get along. Why is there a need to define what type of vegetarian I am? Will it help you understand me better if you find a label to give me? 

 

People who aren't inclined to deal with often esoteric discussions/intellectual debate ought best to stay out of the Compost Heap (completely) and various threads scattered throughout the board that deal with general ideas ("is race horsing bad?" etc.) rather than specific problems ("what's a good substitute for eggs?" "am I getting enough protein?" etc.).  This isn't the most pragmatic section of the board.  But it does help to understand people better to know their motivations/core values, so it's not just about a label when people try to determine that.

 

But "getting along" for the sake of getting along isn't necessarily my goal (not saying it's yours either).  Generally on message boards I'd sacrifice a facade of agreement for clarity and truth.


Edited by Irizary - 7/18/13 at 10:02pm

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

Every animal you eat
was running for her life

Reply

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

Every animal you eat
was running for her life

Reply
post #97 of 133

I am not a Moral relativist. I beleive that all beings who feel pain have an equal right NOT to have pain imposed on them.

Even people who torture animals should just be painlessly shot through the head.

post #98 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irizary View Post

 

This isn't the most pragmatic section of the board.  But it does help to understand people better to know their motivations/core values, so it's not just about a label when people try to determine that.

 

But "getting along" for the sake of getting along isn't necessarily my goal (not saying it's yours either).  Generally on message boards I'd sacrifice a facade of agreement for clarity and truth.

 

I don't think there's anything wrong with esoteric discussions, but my personal opinion is if we as human beings truly want to *understand* each other, it has to come from a more 'human' and somewhat less abstract place. It's worth remembering that first and foremost we are sensing, feeling and experiencing beings and these qualia (Theres a nice word Ewe Nanny, haven't used it for a long time!) are far more subjective and harder to map out than more abstract concepts and rational forms of reasoning. I guess it's possible that this may be untrue for others posting here with a stronger intellectual bias than me, so it may be unfair to impose my subjective perception of how it is to be human and understand other human beings, but it is my belief that barring a small select group who may have worked at developing their intellect, it's still the way that the bulk of humanity function and if we want to *understand* those human beings, we have to try to empathise with them. What is it to *know* something without the subjective emotional component and the direct experience of personal realisation? I think that's what Siv was getting at when he spoke of *experientially* knowing how it felt to kill and wanting to help others to understand how it is too. All a bit woolly sorry, but I've gotta dash!

The sky is purple and things are right every day

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The sky is purple and things are right every day

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post #99 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by 'IckenNoodleSoup View Post

I don't think there's anything wrong with esoteric discussions, but my personal opinion is if we as human beings truly want to *understand* each other, it has to come from a more 'human' and somewhat less abstract place. It's worth remembering that first and foremost we are sensing, feeling and experiencing beings and these qualia (Theres a nice word Ewe Nanny, haven't used it for a long time!) are far more subjective and harder to map out than more abstract concepts and rational forms of reasoning. I guess it's possible that this may be untrue for others posting here with a stronger intellectual bias than me, so it may be unfair to impose my subjective perception of how it is to be human and understand other human beings, but it is my belief that barring a small select group who may have worked at developing their intellect, it's still the way that the bulk of humanity function and if we want to *understand* those human beings, we have to try to empathise with them. What is it to *know* something without the subjective emotional component and the direct experience of personal realisation? I think that's what Siv was getting at when he spoke of *experientially* knowing how it felt to kill and wanting to help others to understand how it is too. All a bit woolly sorry, but I've gotta dash!

You remind me of Coatzee. This is a very very good post. I'll have to think about it. Thanks for sharing.

Coatzee's novel Disgrace (also a winner of the Nobel prize of literature), deals with a man who believes that he has reached the peak of his character, based on a framework that is largely rationalist and artistic.

However, when he goes to live on a farm with his daughter, he is humbled by how little he knows because of how little he has experienced.

