Saturday, July 28, 2012

Better Than Everyone Else?

My dad sometimes alludes to the idea that I put myself on a pedestal, or that I think I am better than others because I am a vegan, and I know that this is not uncommon when thinking of vegans.

Umm, hello? I love Daddy, but honestly that is a really stupid argument. When I tell you that you should cut out dairy because it causes things like osteoporosis, obesity, and cancer, it's not because I want to put you down and make you feel bad about drinking it. It's because I care enough about you to want to help you do better. When I comment on the way eating steak contributes to starvation in Africa, it is a desperate attempt to make you understand how drastically your choices are effecting others, and to help you improve those choices. It is not me trying to make you feel bad about what you are eating. When I tell you that the chicken that laid those eggs you had for breakfast lived out her life in a tiny cage where she couldn't so much as flap her wings, I'm not trying to make myself feel better because I don't support that. I'm trying to make you understand, so you won't support it either.

I went vegan because I decided that me and my taste buds are not more important than a suffering animal, or a starving child. I did my homework and decided that rather than blaming big companies and people around me for my obesity and health problems, I was going to take responsibility for my own life and my own health.

The way I see it, if you see me pointing these things out to you as me "putting myself on a pedestal", then somewhere in your mind, you are putting my actions on that pedestal. When I tell you about how animal farming contributes to 18% of greenhouse gasses, you are, probably subconsciously, deciding that it would be better not to contribute to that - and therefore placing me (who does not support animal farming) above you (who does) in your head. Naturally, there are only two ways to combat this.

Your first option is to raise yourself to the same level as me in your mind, and go vegan.

The second is to resent me and tell yourself things like "vegans are snotty and self -absorbed," "vegans think they are better than everyone else," and "vegans are stupid and they are going to die from lack of protein." The idea is to pull me back down a few notches, so we are at the same level again in your mind.

So next time you are hating on vegans, think about that. Are you bettering yourself, or just bringing others down to make yourself feel better?

Edit: Decided to make a video based on this post, if you'd rather watch than read:

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