Right now a (predictable) flame war is happening in a Facebook thread at Plant-Bssed News. It’s for this “3 Things Vegans Get Wrong (And How It Hurts Our Movement)” article published at Plant-Based News. My husband sent the article to me; otherwise, I wouldn’t have known about it.
Have you read the article? If you are too busy to read the article, too annoyed by the ads, or simply can’t be bothered to click on the link, here are the “three things” from the article:
- 1. When we belittle anything that isn’t ‘all-in’
- 2. We assume a plant-based diet is automatically perfect
- 3. We hear criticism and fight back before listening
What are your thoughts? Here are mine:
- It’s funny that the article starts off with the full disclosure that it’s the author’s belief that vegans are better than other people. Ha! Did they do it just to be contrarian and spark protest? Most people (other than some vegans, apparently?) would immediately see that as ridiculous. Who knows, maybe the author’s intention WAS to start off with a joke? 🤷🏻♀️
- The three things that they say vegans got wrong are all good points. We discuss these topics at Veganish Dot World and have been discussing them in the Let’s Go Vegan-ish Facebook groups and community page since 2013.
- During the discussion about nutrition gaps, the articles mentions the importance of supplements. I wholly agree with the importance of supplements (combined with fortified foods, which I don’t remember the article mentioning), for bridging nutrition gaps. However, the article also pairs this with an ad for a supplement company! Ugh.
- People already distrust supplements and assume they are just a money-making scam. To me, coupling the nutrition discussion with an ad for a supplement company only reinforces that idea. What a bummer, since many people could benefit from iodine, calcium, B12, DHA-EPA, and other supplements or fortified foods.
Here’s a link to the Facebook discussion (flame war 🤷🏻♀️):
“3 Things Vegans Get Wrong (And How it Hurts Our Movement)” – Facebook Discussion
Any other thoughts you’d like to add?
Yeah, there “we’re better,” which doesn’t read as a joke and I think is meant very seriously, is a crappy thing to say. Maybe if you can find two people who are equal in every aspect (which is impossible!) and one was vegan and one was not, maybe, and I’m not even sure about that, you could say the vegan was better, but again, that’s not something that’s even possible to do so what’s the point in saying that?! It’s not that hard for me to be mostly vegan for a list of reasons: money, availability, health, tastes/preferences, and so on so I’m not making some huge sacrifice whereas some people could be making a much bigger sacrifice than me and there are some people who will find it even easier than me. And I know I would be really offended if someone said to me, “I’m better than you because I drive an-all electric car that I rarely even drive, live in a walkable city, and only shop at local mom-and-pop’s.” I can’t do those things, not because I love pollution and hate walking and hate local businesses. I just don’t have the ability to change those things currently.
Remember that OBVIOUS JOKE I made in Let’s Go Vegan-ish where I said something like, “Hey vegans, guess what, I’m a non-vegan, and I’m better than you! Neener neener neener!” I was poking fun at exactly this phenomenon. Normally, in the let’s go vegan-ish Facebook groups, we barely even get two or three likes on any of our posts.
My joke struck a chord with people, and we quickly got about 100 reacts, nearly all of them being laugh reacts, mostly from people who are meat eaters. They totally got it.
BECAUSE everyone has seen that superiority attitude on the part of vegans, and MOST everyone understands how ridiculous it is. (Except for the people who agree with it! See below.)
We also had a few people in the comments that they were really offended by this, including people who said that they’re not vegan, but they’re offended that I was making fun of vegans. 😆
I’m sorry, but if you’re somebody who is offended, because I’m making fun of people who say that they are superior and better than others, just because they’re vegan, you’re the one with the problem, not me. That’s the way I feel about it.
I think some people (even if they themselves are not vegan) believe that vegans deserve extra respect. Perhaps they see vegans as saints who are making this big sacrifice, and who should not be made fun of. 🤷🏻♀️ To each their own, but I don’t agree with that at all.
Regarding the idea that two people who are exactly the same, and one is vegan, and the other one isn’t, the vegan one would be superior, I don’t agree with that. Because I think it is actually “superior” (better for the animals, better for the environment, better for your health) to be flexible.
As an obvious example, someone who is strictly vegan, cannot eat extra leftover food, if it’s not vegan, even though that is more beneficial to animals, versus using up more resources to buy something else.
Have you ever heard of Godwin’s Law?
“There’s a similar story with protein. There are studies suggesting that vegan athletes require more protein than over-generalized non-vegan athletes. There have also been studies suggesting that vegans don’t require more protein, or even that we require less protein. The bioavailability issue turned out to be from bad experimental procedure. A unilateral decision to just capitulate and grant your opponents victory on every issue is probably going to be about as effective as it was on the Nazis before World War II (making the problem even worse).” This was one of the five comments on the article on the Plant-Based News website.
If you don’t know (or anyone that might be reading here) it’s: Godwin’s law, short for Godwin’s law (or rule) of Nazi analogies, is an Internet adage asserting that as an online discussion grows longer (regardless of topic or scope), the probability of a comparison to Nazis or Adolf Hitler approaches 1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin%27s_law
But in this case, it wasn’t like a huge thread of comments that devolved. It was the first one! Wow, dude, calm down, and um, provide your evidence about this “bad experimental procedure.”
That’s hilarious! The person went straight to the Nazi comparison. Ha ha!
I have not looked at the comments on the plant-based news article, but in the Facebook thread, there are gobs of comments. Not sure, but I don’t think you have to be logged in to Facebook to read them. Some of the people are basically saying that because vegans are supposedly doing the right thing, they don’t deserve to be criticized. 🤷🏻♀️
As I mentioned above, I don’t actually agree that vegans are necessarily “doing the right thing.” Some vegans might think that “the right thing” is for themselves and their family members, pets, coworkers and whoever else to skip meals, get not as good of nutrition, pay extra money, spend extra time, drive extra miles to go out of the way to get something different, compared to simply eating the non-vegan food that is convenient, accessible, allergy-friendly, affordable, and readily available for them to eat.
I disagree very much that doing all of that is undeniably “the right thing.” There are so many other factors besides “everything must be vegan!!!” that come into play. If we’re trying to do good in the world, as I think most of us are, everything we do is a balancing game of decreasing or minimizing negative impacts while making the most of our short time here in earth, and enjoying life, making a positive difference for the future (that’s why people have kids, right?), to the best of our abilities.