My moral framework is based on a model of empathy, but what I lack in experience I try to compensate with reasoning and imagination. It does have an air of cool detachment.

I don't think I'll be able to improve this by philosophical debate. I guess I'll just have to live more, and try to attain the right balance.

I guess maybe what relativists are driven by is the power of human experience, and also the realisation that it, or at least the way in which it is perceived, differs wildly from individual to individual. I still frown upon relativism because it stuns meaningful action, but maybe I'm now able to appreciate it a little better.
Edited by Yingchen - 7/19/13 at 1:12am

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post #100 of 133

Good post Yingchen. I lve 2 hours from you in Thailand. I go to Singapore occasionally when I want to experience a country where things run properly.

post #101 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Houndulation View Post

Good post Yingchen. I lve 2 hours from you in Thailand. I go to Singapore occasionally when I want to experience a country where things run properly.

 

Singapore is run properly you say? Nonsense! I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree veryangry.gif

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post #102 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irizary View Post

 

Put it in the context that I said it:

 

Quote:

However, someone who makes the moral judgement that, for example, raping children is unacceptable because they've determined that it's wrong to take away someone else's body integrity for sexual pleasure, but thinks it might be o.k. if YOU do it, because "you have your own path to follow," has kind of a loose sense of ethics.

 

What's your analysis of that person's sense of ethics?


Irizary, there's a night-and-day difference to me between raping children and eating meat, so I can't wrap my brain around the ethics of someone who is fine with rape committed by others. In that sense I can't give you an analysis. Like nearly everyone, I consider rape to be objectively beyond the pale ethically, and I consider animal product consumption to be ethically neutral except among vegetarians. As we're all trying to understand one another better, I'll share that I feel good about my personal choice to abstain because I feel bad for the animals caught up in the agribusiness cycle and I think sentient beings deserve better lives than the batteries and feedlots and veal pens give them. I don't eat humanely produced meat (and no, I don't consider that phrase to be an oxymoron), but there I'm motivated more by health and environmental concerns, plus the limitations of my own ability to check out conditions for myself. I've come to believe that all animal fat and animal protein is slow poison for the human diet. The less the better, and for me cutting it off at "none" is easier than picking my way through exceptions. I also don't believe that I'm making any difference in the big environmental picture or the big factory farm picture because one person's choice makes no difference to such an engulfing and hard-entrenched process. I don't think a movement of individuals making voluntary changes and personal sacrifices will save us environmentally at this point, though I personally feel good about no longer driving a car to an office five days a week, two hours a day. I think at this point it will be geo-engineering that saves us, or that nothing will.

 

Also, I'm not sure I'm using the terms "ethical" and "moral" the same way others on the board are. I describe an issue between me and my conscience as moral, and an issue between me and my community or society at large as ethical. If I were to consume a cowburger I'd consider it to be a moral lapse, i.e., a violation of an agreement I made with my conscience more than five years ago. Insofar as eating meat would violate the terms of belonging to the community of VB, it would also be an ethical lapse, but not with any other community I'm involved with.


Edited by Joan Kennedy - 7/19/13 at 5:39am
post #103 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yingchen View Post

Singapore is run properly you say? Nonsense! I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree veryangry.gif

 

I was back in Singapore for the first time in 7 years a couple of weekends ago. Reminds me why I could never spend more than a weekend there when I was living in the region. I assume you are in or nearing your military service and it must be very challenging to manage a vegan lifestyle with those demands.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post

 

Also, I'm not sure I'm using the terms "ethical" and "moral" the same way others on the board are. I describe an issue between me and my conscience as moral, and an issue between me and my community or society at large as ethical. If I were to consume a cowburger I'd consider it to be a moral lapse, i.e., a violation of an agreement I made with my conscience more than five years ago. Insofar as eating meat would violate the terms of belonging to the community of VB, it would also be an ethical lapse, but not with any other community I'm involved with.

