March 19, 2012

Vegans love fauna but hate animals

Best I could do to adapt the phrase "love humanity but hate people."

Blathering endlessly about abstract rights is the opposite of acting regularly to provide care, aid, and support to tangible individuals. Both claim to be helping others, have a pro-social orientation, etc., but one is fake and the other real. I'm not trying to shame people into giving up everything and becoming Mother Teresa, but we should not rationalize our lack of commitment to others by defensively saying, "Yeah but we support their rights."

As a side note, look at how fake the homophile movement is -- they support abstract rights for gays, but won't take the time or effort to urge them back into the closet where they'll be safer to themselves and others. Or even get them to dial down the number of cocks they suck in a week, amount of drugs they blow through in a weekend, etc. Totally fake. All that hot air is just to win a status contest within their faggot-friendly social circle.

Returning to the animal rights people, they come in a variety of flavors, but the most visible and audible are the vegans. They are nerdier and more anti-social than non-vegans, suggesting another case of people who want to distance themselves from some sympathy group, while rationalizing it with intellectual posturing, and claiming a moral high-ground because they support some set of abstract rights.

Are vegans more likely to care for animals? Then they should be over-represented among veterinarians. Bla bla bla about how they might have to administer a sick animal a drug that has been tested on other animals. Just a bunch of intellectual rationalizing -- the sick animal needs medicine to get better.

I couldn't find any formal studies, but at least three informal sources that say, if anything, vegans or vegetarians are less likely to be animal doctors, and that they're happy ordering a steak so rare it moo's. Here is a Yahoo question to this effect, and all respondents who know veterinarians say zippo are vegetarians, except for one who says that 2 of 10 vets she knows are. Here is an interview with a vegan veterinarian, where both the interviewer and the vet agree that vegans are very rare among vets. That is rationalized away by a strained analogy to doctors who smoke -- but they know it's bad and smoke anyway, whereas the vets aren't plagued by guilt about eating meat in the first place. Finally, here is a list from some big vegan website about 10 professions that need more vegans, which lists veterinarian, agreeing with the other sites that it's damn rare to find them.

What about caring for animals as pets? Again no formal studies showed up. (The General Social Survey did have a question about not eating meat, but no questions about owning pets.) The forums I browsed didn't give a clear picture, but it did sound like there's at least a sizable minority who are against owning pets. This doesn't make them look as bad as their near absence among animal doctors, but it still shows how farther in the callous direction they are compared to normal people.

Here for instance is a FAQ on veganism from Animal Equality, which includes this passage under "Domesticated animals" (I realize not all vegans are this doctrinaire):

Vegans do not believe in the breeding of domesticated animals such as horses, dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, birds or fishes. Domestication is not in the animals' best interests, as they are dependent on humans for everything that is important to them in their lives. Humans decide what and when they will eat, where they will live, whether they receive affection or exercise, if they are allowed to socialise with members of their own species, and as property, they can be bought, sold, given away or abandoned. 'Pets' may bring us pleasure, but the animals themselves belong in their world, not ours, with the freedom to live as they choose. Vegans do rescue and adopt abandoned animals however, seeing them as refugees deserving of care while they are in this world, but they do not perpetuate the institution of 'pet' ownership.

I doubt that vegans rescue abandoned animals at greater rates than non-vegans, but data or even impressions on that will be hard to come by. In any case, just listen to the wording -- "the animals themselves belong in their world, not ours." Leave me alone and I'll leave you alone -- how's that for mutual affection, empathy, and care-giving? Only to an inveterate cocooner does that sound like good cheer and concern. You know that's how these misanthropes feel toward their family, too: "Mom and Dad, I'd like to show my love and respect for you by cutting you out of my life, and I hope you'll show the same by cutting me out of yours."

What fucking planet did these people come from? Or did I fall asleep and somehow wake up on theirs? Damn, man.

I can't help but touch on one of the other points above, not related to whether they're more caring toward animals or not. Domesticated animals are highly dependent on their owners, but so are we on them. It's not asymmetrical or exploitative. Aren't vegans always whining about how dependent the non-vegans are on domesticated animals for food, clothing, textiles, medical testing, etc.? Woah dude, it's like the animals are exploiting us the way an only-game-in-town monopoly gouges the community. They've got us hooked on their butter and leather -- it's not fair, and we've got to liberate ourselves.

So they cannot be concerned with one species exploiting another, since the animals are exploiting us, making us rely so much on them for our well-being -- especially cats and their owners! It is the very dependence of one species on another that vegans are repulsed by, as though any enduring ties would always wind up being chains. Again it is only the deranged mind of the cocooner that pushes self-reliance to such an extreme.


