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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been watching a lot of YouTube videos of speeches at AR conferences about tips for how to talk to Meat Eaters. Just as with the tips for activism outlined in various books and articles, I think that virtually all the advice is really, really bad.

Even before you get to the specifics of the tips being offered, almost all of which makes me cringe, you can see the underlying problem with the way in which the entire question is phrased. After all, what if instead of an AR book or a conference asking "How to talk to Meat Eaters", there was a book or a conference on "How to talk to Vegans."

This could include tips for meat eaters on things like how to interact with their vegan relatives during the holidays, for example.

The underlying problem with asking how to talk to "those people", is that the underlying assumption is that "those people" are inherently irrational, and that you can't just have a logical discussion with them as you would with normal people on any other topic.

And it is this condescending attitude which I think gets people into trouble. Essentially, the tips for activists being offered in these books and conferences is about how to manipulate people. But, people in the general public are not idiots. If you are disingenuous, they will quickly see what you are trying to do, and you will loose all credibility.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post

And it is this condescending attitude which I think gets people into trouble.
How in the name of all that plucks chickens can a vegan possibly not come over as condescending if they address arguments in favour of eating meat honestly Eugene?

Is it possible not to appear condescending if you simply speak truths, that by simply being true, debunk another persons preciously held and fiercely defended 'holy cow' lies?

How do you reveal to someone that 'higher ground' does exist without revealing to them that the ground they hold, ground they thought was high, is low?

Serious question(s).

I have been struggling with this for many years.
 

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I disagree with you, Eugene. In 80% of my conversations with people about any subject, they are not "rational". I'll add more to this thought in a bit. Got some baking to finish.

Added later: While I wish we could simply explain things logically to people, for many people this isn't the most effective pathway into encouraging them to act in a way that respects animals. Remember, we're challenging years (often decades) of culturally-accepted, habitual behavior that in some cases may even be physically addictive. Even if they agree with us logically, they often have trouble making lasting behavior change. Consider what you're saying. You're suggesting that people who want to help smokers, alcoholics and other addicts can just logically talk them out of their addictions. It's not that simple. We have to offer them more tools than merely logic.

Also, I can understand why some activist techniques may make you "cringe" but I think you're overgeneralizing. You haven't even listed the specific pieces of advice that you dislike. You're saying that "virtually all of" it is "really really bad." Really? Do you think this even though some advice articles contradict others? Is any of the advice good? Please be specific.
 

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People being rational and seeing through manipulation is the reason why advertising never worked (they tried it in the 70s and then completely stopped), why people don't vote for politicians they later become disappointed by, why celebrities don't influence people's choices and why gender roles and fashion trends are not propagated in culture.
 

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I like the idea of "How to talk to Vegans", something pitched at a larger audience and from their perspective, but then you say this:

Quote:
The underlying problem with asking how to talk to "those people", is that the underlying assumption is that "those people" are inherently irrational, and that you can't just have a logical discussion with them as you would with normal people on any other topic.
Then you're just flipping it around to "other" vegans and make them sound like the irrational ones. You are a self hating vegan, Eugene.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlainWinthrope View Post

You are a self hating vegan, Eugene.
and?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

People being rational and seeing through manipulation is the reason why advertising never worked (they tried it in the 70s and then completely stopped), why people don't vote for politicians they later become disappointed by, why celebrities don't influence people's choices and why gender roles and fashion trends are not propagated in culture.
I love you, Sevenseas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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Originally Posted by Sevenseas View Post

People being rational and seeing through manipulation is the reason why advertising never worked (they tried it in the 70s and then completely stopped), why people don't vote for politicians they later become disappointed by, why celebrities don't influence people's choices and why gender roles and fashion trends are not propagated in culture.
Advertisements for commercial products or political candidates are not manipulative in the sense that the "tips for activists" are.

In the case of the advertisements, they don't try to hide the fact that they are promoting the product / candidate in question, and there is no hidden agenda. Similarly, celebrity endorsements are not deceptive in this sense.

The equivalent to the type of manipulation I am talking about would be, for example, for someone on TV claiming to be an objective journalist reporting on the presidential race, when in reality their full time job consists of working on the campaigns for one of the candidates. This is considered an extreme ethics violation, and is not viewed as a socially acceptable campaign practice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

We have to offer them more tools than merely logic.
I am all for using tools in addition to logic. I am against deceptive techniques used in the place of logic.

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Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

Please be specific.
The advice I am criticizing includes things like advice not to use the word "Vegan", advice to not say that we think it is morally wrong to eat meat, advice to be evasive of people's questions, advice not to be sincere, advice to avoid engaging in logical discourse, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlainWinthrope View Post

Then you're just flipping it around to "other" vegans and make them sound like the irrational ones. You are a self hating vegan, Eugene.
No, I was simply saying that whenever the question is phrased as "How to talk with people in group X", the question itself implies a condescending attitude to people in group X.

The question should not be, "How do I trick people in group X into my way of thinking?"

The question should be, "What are the facts, so that I can accurately reply to their questions and concerns?"
 

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When you advocate for animals, Eugene, what is your goal?