 

Joan, I like this - moral is mine and ethical is societal - that is how I look at it also. Wikipedia may not agree but who cares!

post #104 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post


Irizary, there's a night-and-day difference to me between raping children and eating meat, so I can't wrap my brain around the ethics of someone who is fine with rape committed by others. In that sense I can't give you an analysis. Like nearly everyone, I consider rape to be objectively beyond the pale ethically, and I consider animal product consumption to be ethically neutral except among vegetarians. As we're all trying to understand one another better, I'll share that I feel good about my personal choice to abstain because I feel bad for the animals caught up in the agribusiness cycle and I think sentient beings deserve better lives than the batteries and feedlots and veal pens give them. I don't eat humanely produced meat (and no, I don't consider that phrase to be an oxymoron), but there I'm motivated more by health and environmental concerns, plus the limitations of my own ability to check out conditions for myself. I've come to believe that all animal fat and animal protein is slow poison for the human diet. The less the better, and for me cutting it off at "none" is easier than picking my way through exceptions. I also don't believe that I'm making any difference in the big environmental picture or the big factory farm picture because one person's choice makes no difference to such an engulfing and hard-entrenched process. I don't think a movement of individuals making voluntary changes and personal sacrifices will save us environmentally at this point, though I personally feel good about no longer driving a car to an office five days a week, two hours a day. I think at this point it will be geo-engineering that saves us, or that nothing will.

Also, I'm not sure I'm using the terms "ethical" and "moral" the same way others on the board are. I describe an issue between me and my conscience as moral, and an issue between me and my community or society at large as ethical. If I were to consume a cowburger I'd consider it to be a moral lapse, i.e., a violation of an agreement I made with my conscience more than five years ago. Insofar as eating meat would violate the terms of belonging to the community of VB, it would also be an ethical lapse, but not with any other community I'm involved with.

Have you watched earthlings before? What about the factory farm? If a factory farm were to operate on human beings, I think that it'd be the worst human rights violation in ALL of history. I cannot image that anyone could condone it at all. You'd be abusing human beings right from the moment they are born all the way until they die.

We have no proof that animals suffer less than we do. Why should different standards apply?

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post #105 of 133

People have morals about various things. One can believe it immoral for himself to kill an animal, while at the same time, also believe it immoral to judge another, or try to impose his own morality on another. Some believe that teaching by way of example is more effective than overt activism. There may be something to this. Some people give more weight to what they can observe for themselves, but react negatively to what they are 'forced' to see. There's more than one school of thought. When one says, "It's wrong for me to eat meat, but it's okay if you do it," it can have a profound psychological effect, because it challenges the second party to examine their own morality, by way of comparison, without it being done for them, uninvited.

"There is more wisdom in the song of a bird, than in the speech of a philosopher...." -Oahspe
"....The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one at a time." -Buster Kilrain, The Killer Angels -Michael Shaara
" .... " -Harpo Marx

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"There is more wisdom in the song of a bird, than in the speech of a philosopher...." -Oahspe
"....The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one at a time." -Buster Kilrain, The Killer Angels -Michael Shaara
" .... " -Harpo Marx

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post #106 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capstan View Post

People have morals about various things. One can believe it immoral for himself to kill an animal, while at the same time, also believe it immoral to judge another, or try to impose his own morality on another. Some believe that teaching by way of example is more effective than overt activism. There may be something to this. Some people give more weight to what they can observe for themselves, but react negatively to what they are 'forced' to see. There's more than one school of thought. When one says, "It's wrong for me to eat meat, but it's okay if you do it," it can have a profound psychological effect, because it challenges the second party to examine their own morality, by way of comparison, without it being done for them, uninvited.

This seems more an issue of strategy to me than an issue of morals. I am much much harsher in an unadulterated discussion of ideas than I am when trying to convince/encourage someone to go veg. I saw this thread as a case of the former, not the latter.

