It’s been joyous to finally find some in the rational community who take veganism seriously. Yes, Scott from SSC has talked about it in the past and makes the case for ‘meat-eating vegetarians’ but I find his arguments ridiculously weak, not helped by the fact that he clearly never really tried very hard.
I tried being a vegetarian for several years and it was horrible and I ended up subsisting almost entirely on bread and Quorn and I don’t want to go back there.
One reason I’m not a vegetarian is that I really really hate vegetables.
A pretty tepid point of view, but not as ambivalent as people who just don’t care about animal suffering and death. It seems that rationalists a) have pet charities and causes and b) think that giving money is more important than actions. There is really no argument against being vegan AND giving to charity. Well, OK, there is if you are allergic to nuts and beans or something, but then you’re technically just a waste of resources anyway so let’s just be rid of you altogether.
So it’s not that the argument against veganism is very strong, it’s that people’s preferences are more important than those of animals. This ranges from the above preference of other altruistic pursuits and a lack of convenience, to animal ethicists who advocate for better conditions, but still eat meat because they’ve made it acceptable in their heads. Yes I am talking about this very special person. As I’ve said before, people from all sides of politics want to revert to a ‘simpler time’. But we don’t live in that world. We live in a world set for veganism, a technological future that can support humanity’s needs without killing animals directly for food. To deny this is the height of both hubris and naivety.
That is why I think veganism ties in very well with the current political movements of the right, as well as that of accelerationism. Progressives often make lip-service to vegetarianism – which is a weak middle-ground anyway – and base their choice on emotion. The strongest argument for veganism is not emotion and hand-wringing; the strongest argument is that because we can do a good deed, we must. We must move forward, we must embrace our future, because only by doing that can we possibly better ourselves. Carnism (the opposite of veganism) is also an invisible system, one based on consumerism and perpetuated by governments and corporations the world over. Veganism is also tied to secularism, as religion places man above animals, and indeed ‘holocaust’ originally referred to mass animal sacrifice. This has been a religious practice from the start, and like our animal ethicist above, if you place ceremony and regulation on top of something inherently wrong, it makes a-OK. Cognitive dissonance is alive and well. No joke, I have seen Tweets by farmers where they take a photo of an animal about to be slaughtered and literally give thanks for their life, as if this is somehow meant to absolve their sins.
Veganism is simply a no-brainer, but that does not mean I don’t question it. I am still reading a number of texts and thoughts that try to breakdown where a logical human should stand, and a lot of that involves how we view subjective suffering.
EDIT: I said veganism is secular, but it seems it’s also in the Bible. Genesis 1:29 ‘Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.’ Guess mankind really did screw up.