‘Ethical’ Vegetarianism Should Not Be Viewed As A Peaceful Movement
by Eric Englund
While on a recent business trip to Spokane, WA (my hometown), I found myself stuck in traffic behind a green Honda Civic with a bumper sticker implying that vegetarians were morally superior (versus those of us who eat meat). Essentially, this bumper sticker stated that the world would be a better, and therefore, more peaceful place if all human beings became vegetarians (clearly for alleged ethical reasons). One can picture a world where all human beings and animals equally share the earth and live in peace and harmony. As you will find out, this "ethical" vegetarian platitude (i.e. that vegetarianism leads to peace) is utter nonsense.
It is crucial to understand that "ethical" vegetarians are biocentric. Indeed, this is a worldview where all animals (not just mankind) are created equal. Thus, it follows that a boy, is a dog, is a pig, is a rat (and in some circles you may add …is a tree). Just surf the internet and you will find vegetarian websites preaching this peace and harmony stuff as if it were gospel (apparently, if people stopped "murdering" and eating animals, we will be less likely to murder fellow human beings and even to wage war). Moreover, it is dogmatically stated that going vegetarian will save the environment. Ethical vegetarians are definitely aligned with the "green socialist" political movement. If ethical/biocentric vegetarians are correct about the moral superiority of their movement, then it wouldn't be possible to find evidence to contradict their "green" assertions that vegetarianism leads to peace, harmony, and environmental protection. Naturally, since the entire depth of the ethical vegetarian movement can be printed on a bumper sticker, then I knew it wouldn't take long to turn their moral high ground into quicksand. One need not look any further than the peaceful Inuit culture and the murderous Nazi movement to expose ethical vegetarianism for the fraud that it is.
As a quick aside, I strongly recommend that you peruse Ethical Vegetarianism: From Pythagoras to Peter Singer in order to understand how warped ethical/biocentric vegetarianism really is. This book was edited by Kerry S. Walters and Lisa Portmess. There are chapters in this book covering the following "topics."
- The Ethic of Reverence for Live
- The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism
- All Animals are Equal
- The Right not to be Eaten
- An Ecological Argument for Vegetarianism
Essentially, biocentric vegetarians believe that eating meat is tantamount to murder. Thus eating meat is at the root of violence, war, etc. If you take this wacky biocentric "logic" to heart, then one must conclude killer whales, lions, tigers, cheetahs, bald eagles, and other carnivorous animals are murderers. Let's leave it to ethical vegetarians to put these "murderers" on trial. What language will these "equal" animals choose to speak in the courtroom? Additionally, how does one accommodate a killer whale's courtroom needs anyway? Correspondingly, since I purchase meat at a supermarket, I can't be considered to be a murderer. However, does this make me an accomplice to countless murders? At the very least, since all animals (including snails I suppose) are my equals, doesn't this at least make me a cannibal? This is all much too confusing. But I digress.
Perhaps I am mistaken? Biocentric vegetarians would point out to me that predatory (carnivorous) animals are a part of nature and help keep ecosystems in balance. Part of maintaining this balance entails having predators cull weak and infirmed animals from the gene pool. Indeed, predatory animals play important roles in nature. It appears that I was hasty in concluding that lions, tigers, and killer whales should be tried for murder in a court of law. These impressive predators serve vital functions in nature.
What still bothers me is that biocentrists clearly state that all animals (including humans) are equal. When considering the above-mentioned predatory animals, biocentrists simply point out that these animals are natural and are necessary to keep nature in balance. What happens if a group of biocentrists decide to take on the role of predator in order to form a more perfect society? "Undesirable" human beings would need to be exterminated in order to remove them from the gene pool. Has such a shocking mutation of biocentrism ever emerged? Yes, but not amongst the meat-eating people of the eastern and central Arctic (known as the Inuit). This nihilistic biocentric movement emerged in Europe and its leader was a vegetarian.
The Inuit people are known to be among the most peaceful people on earth. Many of us know them as Eskimos (keep in mind that the term "Eskimo" is a Cree Indian word meaning "eaters of raw meat". This is considered to be a derogatory term by Inuit). In a great article titled Inuit Culture, I found a wonderful description of Inuit society and its peaceful nature:
Inuit always had unwritten social laws that were extremely important to daily life. Most of them still apply today. The Inuit identity is that of kindness, compassion, giving, caring, helping, concern for others rather than oneself, laughing and joking, discipline, endurance, common sense, and most of all, responsibility.
It is not surprising that such a peaceful people put a great deal of emphasis on the family and the community. It struck me that difficult situations and issues are still resolved at the family and at the community levels. No need here for faceless and distant bureaucrats.