Yes, there is a huge disparity between what I believe is right and what I believe is effective. I am more extreme than many omnivores I talk to believe I am, and I am not very upfront when they ask me about my views and what I think of them. This is why my favourite quote about animal rights is this one from Vegan Outreach: 'The animals don't need us to be right, they need us to be effective.' It is my guiding principle in how I present myself as an animal rights advocate.

Arguably, it is better to be honest, and if effectiveness is all that matters, then it is better for us to align our moral views to what works best. However, I can't do it. Not after I watch a video of how humans treat animals, and I'm shaking and crying and saying sorry again and again and again and again and again and again and I know the animals will not hear me, but I just keep apologising and I feel so cruel and helpless. In a world where vegans were the majority I would NEVER stand for this.

However, the moment I talk to an omnivore I'm all smiles again. I don't like living this way, but that's just how it is.
Edited by Yingchen - 7/19/13 at 6:41am

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post #107 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yingchen View Post


This seems more an issue of strategy to me than an issue of morals. I am much much harsher in an unadulterated discussion of ideas than I am when trying to convince/encourage someone to go veg. I saw this thread as a case of the former, not the latter.

Yes, there is a huge disparity between what I believe is right and what I believe is effective. I am more extreme than many omnivores I talk to believe I am, and I am not very upfront when they ask me about my views and what I think of them. This is why my favourite quote about animal rights is this one from Vegan Outreach: 'The animals don't need us to be right, they need us to be effective.' It is my guiding principle in how I present myself as an animal rights advocate.

Arguably, it is better to be honest, and if effectiveness is all that matters, then it is better for us to align our moral views to what works best. However, I can't do it. Not after I watch a video of how humans treat animals, and I'm shaking and crying and saying sorry again and again and again and again and again and again and I know the animals will not hear me, but I just keep apologising and I feel so cruel and helpless. In a world where vegans were the majority I would NEVER stand for this.

However, the moment I talk to an omnivore I'm all smiles again. I don't like living this way, but that's just how it is.

 

One might also argue, it's a matter of compulsion. Some are compelled to be outspoken, while others are compelled to be more crafty. As I say, there's more than one school of thought. In the final analysis, it may well be that all of these strategies are required to get the job completely done. Who knows? When the time comes, when vegans are the majority, it may be still more challenging to treat others with fairness and justice?

"There is more wisdom in the song of a bird, than in the speech of a philosopher...." -Oahspe
"....The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one at a time." -Buster Kilrain, The Killer Angels -Michael Shaara
" .... " -Harpo Marx

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"There is more wisdom in the song of a bird, than in the speech of a philosopher...." -Oahspe
"....The thing is, you cannot judge a race. Any man who judges by the group is a pea-wit. You take men one at a time." -Buster Kilrain, The Killer Angels -Michael Shaara
" .... " -Harpo Marx

Reply
post #108 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capstan View Post

 

One might also argue, it's a matter of compulsion. Some are compelled to be outspoken, while others are compelled to be more crafty. As I say, there's more than one school of thought. In the final analysis, it may well be that all of these strategies are required to get the job completely done. Who knows? When the time comes, when vegans are the majority, it may be still more challenging to treat others with fairness and justice?

 

Yes, of course, empathy extends in all directions. When you go veg, you start to regard omnivores as an 'Other'. That is no good as well. It is important to give them the consideration they deserve, which is never absolute zero no matter how cruel they may be. I'm the kind of person who believes that the best way to correct behaviour that is wrong is through education and nurture, not punishment, which is why I'm interested in Sociology. For me, I constantly try to remind myself that they are not fully morally responsible for the cruelty they may inflict to animals, and this is how I can believe that people can be omnivores and still have good character. I then start to worry that I'm giving them too much consideration and not enough to the animals, so I try to empathise with the animals more, and then I risk getting caught up in a cycle that never ends >.>

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Siv View Post

 

I was back in Singapore for the first time in 7 years a couple of weekends ago. Reminds me why I could never spend more than a weekend there when I was living in the region. I assume you are in or nearing your military service and it must be very challenging to manage a vegan lifestyle with those demands.

