Thursday, January 24, 2008

Veganity

As promised, time to deal with the vegan and moral meat trilogy of posts from earlier this week.

Vegan's just another word for "nothing left to eat":

I read somewhere that evolutionary biologists now believe that digust [sic] co-evolved with the decision to eat meat. After reading that book, I may be devolving.
I'm tempted to note this isn't the best use of the word devolve, but it is true that her chosen sense has become acceptable via popular usage. Or I could note that Megan is again using her memory of something she thinks she read as all the sourcing needed to make a claim, or educate her readers, but this happens in every post Megan has ever or will ever produce. Trying to make Megan recognize this MASSIVE FLAW in everything she's ever done is, to paraphrase Bill Hicks quoting countless comedians over time, like showing a dog a card trick.
Instead, let's just, once again, note that, despite her inherent moral superiority for having the financial means to eat "humane" meat and consider veganism as a serious option, Megan doesn't bother trying to give reasons why her choice is one others should at least consider following (unless you want to count repeating a claim she knows to be spurious). Instead, it's all about her, and making sure others know how good a person she is for giving animals the kind of consideration she denies people.

Preach it, veggie-man: After referring to a debate in a thread she fails to link to, Megan finally tackles that burning question of why she doesn't seem to want others to follow her sooper-moral and caring example in dietary choices.
Most vegetarians and vegans do not, in fact, prosletyze. While I do explain, when asked, my decision to only eat humanely raised meat, I've never finished up with " . . . and that's why you should too, you cruel, thoughtless bastard." Nonetheless, many people react as if I'd tacked on this last phrase, and spit. What the hell is wrong with me? Don't I understand that meat tastes good? That certified humane meat is expensive? That animals would do the same, and worse, to each other . . . etc. Yes, yes, thank you Dr. Insight, I have in fact heard each and every one of these devastating arguments at least a hundred times.
Ok, Megan, then you have an answer to the question of why you never mention that "humane" meat tastes better? A truer name for it would be artisanal meat, as it sells not because it's moral, but because it fucking tastes better. This, combined with the lesser environmental impact of non-factory farming and the advantage of not pumping massive amounts of antibiotics into our food animals seem, to me, pretty good reasons to champion the stuff. Additionally, as it becomes more popular and more humane meat is produced, the price will drop, allowing more people to enjoy it, and putting greater pressure on the factory style producers to change their ways.
But that has nothing to do with Megan, personally, so it's not important. If anything, Megan prefers not trying to bring others around to her point of view, because their resistance proves her right.
Those who, like me, have made ethical choices about our diets that we haven't asked anyone else to emulate, find the aggressiveness of these encounters puzzling; most of us have come to the conclusion that it is a psychological defense mechanism employed by people who think that we're right, but don't want to make the modest hedonic sacrifice necessary to comply with this ethical position. So you're not only not persuading us to change our ways; you're reinforcing our belief in the correctness of our choice.
At least we know she's familiar with Jonah Goldberg's work. If lots of people disagree with you, it's because you're right.
And that's what matters; that Megan knows she's right. She's so secure in this knowledge she doesn't have to force it on others, despite the fact if she actually believed the things she says she'd probably, at least once, maybe try to use her privileged perch to, instead of congratulating herself for her choice, try and give others a reason to consider it. Y'know, like maybe mentioning humane meat is tastier. But it seems salesmanship isn't an option, either you hit them over the head with it, or do nothing.
Meanwhile, vegetarians who feel that they must lecture the Great Unwashed: how many people have you converted? Count them up, right now. The answer would be "none", wouldn't it? Yes, that's right, the people you're hectoring are about as likely to come into the fold through your lectures as you are to be reborn in Christ through the efforts of that guy shouting about the Whore of Babylon on the 42nd Street subway steps. Just as he makes Christianity less attractive through his histrionics, you are, by convincing potential converts that vegetarians are a bunch of humorless jerks who spend most of their time lecturing hapless diners, probably driving people away. Plus, you're not only annoying them; you're annoying me by proxy. Please stop.
And above all, don't use your position to advocate for your beliefs, Megan finds it distasteful. It's much better to simply pat yourself on the back in public repeatedly for manipulating friends and acquaintances into buying more expensive meat just for you when you've been invited to be their guest for a meal. That would never annoy someone.

Agree to disagree:
Is it true that there is some implied censure in the decision not to eat meat, or not to eat factory-farmed meat? Well, given that I have concluded that refraining from the purchase [sic] factory farmed meat is the ethical thing to for [sic] me to do, then it is indeed logically implied that I also think it is the ethical thing for you to do.
Why bother providing someone with reasons to follow your example, when you can just be so regal that they should be like you because you're you? Megan's sheer awesomeness is all the argument you should need to figure out how to afford artisanal meat.
However, polite society thrives on people with ethical differences agreeing to live and let live. I leave room for the possibility of errors in my own judgment, for differences in situations and priorities, and for the fact that no human relationship can survive a strict accounting of every value difference. I think it would be nice if everyone thought hard about how much moral weight to give to the suffering of animals, and gave up meat for a month or so in order to find out how hard it would be to live without it. (Answer: not nearly as hard as you think. I eat meat perhaps a few times a month, and honestly don't much miss it--and I like to eat.)
Oddly, I agree with Megan here. It should not be up to her to provide arguments for these choices she's made, as she's likely utterly incapable of it. Her basic argument is that people should follow her example because it's her example. This is a shitty argument, and that's the only kind of argument Megan seems capable of.

(As an aside, I can't help but feel a need to rephrase a little of that and turn it back on her,
I think it would be nice if everyone Megan thought hard about how much moral weight to give to the suffering of animals sweatshop workers and other victims of globalization, and gave up meat all the things she depends on those workers to produce for her for a month or so in order to find out how hard it would be to live without it them.
Might teach her a thing or two about respecting workers' rights.)

Getting back on point,
On the other hand, I also think it would be nice if everyone tried hard, every minute, to be as nice as possible to those around them; volunteered with homeless children in their spare time; and supported a robust free market regime. I don't live up to all of these ideals, however, and living in society means understanding that others make differing value judgments. I presume you know better than I do whether you are really doing your best to do what is right. I'm not going to lecture you on your moral obligations. In return, I would very much appreciate it if people would refrain from attempts to argue me out of doing what I believe is right because they would enjoy their own value judgments better if they had more company.
Just let Megan tell herself she's a wonderfully moral person, moreso than those poor proles who can't afford a good steak, instead.
In short, if my refusal to eat factory farmed meat makes you uncomfortable, then you should probably stop eating factory farmed meat. Because I am not, I swear, wasting one moment of an enjoyable dinner worrying about what's on your plate.
If you disagree with me, it's because I'm right, and my belief in the moral value of humane meat pales in comparison to my belief in the value of telling people I eat humane meat.

She got paid for all of this.

2 comments:

clever pseudonym said...

"If you disagree with me, it's because I'm right..."

You nailed it. That's exactly what her tone was like on that post. I can't even get over how arrogant her assumptions are that her dietary choices make ME uncomforatble or inferior some how.

NutellaonToast said...

I like she magnanimously "allows" for other points of view and then states she "knows" she's doing right. Seriously, how many other people would even think of stating "I accept the ideas of others" rather than just taking it as a given. the guilty flee where no man pursueth, eh Megan?