Rise of the Carnist Vegans—Part 2: The Physics of Carnist Veganism

Physics of Carnist Veganism

Carnist veganism has emerged as a major threat to the animal rights movement.  This seemingly self-contradictory philosophy may seem bizarre at first blush.  But it’s a rational, self-serving choice for a person who seeks to maximize his or her own personal popularity.  And that’s why carnist veganism is the first threat to the animal rights movement that has caused me genuine concern.

Physics of Carnist Veganism
Illustration – Physics of Carnist Veganism

The chart above summarizes how carnist veganism works.  Since vegans will resist a non-vegan, and since carnists will resist anyone who exposes the psychopathology of carnism, the way to maximize one’s own personal popularity is to follow a  “vegan lifestyle” while remaining “non-judgmental”—and, indeed, supportive—of the carnist way of death.  In other words, the point of equilibrium for people-pleasers and popularity-seekers is that of carnist veganism.


(Original pub date:  2/10/16 (FB))

Special Challenges for Modern Abolitionists: Part 5

Laguna 2

Preface:  This article is the fifth installment in a series discussing obstacles to abolition—the ending of all slavery—that movements for proto-abolition—the ending of human slavery—did not have to face.

Think, think, think….

Another significant obstacle that an abolition movement faces but which is not faced by a proto-abolition movement pertains to the massive amount of thinking involved.  Specifically,  when slaves are human, those human slaves can assist with the enormous amount of cognitive work that must be done.

Changing an entire society’s unjust laws and eradicating an entire culture’s false beliefs requires an enormous amount of analysis, research, imagination, calculation, strategizing, and planning.  This intellectual dimension of a social change movement may well be the hardest part of all.  In the context of human slavery, the most direct victims—slaves and former slaves themselves—can participate fully in this difficult task.  They know the slavery system better than anyone, and they can use this knowledge to help identify weaknesses, formulate counter-arguments, and otherwise chisel away at the walls of collective delusion.

Unfortunately, abolitionists cannot expect the animals for whom they work to shoulder much of this cognitive burden.  Horses—who provided the key military advantage in human affairs for over 1000 years—cannot offer a similar advantage in the context of research and development.  Dogs—arguably the most selfless and courageous species, on average, of any with whom humans have interacted—cannot draw a roadmap for use in transforming humans into ethical nobility.  Yes, both of these species can lead by example, through the testimony of their personal behavior.  But it will remain up to humans to extract lessons from such examples, articulate those lessons, disseminate them, and apply them.

The fact that the most direct victims of slavery cannot fully participate in the intellectual work necessary for change should not discourage us.  We will win as sure as the sun will rise.  But acknowledging the special challenges faced by a full abolition movement will hopefully help to inoculate modern abolitionists against some of the burnout, frustration, and fatigue to which they may otherwise be susceptible.

A look ahead…

In this “Special Challenges” series, we’ll explore additional ways in which proto-abolition or proto-emancipation movements differ from abolition and emancipation movements.  If you have comments, suggestions, or contributions, please feel free to send them along.


(Original article pub date: 11/27/13 (FB);  12/3/13 (EthicalVeganism))

Laguna 2
Laguna 2

 

Special Challenges for Modern Abolitionists: Part 4

Preface:  This article is the fourth installment in a series discussing obstacles to abolition—the ending of all slavery—that movements for proto-abolition—the ending of human slavery—did not have to face.

Thanklessness:  the gratitude gap

Another significant obstacle that an abolition movement faces but which is not faced by a proto-abolition movement can be called the “gratitude gap”:  when slaves are human, those human slaves—once freed—can express gratitude to the people who helped emancipate them.  Specifically, because humans understand the tangible impact of abstractions, a former human slave understands and appreciates the labor of those who helped to change the political and economic system that once held those former slaves in bondage.

Thus, for instance, former human slaves could express their thanks to someone like Thaddeus Stevens or Angelina Grimké, even though they had never interacted directly.  Such gratitude not only rewards proto-abolitionists for their work after it has been completed, but the promise of such appreciation in the future also helps to motivate proto-abolitionists to hang in there before their work is done.