 

 

The army gives me many problems, and I could go on forever. I'm not really enjoying my time as a conscript. I don't really wanna talk about it in this thread though.


Edited by Yingchen - 7/19/13 at 7:37am

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post #109 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yingchen View Post


Have you watched earthlings before? What about the factory farm? If a factory farm were to operate on human beings, I think that it'd be the worst human rights violation in ALL of history. I cannot image that anyone could condone it at all. You'd be abusing human beings right from the moment they are born all the way until they die.

We have no proof that animals suffer less than we do. Why should different standards apply?


Different standards will always apply to the suffering of animals -- in some ways that hurt them and in other ways that benefit them. As I've written before, what domesticated animals get for their part of the deal is species survival. I'm not denying they got the crappy end of the bargain, but gray wolves are endangered and aurochs are extinct, but their descendant dogs and cows live wherever we live, and without the omnipresent threats of drought, starvation or predation.  My well-off parents both suffered horribly during the last year each was alive, in ways that were made worse by their consciousness of their own powerlessness and in ways nobody would put a beloved companion animal through. For myself I'd far rather be stunned, bled and dismembered (in that order, please!) at an abbatoir than let cancer slowly drain me of all voluntary function once my insurance company had determined that my cancer was no longer responding to the expensive drugs being employed to fight it.  

Not every vegan or vegetarian is an activist, as not every Christian is a door-knocker. Living as a vegetarian surrounded by omnivores, the strategies I adopt and the attitudes I walk around with keep me from getting pulled in by the undertow of massive societal hostility to meatless eating. I don't hide my vegetarianism, but when I assure people around me that I'm not bothered by their own eating habits I'm not faking it. I don't think I'll ever be tempted to regard omnivores as "other."  The omnis in my life tend to be helpful and supportive. It's not just that if they have me over they're sure to make something they know I'll eat, but if my omni guy and I have them over for a meal here they always bring veg dishes to share. Being sincerely at peace with the way people you love are is a way to keep these people in your life, and yes it's a bit of a coping mechanism. If any of you think that's taking the easy out, you'd better hope it's easy enough, because lack of social support is a huge reason vegetarians revert to omnivore ways.


Edited by Joan Kennedy - 7/19/13 at 8:03am
post #110 of 133

It's very difficult for anyone to think about animals, really. If it were the animals themselves who protested against their living conditions and fought for their own rights, I don't think anyone could blame them at being angry or 'intolerant' about what was happening. I don't think anyone would tell them that they needed to empathise with omnivores more. I don't wanna have to rely on something as whimsical as the Bee Movie, but a single Bee activist would easily do more than a hundred vegan activists could for the liberation of bees, even if the arguments employed were the same.

 

Yet, this is the curse that allies of an oppressed group have to live with. The strongest argument becomes that people ask us why we care, and why we try to make them care, because they know that it's only too easy for us to just give up and walk away if we wanted to. As humans we are more privileged than non-human animals, and we continue to possess this privilege no matter how much we profess to care about animals. On a principled level, by being tolerant towards omnivores, living in harmony with them and not being judgmental of their choices (which makes it easier for us as well, not just for them), I feel that I am exercising my privilege as an ally of animals that the animals themselves cannot have. This privilege itself is a symbol of oppression. Close our eyes and ears to the plight of animals, and they'd have no way to come back to haunt us. If the animals were to fight for themselves, they'd be doing it because they had no other choice. This would give their cause a legitimacy that allies of animals cannot. Factory farms all over would be banned in a matter of months.

 

I don't want to anthropomorphise animals by thinking that they share same concerns that humans do. They don't. However, the fact that they have no voice makes the issue so much more complex than it really should be. There are many many weird arguments that work for no other reason than that we are allies of an oppressed group, not the oppressed group itself. These arguments appeal to our privilege as human beings, and demand us to exercise it. This is why I choose to err on the side of the animals, and not the omnivores. The omnivores aren't at as much a risk of being an 'Other' in the sense that they don't need me to give them a voice; they are loud enough as it is.

