A person named martissimo has recently been babbling on my blog. This is my response to him, and I won’t be responding to him anymore. If others want to take him on, feel free. But be warned, dude loves to hear himself go on. I’m done.
The speciesist argument is basically based on engaging the reader emotionally more than intellectually.
No, it isn’t. While there is nothing wrong with engaging someone by appealing to their emotions, if you understood vegan/abolitionist animal rights theory, you’d know it’s not merely emotional. Gary Francione is one example of someone who engages the intellect. There are others.
That’s why it was coined as an “-ist” like “racist” and “sexist”, an immediate pejorative before the analogy with racism and sexism is even put forward. I like Peter Singer on a basic level, but the comparison of speciesism to other forms of prejudice was deeply undermined by people on all sides.
Not sure why it was “undermined”, but it most certainly is comparable to other forms of prejudice. They are all connected.
Multiple philosophers and behavioural ecologists point out that for something to be a prejudice it must arise from scenarios where the prejudice categorically is neither intuitive nor conducive to us. For example sexism cannot be argued as intuitive to humans, nor conducive to us. It is a prejudice. Whereas, to take the analogy from Allison Hills, people treat their friends differently to strangers, but we don’t accuse them of being “friendist” because despite it being true that we favour our friends over strangers, we accept this and understand that it makes sense for us as a species and consciously reversing it would be sort of bizarre and come with all sorts of ramifications that make human society unworkable. There’s more to the analogy than that but that is the long and short of it. Speciesism, when analysed candidly, falls into the same category as ‘friendism’ and consequently we have to redefine how animal rights works not because this analysis of speciesism undermines animal rights, it doesn’t, but basing them on a moral obligation stemming from our view of ourselves as a species is not a sound precedent for anything. Singer himself rejigged his original argument after some time. Tzachi Zamir built the notion of moral vegetarianism where the shortcomings of vegan doctrine à la Singer began, so that people understand that ethical consideration of animals does not hinge upon speciesism. And it’s gaining in popularity with people like Unnatural Vegan on youtube trying, despite the vitriol from the mindless hardcore, to bring the science, reason and impartiality of ethics discourse to veganism.
As I already said in the comments, people may indeed treat their friends differently than strangers. We don’t accuse them of being “friendist” because that treatment doesn’t result in the brutal oppression of anyone who isn’t their friend. The analogy doesn’t really work. Speciesism certainly does not fall into the same category as “friendism”.
“[W]e have to redefine how animal rights works not because this analysis of speciesism undermines animal rights, it doesn’t, but basing them on a moral obligation stemming from our view of ourselves as a species is not a sound precedent for anything.” Full disclosure: I don’t fully understand this babble, because it’s babble. What I do understand is that the moral obligation humans owe non-humans does not stem from our view of ourselves as a species. It stems from an understanding that other species value their own lives every bit as much as we do, and in the absence of any kind of necessity or justification, it is not moral to take their lives. That is what I understand, with no babble to distract me from it.
I can’t speak for Gervais but from what I’ve heard his approach to his diet is very pragmatic (something like pescetarian, I’m not certain), and at least follows his own reasoning, which superficially seems to acknowledge the pitfalls of the anti-speciesist position.
His approach to his diet is like most people’s—it’s about his own convenience. While Gervais is happy to make scathing commentary about hunters, he is perfectly content to pay others to kill animals so he can eat them. He’s a hypocrite, as I’ve already stated.
When vegans want their beliefs to gain academic merit, people like Peter Singer write Animal Liberation, but when it’s tackled academically it’s “babble”?
Peter Singer does not lend academic merit to veganism. He is not vegan. He does not promote veganism. The welfarists quote him, so I don’t know why you keep referencing him. In regard to critiquing Singer’s work, have at it. But yes, I do find that generally, tackling things “academically” involves a tremendous amount of babble. I’d be much more interested in your reading and discussing any of Gary Francione’s work, as he is actually a vegan (an abolitionist vegan) and has relevance to discussion of animal rights and veganism where Singer’s does not.
Yes, when an animal dies the parallel takes on a different significance. But that doesn’t change things as much as you think. Biologically, we are omnivores (not culturally, not artificially, categorically) and although we can prescribe new courses of action based on our ideological persuasions and ethics, it’s a coarse kind of logic and a tenuous position to sort of deny what we have been for millions of years.
We are not omnivores. And it is not a “tenuous position” to “deny what we have been for millions of years” when what we have been is evolving. We are not cavemen. “We can prescribe new courses of action based on our ideological persuasions and ethics”—no shit. We’ve been doing that for millions of years, too. I’m having difficulty understanding what the point is that you are attempting to make. It seems like you are saying that while we certainly have the capacity to keep changing for the better, we shouldn’t because we are basically still what we were millions of years ago and that’s just so deeply embedded that we cannot overcome it. That is how I am reading that, because that is how you have written it. And it makes no sense at all.
And don’t give me the “but it’s time to change our brutal cultural traditions” retort. We’re not talking about bull fighting or using leeches in medicine here. This runs almost unfathomably deeper. Every species of every animal on the planet is speciesist, we are not an exception; why would we be?
