the vegan agenda: eat vegetables, pet cats, act irritable at family gatherings
Anonymous said: The problem with the vegan position is that all your arguments are supportive. You're trying to assure yourself you're making the right choice, not trying to persuade anyone. Telling me animals have rights only works if I already believe that animals have rights.
I think if you browse through my blog you’ll find plenty of conversations to your liking.
But you need to understand that certain things can’t be proven. Certain things have to be assumed. You can’t talk about morality otherwise. Do human beings have rights? Do they have intrinsic rights? Intrinsic value? Why is it immoral to kill a human?
I can argue animals have rights, that they matter morally, that they have value. But I need the same tools you need to argue those things for humans. Assumptions are necessary in both cases.
I’m gonna ask objectivegan to answer this question in more detail so check out his blog if you’re interested.
necessaryveganism actually answered this pretty much spot on, but I will try to point out some underlying fallacies behind your assuming or rather try to make you see how you are biasing the position of fundamental relativism and only applying it to veganism and then try to explain why it came to you doing that.
You seem to be mistaking “right choices” for “rights” or even worse - making them the same. The legality vs legitimacy problem is as old as civilizations, the first really prominent literary text on the subject being Sophocles’ Antigone. You act like the Antigone’s father and seem to be only placing value on rights which are in place constitutionally or in some other legal capacity. Even more, your value placement seems to be pretty much black and white - legal is true and non-legal is false. Simplified, you will believe that animals have rights when (/if) they get legal rights. The social dynamics of today’s world perplexively forces us with living only by what is legal and equating that with morality (or natural laws, if you will). Consequently, applying anything beyong what is legal makes us morally, if not even ontologically, uncertain and confused. Which is in itself fine. Thinking is the first step to, well, anything/everything. But there is a problem when one takes the premise of “legality=legitimacy” as a basic presumption and applies it to every justice/moral movement or moral system with different set of parametres than the one that rests on legality. Because not only does one take legal laws as intrinsic (as they are mostly presented by society), he narrows his tolerance only to conventionality and presumes every deviant as wrong.
You might call bullshit on everything I have written so far and say that no, if you were living in the 1800s, you would totally oppose slavery in the United States, even though the slaves had no legal rights above their stature. But hindsight is 20/20, meaning that you are only saying that now, from your current position of living in a “democratic”, civilised society (where such slavery is abolished, which again brings up the internalisation of equating morality and legal rights question -> would you really oppose it then, basing your beliefs on legitimacy/natural laws/universal morality? And to go a step forward, what if in 20 years time animals get the same rights as we humans do, would you oppose to that if you lived in a society 200 years from now?). So either you have not really thought things through or you …
… are a moral relativist (and have not really thought things through). You believe that oneself and only oneself appoints value to things and thus decides what is moral and what is not, who has rights (irrelevant to legal repercussions) and who does not, whose unnecessary pain does not matter and whose does. Realizing that unnecessary pain is never right, is never moral, is never the right choice is the first thing we MUST assume in such matters (this is not dissimilar to axioms - morality, like maths, needs and has a starting point of reasoning, meaning the many equivalents of basic beliefs/truths like "Causing pain unnecessarily is wrong” - let this be your “Two things equal to the same thing are equal to each other”). Unnecessary pain always exists outside of one - it is there whether we place value on the subject suffering or not. It is undeniable, a fact, which for its existence requires only one’s assumption that the world around you is real (and let’s assume that, because I am really not feeling Cartesian right now). So if the unnecessary pain is undeniable, the wrongness of it should be undeniable as well.
All arguments are supportive or rather based on basic beliefs/truths. You are biasing veganism in this case, but it really goes for any moral issue. Like necessaryveganism said, it goes for humans as well. And extends beyond that, even as far as economy for example (e.g. economic growth under such and such circumstances is good/wanted/economy’s goal - a basic “belief” of economical rightness and something society strives towards (let’s put the question of universality/objectivity aside, since economy is arguably a social construct; it is beside the point)). Morality may have more unanswered questions and indistinct lines than other systems, but essentially operates on the same metaphysical foundations and premises with the same metaphysical tools, which must be irrevocable for the systems to exist in the first place (be it maths or morality). Animals’ (legitimate) rights do not exist because of someone’s belief of it, but rather because of existence itself. It is a fact, a truth necessary for any kind of (moral) reasoning in the first place, a mechanism, if you will, of morality (and even basic ontological truths) existing in the first place. Acting upon it (“animals have rights”) on a larger scale is based on what you/me/others believe in. Its reality is not.