4 Comments

Works and Doesn’t Work…WTF?!

Apparently, being a vegan means that I am open to attack and unsolicited feedback from others.  I recently got involved in a conversation that started out promisingly enough but went into a tailspin quickly.  I thought the discussion would be about veganism, why I chose it and what it’s all about, but it turned out that the person talking to me just wanted an opportunity to tell me what he really thought of me.

I had posted a picture on my Facebook page of a factory farm piglet who was clearly suffering.  The reason I posted it was that I had seen a lot of things on other people’s profiles “celebrating” bacon–one such tasteless item was a picture of an adorable little piglet leaning his head out a car window, much as a dog will.  The caption read “Wheeeeee!  Going to the bacon store!  (Little did he know he was not coming back!)”.  I was disgusted by this, and saddened that the people who posted it and laughed about it could not, or more likely would not, see the inherent cruelty.  So I posted my picture–not on anyone else’s page, just my own.  I hoped the people who were “celebrating” bacon would get the point.

The first person to comment on my picture was someone I had previously thought of as a friend.  However, this guy craves attention and will often instigate controversy on other people’s Facebook pages with his inane comments, so I should simply have ignored him or deleted his comment.  He posted “mmmm….diseased face” under the picture of the suffering piglet, who had open sores on his face.  It made me sick, but I simply responded with “not funny”.  Then he posted “not open for discussion?”, to which I responded “I am always open for discussion, but the picture and your comment are not funny.”  It went on for a bit, but ultimately I told him that if he wanted a discussion, he could message me privately, which he did.  I explained about veganism and why I am vegan.  He didn’t really acknowledge any of that, but  he asked me if I believe that there are absolute morals, to which I responded that there are some, yes.   Exploitation of any kind, including rape, child molestation and animal exploitation, are things that are never acceptable, any time, any place, end of story.  He said that it was too bad that I could not see the world in shades of grey, that everything was so black and white for me.  He said that morality comes from religion (and should therefore be shunned), that no one has the right to “tell” him what to do, and that we must go only by whether something “works” or “does not work.”  This made no fucking sense to me whatsoever, and I began to wonder if he had been smoking New Atheist crack.  I immediately saw a flaw in his argument, which is for whom does something have to work or not work to be acceptable?  I gave him the example of a person who is raped.  Obviously, the act of rape “works” for some people–namely, the rapists.  That explains why they do it.  However, it clearly “does not work” for the person being raped.  Therefore, whose rights take precedence?  If rape works for the person doing it, then by this guy’s argument, the rapist should rape, as there is nothing inherently immoral about rape and clearly it is working for one person.  He went on to explain–and I use that term very loosely–that rape does work for its victims.  He said that just as he chose when he’d be born and what things he’d experience in life, as well as the time and manner of his own death, people who are raped choose to be raped and it works for them.  WTF?!  He never really went into detail about how this is even a feasible thing to say, despite the fact that I asked him again to please explain how the hell rape ever works for anyone.  Basically, he began to realize he was not holding up his end of our “discussion” very effectively and my logic was getting the upper hand, as his position is indefensible and illogical, and he abruptly decided to end the “discussion” and launch a personal attack.  He graced me with his unsolicited “feedback” about how I am a joyless vegan who regards my husband with contempt because he eats meat.  He informed me that my relationship with my husband might improve if I’d stop feeling contempt for my husband for his meat eating.  He informed me that I am a negative and cynical person and a poor representative for veganism.  He got all this from spending a grand total of maybe a few hours with me over about 5 years, never actually directly interacting with me or speaking with me about veganism….and a lot of what he gleaned about me came from….wait for it….the expression on my face when sharing a meal with meat-eaters.  Never mind that he never asked me what was on my mind at that moment—no, he just assumed that because I’m vegan, I must be joyless and hate everyone around me because they eat meat.  Keep in mind, he’s barely ever even spoken to me!  He had quite a rant about all my negative qualities–I’m tempted to post it here, because you have to read it to believe it.

This came as a blow to me–it actually hurt.  This guy has been a friend of my husband’s since they were in high school together, and I thought he was a friend of mine, too.  It always stings to find out that someone you previously thought a friend turns about to be an asshole.  I mean, he could have at least been kind about his “feedback”.  Okay, if he perceives me as joyless, talk to me about it.  Inquire.  You know, actually fucking SPEAK to me.  But no, he just makes assumptions based on stories he makes up in his head.

So that is my story.  A summary, really, that may not effectively convey the situation and may not seem so bad to some.  Maybe it wasn’t, but I didn’t deserve to be treated like that, and no matter how long I’m vegan, I will never get used to others just making shit up about me and believing it.

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4 comments on “Works and Doesn’t Work…WTF?!

  1. Wow. Just… wow. What an idiotic article, but what strikes me most is this part:

    “He didn’t really acknowledge any of that, but he asked me if I believe that there are absolute morals, to which I responded that there are some, yes.”

