Ashley Maier, Breeding Slavery (Q&A)
What really struck me about this part of the article was the realization that very few other social causes actually require commitment or change compared to veganism.
Veganism is often seen as dogmatic because it has “rules” or a set of guidelines that are followed at all times to the best of one’s abilities. “Vegans can’t do this, vegans can’t do that, ugh! Why don’t you just relax and live your life?”
But when you think about it, people involved with other social causes follow just as many rules. There are a million things you shouldn’t do if you want to consider yourself a human right’s activist or an environmentalist or a liberal thinker. But these rules are easily bent and even broken for the sake of convenience, since there is no clear boundary on what makes one an environmentalist, what makes one a liberal, and so on. I could declare myself an ecofeminist right this minute, and it would be tough to prove me wrong. The issue here with other social causes is that they are reducible to labels, and whether or not I feel like that label is applicable to me. Sure, if I do a few things that whatever label I abide by “shouldn’t” do, you could tell me that I’m No True Scotsman.
The clarity and consensus about what veganism entails makes it one of the strongest social causes to date. You can be sure that the moment you actually commit to going vegan, you are committing to actual change. The same cannot always be said of other ideologies - not because all proponents of other social causes make exceptions for convenience, but they may not know what actions are more effective for their cause for others, and what actions should not be compromised. The only thing all environmentalists know in common is probably “don’t drive a Hummer and don’t go around causing oilspills”. Even vaguer for the liberal’s commonality, which is just “don’t be a conservative”.
What people are really recognizing when they call veganism “dogmatic” is that veganism de facto accepts the responsibilities of acknowledging the harm of the industries which support animal abuse and understands what core actions lead to that goal.