Last year, on Jan 26, 2010, I wrote the post that would define not only what this blog would become, but that would define the second half of my life. (I count my days, and today is day number 18,501, leaving 18,023 until my one-hundredth birthday. I’m already planning the party.)
The post was about what I realized were my obligations to other animals. (I told you because I know you won’t click the link, hardly anyone ever does.) Within days of writing it, I became vegan, and now you can’t shut me up. All I seem to talk about is animal rights and veganism. I’m sure that it must bore some of you. It’s my passion though, and more than that, I consider the struggle for animal rights as part of the larger struggle for liberty, freedom and respect for those who inhabit our little rock in space.
I used to sell cars, and when I was in that business, I worked with some of the most egotistical, self-absorbed, petty, vindictive and small minded people a man could have the dubious honor to know. It was a treat. So, when I found this new calling in my life, I was thrilled to think about how now I’d be interacting with kind, generous and selfless people, who’s only interest was in doing the right thing by those to whom we have done so much wrong. For the most part, those are the people I have found. By and large, the “rank and file” lesser known members of the animal advocacy community are wonderful people who I am proud to know. But, and there’s always a “but” (otherwise there’d be no post!), there are some people in this movement who make the car salesmen I worked with look like saints.
I’ll not bore you with naming names, were I to do that, my blog would be sure to be descended upon by the acolytes of one of these self-proclaimed “leaders” of the movement. I’d be charged once again as being violent, or of using the tactics of fascists and Nazi’s, or of having some kind of “faith-based mental virus” while all the while my accusers bemoan the use of “ad hominem attacks”. It’s true, these are the kinds of things which have been said about me and others who have the audacity to disagree with one of these pompous blowhards who fancies himself as the beginning, middle and end of the animal rights movement. The man himself is sure to call me “morally confused”, “delusional”, “not educable”, “obsessed”, “disturbed” and perhaps even that my writings are “insane”. He’s called many others those things, I know.
Whenever I need something to chuckle about, I think of what it must be like, to be ensconced in a professor’s study, constantly looking over an Enemies List, à la Richard Nixon, like some sophomoric re-enacting of the famous courtroom scene of the Caine Mutiny as the pathetic Captain Queeg descends into paranoia, convinced that the whole world is against him. What a sad and pitiful place to be.
I used to say, when I was in the car business, that I didn’t mind dealing with unscrupulous car salesmen (you’ll forgive my use of the gendered word, but in my experience, none of the female salespeople could sink to the level of the men). We had a name for them, we called them “snakes” and while I now know how speciesist of me that was, back then I’d say that I didn’t mind dealing with a snake, as long as I knew he was a snake. It’s easier to deal with a snake when you see him for what he is.
What’s tough in the animal advocacy movement is when the snake wraps himself in the robes of nonviolence and uses his public face to preach about the value of education. It’s tough when he proclaims to understand the need to move toward some kind of “divine consciousness” and liberation. Yet, all the while his contempt for others he considers his inferiors is palpable. And he considers everyone his inferior.
I’ll answer the comments now, the one’s I know I’ll get.
Why am I airing these views in public? Why am I trash-talking about the Great One who has done more for animals than even St. Francis of Assisi? Well, as counter-intuitive as this might sound, the man ought to shut up and go away. He ought leave his books as his legacy and take his mean-spirited and relentless attacks on EVERYBODY in the animal movement with him into retirement, preferably to a remote island without internet access.
No matter what his books say, the drama this character likes to stir up in everything he does isn’t helping the movement move forward one iota. He makes himself so easy to dislike that his critics can dismiss his arguments based solely on his toxic personality. People want to disagree with him, out of their sheer desire to see his smugness dealt with. He isn’t helping when no-one wants to listen to him.
No-one wants to listen to him? I’ve got to be kidding right? Of course people listen to him. Really? How many? How good is he at reaching out to those within the movement to make allies and change hearts and minds? If he can’t win over “animal people” what chance does he have with the rest of the world? No, he doesn’t win them over at all. What he does is antagonize them and mock them, driving a wedge between himself and everyone else. No-one else knows what he knows, or understands what he understands. The people who disagree with him aren’t good people trying to do good in the world, as he claims he is. No, those who disagree with him are doing it for the money, the power, the fame, to advance their careers, to become “players” in the animal advocacy movement or for any other reason he can think of with which to malign them. It could go without saying, of course, that he considers himself the only legitimate player.
He says that people don’t want to debate him because of the force of his arguments. It hasn’t occurred to him that people just can’t stand him, because of how he acts. Nobody likes a bully. Even little children know you attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. I guess some people aren’t as smart as little children.
And don’t forget the dreaded “new-welfarist” label.
You can hear the venom nearly spitting from his lips when he makes that charge. And like the famous question, “So, when did you stop beating your wife, Mr. Jones?” to be accused of being a “new-welfarist” is all the proof he and his acolytes need to know the charge is true. Guilt is assumed, and there’s nothing that can be done to clear one’s name.
It must be nice to always be right, and to know for certain the thoughts and motivations of other people. It’s like some weird religion, where the seer knows all, better than anyone else knows even themselves.
It’s been an interesting year. I’ve learned a lot, and have met some really nice people, some I am proud to call my friends, and others I am now happy not to.
And to anyone reading this who would defend their Guru, please don’t bother. Just follow his lead and block me from your life, as I hope to have finally blocked him from mine. I’ve seen more than enough evidence with my own eyes, I’ve heard enough bullshit with my own ears, I’ve lived through enough of this man’s garbage that you can’t defend him to me. What he says and does is indefensible. He treats people like things, and uses them for as long as it serves his purpose and then he discards them and maligns them in any way he can. So, please go on about your business, worshiping at his feet, hoping to forever be part of his ever shrinking inner circle. Keep your mind closed and take all your instructions from him, and wait until he tells you, so you’ll know what to think. It’s worked for you so far.
Am I being too mean, too petty, too vindictive, too egotistical? Perhaps, but I’m in the animal advocacy movement now, and I’ve learned from the best of them.