Guest Post – Apathy: The Invalid Opposition To Veganism

I love guest posts, especially when the guest poster is my amazing fiance.  Here is another of her posts and hopefully we will see more in the future. 🙂

 

If vegans aren’t being vehemently questioned unto exhaustion about their protein sources and intake, the next most common phrase rattled off to us isn’t an inquiry at all, but an appeal to apathy as to their own carnist stance. Naturally, when this argument arises, it seems to inadvertently lay emphasis on the fact veganism has emotional bearings, insinuating there’s no room for emotions when possessing a logical, ethical position. Here’s why this just doesn’t cut it in terms of an intellectual opposition to a vegan lifestyle nor does it negate an argument FOR veganism when the emotional aspects are utilized.

Firstly, humans are emotive creatures. They define us and regulate us — if not for them we would be, essentially, a child touching a burning stove repeatedly, perplexed as to why after the first time we didn’t learn. They are the cognitive consequence and reward system, and appropriate response, to everyday situations. In fact emotions are so ingrained in our mental faculties that a neuroscientist has proven we can’t even make descisions without emotions butting in. This was discovered when one of the two main commonalities in patients that had brain damage to the emotional centers of the brain, were utterly indecisive (the other being that they couldn’t feel emotions so well).

Strip of us these vital regulators and we become less human, more like organized matter. We can’t switch our emotions off to appease our rustling conscience when faced with our wrongdoings. That would be a fundamental error, and as a result we wouldn’t truly comprehend “good” and “bad”.

 

In addition, veganism isn’t just a question or concern of ecological and personal health, but largely of a moral concern. How can we — as creatures that presumably strive to be both ethical with the masses, by the standard of the code of our society, and morally sound in our personal choices —  justify the unnecessary suffering of a fellow creature? To remove emotion from the movement is to rip up the planks of its entire foundation. Veganism is anchored to morality and morality, in this circumstance, is weighted down by the lead that is emotions.

Sure, we can reduce morality to reflection of our past and reasoning. However, even those necessitate some emotional undertones and ties.

To make the argument of apathy, one would have to assume a similar stance across all biting moral obligations. If a dehydrated man is asking for a cup of water and you can appreciate the fact you’re holding two cups of water — meaning withholding both for your own consumption would be both immoral and unnecessary — you wouldn’t have a valid argument of “I don’t care” when you’re explaining to authorities why the man died of dehydration; let alone answering to your conscience at the realization this man suffered unnecessarily due your gluttony. There’s something inherently wrong, inhuman and flippant about such a stance. But, if you’re to develop a stance of apathy when faced with a moral conundrum, it should be said that this same stance should only hold in one instance if it’s practised across all grounds.

 

You either abide by a standard code of morality in your brain all together or you are admittedly an immoral, unethical being. There isn’t a fence to sit on here. You strive to be good when it’s within your control and limits or you succeed at being….not so good. This isn’t to say carnists are innately bad. The vast majority of vegans began as, spent most of their lives as, and have family that are, carnists. But, upon reflection I absolutely recognize my actions, as a carnist, as being both selfish and immoral. I didn’t mean them to be — I wasn’t educated on what I was contributing to — but I also certainly would have never brought apathy to a vegan as a sort of justification to my wilted conscience. And furthermore, I have a moral compass that would have beeped incessantly, possibly sending me insane, had I been educated on the suffering and CONTINUED to contribute towards it.

 

Here I’ll reach my conclusion as I’m hovering the fine line of discussing and rambling. A really powerful line I’ve come across on Psychology Today follows: “They [Emotions] are responsible for creating the visceral responses regarded as feelings, that in turn are transformed into thoughts and the formation of beliefs to help us make sense of what we experience at the moment and to use for future reference.”

We cannot construct the edifices of convictions in our lives without the timber of emotion. We cannot rationalize and reason without the reflection of our past accounts, and subsequently, the emotions tethered to those accounts. Thus, it is unintelligent and flawed to use the “I don’t care” argument as a sword in an argument against veganism.

You have three choices:

  1. You are an ethical being in every aspect of your life, thus you vegan
  2. .You are uneducated on the unnecessary suffering, and thus unknowingly immoral.
  3. You are educated on the suffering and thus admittedly immoral.

 

Veganism, at face value, appears a diet. When you delve beneath you learn it is a quite extensive belief to lead a life as ethical and cruelty-free to the greatest of our ability. So, you cannot oppose veganism in any intelligent sense or with any valid debate if it is built upon apathy. The argument then becomes moot and valueless and, ultimately, you’re left babbling in favor of cruelty.

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