On Being Constitutionally Incapable Of Dialogue

February 27, 2008 at 4:19 pm (injustice, stupidity) ()

Okay, everyone. This isn’t totally charitable and almost certainly isn’t What Jesus Would Do, but I feel a pressing emotional need to do it, and why else does the blogger blog?

Feel like reading this thread?

First of all, Elaine thinks that, while children intuitively don’t want to kill animals (true enough), it takes “more convincing” to get them disagree with the exploitation, abuse, rape, and borderline-enslavement of human workers.

Wow! Kids these days, right? With their inexplicable, almost sociopathic apathy about everything that affects people. You know kids! Not an empathetic one in the bunch. Except when it comes to fowl, of course.

But that’s not what I want to talk about here. After spending several posts and threads telling me that the fact that veganism takes effort is something we should completely disregard, she says:

And please don’t ignore the involved efforts to act morally. I completely agree with you that we have a moral imperative not to exploit other people. But a) I don’t think it’s OK to kill animals in order to not exploit people, and b) it’s so very difficult to not consume anything that hasn’t exploited someone but it’s very easy to not consume anything that hasn’t come from an animal. For instance, packaged foods must label ingredients, not human exploitation. It’s easy to read a label and tell if it’s part cow. It’s not so easy to read a label and tell if some people’s rights were violated, their land was taken, they were exposed to pesticides or they were otherwise exploited.

And then:

But your earlier point, that it takes extraordinary effort to eat ethically, is far more relevant to claims about humans than to claims about animals. That is, going vegan is a simpler ethical action and is much easier to promote widely than going local/ organic/ sustainable…

To which I said:

That’s true, but (any you will disagree with me here), I think going local/organic/sustainable is actually more important, from my admittedly anthropocentric perspective. That is, if all food production were local, organic, and sustainable, we would actually eliminate worker exploitation as well as all environmental consequences associated with food production, and toxins from pesticides and preservatives, and nutrient loss during shipping and freezing. If everyone were vegan, but it was still an industrialized, capitalist, unsustainable system, we would still have worker exploitation, still be messing up the environment in myriad ways (thereby harming wild animals), still be contributing to global warming, still be taking in toxins from pesticides and preservatives, still be losing nutrients in transport. Furthermore, while animals would still be slaughtered in the first scenario, they would all be healthy, kept in good conditions, etc., and, because our current levels of animal use are seriously wasteful and unsustainable, there would also be far fewer animals suffering. So the first situation seems clearly preferable to me.

It’s not a zero-sum game, though, fortunately. We can and should advocate both. But that is why I choose sustainability over veganism when I need to.

Which I maintain is reasonable, logical, and accurate. Her response, however, was:

“I think going local/organic/sustainable is actually more important”

Which is exactly why you think it’s too much of a burden to go vegan, because you don’t see it as all that important.
I think our conversation is over.

WOW. Wow. Just, wow.

Anyway, don’t worry, friends. That is the last conversation I will ever get into with her.



  1. Elaine Vigneault said,

    You’ve been arguing with me disingenuously. You’ve been acting as though you care about animals, when in fact you don’t. So why should I continue ot engage in discussion when you very obviously just come up with excuses for acting unethically instead of coming up with solutions for helping people act ethically?

    Poor people often can’t afford the high prices of organic or local food. But they can afford vegan food, you just don’t want them to buy it.

  2. Daisy said,

    Elaine, you are completely and totally wrong about me and my intentions. And I’m pretty sure that is obvious to everyone but you.

    As you yourself said, though, it’s over. Goodbye, so long, farewell, etc.

  3. Jamelle said,

    Poor people often can’t afford the high prices of organic or local food. But they can afford vegan food, you just don’t want them to buy it.

    You are ridiculous.

    Is that an ad hominem? Sure. Do I care? Nope.

    Daisy is right not to try to talk to you; it’s clear that you’re incapable of seeing this as anything other than “A or B.”

  4. Daisy said,

    Just rescued your comment from the spam filter, Jamelle.

    I’m relieved that someone else sees how ridiculous this exchange has been. Ugh.

  5. Environmentalism and Veganism : Elaine Vigneault said,

    […] Daisy claimed that it’s too hard to be vegan when you’re poor and ended when she said she thought eating local/organic/sustainable is actually more important than eating vegan. After many misunderstandings and tangents, I concluded that our discussions were going nowhere because she’s more interested in environmentalism/ macro ethics/ utilitarianism and humans, whereas I’m more interested in individual animals and rights/ micro ethics. […]

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