The Flaming Vegan

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Those Self-Righteous Vegans – Dontcha Just Hate ‘Em?!!
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Those Self-Righteous Vegans – Dontcha Just Hate ‘Em?!!

We vegans are often accused of being “self-righteous” (among other things!) If I am totally honest, I do find that to be true about some of the vegans/ARAs that I know, self-righteous and intolerant, even towards others on the same side as them. Another blogger on this site, Whitney Metz, wrote about this phenomenon recently in her awesome article “The Importance of Support In Animal Rights”, focussing on how a lot of ARAs turn against one another, and are very unforgiving of one another’s failings, and give others a hard time for not being “principled” enough. I get sick of all the in-fighting too, and I wish it would stop: we need to have a positive and encouraging outlook, and focus on what people are doing right, not what they are doing wrong (and that applies equally to people who are already vegans/ARAs or those who are at present flirting with the idea).

Maybe it is because we are naturally conscientious and compassionate people, who try to live our lives causing the least harm possible to anyone. It is hard to get away from the “self-righteous” tag though, because, what it all comes down to, is that we know we are right about our ideological stance, fighting for animals to have rights, and we can’t in all conscience ignore what most of the world does to them, the immense suffering that is caused. We have to stand up for what we believe in, and try to stop the atrocities from happening: it is simply the right thing to do. There is, however, no point in acting as if you are morally superior just because you are a vegan: we all have our faults and problems after all! But veganism should be considered the moral baseline for any civilised person, the minimum standard of decency below which you should not stoop (if you can possibly help it).

We are also accused frequently of being “hypocrites”, because we can’t live up to some completely impossible, unattainable ideal. (Don't you all get sick of omnivores pointing out to you all the plants you are destroying, and that plants are living things too?! Or the fact that maybe worms, insects and mice, for example, are being  accidentally killed in the process of harvesting food crops?? True enough, I am sure, a very weak argument though.) So we are “hypocrites” because we can't do everything perfectly, that however ethically and sustainably we try to live, we are still causing some damage? Yes, but we are limitting the damage we do as far as we reasonably can, trying to tread lightly upon the Earth. Doesn't that count for anything? Doesn't that make us “better” people than all those who don't care and live their lives in completely selfish, heedless, egotistical ways?

Some get angry about our making them aware of what happens in factory farms, slaughterhouses, etc: a prime example of that is  social networks like Facebook, where people complain or unfriend you if they don't like the AR petitions, photos, etc, that you post on your wall. I suppose denial of unpleasant truths works for many, up to a point anyway. I am obliged to say to people, if they object to the images which do nothing but show the truth, that they ought to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, and stop supporting the industries which do these things to animals. What else can I really say???

( BTW, the accompanying photo was taken at a demo in London, England, a couple of years ago, Meat Abolition Day. That's me in the middle in the hat and brightly-coloured scarf!)

Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)

