Principles to remember in non-violent education.
“Veganism is not a limitation in any way. It’s an expansion of your love, your commitment to non-violence, and your belief in justice for all”- Professor Gary Francione.
Our daily existence on this earth is not often an object of deep and thorough contemplation. The choices we make on a day to day basis do not normally cause us to stop and think about the long term ramifications. While we should hold ourselves responsible for our choices, we must keep in mind that the vast majority of us are never truly encouraged to explore the decisions we make, especially when those choices involve the food that we consume regularly.
An veritable ocean of ink has been spilled discussing the aforementioned ramifications of our food and lifestyle choices, and this post will not retread some very familiar stomping grounds. Rather, I want to take the opportunity to echo some beliefs about the general public that I’ve heard expressed by writers and thinkers such as Professors Francione and Tuttle, but is not often heard among inter-sectional communities of vegans.
1. The vast majority people are not stupid.
As a matter of fact, most people one encounters turn out to be very thoughtful and considerate individuals. It has often been said to me that people either won’t or cant understand the basic tenets of veganism, including but not limited to the ideals of compassion, justice, mercy, and kindness. I have found this to be completely absurd. The majority of people I converse with on this issue are genuinely concerned with these ideas, and are more than willing to have conversations about veganism in a thoughtful and contemplative manner.
2. The vast majority of people are kind and thoughtful individuals.
It’s a veritable vegan trope to insist that the majority of the masses are uncaring, cruel, and hateful people, specifically in their behavior towards animals. In one regard, this is patently false. The majority of Individuals are animal lovers, and care for their pets deeply. It’s not that they want cows and chickens and pigs to suffer horrific torture before their death; the majority of people are simply unaware that this is even taking place. When they learn the truth, they’re often readily motivated to change their behavior and adopt a vegan lifestyle, due to the fact that they truly care for animals as members of the moral community.
3. People are generally ready to have conversations about veganism and the compassion inherently within.
As Francione has mentioned, if people were simply unconcerned in any way with the claims of vegansim, they would not engage in any way and simply walk away from the conversation. The very reality that vegans are having conversations with all sorts of individuals on a regular basis about these ideas is proof that a vegan lifestyle is a proposal worthy of discussion, which is a very positive sign of progress. Where there is rational, healthy dialogue, there is always the possibility of growth in a positive direction.
Francione has noted previously that we must not be reactionary; we must instead be responsive. The difference in these conversational elements is monumental. Vegans must be remember that they need not water down the message so as to appeal to others; simply being true to the fundamental elements of veganism (justice, mercy, compassion) is crucial to communicating these ideas to a world that is largely ready to recognize the legitimacy of authentically expressing these values in our daily choices.