When looking at politics, extreme views over migrants, refugees, women, foreign policies, abortion and other difficult and very complex topics, you will find very polarised opinions. Each political view within the spectrum tends to have an extreme approach.
Nothing is different with Veganism. Veganism may be a compassionate at its core, but in its essence appears to be extreme. Not for eating too many plants, no, but for telling people to be more careful of their actions. The manner that is used to tell others about the “terrible deeds” they are committing is often what is viewed as extreme and can anger people.
Let me explain
Consuming animal products at the scale we nowadays do today is frankly more extreme in most vegans’ eyes than non-vegans. However through the eyes of most non-vegans, it is completely normal. Think about it, when you were not vegan, did you ever fight it at some point of your life? I know I did, I know I found vegans extreme. I found them radical and just like a religious cult. Is this how you become vegan? You accept to enter this semi-religious cult, by supporting the shaming methods used by the most extreme of vegans? I know that I do not believe in some approaches, omitted by certain vegan personalities out there. Some of them for my taste are too extreme. Now imagine that to the eyes of non-vegans, the extreme spectrum for them is more restricted. Something that a vegan would consider moderate is extreme for non-vegans and vice-versa.
But here lies the true issue. The subjectivity of what is extreme and what is not. For most people, radicalising towards a new diet is extreme, it is like doing an all round 360. I know what it is like, trust me, I radicalised very quickly. And I am a problem sometimes with my behaviour towards my family and friends.
- Now as a vegan, discussing veganism with non-vegans it is very easy to get carried away both emotionally and out of frustration. The person that you are trying to persuade is using the weak arguments, the ones we hear all the time and does not seem to be thinking on his own.
Now put yourself in the meat-eater’s shoes (preferably not made of leather)
- Now as a meat-eater discussing veganism with vegans, it is very easy to get carried away both emotionally and out of frustration. The person who is trying to persuade the meat-eater is using the same aggressive and condescending arguments as to why you are a bad person, and the vegan does not seem to be thinking on his own.
I am sure you see a pattern here. It is a question of perspective. If you do not understand your audience, you will not be able to convince anyone, and you will just be another radicalised vegan, who repeats and dismisses without acknowledging any of the arguments the other side gives you, no matter how ridiculous these are to you.
In our free societies it is important to leverage free speech for both sides of the coin, and just like in a relationship finding a compromise is more productive than fighting over who is right. Seeing the world as black or white is a mistake, instead you should see it as complex and challenging, as each day you are to become a better person and in my case a better Vegan.