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Vegans talk about veganism too much!

August 26, 2016

Upon occasion, this vegan takes forays into the murky inner city of the land of the unrepentant omnivore. A fascinating travail it is, too. I found a guy who thought humans having incisors and canines “proves” we are “carnivores”.

Evidently he had never heard of pandas, nor molars. Nor had he presumably tried to tear into a whole animal using nothing but his puny, blunt front teeth. It would seem that the human mouth has actually evolved to suit a civilisation with a vast array of kitchenware.

I’d like to say this extraordinary opine struck me as unique, but I’ve heard it all before – including this other thought, expressed by someone within the same comment thread: vegans are annoying because they “bring veganism into everything.” In other words, it’s fine for people to be vegan, as long as they don’t throw it in other people’s faces. I wonder if that individual has the same view on homosexuality.

My first thought was that his exaggeration was particularly inaccurate, since almost every vegan and vegetarian I know is, if anything, too easily cowed by an aggressive meat-eating culture. The lone vegetarian in any given room of omnivores is frequently swooped down upon and belittled at length for daring to forgo the intellectually superior pursuit of sticking one’s fork into the hide of another.

Then I thought about my more passionate vegan associates, and examined their behaviour. Yes, they do talk about veganism quite a lot – about on par with passionate feminists talking about feminism. The two have one common connection, apart from both remaining unpopular theories in the mainstream; they are relevant to a huge array of situations.

When a man and a woman talk to each other, feminist concepts invariably lurk in the background for the entirety of the conversation, whether they are acknowledged or not. When anyone eats, thinks about, talks about, makes, buys or considers obtaining food – which altogether take up a surprising amount of time in the average day – veganism lurks in the background with much the same potency.

Therefore, it enters the conversation with ease. This shouldn’t be annoying. Save for the few that are completely, consistently wrong or unfathomably ignorant, feminists can talk to me about feminism for as long as they like. It’s an accessible current affairs topic, which makes for interesting listening to the critical minded.

Leave the conversation to go on, and a colossal number of subtopics and tangentially related issues will surface, keeping the conversation fuelled for hours. In the right hands, it never become repetitious. Even though I don’t agree with every single strand of feminism (that is impossible), the general subject is compelling enough that it doesn’t matter how often I hear about it. It would only matter to me if I was anti-feminist.

Therein lies the distinction. No omnivorous friend of mine finds me overbearing on the subject of veganism; if anything, it is they that pursue me for information, and I am happy to oblige. My friends do this because they are not prejudiced against vegans or veganism to any great degree.

It is those people who are prejudiced who find the topic tiresome before it has even begun; who exaggerate the extent to which it is on the lips of those who passionately believe it; and fantasise unbearable horrors at the notion of being drawn into the lightest discussion of veganism, right down to the contents of my sandwich.

Which begs the question as to why they are so afraid to discuss it. Surely, if they had ever done so before, they would know it isn’t the waking nightmare they envision.

Anyone who gets into debates knows that it is unusual for a someone bested to immediately return for another go. So, if the unrepentant omnivores had ever won a debate against a vegan, they would be spared the arduous process of listening to any more of that nasty vegan thinking.

There are two conclusions you can draw: one, that the unrepentant omnivores enter into such debates, and lose; or two, that they have never entered into one – the vegan repeats themselves over and over again because their audience gives minimal response.

Such is the way of things. Omnivores give a niggardly nod and a grudging grunt that suggest they have no counterargument on the tips of their tongues. By contrast, the vegan has a veritable armoury of honed points, itching to be fired from the crossbow of justice. They see that they have a freshly caught audience, penned in like the animals they ate for breakfast.

Afraid that the chance will escape, the vegan strikes with philosophy and reason and all those other naughty things, hitting not once, but a dozen times. We mustn’t let the unrepentant omnivore get away without teaching him something.

Their response, unfortunately, is to take to social media and complain about being taught things, without seeming to take in any of what they were told (much less follow it up with their own research and appropriate action). Ho hum.

Veganism and feminism are both made relevant by the culture in which they exist. When a feminist talks to people about women’s rights and receives nothing but eye rolls and yawns, it further convinces them that they live in a society which is immature and needs to be made to grow up, by way of a ceaseless campaign of education. They refuse to sit politely behind closed doors and keep their beliefs to themselves, because nothing would improve.

Thus, ignoring feminists does not make them go away – it makes them stronger and more determined. And in a way, belittling the theory proves part of it right; aggressive denial shows that society is wilfully blind to the proposed problem, and thus the problem is permitted to persist.

It’s the same for veganism, and any other derided point of view. Whether the ideology is correct or not is irrelevant. The derision it attracts, which is not usually informed by fact, exposes a society which is unable to acknowledge alternative theories. Such a trend is always worrying in itself.

It leads people to march around major cities shouting about The Truth. In our various ways, we are starting to notice a problem with the stubborn, sometimes juvenile arrogance of mainstream culture; society now values “open mindedness” which was not a major priority of previous generations.

The finger-in-the-ears denial smacks of childishness, a sulky resistance to being corrupted by new ideas that might force the listener to reconsider their attitudes and behaviour. The only tactic that works is total immersion, like a baptism. If you’re drowning in sociopolitical discussion, it’s because you’re being bad boys and girls, and not listening to teacher. So we have to do the lecture all over again.

The only way to stop us is to prove your counterarguments hold more water than ours. You haven’t yet. Indeed, the opposite is true; that is why both movements are growing.

So, if by some slim chance you are an unrepentant omnivore who bristles at the thought of an outspoken vegan, ask yourself the reason. If us wet-behind-the-ears vegans are willing to battle it out, surely a strapping near-carnivore like yourself isn’t going to quail in the corner? Meet us on the debating platform. If you dare.


From → Animal Rights

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