  1. Hey Agnostic, I'm a little off-topic here, but I recommend you check this out. It's a clip from a documentary of teens' lives at an east-coast beach town which was filmed in 1992. Here's my question: Would the millenials recognize these people?

  2. "Again it is only the deranged mind of the cocooner that pushes self-reliance to such an extreme."

    I agree. That being said, I've always thought that survivalists and organic farmers are def. more "cocooning"-oriented. The typical survivalist is just as autistic as the guy who plays World of Warcraft 24/7. Both activities are ultimately a retreat from society and reality.

  3. Yeah, they usually don't know anything about pre-industrial life. They imagine going back to a hunter-gatherer past, but those people are incredibly social -- Western people who do field work among the Bushmen, Hadza, etc., note how difficult it is to have any privacy.

    You're always interacting with someone else, and they're physically pretty close, like huddled around the camp fire.

    The survivalists, vegans, runners, anorexics, etc., all have a strong Puritanical streak. Like, let's see how little I can get by on, while pushing myself as hard as possible. If I can reach that bar, then I'll feel safer about cutting myself off from depending on others.

  4. Re rarity:

    1) They're just rare overall - "approximately 0.5%, or 1 million [Americans] are vegans, who consume no animal products at all". Absolute representation isn't really important. Even if they were about as represented, then they wouldn't really register as an impression - who the hell can tell intuitively if 1/200 or 1/1000 vets are vegan?

    2) Well, most vegan types are more likely to say they needs to more vegan every profession though, frankly. On that page you link to they pretty much saying there ought to be more in pretty much every profession. It's like asking Chinese or Jews or Persians or Blacks if there should be more Chinese or Jews or Persians or Blacks in relatively rich positions. What kind of response do you expect?

    "animals themselves belong in their world, not ours"

    I think a lot of vegan and animal welfare thinking is driven by the same kind of foolishness that afflicts paleo-stuff - "X did not evolve for Y" and underrating selection for plasticity and generalised tolerance and stability. (albeit slightly more defensible for environments made by humans for animals, than environments made for humans by humans).

    "Mom and Dad, I'd like to show my love and respect for you by cutting you out of my life, and I hope you'll show the same by cutting me out of yours."

    It may not be showing love, but most people do think its a good idea that people a) let and their kids move out and want them to and b) don't live in communes. Kids not leaving the nest (increased in recent years?) is a kind of cocooning. So is being a cat lady (forming relationships with animals as if they were human, only you have a lot of control over them).

    What do you think about South Asian vegetarianism in this context btw? Cocooning driven? It seems to link with their characteristic caste system which enforces high degrees of separation between the social orders. And what's the level of group size you need to get up to before a cocoon stops being a cocoon and starts being a justifiable fence (self, family, clan, ethnicity)? Or is that just a "you'll know it when you see it if you're in the right range on the autistic quotient spectrum"?

  5. The rarity of vegans and vegetarians isn't an issue, since gays are also rare and yet we know where they tend to cluster -- where they shop, hang out, go to work, etc.

    If vegetarians / vegans were more likely to go into animal-helping professions, it wouldn't be hard to notice, given how intuitive it would strike people, like tall people playing basketball.

    Vegans are clear that they don't want the relationship that exists between adult parents and adult children. They want to leave the animals totally alone, undisturbed, as though any relationship at any level of mutual dependence would result in us exploiting them.

    My use of "cocooning" has always meant an individual seeking to close themselves off, not a group of undetermined size. Hermetic.

    South Asian vegetarianism doesn't look like the practitioner trying to drive apart the human and animal worlds.

  6. "It's a clip from a documentary of teens' lives at an east-coast beach town which was filmed in 1992. Here's my question: Would the millenials recognize these people?"

    I doubt it. That was right during the transition from outgoing to cocooning times. You can still see lots of '80s mainstays there -- big hair, a dude with long hair wearing a jacket with no shirt, flirty and boy-crazy girls, girls who've gotten into fights, not waiting until age 25 to start dating, etc.

    Also listen to how little self-consciousness there is, both their voices and their lack of hamming it up for the camera. Lots of candid clips from the '80s are like that -- people sound like they're barely aware of where they are at the moment, like their mind is halfway in some other place. (And not just because of drugs...)

    Recent clips would show hyper-focused responses, delivered in a PowerPoint bullet format. Lots of elaboration.

    ...Anyway, so no, I don't think Millennials would recognize them. Their memories start more with Barney the Dinosaur, Nicktoons, and the Spice Girls. That turning point in '91-'92 probably flew under their radar. And it hasn't been preserved very well in the media for them to learn about after-the-fact.

