Everyone’s a racist, every color, class. But there is a way out; we can make the critical choice between denial and admission. Confessionalism is the essential act of admitting the lunacy of our beliefs — we are better than them — and the inevitable violence of the outcome. Confession diffuses the intractability of the crazy belief system: it takes us out of orthodoxy and leaves us simmering in a more human state of unknowing.
To be alive is to be a murderer, says Harold Fromm in his article on vegan culture excerpted below. We’re all racist; we’re all murderers. We can’t have innocence, not in this world. Even the production of vegetables kills organisms in the soil. Vegan belief is a denial that we can’t be innocent, that to live is to kill.
Here is the excerpt:
Behind their beliefs is the hopeless longing for innocence. Except that there is no innocence. However delicate our moral sensibilities, it still remains that to be alive is to be a murderer. Tiptoeing through the tulips (we might be killing the bees inside) won’t solve the problem. And since we are carnivores (“omnivores,” if that makes you feel better) from the moment of conception, we emerge from the womb already “guilty.” Even if our parents eschewed meat, to have been born at all we must have been eating our mother during gestation, and after birth we need her milk, which is just another dairy product from animals.
We’re compromised from the start. Evolution favored meat-eating primates, enlarging their brains and enabling them to live in more and more complex and survivalist societies that today extend our life spans, provide genteel habitats, and produce philosophers who have the wherewithal to object to the very components of their own existence. Death is the only form of purification. Alive, we have no choice but to accept our complicity, because life is a product of death. Do as much as you can to minimize the damage, because the “environment” is us. But as long as we are among the living, we should stop pretending to virtues possible only for the dead.
—Vegans and the Quest for Purity, Harold Fromm, The Chronicle of Higher Education
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