Unfortunately, abolitionists cannot expect any such reward from the animals for whom they work.  A cow will never know that a human manager is out there building an abolitionist political party on her behalf.  A mouse will never know that a human lawyer is out there fighting for animal rights.  Yes, an animal may indeed be eternally grateful to a human who physically opens a cage and carries that animal to freedom, as in the case of a beagle who is rescued from a torture (“vivisection”) laboratory.  But more abstract work performed by the many other people who participate in such a rescue will never be understood by the beneficiaries thereof.

That’s okay, of course.  We will win without the need for appreciation.  But it’s probably a good thing to accept from the outset that working for abolition will be a “thankless” endeavor.

A look ahead…

In this “Special Challenges” series, we’ll explore additional ways in which proto-abolition or proto-emancipation movements differ from abolition and emancipation movements.  If you have comments, suggestions, or contributions, please feel free to send them along.

Photo used with permission: Pig in window by Agnes Cseke. Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved.

Pig corpse in window | photo by Agnes Cseke
Pig corpse in window | photo by Agnes Cseke

(Original article pub date:  11/26/13 (FB); 12/3/13 (EthicalVeganism))

Special Challenges for Modern Abolitionists: Part 3

Preface:  This article is the third installment in a series discussing obstacles to abolition—the ending of all slavery—that movements for proto-abolition—the ending of human slavery—did not have to face.

Victim testimony

Another significant difficulty that an abolition movement faces but which is not faced by a proto-abolition movement is an evidentiary problem, specifically, the lack of victim testimony. When slaves are human, those human slaves are articluate survivors of and eyewitnesses to the atrocities that are perpetrated against slaves.  When given the opportunity to do so, human slaves or former slaves can immediately describe—in human language—what happened to them or their fellow slaves.  Virtually no testimony is more powerful than that of the eyewitness or the victim himself or herself; thus, the ability of human slaves to provide such testimony is an enormous benefit to a proto-abolition movement.

The uniquely powerful value of the eyewitness and survivor can be illustrated though comparison of William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglass.  Garrison was undoubtedly one of the most committed and articulate proto-abolitionists of any generation, and he played an integral role in the U.S.’s proto-abolition movement of the 1800s.  But, upon meeting Douglass, Garrison recognized that Douglass—as a first-hand survivor of and eyewitness to human slavery—could speak with an authority that Garrison could not fully possess.  Thus, after the two met, Garrison redirected much of his energy into elevating Douglass’s voice over his own.

Unfortunately, a full abolition movement cannot expect any such testimony from slavery survivors who are not human.  No turkey will write an article about the bloodbath that Americans call “Thanksgiving.”  No hen will deliver a speech about life in a cage that was too small for her to raise her wings.  No pig will recount the experience of being castrated without anesthesia.  There may, in short, never be a Frederick Douglass for the modern abolition movement.

Notwithstanding this absence of testimony from actual survivors, abolitionists still can get eyewitness information.  One way to get eyewitness information is through undercover work:  a human can infiltrate an animal-killing or animal-raping business and use a camera to take footage of the horrors perpetrated against the victims of such businesses.  This route is employed today by organizations such as Compassion Over Killing and Mercy for Animals.  Also, certain animal abuses leave a physical effect on the victim’s body which can be seen by a third party, even if the victim cannot verbally convey the pain of experience such abuse.

In short, while the challenge is greater without the benefit of first-hand survivor testimony, this absence can be partly offset through human effort and observation.

Revisit Part 1 and Part 2.

A look ahead…

In this “Special Challenges” series, we’ll explore additional ways in which proto-abolition or proto-emancipation movements differ from abolition and emancipation movements.  If you have comments, suggestions, or contributions, please feel free to send them along.

Photo used with permission: Pigs being transported to their deaths by Agnes Cseke. Copyright © 2013. All rights reserved.