    Unfortunately, you’re wrong. There are NO absolute morals.

    “Exploitation of any kind, including rape, child molestation and animal exploitation, are things that are never acceptable, any time, any place, end of story.”

    Uhmm… where’s the empirical verification for that????????

    • I am so glad you came by just to leave that vitriolic comment. Thanks so much.

      Yes, in fact, there are some moral absolutes.

      I am not sure how you expect me to provide “empirical verification” for the statement that exploitation of any kind, including rape, child molestation, and animal exploitation, are things that are never acceptable, any time, any place, end of story. I am also unsure of WHY you are asking me that. That is actually deeply disturbing–are you then arguing that there are circumstances in which rape, child molestation, and animal exploitation are morally acceptable? Where is YOUR empirical evidence?

      Wow, I feel stupider for having responded to you. If this is the level at which you are capable of engaging in discussion, please do not bother responding. You have nothing of value to say.

      • I can infer from your condescending tone that you don’t like me disagreeing with you.

        But let me just elaborate your points in detail.

        “Yes, in fact, there are some moral absolutes.”

        The problem here is, just because you say something doesn’t make it true. In the article, you claimed that there are moral absolutes, but didn’t support your position with arguments. In your above comment, you repeated your claim – again, without giving evidence for it.

        “I am not sure how you expect me to provide “empirical verification” for the statement that exploitation of any kind, including rape, child molestation, and animal exploitation, are things that are never acceptable, any time, any place, end of story.”

        I don’t, because you can’t. That is, in fact, my point.

        ” I am also unsure of WHY you are asking me that.”

        I was asking that because you had claimed there are moral absolutes. If you hold this position to be true, then it follows logically that you also believe that there are moral truths – i. e., some moral statements are true regardless of people’s subjective opinions about them. In order to find out whether a proposition is true or not, you have to provide empirical evidence to verify the truth value of the statement.

        “That is actually deeply disturbing–are you then arguing that there are circumstances in which rape, child molestation, and animal exploitation are morally acceptable?”

        Where did I state I was arguing for that? 😀

        Actually, though, I do think there are circumstances under which animal exploitation is permissible – and I’m pretty sure you agree with some of those circumstances. For example, I think it isn’t immoral to kill a lion which is attacking you and wants to eat you.

        The thing is, though, I recognize that my stance on animal exploitation – and, for that matter, on rape and child molestation as well – are only my subjective opinions.

        Basically, what we have is this: your claim is that child molestation, rape and animal exploitation are ” are never acceptable, any time, any place, end of story”. Well, I have some bad news for you: the ancient Romans would disagree! If they could travel into AD 2017, they would tell you that it is perfectly permissible and okay to rape women of their enemies or keep slaves.

        Now, I know what you are about to say right now: that the Romans are totally wrong. However, you can’t say that because what you’re disagreeing about is a moral question, which is not objective.

        Contrast this with objective things like a scientific hypothesis. If you were to try to persuade the Romans that atoms exist, you would only need to teach physics to them and you would manage to convince them.

        To sum up, because morals are ALWAYS based on SOME emotions, they can’t be true – since emotions themselves can’t be true either.

        On a side note, I actually came to this realization after reading about natural rights. Natural rights theory is something that was introduced by legal scholars a long time ago – it was pioneered by Greek philosophers, I think. The concept is simple: we are given some inalienable rights at birth – these rights are either bestowed upon us by God or Nature (whatever “Nature” means here). The theory then fell on fertile grounds after the horrors of World War II – legal scholars felt they needed to do away with legal positivism which had been the prevailing legal philosophy in the decades before the war. Legal positivism holds that only those rights exist which are granted by the legal system of a given country.

        I was first intrigued by the idea at first – then I realized how big of a BS it was: these legal scholars could NOT verify their position empirically – they just believed in it. The same way, human rights are just figments of our own imagination. As far as we know, we aren’t granted ANY rights at birth – we just have these rights because it is our consensus in the country we live. Or we don’t – maybe because we live in a dictatorship which does not recognize human rights. Human rights are a myth, and thus animal rights also are.

        The long and short of it is that morality is relative, and there are no moral truths, only opinions.

        “Where is YOUR empirical evidence?”

        For WHAT do you ask me to show empirical evidence?

  2. Alright, you want to do this? We’ll do this.
    “I can infer from your condescending tone that you don’t like me disagreeing with you.”

    Are you fucking kidding me. You come onto my personal blog and leave an asshole comment that STARTS OUT with “Wow. Just… wow. What an idiotic article, but what strikes me most is this part” and you have the fucking AUDACITY to tell me that I am condescending?

    Fuck you.

    “The problem here is, just because you say something doesn’t make it true.” Never said it did, bro. However, there ARE some moral truths; there are some actions that are intrinsically wrong. I don’t need to “prove” them–we cannot prove the axioms of mathematics, either, but they are still accepted as true. Read this, it might help you: http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/new-atheism-and-animal-ethics-some-reflections/.

