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Thread: Responding to intelligent criticisms of veganism?

  1. #1
    Ben Rosenstein
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    Default Responding to intelligent criticisms of veganism?

    Hi, I'm Ben Rosenstein, I'm from New York, and I've been a vegan for about a year now. Yesterday my roommate directed me to this blog that had a couple of critiques of veganism that I wasn't used to hearing. I tried to respond but I didn't really know how to answer. The blog entries that criticize veganism are here and here. The first one isn't specifically on veganism, so you have to scroll down to part 3 of it to find the stuff that targets vegans. I don't know, am I missing something here, or are these actually legitimate criticisms of veganism?

  2. #2
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Responding to Intelligent Criticisms of Veganism...?

    Hi, and welcome!
    I'm sorry for disagreeing 100% with you. (Please reregister, by the way!)
    I can't find any arguments against veganism in those articles, and I'm sure the reason is that the writer(s?) don't really know what veganism is.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Bad Buddhist Clueless Git's Avatar
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    Default Re: Responding to Intelligent Criticisms of Veganism...?

    Hi Ben

    Try checking out any of the 'stupid things meat eaters say' type topics on this or any other veg*an forum. All that blog is is an exceptionaly well written piece that weaves nearly all of the stupid things meat eaters say together in a way that appears to make sense.

    Having quoted Gandhi's "be the change in the world that you want to see" as the rallying call of vegans (etc) the author simply continues to rubbish that with "but the odds are insurmountable so why actualy bother ..".

    He actualy says;

    Far more dangerous ... is the delusion that the sum of their individual lifestyle choices will have a significant impact on society.
    The idea that sufficient individuals lifestyle choices have no significant impact on the societies that they live in is about a big a nonsense as you can possibly get?

    Even if it were so then the author clearly wants to have zero understanding of the fact that 'being the change in the world in the world that we want to see" has (can have, at least?) massive impact on the individual him/herself.

    Anyways if you care to pick out any individual arguments that you would like some ideas on how to demolish more 'technicaly' then I, and I am sure quite a few others here, would be very happy to help.
    All done in the best possible taste ...

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    Default Re: Responding to Intelligent Criticisms of Veganism...?

    Hi

    Yes I agree with Korn, after reading through the article it seems they think that the only reason people are Vegan is because of the environment. Considering the vegan society was founded well before anyone was considering the environment it's a little short sighted. All the Vegans I know have chosen to be so because they disagree with the exploitation of animals.

    Also if the Environmental movement and animal right movement are so part of the capitalism society why are we being infiltrated by the police and why did the recent Europol report describe animal rights groups as terrorists.

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    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Responding to Intelligent Criticisms of Veganism...?

    I can't find any arguments against veganism in those articles, and I'm sure the reason is that the writer(s?) don't really know what veganism is.
    And here's what I meant, using some examples from one of the articles:

    “The change begins with YOU,” they will say. And then they will parade around the fact that they’ve donated to many charities, rescued sick animals, or adopted a vegan diet.
    Some vegans may think that political change is the main thing the world needs, while others only focus on changing the lifestyle of one individual at a time, but 'veganism, as such, doesn't contain any viewpoints about that topic. Veganism isn't 'lifestylism'; it's a viewpoint related to avoiding killing/abusing living beings, viewpoints which not exclusively are reserved for what happens on an individual level.

    'Vegan' includes a viewpoint about eg. what you are having for breakfast. Veganism doesn't tell you that eating a vegan breakfast excludes the need for political or economical change.


    A vegetarian diet, a vegan diet, a raw food diet, gluten-free diet, a freegan diet — it’s too tough keeping up with the latest trend.
    Millions of people do NOT think it's hard to be vegans. And even if it would have been hard, this wouldn't serve as an argument against being vegan. Besides, veganism definitely isn't about keeping up with trends. The trend, as we know, is to live a lifestyle which involves harming a lot of animals.

    One might even have counted the guru of deep ecology himself, Arne Naess, a lifestylist to the end, as he enumerated “anti-consumerism,” Third Worldism, and personal asceticism as standard points of the deep ecological code of conduct.
    Arne Naess wasn't a vegan, he was a philosopher which at least at some point though that individual change was all that was needed, but again - such viewpoints has nothing to do with veganism. Billions of people can make a difference for ourselves and the animals/environment by changing our lifestyle, and there's no reason to wait for political changes to do that.