What “runs almost unfathomably deeper”? If you are talking about eating animals, then it is indeed all about culture. It is not a biological imperative, although people like you keep insisting that it is. It isn’t. I don’t eat animals, other vegans don’t—how are we overcoming this imperative while non-vegans aren’t? It’s not a biological imperative, or whatever you are trying to argue here. People eat animals because they like how they taste, because they always have, because they see nothing wrong with it, etc. That IS all cultural. We are conditioned to think like that via our culture. “Every species of animal on the planet is speciesist”—uh, wow. What does that even mean? If you mean, some animals will eat other animals, I hardly think that can be described as “speciesist”. More like “biological imperative”. Unlike humans, many other species of animals DO need to eat other animals to survive. I can’t control that, and it’s not relevant to what humans—who do NOT have a need to eat other animals–choose to do.
And our speciesist intuition stems from exactly the same fact that Singer took as a reason to champion anti-speciesism: that we are animals too, not better, not worse.
Seriously? LOL. Yes, we are animals. Yes, we are no better and no worse. What is your point here? Regardless of what other animals are doing and why, humans have the choice to not cause unnecessary harm to other species. We are not morally “better” or “worse” (one life is not worth more than another), but we have evolved in such a way that we are capable of making choices guided by morality and ethics. And one of the main arguments I’ve heard against veganism is that “animals aren’t as intelligent as humans” or “animals don’t think and feel the way humans do”—so humans have very definitely set themselves up as “better” than all other animals and used that as a justification for doing some atrocious things to them. Either we are “better” or we aren’t. Pick one.
But really, it follows from that that we accept the animal that we are.
Meaning what, exactly? The one capable of exercising rational thought and living by morality and ethics, or the one that just shrugs and says “Well, I’m just an animal, no better than any other, so I’ll just go kill someone because that’s what animals do in brutal nature”? Like I said, pick one. The “animal that we are” is intelligent and capable of not needlessly bringing billions of sentient beings into existence for the sole purpose of killing them for no other reason than “they taste good”. And the funny thing about us human animals? When that is explained to us, most of us get it. We don’t want to cause needless harm and death to other sentient beings. We aren’t the “animals” you seem to be saying we are.
Even if we didn’t, that wouldn’t really change anything. We frame our ethics around what advances us, and protects us (and we call this ‘right’). But a sound ethical perspective does not go against what we as humans do naturally. We oppose racism because it’s self destructive, it’s not, and should not become inherent to us. Same with sexism, forms of abuse and most criminal acts at theoretical level.
Except that killing animals does NOT “come naturally” to us. I am not sure why you are so bent on insisting that every human being is just biologically programmed to be a savage, violent killer. That is pretty fucked up, and also wrong.
Speciesism/being omnivores, although it may make you uncomfortable in 2015, is an evolutionary hangover that we do automatically, like being diurnal or having sex for pleasure.
I disagree with you here. First, don’t conflate being speciesist with being an omnivore (which humans are not anyway). Second, speciesism is not “an evolutionary hangover”, whatever that even means. It’s the idea that humans have greater moral value than non-humans, which is fundamentally wrong. Speciesism is NOTHING LIKE being diurnal or having sex for pleasure.
Trying to reverse that, particularly on ethical grounds, is dubious and frankly is just not going to work.
…except it IS working. People already feel that non-human animals matter morally. With increasing amounts of vegan education happening, they are making the connection that their behaviours (like eating meat) are not consistent with the beliefs they ALREADY hold. The only thing being “reversed” is the culturally ingrained belief that humans need to exploit animals or that they have any right to.
Nor should it have to. Like nearly all ideology, veganism aspires to this childish and ironically paradoxical perfection.
LOL WUT? “[V]eganism aspires to this childish and ironically paradoxical perfection”. Uh, no, it doesn’t. No one has ever said anything about “perfection”. What are you meaning here? Vegans acknowledge that simply by existing and going about living, humans will harm non-humans. No one has ever said otherwise. if I go for a walk, I might step on an ant. But that is not a deliberate act of violence that stems from the belief that as a human, I am better than all other species and that somehow gives me the right to eat them or otherwise use them unnecessarily for no other reason than I can.
Vegans think that they’re going to make the world better for animals without having any decent explanation as to why there is any onus on us to do that in the first place. It is apparently an attempt to remain consistent with the rest of our ethics, but if that’s the case then there has been a fundamental misunderstanding of the origins and purpose of human morality to an extent which renders vegan doctrine a big non-sequitur.
Are you fucking kidding me? The “onus” is basic human decency. Just as I believe that I am trying to make the world a better place for other humans, I believe I am trying to make the world a better place for non-humans. And the onus for all of those things is BASIC HUMAN DECENCY. If you can’t see that, then I feel very, very sorry for you. Very.
You want to make ‘the world’ a more compassionate place?
No. In point of fact, I want to make the world a just place where we don’t kill someone just because we can.
