Michael Pollan, author of an Omnivore’s Dilemma has annoyed many vegans.
In that well written book, Pollan, an omnivore, does his research, learns, and admits what vegans have been saying all along about the ethics of food choices.
Vegans are annoyed, because after finally being heard by someone out of the mainstream we are still, irrationally, shunned.
In this article in the The Atlantic Monthly B.R. Myers writes a review of Pollan’s book
Hard to Swallow
The gourmet’s ongoing failure to think in moral terms
by B. R. Myers
Matt Ball in the latest issue of the Vegan Outreach Newsletter finds the essential quote of B.R. Myers’ criticism of Michael Pollan:
“One debates the other side in a rational manner until pushed into a corner. Then one simply drops the argument and slips away, pretending that one has not fallen short of reason but instead transcended it. The irreconcilability of one’s belief with reason is then held up as a great mystery, the humble readiness to live with which puts one above lesser minds and their cheap certainties. As Pollan writes:
“‘I have to say there is a part of me that envies the moral clarity of the vegetarian, the blamelessness of the tofu eater. Yet part of me pities him, too. Dreams of innocence are just that; they usually depend on a denial of reality that can be its own form of hubris.'”
“How arrogant, in other words, how pitifully close to mental illness, to want to be a better person!”
In other words, Pollan is very rational, does a lot of research, follows logic all the way to the conclusion that morally he should become vegan. Then he decides that he simply doesn’t want to, he shuts his reasoning faculties off and calls vegans unrealistic.
This is one of those situations where someone is caught up in their feelings, they know it, they know it is not rational, but they don’t want to let go and instead of admitting that they pretend like there is some issue which you are too dense to get that mitigates their irrationality. The old “if I need to tell you, then you can’t understand it” BS.
Some people want to call Pollan an “excuse-atarian”.
I think there is a word that better fits someone who does a lot of research and a lot of thinking to arrive at an ethical conclusion who then chooses not take the ethical action: hypocrite.
I don’t mean that as insult to Pollan.
I’m still gratified that an omnivore has learned…..and told other omnivores….what we vegans have been saying all along. I am just taking the same spirit of logic that Pollan took with his book, that is, adding everything up logically and seeing where it comes out.
Reason is reason. Emotion is not reason. Emotion is a physiological response to our perceptions. Not feeling right about an action does not negate very impressive reasoning. Impressive reasoning negates impressive reasoning.
Michael Pollan, get honest with yourself and then GO VEGAN!