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post #111 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yingchen View Post

Have you watched earthlings before? What about the factory farm? If a factory farm were to operate on human beings, I think that it'd be the worst human rights violation in ALL of history. I cannot image that anyone could condone it at all. You'd be abusing human beings right from the moment they are born all the way until they die.

We have no proof that animals suffer less than we do. Why should different standards apply?

 

The "earthings" argument is often used with the expectation that the reaction will be in line with what a veg*n expects. Many omnis view the factory farm as just another way or producing food - no different from crops. The animal is just another crop to them so seeing them being brutalized has no impact. Although this seems hard to believe, it's a fact that very few people see things the way we do.

 

I recently watched the burger episode of "Kill it, cook it, eat it" and although it's relatively tame compared to earthlings, it was very telling that the majority had no problem with looking a cow in the eyes and depriving it of it's life and even one that was physically sick at the sight of the slaughter was then very happy to eat the meat.

 

The fact is that we veg*ns are a small minority and even within that minority there are many who are happy to cook and serve meat for others. We do not all think the same and we must remember that, no matter how odd or wrong it may seem to us.

post #112 of 133
.uote:
Originally Posted by Siv View Post

 

The "earthings" argument is often used with the expectation that the reaction will be in line with what a veg*n expects. Many omnis view the factory farm as just another way or producing food - no different from crops. The animal is just another crop to them so seeing them being brutalized has no impact. Although this seems hard to believe, it's a fact that very few people see things the way we do.

 

I recently watched the burger episode of "Kill it, cook it, eat it" and although it's relatively tame compared to earthlings, it was very telling that the majority had no problem with looking a cow in the eyes and depriving it of it's life and even one that was physically sick at the sight of the slaughter was then very happy to eat the meat.

 

The fact is that we veg*ns are a small minority and even within that minority there are many who are happy to cook and serve meat for others. We do not all think the same and we must remember that, no matter how odd or wrong it may seem to us.

 

Siv. I never saw "Kill it Cook it Eat it" but I remember a tv programme with Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall where they "humanely killed" perhaps a dozen male chicks in front of an audience to demonstrate to the audience what would almost invariably be the fate of male chicks. I think the audience had turned up expecting to be given a free meal. Wonder how many of the audience went vegetarian/vegan?

post #113 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by leedsveg View Post

Siv. I never saw "Kill it Cook it Eat it" but I remember a tv programme with Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall where they "humanely killed" perhaps a dozen male chicks in front of an audience to demonstrate to the audience what would almost invariably be the fate of male chicks. I think the audience had turned up expecting to be given a free meal. Wonder how many of the audience went vegetarian/vegan?

 

It would not surprise me if none went veg. I think that many people would be happy with killing if they saw how it's done or did it themselves. I am not but I am in the minority.

post #114 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siv View Post

 

The "earthings" argument is often used with the expectation that the reaction will be in line with what a veg*n expects. Many omnis view the factory farm as just another way or producing food - no different from crops. The animal is just another crop to them so seeing them being brutalized has no impact. Although this seems hard to believe, it's a fact that very few people see things the way we do.

 

I recently watched the burger episode of "Kill it, cook it, eat it" and although it's relatively tame compared to earthlings, it was very telling that the majority had no problem with looking a cow in the eyes and depriving it of it's life and even one that was physically sick at the sight of the slaughter was then very happy to eat the meat.

 

The fact is that we veg*ns are a small minority and even within that minority there are many who are happy to cook and serve meat for others. We do not all think the same and we must remember that, no matter how odd or wrong it may seem to us.