Pigs being transported to their deaths | photo by Agnes Cseke
Pigs being transported to their deaths | photo by Agnes Cseke

(Original article pub date:  11/25/13 (FB); 12/3/13 (EthicalVeganism))

Special Challenges for Modern Abolitionists: Part 2

Laguna 3

Preface:  This article is the second installment in a series discussing obstacles to abolition—the ending of all slavery—that movements for proto-abolition—the ending of human slavery—did not have to face.

Collective resistance

Another significant difference between ending human slavery and ending slavery of other animals pertains to collective resistance, armed revolt, and organized rebellion:  when humans are slaves, the potential for an armed, organized slave uprising is present at virtually all times.  This threat puts pressure on the oppressor class, forcing them to spend a significant portion of their resources on precautionary measures to guard against a revolt.  In short, the “slave front” drains the oppressor’s resources in its war against the slaves.  Moreover, actual slave uprisings, e.g., Nat Turner’s Rebellion (the “Southampton Insurrection”) (1831), sometimes break out despite the oppressors’ safeguards, inflicting damage directly upon the slaveholder class, their persons and their property.

Unfortunately, however, a full abolition movement can expect to receive very little assistance from the slave front.  The possibility of, for example, laboratory rats organizing a coordinated, armed, violent uprising is virtually non-existent.  The same goes for, say, farmed animals who are slated for slaughter:  a collective revolt comprising sheep or cows or chickens is just very unlikely.

Yes, occasional acts of individual heroism do occur, as in the case of a lion or tiger who kills a circus trainer.  But collective, sustained revolt from within the slave class will not happen.  To my knowledge, only primates and elephants have been documented to engage in substantial, coordinated retaliatory action against homo sapiens.

That a full abolition movement cannot expect to benefit from help of the slaves themselves does not itself, of course, render abolition impossible.  We will win.   But it is helpful to appreciate that the challenges facing a full abolition movement are substantially larger than those that have been surmounted by proto-abolition movements and that some of the resources with which to meet those challenges are not as readily available to a full abolition movement.

A look ahead…

In this “Special Challenges” series, we’ll explore additional ways in which proto-abolition or proto-emancipation movements differ from abolition and emancipation movements.  If you have comments, suggestions, or contributions, please feel free to send them along.

Laguna 3
Laguna 3

(Original article pub date:  11/24/13 (FB); 12/3/13 (EthicalVeganism))

Special Challenges for Modern Abolitionists: Part 1

Laguna 4

Preface:  This article is the first in a series of articles discussing obstacles to abolition—the ending of all slavery—that movements for proto-abolition—the ending of human slavery—did not have to face.

The virtuous cycle

One significant difference between ending human slavery and ending slavery of other animals pertains to what may be called a “virtuous cycle”:  when a human slave is freed, he or she becomes part of the anti-slavery movement.  The former slave can take up arms—literally or figuratively—against the enslavement of other humans.  Thus, a proto-abolition movement accelerates with each and every successful freeing of an individual.

That virtuous feedback cycle does not, unfortunately, happen when slaves of other species are freed.  For instance, when a cat is rescued from a vivisection lab, that cat is not going to pick up a pen or a sword to help free other cats from torture.

This distinction is but one of the many reasons why the movement to end slavery—meaning, all slavery—faces numerous challenges not faced by movements that were directed at ending human slavery only.  We’ll win anyway, but it’s important to understand that simply repeating what proto-abolition movements did will not likely suffice for full abolition.

A look ahead…

In this “Special Challenges” series, we’ll explore additional ways in which proto-abolition or proto-emancipation movements differ from abolition and emancipation movements.  If you have comments, suggestions, or contributions, please feel free to send them along.

Laguna 4
Laguna 4

(Original article pub date:  11/23/13 (FB); 12/3/13 (EthicalVeganism))

School violence

Cruelty-Free

(Original article publication date:  June 26th, 2012 (Cruelty-Free))

Normalization of and indoctrination into the culture of violence

Every day at lunchtime, another generation of school children—from small country schools to big city ones—is gradually indoctrinated into a culture of violence.