  7. " girls who've gotten into fights"

    If those are what wild times are like, I could honestly do without them.

    I think we may be ignoring class differences as well. That video seems like its heavily skewed towards the working-class.

  8. agnostic,

    This might seem a bit of a random question (not really related to your main post), but (because I can't find anywhere where you've dealt with the subject before on your site) what do you think about the explanation given be (frequently discredited?) academic Satoshi Kanazawa here about crime rates:

    "Crime rates in most societies at any given time are a very strong function of the proportion of young males in the society; the higher the proportion of young men in the population, the higher the crime rates. It makes perfect sense, because young men are the ones who are committing the crimes."

    "Crime rates went down in the 1990s simply because the baby boomers “aged out.” They became too old (and, as I explain in another post, too married) to commit crimes. Some criminologists indeed predicted the fall of crime rates in the 1990s before it happened.

    Second, recidivism always goes up as a necessary consequence of falling crime rates. As the developmental psychologist Terrie E. Moffitt explains in her classic 1993 article in Psychological Review, there are roughly two types of criminals: adolescence limited and life-course persistent. The adolescence limiteds comprise the vast majority of criminals at any given time, and this is the type of criminals that I discuss in my previous series on criminals. They become increasingly delinquent, violent, and criminal in their late adolescence and early adulthood, then begin to desist from crime in late adulthood into their middle ages, as they get married, settle down, and switch to more conventional ways of life. The life-course persistents, on the other hand, are commonly known as “career criminals.” As the name implies, they do not age out of their criminality, and continue to commit crimes throughout most of their lives."

    Your explanation is about predator-prey dynamic cycle based on public vs private behavior.

    But it seems like the Kanazawa explanation, which he credits to Moffitt, seems to indicate that

    a) crime rate increases and decreases are largely a function of young male population


    b) that rate of offending by psychopath and sociopath is largely uneffected by whether it is a rising or falling crime period (and so must be largely unaffected by cocooning vs outgoing behaviour if that tracks rising and falling crime periods).

    The birth rate data does seem to fit the Moffitt explanation quite well - if you look at the US murder rates, they lag the birth rates by around 20-30 years. The most recent fall in crime rates does seem later than would be expected just from birth data and assuming a peak criminality at age 20-25, but then by like, 5 years or so, so still not majorly wrong.

    It also seems like it holds across societies.

    You've spoken before about how Japan has a constant fall in crime rates through the Twen Cen. That seems to square with a constant fall in birth rates, but not with predator prey dynamics, which can't explain that.

    Of course, if Moffitt's explanation holds, the most interesting consequence would be that there won't be any increasing crime periods in the near future (a little depressing assuming they still have the correlates that you've described them as having), because the birth rate has leveled off for the past 30 years.

  9. Yes, the age-sex structure is about the only thing that consistently comes out of studies trying to link rising or falling crime rates with anything else.

    Over the past few months I've been re-constructing the change in the age pyramid for every country I can find, for as far back as I can find, and it supports the common idea of the social effects of a youthquake. I should probably post on that since I already have the graphs made...

    Still, the age structure isn't perfectly correlated with changes in crime rates -- just the only one that always reaches significance, unlike everyone else's ideas (poverty, inequality, technology, incarceration, etc.).

    Nobody wants to hear that, let alone internalize it, because there's little in the way of policy implications, and today's world wants "actionable knowledge" even if it's totally bogus, rather than an accurate picture.

  10. This still doesn't explain, though, why the culture becomes more and more immature and obnoxious, even as the proportion of young men dwindles. Shouldn't the culture be becoming more sophisticated?


  11. "Crime rates went down in the 1990s simply because the baby boomers “aged out.” They became too old (and, as I explain in another post, too married) to commit crimes. Some criminologists indeed predicted the fall of crime rates in the 1990s before it happened."

    Makes sense. 1946 + 13 = 1959, so crime began to rise just as the first Boomers began hitting puberty.

  12. My impression is that "veganism" is something very similar to "classical liberalism", but applied to human-animal relation instead to the state-individual relation: the only thing that they want is that animals are free from human interference (including interference that probably does not create any distress to the animal, like creating bees to produce honey), independently if this is good or bad for the wellbeing of the animals.

  13. South Asian vegetarianism is extremely caste driven

    Higher castes are predominantly vegetarian and higher IQ too

    Lower castes are predominantly non-vegetarian and lower IQ and eligible for affirmative action quota

    Per wiki, about 30% of the Hindu population ( mostly upper caste ) is vegetarian

    Veganism is unknown in India
    and is a fad of white nut cases

    Vegetarians are expected to drink milk and eat yogurt


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