Reason to Go Vegan #4: The Inner Voice
October 15, 2011 3 Comments
I don’t want to speak for others, but I feel safe in saying that people who consistently promote the virtues of dietary veganism find themselves constantly under siege by the society they want to reform. On the one hand, the essence of our message could not be simpler: animals are worth our moral compassion; we should thus not inflict purposeful or unnecessary suffering up them; raising animals to kill and eat them–or to enslave them for their milk or eggs– causes purposeful and unnecessary suffering; therefore we should not eat meat or meat based products.
On the other hand, this message, no matter how hard we work to reduce it to its powerful essence, is drowned out in a chorus of objections and rationalizations: it’s natural to eat meat; it’s my right to eat what I want to eat; if we didn’t raise and kill the animals they would never have enjoyed a life; humans have always done it; the animal I ate was treated with dignity; the human body is “designed” to eat meat; eating meat is a cultural expression; your veganinism is a “lifestyle” choice; etc. You’ve heard these positions. They haunt your dreams. You know them well.
These counter-arguments, none of which even remotely come close to undermining the essential moral issue at stake, are fired at vegan advocates as if they are self-evident truths, evidence that our promotion of veganism is due to little else than an anthropormorphic affection for cute, fuzzy animals. To my fellow travelers, I urge you: don’t let the chorus wear you down. Perhaps it’s too early to start quoting Steve Jobs, but something he said in his 2005 Stanford address has stuck with me, and will always be advice I will heed: “Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”