    I've actually discussed this a little with Arne Naess, and I found that he was IMO just as free from proper arguments against working for eco-political change as the article you referred to are free from arguments against veganism.

    One argument which the so called 'lifestylists' may have, and which IMHO have some depth, is that it will be difficult/unethical to change the world into a less cruel and unjust place if each of the individuals in that world aren't ready for a change. It's eg. naive to assume that government or private corporations would develop in a less animal-cruel direction if the population is fine with harming and killing animals. So individual change does matter, just like political/economical/environmental change does.

    When I say political veganism doesn’t understand capitalism, this is what I mean.
    There is no such thing as a unified, conform, 'political veganism'.

    While the number of vegetarians and vegans has grown into sizeable minority, you would think that meat consumption would’ve shown a slight decline. But the opposite is true.
    Total meat consumption is influenced by factors like total population increase, the increase/decrease of meat consumption among non-vegans and more. If you compare today's meat consumption, in pounds, with what it had bean if all vegans/vegetarians would have been eating meat, the annual meat reduction represented by these veg*ns equals the number of veg*ns times the amount of meat they would have been eating, in pounds, if they weren't veg*ns. So if there are, say, 400 million veg*ns in the world, and each of them would eat, say, 15 animals/fish/chicken etc), these 400 million veg*ns save the life of 6 billion animals every year - a great achievment. In addition, veg*ns sometimes influence their kids/families and others to avoid animal products as well, so just by being a vegan, the likelihood that others will go vegan will (in most cases) increase.


    There is absolutely no substance to the claim that going vegan saves any animals.
    It certainly is: If humans would stop eating chicken, eggs, meat etc, the horrible mass production of these products would disappear. If humans reduce their intake of animal products, the mass production will be reduced as well. Why wait for a political revolution when you can. along with millions of others, make a difference several times a day?

    The sad thing about the article you referred to is that it contributes to the idea that it's OK to kill and eat animals, which (if someone reads it and believes in this pseudo-criticism) contributes to an increased consumption of animal products.

    It's all really simple: if you kill a chicken and eat it, the chicken dies (usually after a life under horrible conditions). If you don't kill it, it doesn't die. Not killing an animal saves it's life, and therefore makes a difference. The way humans kill animals today, is usually to go to the grocery store and buy an animal product - as we all know, our money ends up funding the process which first makes the animals suffer and then kills them.

    But what if for the sake of argument, veganism got what it wanted? The world adopts a vegan diet, the meat industry collapses, then what?
    This would make a lot of difference for humans, animals and the environment. Maybe Ross Wolfe, the writer, can't see this - but it seems that his main problem is that he thinks that veganism (etc) is meant to as a substitute for/represents a rival to his own political ideology.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Default Re: Responding to Intelligent Criticisms of Veganism...?

    I did not find any intelligent criticism of veganism in that link.
    All I found was a high-winded diatribe masquerading as intellectual by using a lot of difficult-sounding words and trying to explain that he wants to continue to eat meat, and as "being vegan does not change anything", he does it.

    Best regards,
    Andy

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    Barry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Responding to Intelligent Criticisms of Veganism...?

    Totally agree with you Andy. This:

    There is absolutely no substance to the claim that going vegan saves any animals.

    made me laugh like nobodies business!
    Todays empires, tomorrows ashes...

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    Default Re: Responding to Intelligent Criticisms of Veganism...?

    This guy could learn a lot by reading Bob Torres' 'Making a killing' regarding a marxist / anarchist analysis of the animal industry.

    Best regards,
    Andy

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    kikifromscotland's Avatar
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    Default Re: Responding to Intelligent Criticisms of Veganism...?

    I don't know if this was already reported, but I think the OP posted the same thing on another veg*n forum and it turned out that he is not vegan and that he wrote the articles and was just looking to get 'hits' on them and comments.

    [Actually I'm pretty sure it's him- partway through the thread below he admits it]
    http://www.veggieboards.com/newvb/sh...cisms+veganism

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    Default Re: Responding to intelligent criticisms of veganism?

    The largest problem with the article is that the writer wrongly characterizes vegans as people who want more than to avoid suffering, but by definition wish for an entirely new economic system, a world without war or hunger, and a world without business. In short, the author fears that vegans are a group who will not eat meat or animal products until the whole Earth is one, communist nation. The fact is that veganism does not rid of us the capitalist system, but employs it. Yes, some of the side effects of veganism include fewer emissions and less water and land pollution, but these are not the end-goal even of ethical veganism. However, in the introduction to the article he admits to the assumption that veganism has specific political implications. This is simply not the case. Arguing against these political implications does not argue against veganism, but this is the method the writer uses. We have a straw-man fallacy as the entire blog.