 

This reminds me of Gary Yourofsky's famous lecture that is posted on YouTube (and the same lecture that he gave everywhere when he was sponsored by PETA). He basically argues that people are conditioned to believe that meat is necessary for bodily functions, but in actuality people are really feeding their psychological "need" for meat. In doing so, people have put on "blinders" that shelter them from the actual cruelties of the farm industry. Most people are actually far removed from the cruelties of factory farming due to the distance they live from such places. In the past, people were extremely habituated to seeing their own farm animals used for meat or accustomed to going to the local butcher who either freshly dispatched the animals himself or was involved in the butchering of said animals. Commercialism has made meat more appealing by placing it in convenient containers and by adding food dyes to improve the appearance of the food. Thus people have become desynthesized to the origin of their food. Peter Singer brings up a similar argument in his presentation, The Ethics of What We Eat

 

As a former educator, I found it interesting that my 3rd graders (about 8 years old) didn't know that their favorite food of hamburgers actually once came from a living, breathing cow (especially since we had read stories about animals around the same time). We tell such heartwarming tales about life on the farm, sing "Old McDonald", and take gleeful hay rides, but it's really a hypocrisy designed to make our habits more palatable, that is, our ethics (or lack thereof) easier to swallow. 

 

At the end of the day, people are going to eat meat regardless of the reality of where it comes from. And those who are inclined to avoid the farm cruelty aspect may find no problem with "humane meat" (as ponyboy85 has pointed out in other related posts). In fact, many people are resistant to change from the societal norm and those who do often fail, as Joan indicated, due to lack of social support. There is the argument of tolerance vs. acceptance. To enjoy a relatively comfortable social life as a human being I have to be tolerant of other people's beliefs and customs. However, I am under no moral obligation to accept things as they are. If people only accepted things as they were (or are), change would never occur. The world needs both those who are tolerant and those who seek to be agents of social change (those who redefine social norms) in order to effect change. Fringe movements cannot convince the layperson with their (seemingly) extremist views, just like the tolerant may never have the chutzpah to change their stance and appear to sit comfortably as conformists themselves. 

 

 

Quote:
Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.
 
~ George Bernard Shaw 

 

Aristedebook2.gif

"Now listen, I know you've got to think about your image, 'cause image is important to you, because of course your friends are gonna dictate your actions through the rest of your lives, and I wouldn't want you to step away from them and become an individual, that would almost be too much!"...

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"Now listen, I know you've got to think about your image, 'cause image is important to you, because of course your friends are gonna dictate your actions through the rest of your lives, and I wouldn't want you to step away from them and become an individual, that would almost be too much!"...

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post #115 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capstan View Post

People have morals about various things. One can believe it immoral for himself to kill an animal, while at the same time, also believe it immoral to judge another, or try to impose his own morality on another. Some believe that teaching by way of example is more effective than overt activism. There may be something to this. Some people give more weight to what they can observe for themselves, but react negatively to what they are 'forced' to see. There's more than one school of thought. When one says, "It's wrong for me to eat meat, but it's okay if you do it," it can have a profound psychological effect, because it challenges the second party to examine their own morality, by way of comparison, without it being done for them, uninvited.

I think you make a very good point. When my husband and I became vegan almost seven years ago we were extremely militant, and behaved in ways that I am ashamed to acknowledge. Not that we were always like this, but because we were so upset about how animals are treated we just could not be objective about any situation involving their exploitation, and we turned a lot of people off to veganism. We were loud, and we spoke about the most graphic situations in an effort to make people see what they were supporting, and we would NOT listen to anyone who believed anything other than what we believed. I am not saying that this is how all activists are--we had no idea how to be effective activists because we were so devastated by our new-found knowledge--because there are many activists who know what they are doing and are able to hide their outrage because they realize that people will dismiss them if they are not careful; I'm just saying that we had a hard time finding a balance. I remember waking up in the night crying sometimes because it was all so much to take in. 

