A short treatise on debunking the myth of ethical veganism

I must confess to being no expert in the philosophy of veganism as a code of ethics. But I believe the reasoning goes like this:

” It is morally repugnant for a human being to in any way consume,  use, trade in, monetize, or profit from any animal products.  Even to the extent of beeswax lip balm made from an abandoned colony of wild bees.”

I won’t get into the finer points of just how silly that sounds to any rational person outside the vegan community.  The web is full of people lampooning veganism.  Instead I would like to talk about the real mindset behind the glossy facade that PETA and their ilk peddle to each other. It can be boiled down to one simple statement. Something that if they are really honest with themselves, they all feel deep down:

“Animal suffering means more to me than human suffering.”

Think about it. These are the people that call in death threats to Micheal Vick. They’re the ones that want to outlaw all animal testing. Not just cosmetics, or psychological experiments. (which, frankly I find repellant)  No, even research for cutting edge medical treatments that might help someone’s sick child, or parent. I’ve personally watched old ladies walk past hungry homeless men to feed feral cats. Which, by the way, is mostly feeding the feral raccoons since they chase the cats off the food before the old lady is out of sight.

They’ll risk their own life and limb, not to mention freedom, chasing whalers across the Antarctic. And they cry and change the channel when a humane society begging commercial comes on the TV.

Why do some people feel closer to animals and their pain,  than to their fellow human freakin beings? A lot of reasons. A dog never broke their heart, or got drunk and beat them. A cat never teased and humiliated them in high school. You name it. Some folks are just not comfortable around other people. And that’s every bit of okay.

If you feel like a vegan diet is right for you, and right for the Earth, then good on you. That is highly commendable. But please don’t pretend you’re this selfless martyr. And spare me the righteous crusade for truth,  justice,  and the soy lecithin way.

Because the reality is that you’re not swaying anyone with the “meat is murder” rhetoric. And what you actually are doing is creating a resistance among the uneducated masses of Americans who could greatly benefit from reducing the amount of animal products they consume. After all, that is your goal right? To change the world through education?
And how about a little empathy for your fellow man? You know, there’s this theory that we’re actually just slightly more evolved than chimps. Maybe that would help.

You can also think about it this way: we aren’t separate from nature really. Just an extension of it. I know, it’s tough to imagine when your feet are so far removed from the ground as most of us are. But every living thing acts in it’s own self interest. It’s easy to think of nature as this calm, oasis of tranquility. But it’s not if your a squirrel, or a hawk, or an oak tree. They are all competing for real estate, food, sex, sunshine, and water. It’s like midtown Manhattan up in there. Everyone pursuing their own self interest, not one bit concerned with how it impacts the next guy.

And their bellies don’t hurt any more when empty than mine does. So thanks, but I’ll choose another code of ethics.

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Battle of the Sexes

While true journalism in America is heaving it’s last dying gasps, I have begun getting most, if not all of my news from BBC online. It was there that I ran into this interesting piece about:

                                                            Feminist Porn

Forget for a minute that it seems to be a pansexual catch-all for anyone who feels disenfranchised by mainstream pornography.  Which absolutely is demeaning to women,  as well as reducing men to unthinking animals.  That isn’t the point.

It got me thinking (not for the first time) about how differently males and females view sex.  Not only men and women, but all species.  Which is key.  Humanity is part of the greater picture where sexual reproduction is concerned. Because regardless of your views on evolution,  we are not the only critters who do it that way.  And if you think human society has rigidly defined gender roles and expectations,  watch a nature documentary sometime.

The bottom line could not be simpler: there are innate differences between the sexes. As absurdly obvious as that sounds,  we need to remember that.  And understanding why will go a long way towards ameliorating whatever emotional distress society’s expectations may have caused to individuals who,  for whatever reason,  do not quite fit into the pigeonhole assigned to the genitals they were born with.

Females are singularly adapted to carrying, and raising offspring. Period. That does not mean a male cannot be a kind and nurturing father. Nor does it mean that every female is a good mother. But for most species it’s the female who has the most invested in the process. For her,  the act of sexual congress is the least time and energy consuming part. So understandably,  she wants the best partner available.

Males are uniquely suited to fertilize ovums. And for many species,  that’s all he has to do. In most cases he is not nearly as concerned with the genetic viability of his partner.  For him, the best reproductive strategy is to inseminate as many females as possible. It’s not right or wrong. It’s life.  And it’s always been this way. To really get a handle on sex,  it becomes necessary to look past the rather narrow lens of human morality and experience.

That’s tough for most people. For whatever reason,  many of us have difficulty relating to anyone whom we do not perceive to be of our own “kind”.  Whether that is male,  female,  gay,  straight,  etc etc.  This is doubly true for any minority group that feels (or is) subjugated by the majority.   And since society has been dominated by straight men and our sexual appetites for so long,  it’s understandable that there are a lot of folks out there who feel underrepresented in pornography.

Having said that,  I feel the term “feminist porn” is the worst kind of misnomer. The overwhelming majority of feminist thought seems to be geared against any depiction of females engaging in sexual activity as exploitation and  “male dominated rape culture”.  Again, they are not capable of thinking from any perspective other than their own narrow minded, confrontational world view.

