View Full Version : 'Judgmentalism': There is no vegan police

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Jul 6th, 2005, 10:34 AM
A dear member of our site wrote in another thread:

I'm also opposed to pet ownership and encouraging an industry that keeps churning out more mouths to feed on an already overpopulated planet. I'm not talking about the rescue pets - thank goodness someone takes them in.


By the way, I'm not "attacking" anyone in particular here - I'm just more concerned about the environment than anyone's desire to reproduce and take even more resources from the earth.

Thanks Melina, I've been wanting to say something about pets and children and you gave me a thread. I will now sit quietly and wait for the vegan police to arrive.

This is a very interesting post, not only because we haven't had a separate thread about 'Is it vegan to have pets?', which I have been expecting for a while, but because it illustrates the nature of the 'vegan police' very well.

In the end, she says that she will 'sit quietly and wait for the vegan police to arrive'. :) In the beginning of the thread, she writes stuff that may make others feel that they are being 'policed': 'What? I'm not allowed to have pets if I'm a vegan'?

I an NOT saying that the writer is policing anyone. She isn't. She is sharing her opinions, which is great and expected in a forum like this. My point is only that IF someone would reply to that post and say that they disagreed with her, she (or someone else) may have felt attacked by 'the vegan police', but they would only be sharing their opinions as well...

The vegan police does only exists in our minds. Vegans are not saints, and there are arrogant and judgemental people among vegans as in all other groups. Of course it is. But disagreeing with someone, even strongly, isn't policing. If someone is being judgemental, let's try not to judge them for that. Let's not be arrogant about arrogance. Let's not pretend we are saints either.... :)

Again, I'm not saying that this post was arrogant, policing, judgemental or anything else. It just shows how 'disagreement' can be mistaken for policing, arrogance or judging... by some people, in some situation.

Someone once said that most problems in life didn't come from what happened to us, but how we related to these situations.

'War is over - if you want it' (John Lennon).
Policing doesn't exist - if you don't want it to. ;)

Jul 6th, 2005, 11:38 AM
This is a very interesting post, not only because we haven't had a separate thread about 'Is it vegan to have pets?', which I have been expecting for a while, but because it illustrates the nature of the 'vegan police' very well.

I thought there was a thread about vegans and pets. Personally, I don't think it's compatible with vegan ideals to have 'pets' but I have no problem with 'companion animals' especially when they're rescues. :)

Jul 6th, 2005, 11:54 AM
I thought there was a thread about vegans and pets.

I thought so too, but didn't find it, but realized now that this it is in the Poll-area... I suspected that it disappeared in the Veganforum'-crash.

Jul 6th, 2005, 03:45 PM
Yes, I agree. The term "vegan police" is nothing more than an ad hominem attack. That is, it is an appeal to personal prejudice that has nothing to do with reason.

Such attack are often used to denigrate people who refuse to use non-vegan products, such as those that contain honey, traces of dairy, or any other products containing, or manufactured in someway with, animals. Those who, with good reasons, refused to support the BK VEGGIE® were a prime target of this abuse. The phase tends to be thrown around by those who deny the validity and importance of non-cooperation with animal exploitation. So, rather than deal with their own ethical inconsistencies they create an epithet for disparaging others.

Jul 6th, 2005, 04:00 PM
I agree that the "vegan police" do not exist. I have seen the term thrown around a lot on a lacto-ovo vegetarian centered message board, though. The people who used it were just trying to insult vegans in general.

Jul 6th, 2005, 08:07 PM
Well said Korn.

Jul 6th, 2005, 08:36 PM
I've also noticed a trend here of referring to certain things as "ridiculous."
For instance, replacing one's leather shoes before they wear out has been referred to as "ridiculous." I can understand if someone wants to get his or her money's worth out of remaining animal products, but why insult people who want to eliminate animal products from their lives as soon as possible?

Jul 6th, 2005, 08:46 PM
I agree with that too. Just because I might think something is "stupid" - doesn't mean that it is infact, "stupid". It's simply my opinion.

I try to get in the habbit of saying "I think that's great" or "I think that's stupid" rather than "that's great" or "that's stupid".

We all have varying opinions.

Jul 7th, 2005, 04:00 AM
Okay, I admit it. I am the one who used the vegan police phrase in the above quote. However, it was in a thread where there WAS a lot of passionate debate going on and another member felt that she might need to leave the forum. It was said somewhat in jest, somewhat in a way to let her know she was not alone. I hope no one ever feels policed by differing opinions, especially not mine. Many of us would not be vegans today if we did not hear a differing opinion at some point. If we don't debate and only agree with each other then this forum becomes awfully boring at times.