 

Anyway, we have a different approach now, and I know that not everyone will agree with it, but I will put it out there nonetheless. We live by example now, in that we don't tell people we meet that we are vegan until they have a bit of time to get to know us. Then when we do let them know, they are much, much more likely to take in what we have to say--plus they realize that vegans are sometimes just normal people! We don't hide our veganism  by any means, but we are much more methodical about how we make it known to others. In our experience it has been really effective and we have even influenced some people to cut back or eliminate animal products from their diets and even their lives.

post #116 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yingchen View Post


This seems more an issue of strategy to me than an issue of morals. I am much much harsher in an unadulterated discussion of ideas than I am when trying to convince/encourage someone to go veg. I saw this thread as a case of the former, not the latter.

Yes, there is a huge disparity between what I believe is right and what I believe is effective. I am more extreme than many omnivores I talk to believe I am, and I am not very upfront when they ask me about my views and what I think of them. This is why my favourite quote about animal rights is this one from Vegan Outreach: 'The animals don't need us to be right, they need us to be effective.' It is my guiding principle in how I present myself as an animal rights advocate.

Arguably, it is better to be honest, and if effectiveness is all that matters, then it is better for us to align our moral views to what works best. However, I can't do it. Not after I watch a video of how humans treat animals, and I'm shaking and crying and saying sorry again and again and again and again and again and again and I know the animals will not hear me, but I just keep apologising and I feel so cruel and helpless. In a world where vegans were the majority I would NEVER stand for this.

However, the moment I talk to an omnivore I'm all smiles again. I don't like living this way, but that's just how it is.

I am right there with you--believe me. Right there.

post #117 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Siv View Post

 

The "earthings" argument is often used with the expectation that the reaction will be in line with what a veg*n expects. Many omnis view the factory farm as just another way or producing food - no different from crops. The animal is just another crop to them so seeing them being brutalized has no impact. Although this seems hard to believe, it's a fact that very few people see things the way we do.

 

I recently watched the burger episode of "Kill it, cook it, eat it" and although it's relatively tame compared to earthlings, it was very telling that the majority had no problem with looking a cow in the eyes and depriving it of it's life and even one that was physically sick at the sight of the slaughter was then very happy to eat the meat.

 

The fact is that we veg*ns are a small minority and even within that minority there are many who are happy to cook and serve meat for others. We do not all think the same and we must remember that, no matter how odd or wrong it may seem to us.

 

Well, many of us were once omnivores who felt the same way. I used to go to PETA's website with my friends when we were bored, and we'd go and laugh at all their ridiculous campaigns like the pokemon spinoff. When PETA tried to go with pornography (something I still strongly disapprove of), I happily joked that they'd suddenly cut in pictures of animals being slaughtered right when things got good, literally making meat a 'turn off'. Five years ago, I could easily be the one who would go and comment 'bacon' on a vegetarian's facebook post. I can empathise with their position in the sense that I've spent more years of my life being in their shoes than not. We shouldn't prematurely assume that omnivores cannot be made to change their views.


Edited by Yingchen - 7/19/13 at 6:08pm

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post #118 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yingchen View Post

We shouldn't prematurely assume that omnivores cannot be made to change their views.

 

Where was Siv making that assumption? The message I got was that because you (and I'm sure that many other veg*ns) have been affected by watching Earthlings, we shouldn't assume that it's going to be equally impactful on the mass of omnis who are exposed to it.  

post #119 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yingchen View Post

 

We shouldn't prematurely assume that omnivores cannot be made to change their views.

 

I think the vast majority of us were probably omnis so sure, I cannot assume that we/they can't change views however I think we are kidding ourselves if we think that there is any kind of sizable proportion who even think remotely in the same way as us.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by leedsveg View Post

Where was Siv making that assumption? The message I got was that because you (and I'm sure that many other veg*ns) have been affected by watching Earthlings, we shouldn't assume that it's going to be equally impactful on the mass of omnis who are exposed to it.  

 

Leeds, I had to go back and check if both you and 'Icken are Brits. Being a Brit also, it seems to me that other Brits get what I say whereas people from other places don't necessarily read the same thing.

post #120 of 133

I am also British.
 

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