The peaceful nature of Inuit culture includes an age-old hunting, fishing, and trapping lifestyle that harmoniously flows with the seasonal cycles of the central and eastern Arctic. For example, in the spring months of March and April, seal hunting commences so that Inuit can provide fresh meat for themselves and their dogs. Moreover, seal skins are used for making clothing. When summer arrives, there is great excitement as geese and ducks arrive to nest which means that eggs can be gathered and that adult birds can be snared (trapped) at their nests. Goose and duck meat provide a welcome variety to Inuit diet. Summer also means that Arctic char are swimming downstream and can be caught in sufficient volume to provide food for the winter. Inuit also hunt caribou in August as the fur at this time of the year makes for the best material from which to make clothing. As fall arrives, Arctic char are caught by ice fishing and caribou are hunted inland (as caribou move inland in the autumn). When the winter months arrive, there is very little hunting and fishing. Thus, the meat of the animals Inuit have harvested is cached (preserved) in the late summer and consumed in the winter. Inuit are in tune with their environment and live on the natural resources available to them in the Arctic. One can see why hunting, trapping, and fishing are integral to Inuit culture.
Inuit call the above-mentioned foods "country food". More importantly, Inuit see food as the connector to everything encompassed by Inuit culture. Celebrations are food-oriented with caribou stomach and seal blubber serving as delicacies to be shared with all. As was stated in the Inuit Culture article: "Feasts are very special because we believe sharing food is an important part of our culture and is an important link with our heritage. We believe food makes friends out of strangers. When we eat together, we feel more harmonious." Country food is still the cornerstone of the Inuit diet. It is more nutritious and less expensive than store-bought foods.
Inuit have great respect for the world in which they live. As was stated in the Inuit Culture article: "We live in complete harmony with our environment and take our land and sea for granted. Nature is there for us, and we will leave the environment in good condition for our children. What's there is for us to take but we never abuse the animals and we treat them with great respect!"
Inuit culture is loving, peaceful, and respectful. Clearly, it is worthy of our respect.
First and foremost, it is important to understand that German National Socialism (Nazism) was a "green" movement. Adolf Hitler was a biocentric environmentalist who saw National Socialism (Nazism) as a religion of nature. Just like a pack of wolves culls a crippled elk from a herd (thus "purifying" the gene pool), Nazis sought to reestablish the German people's connection with nature by reviving primitive agrarian culture and ridding Germany of everything (and everybody) that was "unnatural". Nazi leaders believed German society needed to be purified in a manner that promoted biological fitness through "racial hygiene" and euthanasia. Hitler and his henchmen played the role of the wolves (culling/managing the gene pool) while millions of non-Aryans paid with their lives. If the biocentric credo "a boy, is a dog, is a pig" becomes politically mutated to where a Jew is no more desirable to nature (i.e. the German "social ecosystem") than a crippled elk, then genocide could be justified to "purify" Germany so that it could be reunified, as a whole, with nature. Nazis became the predators and undesirable non-Aryans became the prey.
If all of this sounds too shocking to be true, then I suggest that you read Dr. Alston Chase's fabulous book In a Dark Wood: The Fight over Forests and the Rising Tyranny of Ecology. Make no mistake, ethical vegetarians and green socialists (which are closely allied) do not advertise their irrefutable linkage to Nazism. So here are some more points, from Dr. Chase's book, that show the frightening parallels between Nazism and today's ethical vegetarianism and green socialism.
- The Nazis blamed capitalists for driving farmers off the land and into towns in an effort to obtain cheap labor, thus undermining rural culture and promoting factory farms that used poisonous synthetic chemicals.
- Soon after seizing power in 1933, the Nazis launched a ruralization program to create a new, more primitive Germany. Subdivisions and private property were declared illegal. It was believed that private property promoted commercialism, consumerism, and urbanization. Thus, private property lead people to adopt unnatural and non-German values.
- Hitler's Germany became the first European country to establish nature preserves. Hitler believed that forests and wildlife, symbolizing Germany's pre-Roman past, had to be preserved.
- Nazis favored organically grown foods and studied the effects of artificial fertilizers for fear that they may have degenerative affects.
- The training of Nazi SS Troops included a respect for animals of near Buddhist proportions.
- Adolf Hitler and Heinrich Himmler were both biocentric vegetarians.
So there you have it, ethical/biocentric vegetarianism can never be taken seriously as a movement that will lead to world peace. Clearly, there is a danger in a political movement that accepts the radical egalitarian concept that all animals are equal. Once this shocking premise is adopted, political mutations such as German National Socialism (Nazism) are bound to emerge. In the case of the Nazis, leaders such as Hitler, Himmler, and Hess made what appeared to be a logical argument for genocide in the context of biocentrism. Non-Aryans were the enemy and were systematically murdered. This genocidal project was necessary (in the Nazi ideal) to "purify" Germany so that it could be reunified, as a whole, with nature. Nazis became the "natural" predators in German society (Hitler's ecosystem).
Ethical/biocentric vegetarianism does not provide a roadmap toward world peace. The wonderful and peaceful culture of the Inuit and the evil nature of Hitler's Nazism shall forever provide the evidence necessary to utterly discredit this silly green-vegetarian movement. Time to start printing some HITLER WAS A VEGETARIAN bumper stickers.
Eric Englund [send him mail], who has an MBA from Boise State University, is a surety bond underwriter in Bellevue, WA.
© 2001 LewRockwell.com