I must leave now as there are flashing lights and a siren outside my front door.................. :D

Jul 7th, 2005, 04:59 AM
Okay, I admit it. I am the one who used the vegan police phrase in the above quote. However, it was in a thread where there WAS a lot of passionate debate going on and another member felt that she might need to leave the forum.

Don't worry, I feel like that all the time.

Jul 7th, 2005, 08:42 AM
Vegans are not saints, and there are arrogant and judgemental people among vegans as in all other groups.
AMEN to that!!!!!

Jul 7th, 2005, 08:58 AM
Okay, I admit it. I am the one who used the vegan police phrase in the above quote. I think most of us, myself included, have used it. Musicians often talk about 'The Music Police'.

I guess it's just a reference to 'judgementalism'. Let's not fall into the trap and police the policemen :D.

Jul 7th, 2005, 10:02 PM
Here's their link... http://www.vegan911.com/1513.html

Jul 8th, 2005, 08:24 PM
I have to say "Amen"! with Banana on that one!

Jul 10th, 2005, 03:49 AM
I think that if you see someone behaving in a way that you think is immoral, you should explain to them why you think that is. That person might react negatively and say that you are 'policing' them, but this isn't always going to be the case. Literally saying 'You should stop doing that, naughty naughty' is pointless and I would refer to that as policing. But sharing moral values and hoping that someone might agree with you is a good thing. When I do this, it is generally with the thought that the person is currently unaware of why their actions are immoral, and I hope that with my explanation, they will cease. Once people do accept moral values, and 'slip up' (or sellout as I sometimes call it), I don't know how to deal with it, I generally don't say anything and just hope that they come around. I feel that anything I say in this scenario would be taken in the wrong way - they already know why it's wrong, they just don't care at that point in time, so me saying 'you shouldn't do that' really is pointless.

Jul 10th, 2005, 05:01 AM
Well put, Tombstone.

Jul 27th, 2005, 08:37 AM
.....The vegan police does only exists in our minds......
Policing doesn't exist - if you don't want it to. ;)
That reminds me of my favorite quote from a very cheesy divorce court show I used to watch when I was a kid. The judge said that "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." :p

But surely there must be at least one or two law enforcement officials out there who are vegan, musn't there? I intend to start finding out whenever I get pulled over for speeding or not wearing a seat-belt. ;)

Tofu Monster
Jul 28th, 2005, 12:54 AM
i don't think there are 'vegan police' on this forum. i just think there are some vegans who are less tolerant of other vegans in the 'grey areas' of veganism. but we're all working towards the same goal and hopefully we'll all get there together one day.

above all, it's important to remember that everyone is entitled to my own opinion. :p

Aug 2nd, 2005, 06:44 PM
I am new to this forum so I don't know what has been written here and how, but I'd like to comment about "being judgemental" as used in the beginning of the thread and in other similar contexts. Please excuse me if this is just my not understanding the proper meaning of "being judgemental", for I am not a native English speaker, but as I understand it, this term becomes extremely problematic when applied to moral issues. Almost everyone would agree that Being non judgemental not just about, say, someone's brutal torture and murder of innocent children, but even about relatively minor things such as small thefts, is wrong. So if you think that someone's dietary habits are morally wrong, why be non judgemental about it?

Whether it is wise to simply denounce such people in an offending and alienating way is a different question. I agree that if you want to help someone change, in most cases saying to them that they are immoral would be a wrong thing to do, simply because it won't work. But this does not mean that you should be willing to accept others' moral choices as private matters of taste which should not be judged.

Aug 2nd, 2005, 08:13 PM
Good point, okok. Judgments are how choices--good ones anyway--are made. If you are going to make the right choices in life you have to be able to judge what is right and what is wrong. This means being able to judge if something is vegan or not.

I think being non-judgmental is very problematic, esp. from a vegan point of view. People should be encouraged to make rational judgments. Non-rational judgments, however reasoned they may be--such as racism, sexism and speciesism--are wrong, but that doesn't make all judgments wrong.

People usually only complain about negative judgments, but saying you like someone, something or some idea is as much a judgment as saying you dislike someone, something or some idea.