Also, do you prefer a principle-driven approach or an evidence-driven approach?
Would you be willing to use the term "vegetarian" if you were sure it would save more animals than using he word "vegan"?

Do you believe that there are ethical tools of persuasion that are not pure logic? Or are all other forms of persuasion unethical?
What do you think about the Socratic Method? (tee hee)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
In my opinion, the very act of asking whether an evidence driven approach is preferable to a principle driven approach implies a fundamentally flawed view of the world. It is the world view in which moral principles are viewed merely as impediments to achieving our goals. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially when our goal is promoting a moral philosophy. There is little reason for anyone else to want to adopt our moral philosophy if we do not believe in it ourselves.

In reply to your question, yes there are other forms of persuasion, in addition to logic, which are ethically acceptable, such as showing people slaughterhouse footage, or showing people pictures of cute farm animals. However, if honesty and integrity are not the foundation of everything we do, then we will have no credibility, and no one will have any interest in hearing what we have to say.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post

... people in the general public are not idiots. If you are disingenuous, they will quickly see what you are trying to do, and you will loose all credibility.
Even people who are not idiots generally do assume that most other people are, or at least assume that most other people assume that most people other than themselves are idiots. I mean, I think that at worst disingenuity will only cost you some credibility with a small minority and cost you all credibilty only with a tiny group of secluded idealists. Being truly sincere and flexible, on the other hand, will leave the vast majority confused and suspicious. They are used to everybody having an angle because that is the way of the world. People generally don't like to have too many choices and don't want to think deeply about too many issues. I'd have to say it's great if you want to come up with to a back-up plan for reasoning intimately with the rare individual who might want to bother, but what good is there in knocking down the main stream just for being too mainstream?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think that most people are honest and sincere, and most people expect others to be honest and sincere. That is why the advice given by certain activists to be otherwise is so damaging. It is well outside the social norm.
 

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Well, I certainly sympathize with the theory; I personally hate marketing. But based on my own experience as an activist, I honestly don't know which attitude is best. I think a kind of balancing act between the hard sell and the soft sell is often necessary. Just being realistic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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Originally Posted by Clueless Git View Post

How in the name of all that plucks chickens can a vegan possibly not come over as condescending if they address arguments in favour of eating meat honestly Eugene?

Is it possible not to appear condescending if you simply speak truths, that by simply being true, debunk another persons preciously held and fiercely defended 'holy cow' lies?

How do you reveal to someone that 'higher ground' does exist without revealing to them that the ground they hold, ground they thought was high, is low?

Serious question(s).

I have been struggling with this for many years.
The key to doing this is the same as a conversation on any other topic. Focus on the issue, and not on the person.

For example, instead of saying, "You are responsible for the torture of hundreds of animals",
you can instead say, "If we eat meat, then we are responsible for the torture of hundreds of animals."

Also, what I typically do is allow them to drive the conversation. That is, wait for them to bring up the topic, and then simply respond to any questions they might have.

This way, people don't have a negative reaction, and they don't take it personally.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post

In my opinion, the very act of asking whether an evidence driven approach is preferable to a principle driven approach implies a fundamentally flawed view of the world. It is the world view in which moral principles are viewed merely as impediments to achieving our goals. Nothing could be further from the truth, especially when our goal is promoting a moral philosophy. There is little reason for anyone else to want to adopt our moral philosophy if we do not believe in it ourselves.
I was asking which approach you take to activism, not philosophy.

Again, I ask you: Would you be willing to use the term "vegetarian" if you were sure it would save more animals than using the word "vegan"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene View Post

I think that most people are honest and sincere, and most people expect others to be honest and sincere. That is why the advice given by certain activists to be otherwise is so damaging. It is well outside the social norm.
Please can you be less vague and give us specific examples of the advice you find so offensive? Without that, you're just casting wide, baseless accusations of the AR movement as a whole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

I was asking which approach you take to activism, not philosophy.

Again, I ask you: Would you be willing to use the term "vegetarian" if you were sure it would save more animals than using the word "vegan"?
I frequently do use the word "vegetarian" simply on the grounds that a lot of people don't know what "vegan" means. Though, I also think it is very important for people to see and hear the word vegan. I have seen no evidence to suggest that using the word "vegetarian" instead of "vegan" saves more animals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

Please can you be less vague and give us specific examples of the advice you find so offensive? Without that, you're just casting wide, baseless accusations of the AR movement as a whole.
Doesn't this thread ring a bell:

http://www.veggieboards.com/newvb/sh...ing-our-ethics
 

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How to talk to vegans.

1. Do not attempt to stare a vegan into the eyes. The vegan will see this as a sign of challenge and will thus promptly throw a gazillion of leaflets on you.

2. Never show any signs of fear as vegans will instantly pick up on this, and despite their frail physics, they are more than capable of strapping you in a chair and force you to watch "Earthlings" and "Forks over Knives" for 4-5 hours.

3. The best way to get away from a vegan is by asking them "where do you get your protein", "lol I'm a vegan that eats cheese, does that count?" or "I knew someone that was vegan once but he had to quit due to lack of meat". This will cause the vegan to implode.
 

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I think the best way to turn someone vegan is to kidnap them and kill them and bury them in the wood......then they can even be breatharians.
 
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