The Vegan Militia

... because we are all made out of meat!

Green Tyranny?

trent

2008/08/03

When I first read Greens are the enemies of liberty I didn’t even think it was worth responding to. Kind of wrestling with a pig. The article is a mess of strawmen, broad generalizations and hysterics, but amongst this there are a few vital points to contemplate.

He rightly fears authoritarianism, and I think everyone, aside from those in power, fear that too. There are people on every side of every debate who might want to impose their will on others, but to generalize an entire movement in such a way is fallacious. I certainly have no such desire, as domination and hierarchy have been the source of most injustices throughout history. However, he does confuse demands for legal proceedings (i.e. “criminal tribunals”) with authoritarianism. Justice and revenge are very different things.

Ah, but here’s a key point, he says

Liberty – true liberty – requires that people see themselves as self-respecting, self-determining subjects, capable of making free choices and pursuing the "good life" as they see fit.

It’s interesting to see what he leaves out: responsibility. By this standard, if I want to dump all my garbage in my backyard that’s my business, my “free choice”, and the fact it attracts rats which invade your house is your problem. Ultimately his point of view is that we act in a moral vacuum: if I ask for you to clean up your yard, I am “imposing my will” on you; and that any time a society tries to force you to take responsibility for your actions, or impose penalties to mitigate the consequences, this is tyranny.

But the reality is that everything we do has consequences, some minor, some severe, some good, some bad. I think it is fair to say that someone who denies that there are consequences is delusional if not sociopathic, and someone who acknowledges these consequences but doesn’t care is selfish and narcissistic. I would be scared of either sort of person. However, if someone agrees that there are consequences, but simply disputes the degree of consequences, then at least we can have a discussion in which reason and morality might lead us all to a better place.

Here then is the “promotion of guilt” he decries: The “free choices” he wants to pursue are seen, increasingly, as having negative impacts. It is too bad he finds himself on the wrong side of this cultural phenomenon. Culture evolves, and ethical codes change. Slavery, rape, killing heretics, child abuse and human sacrifice were all seen as normal at various times in history, fortunately most people now consider these forms of oppression as unacceptable.  Taking responsibility for what comes out of your tailpipe, what goes down your drain, and what goes in your trash is just the next step.

green