I personally don’t care what it’s called,  or who watches it. There is plenty of bandwidth for everyone.

Viewpoint: Medical Marijuana

 

  Marijuana reform is finally becoming an issue on the American political scene. After five decades of both parties marching in lockstep due to terror at being viewed as “soft on drugs”.  The main factor changing public opinion seems to be the medicinal movement. Cancer and AIDS patients have known about marijuana’s pain and nausea relieving properties for years. But now there is this groundswell of interest where more applications come to light every day it seems. And the medicinal case is relatable to every segment of society.

  Everyone’s had a loved one or close friend that has endured cancer.  And worse, the side effects from conventional treatments. How can we conscience giving them highly addictive, widely abused narcotics and deny them marijuana?  Millions have seen the story of Charlotte Figi: a small child who suffered from severe and uncontrollable seizures until oils extracted from a specially cultivated strain, one with no euphoric effect, was tried.

  I personally know two men living with the after effects of severe head trauma. One was a successful businessman before his accident. The other a skilled marine mechanic. They both swear that smoking a joint does more to ease their headaches and pain than any handful of pills. And they don’t mind the euphoria one little bit. That’s part of the medicinal effect really.

  Which is where we get to the heart of it. All marijuana is medicinal. Life is and always has been tough. People need a way to relax and unwind. We’re all dealing with something. Thankfully for most of us it’s not anything as life altering as a head injury. But everyone needs a little euphoria once in a while. It “makes glad the heart of man”.  It helps you open your mind up to more possibilities in your life and life in general. And when used responsibly,  there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.

  This of course is the viewpoint of someone who has spent his entire life around the “Drug Counter-Culture”.  Which means that I know enough to have an opinion. My knowledge of the issue extends past the JUST SAY NO propaganda campaign. I’ve seen the needle and the damage done by hard drugs. Promising,  intelligent people from all walks of life who for some reason no one else could fathom,  chose a path of addiction and self destruction.

  It’s always tragic, and no one deserves that kind of misery. But nobody else can be responsible for the choice except that individual. Not their parents,  family,  or friends. And certainly not the government. At some point we all have to take responsibility for our lives.

  For this reason the gateway drug argument is a dead end.  I’ve seen it many times.  Mild euphoria is never going to be enough for some people.  They continually seek stronger and stronger substances until they find the right one.  There is always something stronger and someone selling it.  Most hard core addictive types are now turning to pills.  Because they are both readily available and reliable.  No telling how many times that street level heroin may have been stepped on.  But if it says Pfizer it’s got to be good.  Until recently you could walk into one of hundreds of semi-legit pharmacies in Florida and order Oxycodone like a pack of Pall Malls.  They even raided one with drug names marked on the cash register buttons.  I say “semi-legit” because they were clearly in willful violation of drug statutes. But make no mistake,  they bought from the same wholesalers as CVS does.  And yes,  it’s sickening that the pharmaceutical industry peddles products like that with no real concern about where it ends up.  But the ultimate responsibility is with the person swallowing or snorting the pills.  Always

   What I find find much more distressing are the young lives ruined not by the struggle against internal demons, but by a drug conviction. Forget prison. What happens when they get out? Who’s going to hire them? They can never get a PELL grant or student loan. Any kind of govt assistance is either more difficult to get, or blocked entirely.

  Even if wealthy enough to pay their own way through school,  they can never practice law or medicine. They can’t even be an accountant. Think about that. I’m not talking about a drug dealer caught with a kilo of cocaine. A college kid with over an ounce of pot is looking at felony possession.  If he has a scale and baggies, it’s intent to distribute. Which is even more trouble, and you may face mandatory minimum sentences.  After that first bust, you no longer have anything to lose from the next.  And precious little to gain by avoiding it. Freedom is not much fun if you’re hungry and cold.  This has created a huge underclass of Americans who have no choice anymore but a life of crime. And that was true even when the job market was good. Now you can be a Mormon without so much as a speeding ticket and not be able find work.

 So while experts and activists weigh in on both sides about the possible benefits and pitfalls of legalization, millions of Americans are stoned or are about to be. Because here’s the stark reality of marijuana use in these United States:

 Everyone who wants to use “recreational marijuana” already does. We’ve been doing it for decades. It’s the sick people who don’t have the right connections who are suffering needlessly. Also, I feel it’s my duty to point out that if we had not been here cultivating, smuggling, smoking, and sharing, nobody would even know about this wonderful plant.  And there would have been no miracle cure for little Charlotte.

 In closing, let me tell you about the average American cannabis user:

 We’re your neighbors, relatives, co-workers, and family members. We work, go to school, raise our kids, pay taxes, serve in the military, and do all the other stuff  (good and bad)  that everyone else does. Including making a mistake once in a while.

  Some of us have serious heath conditions that are genuinely eased by marijuana.  Some do not.  But we are all tired of being treated like the worst kind of criminal scum on earth. We’re past tired of living in fear of our own government. And we’re not going to be silent anymore. This issue isn’t going away. We simply want to be left alone to pursue happiness as promised by the Declaration of Independence.  Whether or not we manage to achieve it is our business.