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  1. SnakeWitch
    It must feel good to write an article like this! I mean, when you need to let out a little bit of smoke, it helps to put it in writing. Like when I wrote 'Why Meat-Eaters Hate Vegans': I needed to let of some steam! Voted! I agree with everything you wrote. I've heard it all, too. I've heard the 'they all think they're so smart' excuse, and the 'but you drink wine, Annie' argument. And from now on, I will reply: I'm human. If I was perfect, I wouldn't be living on Earth.
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  2. VeganDozen
    VeganDozen
    Good article! You made some very good points! I think one of the challenging parts of life is learning not to worry about what people think about you--when you're doing what you know is right. Voted!
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  3. kristo
    kristo
    voted! It is strange how people don't understand veganism, or vegetarianism, but in the end, why does it matter so much what someone else is eating (or not eating)?
    Log in to reply.
    1. Veganara
      Veganara
      Thanks Kristo. It is not so much that they don't understand it, it is more that a lot of omnivores see veganism as an implicit criticism of their "right" to eat meat and dairy. It makes them defensive, because deep down they feel guilty about it. I am pretty sure that is what it is anyway. I don't go round trying to shove my views in people's faces in normal everyday life, but I find often that you only have to mention that you are vegan to start someone off trying to point out that you are wrong, making jibes, etc, I don't know if you have experienced the same thing. It does get me down, I suppose I should try to grow a thicker skin.
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      1. SnakeWitch
        I agree with both of you on this. Why does it matter? As some have told me to encourage me to stop being vegan, "I'ts just food!". Then I reply, "Exactly, it's just food." At times the look of confusion I get is hilarious. And yes, they get very defensive. I've heard the infamous 'que vaina' phrase yet again yesterday ('que vaina' means 'what vanity' or 'what misplaced pride') because the cashier thought he was very generous offering me a small bag of cookies using the points I accumulated with my loyalty membership card from that store. Because I didn't directly have to pay for it, he said it was 'free', and I had to disagree with that, too, not just the fact that the cookies were obviously not vegan. Anyways... we have to keep letting them know.
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        1. Veganara
          Veganara
          Yes, as you say SnakeWitch/Annie (it's nice to find out your real name!), "It's just food!" So, since it is just food, why do omnis get so defensive about their "right" to eat meat and dairy? You can get such amazing substitutes these days, if you miss those animal products, after all. Yep, we need to keep letting them know: that the animals' rights to live free from suffering are more important than their "rights" to eat them.
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          1. SnakeWitch
            I forgot where I incidentally indicated my name! Oh well.... Yes for the substitutes, yes for the right to know we aren't eating healthy, and yes to tell people that we want our taxes to diminish because of all the health issues the government had to deal with from lying to us about our food!
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  4. HealthyMom
    HealthyMom
    Hi Maggie! I am drawn to one sentence in this post more so than any others - "we need to have a positive and encouraging outlook, and focus on what people are doing right, not what they are doing wrong" - and how this applies to all aspects of life, not just veganism. If more people looked at what others do right as opposed to passing judgement on what they do wrong; relationships become stronger, friendships grow deeper, and everyone is happier. There is no joy in belittling another - only ego. Great post!
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  5. Carolyn
    Carolyn
    Vote #6! The pic is too small for me to make you out......but enjoyed you posting original pic!
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    1. Veganara
      Veganara
      Thanks for the votes and comments Carolyn, and everyone! Re the pic, unfortunately they do come out very small here on TFV, much smaller than they are originally! If you want to see the pic properly, and my other pics, you can find me on Facebook, under email maggie.bailey8@gmail.com. All pics taken by other people as I don't have a digital camera or smartphone, but one or other of those two items is on my list of things to buy! (I need to sort out my car first though, that is very money-hungry!!!)
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  6. Katapoet
    Katapoet
    I agree, Veganara. Voted.
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  7. Roopam
    Very well written blog...with great thoughts...being self-righteous is a great observation. I like the way you say - we need to - focus on what people are doing right, not what they are doing wrong. That's such a great idea if only we could apply it practically...life would be much easier for everybody...I would not call myself a strict vegan but have been trying to work towards eating more and more fruits and vegetables and living a more healthy life overall...and I think positive happy thoughts is an important ingredient to making life more enriched...so cheers to you and your thoughts...voted!
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  8. Virtually Homemade
    Virtually Homemade
    Congrats on top posts. Missed this one but just voted. Check out my romesco sauce post and vote if you like!
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  9. Carolyn
    Carolyn
    Congrats on making Top Posts!
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  10. flickinthebeancurd
    Hi all, I stumbled upon this forum/post after an outrage resulting in google search ''why are vegans so self righteous?''. Somebody I know recently has been completely hammering my choice of diet, telling me how I should live my life and what I should eat. Also telling me why I should or shouldn't support certain companies. And, while I'm down for a good ol' boycott as much as the next man... I find myself having to justify the way I live to somebody else and it's all down to ONE factor. Labels. You vegans, vegetarians, pesco ovo blah blah blah blah I am this, all quick to point out the 'meat eater' when forgetting we are all part of the human race, and we are trying to rid ourselves of 'isms'. So to go on preaching to others how to live their lives is utter bullshit. There are ethical ways of eating meat, or animal based products. But I don't go rubbing anybody's nose in it or telling someone this is THE WAY IT SHOULD BE. As soon as you become a 'vegan' or a 'vegetarian' remember to also just be human. And remember you eat shit and sleep the same as everybody else. It makes you NO BETTER than anybody else. Stop smelling your own shit.
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  11. flickinthebeancurd
    By the way... Vegans do not label vegetarians as ''milk drinkers'' or ''egg munchers'' and vegetarians do not label vegans as ''bean munchers''. So quit the ''meat eater'' crap. Being holier than thou and then labeling other people is really stupid when there are variants within your own damned breed. Good day to you.
    Log in to reply.
    1. Veganara
      Veganara
      Did you bother to read my blog at all flickinthebeancurd? In it I try to explain why we follow this diet and why we "preach" to others. But you clearly don't understand that. You come on a VEGAN blogging site just to criticise, and make negative comments - how sad. I don't have to wonder too hard where your user-name comes from!
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