    Delving further, even specific arguments he creates are flawed:
    He uses quotes that are intended to demonstrate waste as evidence that vegans make empty promises regarding their impact on world hunger.
    He implies that, calorie for calorie, meat is a more affordable way to consume vital nutrients and energy. This is not true, it is only believed to be.
    He uses a poor measure of the progress of veganism, citing an overall total meat production increase. This must match the overall increase in total population. A more suitable number would be percentage population consuming.
    He ignores subsidies that the meat industry receives to remain profitable and claims its profits are solely from consumers. Without support, there will eventually be pressure to remove these subsidies.
    He assumes that vegans are attempting to compete for "revolutionariness".
    He assumes that the "militant rhetoric" of vegans would "unravel" if the world became vegan. This comes back to the "political implications" of veganism.
    He accuses veganisms of anthropomorphism. This is ridiculous. Vegans do not inherently see animals as equal to people. To do so would actually make a case for eating animals.

    In short, what everyone else said. But this is the framework for a rebuttal.

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    Lentils's Avatar
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    Default Re: Responding to intelligent criticisms of veganism?

    Wow what a scumbag.

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    Default Re: Responding to intelligent criticisms of veganism?

    They're criticisms, but I've never heard a legitimate one.

    If you're vegan, why?

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    Default Re: Responding to intelligent criticisms of veganism?

    PS: Did you get dumped by a vegan or something? What's with the obsession?

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    Default Re: Responding to Intelligent Criticisms of Veganism...?

    Quote kikifromscotland View Post
    I don't know if this was already reported, but I think the OP posted the same thing on another veg*n forum and it turned out that he is not vegan and that he wrote the articles and was just looking to get 'hits' on them and comments.

    [Actually I'm pretty sure it's him- partway through the thread below he admits it]
    http://www.veggieboards.com/newvb/sh...cisms+veganism
    I have noticed this type of thing a few times on various vegan boards, where someone will pretend to be a vegan and get on the inside and then argue all the points against veganism, criticize various aspects of it, or try to sell some concept or just to stir up controversy. It's dishonest, cowardly, and demeaning. And it demonstrates the person's lack of credibility and therefore weakens their stance anyway.

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    Abe Froman Risker's Avatar
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    Default Re: Responding to intelligent criticisms of veganism?

    LOL, that's really quite pathetic. What's the aim? Do they expect one of us to say "Oh no! my ethical choices have been futile!"
    "I don't want to live on this planet any more" - Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth

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    Default Re: Responding to intelligent criticisms of veganism?

    If a person is trying to strengthen his argument, then fine, but if he is trying to be the "first post" on any google search, this is a poor way to do it. Frankly, his argument was weak for all the reasons I stated above and a few more I found after, he needs the feedback. Maybe after enough of these posts, he'll see that the flaws in his argument don't rest in fixable details and go vegan himself.

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    Default Re: Responding to intelligent criticisms of veganism?

    I'm happy that they're on their side & I'm on mine.

    It's sad because it's a mirage and the people inside the mirage are honest, well meaning, good people. They believe animal protein is full of nutrition that they can't get anywhere else. They believe to lose weight they should eat more protein so that they feel fuller longer. They believe the only way to achieve strong bones is by drinking milk. They believe the acids in raw fruits eats their tooth enamel. They believe too much "foliage" will give them gas. They believe it's just the way it is supposed to be. They have been taught these things. They're just doing what they know. Even the ones who know how food gets to the table (and everyone knows) most people in modern society just don't care to think about it. It's impolite to mention it. And for those who can't rid the thought, there are only two alternatives: find a way to justify the behavior of consuming animals or quit the behavior of consuming animals.

    The people who fight veganism & want to be the top search in google are just the ones who can't rid the thought.

    In a way that's progress. So much of veganism stems from just thinking about it.

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    Default Re: Responding to intelligent criticisms of veganism?

    In first text I don't see any arguments. It's all strawmans. He has his picture of what celebs do, what vegans do and attacks that image, not real facts. The rest of text is so stupid I really don't have any interest to analyze it. Lame criticism.

    And Ben, one advice. Learn to recognize logical fallacies. Good luck.

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