Saying, for example, that honey is not vegan is a judgment, but it doesn't follow that the person saying that is policing anyone. Vegans don't use animal-derived products. Honey is a product produced by bees. Bees are animals. Therefore, saying honey is not vegan because it is an animal product is a rational judgment. What is not rational is attacking someone by calling them the "vegan police" for making a rational judgment, and then coming up with all kinds of reasons and rationalizations for why vegans can eat honey.

Those who call people the "vegan police" are most likely trying to discourage independent critical thinking. They have invented an insult as a way to force others to conform. Those who call dissenters vegan police are, in a way, acting as thought police.

Aug 2nd, 2005, 10:53 PM
English is not my native language either, which I'm sure cause some misunderstandings now & then. When I used the word judgemental, I was referring to a patronizing, condescending, holier-than-thou attitude, and (of course) not saying that one should never speak out when one find something wrong or never disagree.

Belonging to a minority can be tricky. With a lifestyle different than most people have, one may look at some of the ideas, actions and emotions (or lack of emotions) 'normal' people has as just as 'strange' as our lifestyle appears to them.

A non-vegan's reaction to a vegan may be 'What? Eating plants only? Don't be silly.... Wake up!'
A vegan's reaction to a non-vegan may be 'Are you really eating honey... bee-puke? How can you do something like that?' A long-time vegan's reaction to a new vegan may be 'What? Are you suggesting that fish may not feel pain? Leave the forum, you are a troll!' A vegan's reaction to another vegan may be 'You don't feel angry when you see an animal forced to live it's life in a cage? Shame on you!' Or when talking to a vegan who is in love with a non-vegan 'How can you feel attracted to someone who is involved in a and responsible for all that cruelty??????'

IMO a human can't change another human, but we can possible help each other becoming more aware / change focus. The question is how.

I hope and think that the holier-than-thou attitude sometimes to be observed among vegans is more and more becoming a thing of the past. More than anything else, not accepting how others feel and think just push them away, both on a personal and philosophical level. We are what are... We can change, but to me, it looks like this kind of policing mentality just causes the opposite result of what the constables want to achieve.

I can be pretty enthusiastic in trying to explain people why I look at things the way I do sometimes, and in some cases, I find it very hard to understand if people I communicate with don't just look at things the same way I do, because..... I see things the way I see things. But for me, 'What? How can you *******????' just doesn't do the trick.

Am I being judgemental about judgemental people now? :)

Aug 3rd, 2005, 10:10 AM
I try to avoid being judgmental, but sometimes the only other option is to hold my tongue (and believe me that is difficult - I spent a lifetime of holding my tongue as a child at home, as a wife, and as an employee - but now as an older person on my own, I relish speaking my mind). However, today, for example I went to the home of an acquaintance, Ray, who wanted assistance with setting up a webmail. While I was there, Ray proudly showed me a grandchild's garment made by his wife. It had an embroidered motif across the front, saying something like "I'm great at fishing". Ray takes him fishing, and I felt terribly sad that a guy as nice as Ray, thinks it is ok to teach his grandson to kill fish. Being in his house, I held my tongue, but tomorrow morning at the swimming pool, I'll tell him how I felt, and why.

Aug 3rd, 2005, 05:54 PM
I don't understand what is wrong with being judgmental. What people are saying here doesn't fit the definition of the word as I know it: 1. Of, relating to, or dependent on judgment. 2. Inclined to make judgments, esp. moral or personal ones. I think being judgmental is a good thing. People should be judgmental, because that means they think before they do something.

It seems to me people are confusing judgments with something else. Do you mean a lack of consideration, perhaps? Well, consideration is part of being judgmental. Something is considered in the formation of a judgment. So, then, a mindful concern for others is part of being judgmental. That means eve is being judgmental when she considers how to react to Ray's fishing. If eve just shouted out "You stupid fish murderer!" with out considering what she was saying, then that would be the opposite of being judgmental.

Of course people can, and often do, make bad judgments, but I don't think that means people shouldn't be judgmental. I think it would be much worse if people don't make any judgment at all.

Aug 3rd, 2005, 06:15 PM
You are right, Daniel. "Being non judgemental" seems to have gained the status of a sacred value, and this value/fashion has its roots in the basic liberal idea that one has a right to do whatever one likes; but somewhere along the way the extremly important second part of the principle was forgotten: that this right ends when one's actions harm others. It is not only your right to judge others, it is your moral duty, and if you can't be a moral person without it.

Aug 3rd, 2005, 06:22 PM
What is your definition of 'judgemental'?