Not only are school kids served the dead body parts of brutalized cows, pigs, chickens, and others, but these children are taught to be thankful for the products of unmitigated violence.  Truly, no Nazi propagandist could rival the animal-killing industry’s skill.

So long as schools are not vegan, schools will be a primary mechanism through which violence is cultivated and perpetuated in our modern society.

Cruelty-Free
Cruelty-Free

—30—

Comment, 2016:  Humane education is the antidote to and the philosophical opposite of the violence-inclusive educational approach that our schools currently embrace.  Eventually, we won’t need to call it “humane education”, though; inethicacy will be regarded as a basic problem of education, just as illiteracy and innumeracy are regarded now.

 

Compartmentalization—The Walls of Evil

The Most Gruesome Photo Album of the Last Century

In 2007, the New York Times, NPR, and other media reported the discovery of a photo album containing what I consider to be the most gruesome photographs from all of the Second World War. But these photos do not depict a single dead or wounded body. They are far more ghastly even than that.

The album belonged to SS officer Karl Hocker, who was assigned to Auschwitz from May 1944 until liberation of the camp by the Allies. The photos show SS guards and their friends frolicking, flirting, decorating Christmas trees—engaging in all manner of activities that a seemingly “normal” human being would do. And all this took place in the shadow of—or in some cases within the actual walls of—a death camp in which these very same frolickers were daily murdering other human beings by the thousands.

Take a moment to recreate the context of these photographs. A man gets up in the morning, has breakfast, kisses his wife, gives the kids a hug, pets the dog on the head, and goes to work—gassing and cooking people to death, that is.

The Banality of Evil

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) grasped the general notion as “the banality of evil” in her breakthrough 1963 work Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. She argued persuasively and influentially that the greatest evils in history, such as the Holocaust, have been perpetrated not by sociopathic demons but by seemingly normal people who engaged unthinkingly in atrocities that were assigned to them by authority figures. The 1961 Milgram experiment at Yale and the 1971 Stanford prison experiment both appeared to reproduce a similar effect.

Compartmentalization:  The Walls of Evil

Even if it is true that otherwise normal people—from Auschwitz to Stanford—can be relatively easily influenced to commit gargantuan acts of evil, the question to me that remains is simply this:  how is such a phenomenon possible at the psychological level? How did bank teller, husband and father Karl Hocker make the daily transition from these other roles to that of aiding and abetting mass murder?

I think the answer lies in the psychological notion of  “compartmentalization”. Compartmentalization denotes the process whereby human minds engage in a form of what logicians call “confirmation bias”. The gist of it is this: we tend to ignore, forget or “wall off” evidence that conflicts with our current views of ourselves.

For someone like Karl Hocker, compartmentalization allowed him to (i) accept evidence that reinforced the view of himself himself as a loving, competent bank teller, community member, Christmas tree decorator and family man and (ii) simultaneously ignore overwhelming evidence that he and his SS friends were completely psychopathic, serial-killing monsters. This is confirmation bias at its best (or worst).

In short, rather than integrate information and accept disconfirming evidence, the person who engages in compartmentalization can live essentially two distinct, disintegrated lives. Such a person is never forced to deal with the crisis of conscience that an integrated person would certainly face.

Compartmentalization is the wall that allows evil to run free within the mind of an otherwise seemingly healthy individual.

Pro-Survival Trait

If compartmentalization is indeed the grand enabler of evil, the question remains how compartmentalization ever evolved in the first place, since mass murder of one’s neighbors would seem to be a trait that would get an individual quickly weeded out of the gene pool.

Upon close inspection, however, the positive effects of compartmentalization are not hard to identify. We are all fallible human beings, and each of us endures a large number of losses, setbacks, and injuries in our lives. If we were unable to set these things aside—ignore them, at least for a while—and move on, we would all eventually curl up in a fetal position and just waste away. Our first failure at something would be the last time we ever tried to succeed at anything. Our first romance-gone-bad would be the last relationship we ever undertook. Our first loss on the baseball field would be the last game we ever played.

