This week I comment on a video by JaclynGlenn entitled “Crazy Vegan Idiots.” You, my fans have requested this video through my online poll. I will periodically reset it as I complete the videos you want to see, so check back often and vote. Link is also in the description below. Now lets get into it.
Yes, I’m a bit late to the party, as Jaclyn’s video came out over a month ago, and a lot of other Youtubers have already made their views known with their own response videos, but I hope that you will forgive me for bringing back up (for many of you I’m sure) old news. In the formulating of this video’s content, I have purposefully not watched anyone else’s response video as I would like to share with you my own thoughts and ideas. The last thing im sure any of you want is a rehashing of someone else’s content. While it should be obvious, and something need not said, the follow opinions are my own, and I do not speak for anyone except for TheVeganAtheist. My views are that, mine, and I do not purport to speak for other vegans or atheists. With all that said, lets dive in.
I wanted to start this off with a disclaimer. I hold no ill will towards Jaclyn or Chris for expressing their views, and I want to keep this video free from emotion and drama, and just address my concerns. In the spirit of being transparent, Jaclyn helped me and my channel grow a lot in its formative years by agreeing to participate in Stupid Christian Comments #5. For that Jaclyn, I thank you.
Alright, so this appears to me to be nothing more then tongue-in-cheek, however on the face of it, I can understand how this could be perceived as flippant and callous. I believe in the Principle of Charity, which in philosophy requires interpreting a speaker’s statements or arguments to be rational, and to represent the strongest and best possible interpretation. So, lets move on.
I would agree that anyone attempting to do good or be a good person should not be chastised for not being good enough. The issue, as I see it, is that while vegetarianism is a positive step in the right direction, it is wrought with its own internal issues and in my opinion doesn’t go far enough to warrant a final ending point. Often people who identify as vegetarian continue to support cruel and unnecessary practices such as those found in the dairy, egg, leather, wool and silk industries. If a vegetarian claims to be one for ethical reasons, then purchasing and using any animal products displays a level of cogitative dissonance. However, just like for many vegans, the reasons for someone being vegetarian may not be exclusively or even partially related to ethics. Some vegans and vegetarians don’t particularly care about other animals and their well being, and instead justify their position based on environmental and the health arguments. I’m not sure why Jaclyn is a vegetarian, so lets keep going.
While I often see terms like “radical” and “extreme” thrown around far too easily, as an atheist I see the real harm when dogmatic beliefs direct unsavory behavior. I’m sure none of you right now have to think real hard to come up with examples of violence perpetrated by religious fanatics and for religious reasons.
I was pleased to hear Jaclyn express that her critique of veganism is not universal, but instead specific to those that spread hate and violence. It’s great that she identifies veganism as a good thing. With that being said, if I ever had the opportunity to ask Jaclyn a question, I would ask why she has not taken the next step and actually gone vegan.
I will be honest, I have never watched any video produced by Sorcha, and very few of Freelee and Vegan Gains. If the clips that Jaclyn used in this video are an honest picking of these peoples’ perspectives, I agree with both Jaclyn and Chris that violence towards non-vegans is ridiculous and counter productive. Anyone questioning whether non-vegans deserve to keep living, has in my opinion fallen off the deep end. Would I love it if all humans went vegan? Obviously yes. Do I expect it? no, not anytime in the foreseeable future. The solution to animal use and suffering is not found in advocating human suffering. For all of you who disagree with me on this, I understand your anger… I’ve been there, but I’ve come to understand that it is not the people I hate, but the societal norms that have conditioned such behaviors. Just as I detest the impact of religion on the minds of mostly well meaning people.
As many of my viewers will know, I am not a fan of comparative weighing of moral evils. Humans do a lot of crappy things to each other, and to the animals we share this planet with. However, there is no value in equating one example of harm with another. That being said it is imperative that we identify ethical problems where we find them.
