There’s definitely some conflict going on between the vegetarians/vegans of the world and the rest of the world. I’m gonna talk about why I think that is and I’m gonna start with the fact that vegetarians are….right.
Yes, animals raised for food do not have nice lives and even if they did they would still be killed in the prime of their lives so that I could have a tasty snack.
Yes, the amount of food eaten by animals who will later be eaten is massive. And so as more people eat meat, more land has to be put under cultivation.
Yes, livestock contribute massively to climate change and are a primary reason for deforestation.
And, yes, most people don’t need to eat meat to be healthy.
There are reasons both ways, like more than a billion people make at least some of their living from livestock. You don’t wanna take all of those peoples’ livelihoods away all at once. But as the global population grows as the global economy grows, it is very difficult to argue that vegetarianism is not a good thing. Basically, the important thing here is vegetarianism allows more people to have more food with less impact. It’s good. And so, when someone tells me that I should be a vegetarian or leaves a comment on a video asking me how do I justify eating meat, I have no recourse but to say that they are right and that I am wrong, but that I will continue eating meat because I’m the kind of person who has a hard time controlling myself, and it’s hard enough not to eat a half a bag of Oreos for breakfast.
Now my personal willpower aside, there’s a fundamental conflict going on here. I live in a society where eating meat is normal and being a vegetarian is not. I live in Montana, you guys, like, there are places in America where vegetarianism is very normal; this is not one of them. But there’s a difference between acting in accordance with society’s expectations, which will very rarely get you criticised and is definitely the easy thing to do, and actually living in a way that is best for the future and for people and for all of the organisms on the planet. And that’s the reality of meat-eating. It is a thing that I don’t need to do, but I do, despite the fact that it makes the world worse for current animals and future people.
This is a big one for our society, but there are lots of examples of this, like I’ve always found it a little bit immoral that I spend money on things that are not necessary like Coca- Cola, and flying to San Francisco, and that fifth ticket to The Force Awakens, when there are people dying of preventable diseases. I do those things instead of giving that money to Save the Children for the same reasons that I eat meat: because it’s easier, it’s simpler, I like them, and I’m not perfect. But it’s also more than that, like, acting in accordance with society, to a certain extent, isn’t just the easy thing to do, it’s also, kinda, the only thing to do.
I’ve experienced this, you can only do so much breaking with culture before you become extremely uncomfortable. It’s very hard to find self-worth, it’s very hard to find connection… Like imagine if every time I saw someone buy a Coca-Cola, I, like, mumbled under my breath, like, “You know, there are people dying of preventable diseases.” I would not have a lot of friends. So why are people annoyed by vegetarians? Because they have the audacity to work extremely hard to live in accordance with their values. And because those values conflict with the values of society at large. People don’t want to be told that the way that they live their lives and the things that they enjoy are making the world less good; especially when you got other stuff to worry about.
But look, as frustrating as I’m sure both sides can find this at times, this cultural conflict is not a bad thing. I honestly believe that we’re on our way to a better, brighter future, and 200 years from now, people will think it’s ridiculous that we ate meat the way that we do. There’s no reason not to appreciate vegetarians for working very hard to live in accordance with their values, and I completely understand their desire to convert me and other people to their cause, to have us eat less or no meat, so I am thankful for you, all of you people who tell me to not eat meat. And, yet, I am going to continue eating less, but not no meat, because it’s easier, it’s simple, I like it, and I’m not perfect.