Well, I have to admit that while I pretty much live a vegan lifestyle, I don't usually call myself a vegan -- because I've read so many critical posts on this (and other) websites, basically saying "if you aren't the perfect vegan, you aren't a vegan". I'm even questioning whether I want to describe myself as a vegetarian . . . maybe just someone who does their imperfect best to not hurt animals, or the environment, which is who I really am. I'm finding that labels of any sort seem to polarize people and make them less willing to have meaningful dialog, whether it's about religion, politics or food choices.
I agree with KameSama: this isn't something that's just limited to critics of veg*nism. It's a common debating maneuver to call attention to an apparent inconsistency or hypocricy is another's belief system. The idea is to undermine the other's credibility rather than directly addressing the issue under discussion.<br><br><br><br>
In some cases it may be a valid criticism: if one is promoting one's belief system as being logically consistent, with all components necessary and important, then consistency issues are fair game for critique.<br><br><br><br>
At the other extreme, though, this tactic becomes simply <i>ad hominem:</i> "you're not perfect, so I don't have to listen to your arguments".<br><br><br><br>
Omni defensiveness is surely an issue in some cases. But I don't think we should just write off these sorts of criticisms by patronizing the people who make them as just defensively avoiding the message of conscience.<br><br><br><br>
It can be a learning opportunity. We often initiate these dialogs with ourselves. A lacto-ovo vegetarian who is motivated by concern for animal suffering, for example, may learn about the egg and dairy industries and decide that it's not consistent for him/her to support those industries. Can't we be big enough to let the stimulus for that kind of evaluation come from an outside source? Even if that criticism comes from someone whose motives are anti-veg*n, there's still an opportunity for reflection there, which I think is worth taking advantage of.
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