Now, lets get specific. Onto this comparison used often by vegans with human slavery on one side and factory farming on another, I understand both the objection raised by non-vegans and the explicit valid parallels within the comparison. I myself have used it in the past, with mixed success, and I feel its due to one major issue: an almost universally perceived human superiority. It is no surprise to anyone when I say that we care more for our family and friends then we care for those around us. We care more for those in our local community then those outside it. We care more for the people within our state or province then we do for those in others. We care more for those within our borders then those who live behind it. We also care for those within our species more then those outside it. For, dare I say it, most people care infinitely more about humanity and our desires then we care about the well being of other animals, even those harmed by our own hands. So when a vegan uses the slave analogy as a way to highlight problematic moral threads present in both human slavery and animal agriculture, the non-vegan hears an equating of the two ( a human tragedy vs mere animals) instead of a useful analogy. They may not be apples and oranges, but we are discussing within the category of fruit. Consider this for a moment: imagine explaining to someone what characteristics make both an apple and an orange a fruit. Sweetness? Shape? Function of the fruit to its tree? Would laying bare those analogous features equate an apple with an orange? I don’t think so, because we hold no skin in the game and we can remain objective.
Too often, like is evident in Jaclyn’s video, people conflate analogy with equating, especially when we feel our moral framework has come into question. Most people believe they are decent and good, and vehemently defend their world view when threatened. No one likes to be pointed out that what they regularly think or do is potentially harmful.
In the past I’ve not been a fan of Vegan Gains, at least from over a year ago when I last watched his stuff. He may very well have changed for the better, however, I do not read minds and therefore cannot honestly conclude that Vegan Gains says and does what he does to stroke his own ego. I have no doubt that many, like him are motivated to change minds, but sometimes they do so in ways that perhaps are not the most pragmatic. In the past I have been criticized for coming off as having an “im better then you attitude”, and I can honestly say, believe me or not, I couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of me. I am a vegan because its the least I can do to make this world a little bit better. I don’t think im special, and I know through years of experience how easy it is to be a vegan (at least in a western affluent nation, in which I make a modest salary).
There is no doubt that dairy cow have it seriously rough, which is one reason why I’m vegan and not vegetarian. I do not however see any reason to bring up feminism. Feminism at its core is a the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes. What happens to farmed animals is about specisim and issues with cross species empathy, and not an issue of sexism. What is done to male and female animals is detestable and neither should be continued.
Its great to see that both Chris and Jaclyn are against factory farming, at least in principle, but I do wonder in practice if they live it. Principles believed but not realized in action are principles unheld. If one is careful to avoid factory farming, wonderful. We could then move the discussion onto issues related to the supposedly animal friendly farms. But that is a topic for another video.
Again, i think its important to acknowledge that both Chris and Jaclyn are not painting all of veganism with a wide critical brush. Their ire is focused on specific vegans who perhaps represent a fringe vocal minority. Good on them.
Definitely, being vegan doesn’t necessarily entail being healthy. Some people go vegan for health reasons, some strictly for ethical and some environmental, or some combination of all three. Being healthy on a vegan diet is pretty straight forward and easy, if you take the time to read up and ensure that you know what you ought to be eating.
On the point brought up towards the end by Chris, regarding not making the choice for other people, that seem to me an odd statement. I cannot make any choice for anyone except myself. Listening to reasons why one ought to be vegan is not making the choice for others. It is up to each and everyone of us to do (or not do) with what information we are presented. From a strictly biological level, there are very few people that would not flourish on a vegan diet. The real challenge is to change minds to effect change in action.
I for the most part agree. Education is the key. Force is not. Violence and angry rants are not effective means of convincing anyone to your way of thinking. It may be therapeutic to shout and scream your frustration, but in the pursuit to change minds, the method and style of communication is key. Like the quote I read in a recent video, people do not want to find out they are wrong. The more you throw it in their face, the more they dig their heals in and cling to their beliefs. Your message may be great and needed, but the way you communicate is just as important, and should not be overlooked.
If you enjoyed this video, click the like button below. To ensure you don’t miss out on future content, don’t forget to subscribe to my channel.
Want to have a say in what videos I produce, have your desires known by voting in my online poll.
Thanks for watching.