Walling off information that would hurt or destroy one’s sense of positive self-worth can thus be seen generally as a pro-survival trait. Only problem is that this trait, like many other pro-survival traits, may also have dire negative side effects.

Unthinking commission of mass murder probably qualifies as a negative side effect. . . .

The Most Gruesome Photo Album of the Next Century—Starring You

There’s just one more little thing to cover in this article. It’s a photo album that will be discovered and printed in the New York Times in the year 2109. And it’s the most gruesome photo album anyone has seen since that of Karl Hocker.

Interesting thing about this album: just like Hocker’s, there’s no blood. No gore. No death nor even injury depicted. The photos just depict a happy family person who wakes up, kisses the spouse, hugs the kids, pets the dog, and heads off to work. This normal person in the photo album passes a slaughterhouse on the way to work, inside of which thousands of innocent, sensitive and intelligent pigs are being killed everyday. The star of the photo album never once thinks twice at lunch as he or she eats a piece of bacon.

That person is a master of compartmentalization.

That person is you.


Resources: “In the Shadow of Horror, SS Guardians Frolic”
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/19/arts/design/19photo.html?ei=5088&en=27740491a041f02f&ex=1347854400&adxnnl=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1190242524-qvlKU37R0NQ1EEQwO3Jh1w

“Confirmation bias” at Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

“Self-Structure and Self-Esteem Stability: The Hidden Vulnerability of Compartmentalization ”
http://psp.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/33/2/143


(Original pub date:  April 19th, 2009 (Cruelty-Free))

‘Wealth’ Book Gains Steam: Plutonomics Theory Finds Followers in Economics, Business and Finance

Plutonomics | A Unified Theory of Wealth by S. E. Harrison

Summary:  Plutonomics: A Unified Theory of Wealth gains a small but enthusiastic readership in business and academia. Addressing not only economic and financial wealth but also such unquantifiable factors as health and quality of life, Plutonomics represents a significant departure from conventional wealth theory.

(Original date:  May 31, 2007 (ePoet))

Los Angeles-based publisher ePoet(R) LLC confirmed today that S. E. Harrison’s Plutonomics has gained a small but enthusiastic readership in both business and academia. Recognized as the first modern theory to accommodate not only economic and financial wealth but also such unquantifiable factors as health and quality-of-life, Plutonomics: A Unified Theory of Wealth may be particularly attractive to those book buyers who are disillusioned with conventional economic thinking, especially its negative environmental and social effects.
“The response has really exceeded our expectations,” commented an ePoet spokesperson. “New ideas can be slow to catch on, but plutonomics has gained some converts, somewhat to our surprise.”

One quality that readers embrace appears to be that of simplicity, the publisher reported. Unlike conventional economic and finance theories, which grow in complexity year after year, Plutonomics gets straight to the fundamentals of wealth—and then stays there.
“Readability and accessibility were goals for this project from the get-go,” the representative continued. “We tried to make the format of the book itself—the short chapters, the easy illustrations, the quotations from other thinkers—powerfully serve this goal of approachability.”

A number of reader comments visible at the Plutonomics web site (plutonomics.com) indicate a warm reception. Ranging from founders and management of publicly traded companies to accountants, lawyers, students, and workers in nonprofit organizations, some commenters express a preference for the practical applications of Plutonomics while others prefer its poetic style.

“Fine wine”, comments one reader.

“I am shocked and awed”, comments another.

“It struck me that every single word … used in the book is essential for its meaning … just like every word in a poem has an important function …. As a result, Plutonomics is as concise and enjoyable as it could get”, adds a recent economics graduate.

ePoet LLC (ePoet) is a California limited liability company based in Los Angeles, California. For more information on Plutonomics, visit http://www.plutonomics.com.

Plutonomics | A Unified Theory of Wealth by S. E. Harrison
Plutonomics | A Unified Theory of Wealth by S. E. Harrison