    If you are arguing with me and telling me that my claim that rape, child exploitation, and animal exploitation are intrinsically wrong, then you are, indeed, saying that you find rape, child exploitation, and animal exploitation morally justifiable, at least in some cases.

    Then you go on to tell me about a lion attacking me. Except, words mean things, and a lion attacking me has literally nothing to do with “exploitation”.

    That would actually be “self-defense”, and I never, at any single point in what I wrote, indicated that in a life and death situation, it was not morally justifiable for a human to kill an animal.

    So, your point is beyond invalid.

    However, what your “argument” fails to comprehend is that exploiting animals is not done in “self-defense”. It is done for no other reason than palate pleasure, convenience, or entertainment.

    Most decent folk would not accept those as moral justifications for harming animals.

    I suspect you are one of these New Atheists who love Hitchens and Dawkins. Everything is subjective, right? Except it’s not. Saying “rape is morally wrong” is not an opinion, and it is not subjective. Rape is wrong. Not sure why anyone would argue against that, but here you are, doing just that, and trying to sound super smart doing it.

    Morals aren’t based on emotions–what the hell does that even mean?

    I’m not sure why you are bringing up ancient Romans and telling me that they’d disagree with me that rape is wrong. WTF, bro, what is your point? Slavery used to be acceptable, rape was acceptable, murder was acceptable–lots of things were acceptable. But newsflash, bro, we are not living in ancient Rome. We are living in the 21st century, and societies have evolved. No one is talking about travelling back in time to ancient Rome, so what is the point you’re trying to make here?

    Gary Francione says:
    “It is interesting to note that some of the most prominent New Atheists believe, as did Ayn Rand, that rational, atheistic thought leads us in a direction that just happens to fit with a right-wing world view. As mentioned previously, Hitchens was a strong defender of the Iraq war and held a number of right-wing views and Sam Harris tells us that we are “at war with Islam” and states: “The link between belief and behavior raises the stakes considerably. Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them.” Indeed, Harris purports to demonstrate that we can “scientifically” prove that Islam is a morally bad religion.

    Whether or not one agrees with these views (I certainly do not), it is rather silly to deny that they reflect belief in certain moral notions that cannot be proved true in some “objective” or non-controversial way. Chris Hedges disagrees with these views and it is not because he is irrational. He simply accepts a different set of moral principles. The debate between the New Atheists, who have all sorts of belief in a variety of normative notions, and people like Hedges, cannot be resolved by any appeal to rationality; it can only be resolved by deciding whose vision of morality you share.”

    So you are correct in saying that I can never “prove” what I am saying about morality “objectively”. Neither can you. So what’s your point? Here are some things for you to consider:

    “The New Atheists, or some of them, tell us that notions of objective or stance-independent moral truth, or spiritual or religious beliefs, cannot tell us what “is.” Only science can tell us what the “real” facts are. Science provides objective Truth. Everything else is something less than Truth.

    Again, this view ignores that the metatheories that establish what is regarded as “science” are, like the axioms of mathematics or the position that rationality is a formal requirement, things that must be accepted as true and cannot be proved to be true. Although those subscribing to New Atheism might accept this as an abstract proposition, they fail to understand its meaning for their enterprise.”

    and

    “Science tells us that we ought to believe what the evidence appears to show. That is itself a normative claim. But let’s assume that we ought to believe what the evidence shows. What counts as evidence? The answer is that certain evidence, which is consistent with the assumptions of the scientific paradigm, counts, but all other evidence is excluded and ignored. There can be completely different sorts of empiricism (the theory that all knowledge comes from the senses as opposed to being innate). It is incorrect to say that moral realism or all spiritual traditions are unconcerned with evidence or that there is no evidence for them. There is a concern for evidence and there is evidence; it is just not recognized as “scientific” knowledge because science rejects that sort of evidence from the outset. There are many things to measure; science measures only some and even defines how measurement can proceed. Everything else is ignored.”

    and

    “The belief that science provides us with “true” answers to significant moral questions has been shown repeatedly to have the most profoundly disturbing results. Science told us that women would be physically damaged if they had too much education; indeed, science has repeatedly been used to justify discrimination on the basis of sex. Science told us that people of color were physically and cognitively different from white people as a “factual” basis for the justification of human slavery. There are countless examples of how science has been used to justify a great deal of violence and a wide range of discrimination.

    A critic may counter that science has been used to support good moral ends as well. For example, scientists eventually abandoned “scientific” claims about the supposed physical inferiority of women. But that’s the point. It’s not science that drives morality; it’s morality (and immorality) that drives the science. To take a (very) loose analogy from quantum theory: our moral consciousness determines the reality we see.”

    The long and short of it is that your argument lacks weight. Bye now.

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