Seth Freedman posts a bolshy defence of vegetarianism, railing against fellow veggies who meekly apologise for their choice. He takes no prisoners:
While vegetarianism is, of course, good for humanity in purely selfish terms (the land required to feed cattle bred for meat can be used to feed far more humans per square foot), the bare bones of the matter is that there is a serious moral deficiency in anyone who has no problem taking a creature’s life in order to fill their own stomach.
Hilariously, the article has gleaned a total of 648 comments and counting, with many a proud carnivore taking issue with Seth’s uncomprimising moral stance.
Their responses, while valid, stumble into a pitfall that is common in the bloggy landscape, that of a failure to ask the question who is the article for? Freedman makes it clear that he is complaining about the timidity of his fellow vegetarians, Hadley Freeman in particular, for whom calling meat-eating a “serious moral deficiency” is a persuasive and motivating argument.
One a separate note, is there not an analogy between arguments for carnivorism, and for religion? Carnivores often accept Freedman’s argument that
the land required to feed cattle bred for meat can be used to feed far more humans per square foot, yet they still assert that they have a right to eat meat due to historical and cultural reasons: its always been this way, why should we change? Similarly, social conservatives give historical and cultural reasons to argue that religion should play a part, and have a moral claim over society, even though it is accepted that there are actually no factual basis for these claims: its always been this way, why should we change?
What’s interesting here is that the ‘no-nonsense’ types who scoff at vegetarians are often the same atheists who condescend to religious folk. In one case, they think that the historical and cultural argument holds water; while in the other case they call it invalid.
I have to admit that I am an infuriating agnostic in both cases! For domestic reasons, I’m a de facto veggie, without having actually made a firm and binding committment to myself! And while I also consider myself an aetheist, offended and afraid of organised religion, I still think that faith, spirituality and even tradition serve a valuable purpose.