I had an argument with my best friend, a philosopher, today, about veganism. He compared something to killing an innocent animal, stating that he couldn't do it. So I told him he was a hypocrite for putting money into and supporting the meat and dairy industry (which he admitted to). His response was to attack my lifestyle, telling me that if I use a car that uses oil that could come from a company that spilled it and killed wildlife, or buy books that use paper, or put money into a restaurant or even grocery store that also sells meat, I am also indirectly contributing to the death of animals. My response was that I am doing all that I can, and that I am doing more than most people, and that the money I spent at a grocery store goes toward plant foods rather than animal ones so it doesn't support the meat industry. (He claimed that some of my money does still go into that industry which I suppose is true.) He thinks he has won this argument. But I would like to go back with further counterarguments, does anybody have anything to contribute? Maybe any books or movies regarding ethical veganism/philosophy that I could make him read or watch with me? Much thanks.
Agree 100%! Minimize suffering as much as possible--nobody is perfect and in today's world it is virtually impossible to be.
I think your friend have right if you look to veganism in such direction "very appreciable but weak". The point is that the more you embrace a vegan lifestyle "I add a raw vegan lifesyle" the more you honor, respect, elevate, take care and enjoy your own life and at the same time you honor, respect, elevate, take care and enjoy the other living beings and the earth because they are intrinsically done with your same substance and because your well being is intertwined with their, and this in respect of philosophical concept like the 7 hermetic principles, yin yang and other. So you don't want to eat animals for a altruistic sentiment but above all for a selfish feeling because you understand that is harmful for your body and because you don't want to experience pain in the animals death.
I hate the all or nothing attitude that seems to be employed when arguing against veganism. People seem to think it's an undeserved privilege to call ourselves vegan just because some use of animal products may be unavoidable. I don't like calling myself a vegan, it's just the easiest way to describe my dietary inclinations. Like you said, you're doing all you can- there's no such thing as NO carbon footprint unless we kill ourselves.
Hmm...he sounds like a philosopher alright. Defensive, already set in his ideas and conclusions despite claiming he wants to explore and find Truth, etc, etc. Haha. (I mean no offense, only messing around. I'm a philosophy minor, so I'm slightly familiar with the attitudes of philosophers...it's also why I didn't make it my major).
But it does sound to me like his argument is coming from the defensive. He may feel guilty on a deeper, possibly subconscious level, and then attacked when you say that you're doing more than most people (which sounds like it would include him), which is understandable - people tend to cling to things (e.g. the SAD lifestyle) when they feel like those things are being attacked as a part of them. I guess just do your best to be more careful and selective with the words you choose and how you express your ideas (after all, word choice is very important in philosophy and will effect how your idea is perceived).
If you want counter arguments for the sake of winning the debate, I'd just give up, because you'll probably just both end up on your opposite sides, frustrated with each other. Big changes in someone's beliefs and lifestyle can only come from within themselves. No matter how convincing you are, he'll have to realize it for himself and make that connection on his own.
But if you want him to really examine and consider the lifestyle for ethical or health reasons, encourage him to do his own research on the topic and share some of the videos/movies/articles that made you realize that veganism was a lifestyle you wanted to support. And if he's hesitant, remind him that a great philosopher always examines weaknesses in his own argument and strengths in the counter argument.
Hope that helped:]
Very helpful, thank you. And haha, I love your description of philosophers. I don't know many but from the philosophy I've read and what I hear from him, I definitely agree with you. He tells me I should write a paper about this. I might do that when I've got time, because he (and others) might be more receptive to something like that. And yes, I totally agree that people need to come to these conclusions on their own. :)
Yeah, I wish I could take my own advice though...
Animal welfare has always been one of my buttons (even when I was a vegetarian deluded into thinking I wasn't supporting the meat industry by still eating eggs and dairy), so when I get in debates with my friends and they says things like humans are better than animals so it's okay to eat them, I usually just start yelling and tell them they're horrible egomaniac people and that I hope reincarnation exists and their next life is as some poor farm animal about to get made into food (I'm cleaning up the language though). It's pretty bad:P ...but fortunately not all of my friends think that way.
So as long as your not doing that, you're probably doing great with the debating:]
Haha! Yeah it is very difficult not to get worked up since we tend to be so passionate about this..and especially with close friends when debates begin as "jokes" they can tend to escalate quickly. Oh well--everything is a learning experience!