The more I think about it, the more naive it sounds.
How sad for you. You have no sense of basic human decency, and that is just so very sad.
What part of you thinks that nature favours that intention, or values it?
What are you talking about? I don’t even comprehend your point here. Human society values “that intention”, and will benefit from it tremendously.
If that notion had any merit why do we have the ichneumon wasp, Philornis downsi, or our beloved wild, free orcas that hunt for sport and (knowingly) toy with prey before eating it? Why do dolphins, the poster children of a happy sea, exhibit vicious bullying behaviour to certain members of their pods? Why do chimpanzees turn on each other and rip certain members of their group (as well as other primates) apart, and docile animals like sheep and many tropical birds turn omnivore when they don’t need to, but have the chance?
Who the fuck cares, and what the fuck does that have to do with humans?
I could go on forever,
You seem to. I wish you would stop.
but you get the gist.
No, I’m afraid your point is not being made. It’s getting lost in all the babble. You just love to hear yourself, don’t you?
Those are of course rhetorical questions, taken literally I know why they do those things. But it demonstrates one key thing (and it’s not the “lions are allowed so we are too” argument, I know vegans love this softball). Nature has absolutely no desire to be ‘pleasant’. It doesn’t value it or favour it.
And yet humans do value “being pleasant” and have the desire to do so. What the ever loving fuck is your point?
The only time this isn’t true is when it applies to individuals of the same species (and even then it’s limited). The rest of the time, it is an utter hellish war zone.
Based on what? I don’t see the world as a “hellish war zone’ at all and I think that’s called hyperbole, actually. You are greatly exaggerating the state of things.
And we are just another primate. Literally, that’s all we are.
Thanks! I had no idea. I studied anthropology,minored in it actually, but I had no idea we were primates until you just told me. Thanks. And fuck off. We are also HUMANS and have evolved separately from other primates–some of us, anyway.
With all the corresponding brutality that shouldn’t be remotely surprising to anyone who understands what nature is like on this planet.
Oh shut up already about how horrendously deadly it is out there. You are just so very, very wrong.
If vegans can’t face this it’s not because we’re doing something ‘wrong’. Grow up, we’re not in a Disney movie!
You are really grating on my nerves. No one said anything about a Disney movie. Do you seriously think vegans believe that if we just want it enough, lions will one day lie down with lambs? Well, maybe the Christian ones do, but I’m not one of those. I am perfectly well aware of how nature works. What I am far more concerned about is how HUMANS work and how we don’t need to use and kill animals. I don’t care what lions do–I care what humans do.
And I get the vegans that consider it a personal choice, and recognise that their choice is a modern aesthetic that gives them peace of mind. Honestly, I do. But vegans who think their ideology is a moral imperative for humanity demonstrate nothing other than a limited understanding of morality and a damning naivety about human behavioural ecology.
It’s not a “personal choice” when victims are involved. No reasonable abolitionist vegan believes that non-veganism is a “personal choice”. So clearly you don’t understand veganism at all.
Getting butthurt because someone has a different opinion to you, aren’t we? Hardly surprising. You understood nothing of my arguments. We were talking about speciesism, Singer pioneered that, it underpins the vegan ideology, that much is obvious and yet you say I don’t know about vegan thought and suddenly, conveniently Singer’s off limits now. What is this, hot potato?
For the record, I do not get “butthurt” when someone disagrees with me. Given the very small number of people who are vegan, most people “disagree” with me. That’s life. What does irritate me, though, is when someone presents inane, incomprehensible arguments against veganism, and sorry if that isn’t what you are saying, but it’s sure coming across that way. It seems to me that your entire argument can be summarized with “Well, given that humans are primates, there is some sort of deeply embedded biological imperative to exploit animals needlessly. That imperative cannot be overcome because morality is silly.” That is honestly how I’m reading what you are saying, and maybe that makes me a mental gymnast or maybe that just means you aren’t communicating your ideas very clearly.
Peter Singer does not really warrant a place in any discussion of veganism. I am well aware the he is considered the “father” of the animal rights movement, but he is not, himself, a vegan. In fact, he’s a utilitarian, and the welfarists love him. So yeah, I’m not really keen on bringing him into any discussion of veganism.
You’re plain wrong. Nature is brutal. You think videos on youtube and contrived instances of predators acting altruistically (which are generally only recorded because this phenomenon makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside) represents the general state of nature? Ask yourself how could it? Ask yourself if that even fucking works, logically. You’ve been watching Gary Yourofsky too much.
Clearly, you missed my post about Gary Y. Spoiler alert–I don’t watch him at all because I think he’s violent and dangerous. Thanks for the lolz, though.
I wanted to continue addressing your ridiculousness point by point, but I’m tired and out of time. Your arguments make no sense at all, and I am still confused as to whether you agree with veganism or not. Your last comment indicated that you were actually agreeing with me but I’m just too stupid to see it, but every single other thing you said was against veganism. Either way, I give no more shits about talking with you. If you continue to comment, you will be blocked. Goodbye.