fredag 5 juli 2013

Why violence is ineffective and immoral in social justice-campaigns, including animal advocates campaigns.

I gathered some comments about Why violence is ineffective and immoral in social justice-campaigns, including animal advocates campaigns.
First I will start With a good post about Jainism and nonviolence.
"I am Jain and accept ahinsa as my guiding principle. I am vegetarian but not vegan but I do many other things in my life to promote ahinsa. Why do you think it is is enough to be vegan? Why do you think we need to be vegans if we do other nonviolent activities? Please answer publicly on the Facebook page if you would as I know others are interested but do not use my name, please."

My reply:

I *never* said being vegan was enough to satisfy what is required for ahimsa. Indeed, I have said the opposite: veganism is necessary *but not* sufficient. So I agree that to truly embrace nonviolence, you have to go beyond veganism.

Why is veganism necessary? As a Jain, you know that a fundamental principle is not to inflict suffering and death on sentient beings as part of eating. That is why Jains are vegetarian. My point is that there is no distinction between meat and other animal foods so a prohibition on eating meat that does not include dairy is incoherent and arbitrary.

If a Jain could satisfy her obligations to nonviolence by being a vegetarian who did other good works, then, on that thinking, she could eat meat and do even more good works. You would surely not accept that reasoning. You would still not eat meat because you accept that eating should not involve the suffering and death of sentient beings. My point is that the same suffering and death exists with respect to other animal foods as well (and that nonviolence requires that we not eat, wear, or use animals). Veganism is required for nonviolence. It is not enough, however, to satisfy the requirements of a nonviolent life.


Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights Lisa V Onebyone Franklin: There are many wonderful Jains who do not yet get the vegan thing. I do not question their sincerity. But I do not shrink from stating my view that it makes no sense to me to embrace Ahimsa and not be a vegan and they do not resent me for my position. So I keep educating and will do for as long as it takes.

Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights Ixian Device: Putting aside any moral issues, here's a practical problem. How is the fox-hunt rider any different from your mom, assuming she is not a vegan? (If she is, pick a close family member or friend who is not vegan.) If it's okay to use violence against the fox hunter, it's okay to use violence against mom. If it's not okay to use violence against mom but it's okay to use violence against the fox hunt rider, then that is arbitrary and nonsensical.

Jeff Perz Ixian Device, successful non-violent action may not always be possible in situations of individual self-defence, but it is always possible in social justice movements, including the movement to abolish all animal use.


Jeff Perz That's like saying "My mum does pursue a pastime/diet/tradition that involves what we both know egg farming involves...we know what happens to the hen and chicks. This is considered "food." Like so many grisly perversions, egg farming is still practised. I would never even have the inclination to go near a plate of eggs let alone eat them, but my mum certainly would engage in that gratuitous cruelty -- for her own palate pleasure. Every fox hunter I have spoken with detests cruelty that *they* see as gratuitous."

By eating eggs (and eating honey?, and wearing leather?), your mum is causing abhorrent suffering and death to hens and chicks, just as fox hunters cause suffering and death to foxes. As Gary Francione is arguing, if violence is justified against one, then why not the other? There is no morally significant difference between the two.

Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights Ixian Device: There is no difference between your mother and the fox hunter. She eats eggs because she likes the taste; the fox hunter hunts foxes because s/he enjoys it. There is no compulsion or necessity in either case. If violence is justified against the fox hunter, it is justified against your mother.

Jeff Perz Hi Ixian Device. As I suggested, violence is excusable in situations of individual self-defence, or the individual defence of others. This is *not* at all the same as defending others in the context of social justice campaigns. What's the difference? With individual self (or other) defence, sometimes there can only be two options: submit and be harmed or rebel with violence. In stark contrast, in _all_ situations within all social justice campaigns, there is always a third and more effective option: active non-violent resistance.

Following Francione's arguments, I would advise against single issue campaigns such as the anti-fox hunting campaign, but that is another issue so lets ignore that for the moment.

I'm guessing you're already very much aware of the non-violent tactics used to successfully stop fox hunts: road blocks involving chained humans, horns, citronella oil, audio recordings of dogs, etc. But you say violence is sometimes necessary against a fox hunter as a last recourse. Ok, please describe a situation like that, and I will give you an effective non-violent alternative. Violence is never the last recourse within social justice campaigns.

Jeff Perz Ixian Device, your discussion of how different people make different decisions about when to use violence is beside the point. There is *not* a spectrum with you defending your kids against an attacker at one end, gratuitous violence at the other, and killing a fox hunter somewhere in between. Why is there no such spectrum? See my previous comment.

"If you wish to make a blanket assertion that all-is-the-same then go ahead."

Far from a blanket assertion, we are making a direct comparison:

Why do you think that grinding up thousands of male chicks per day in a blender (something your mum causes to happen) is any different than dogs ripping apart ten foxes per day? Really, what is the difference? Why is violence justified in one situation but not the other? The answer is not about personal boundaries. If it were, you would be committed to saying that it is morally acceptable for someone (perhaps not you) to kill people who eat eggs.

Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights Ixian Device: < My mum being an "ovo-vegetarian" is a violent act, to all chickens ~ am I going to attack my Mum for that? ~ Obviously not, she's my Mum. Would I kick a fox hunter once dismounted in the head, yes. My selective violence. > Precisely. Selective violence. It makes absolutely no sense. You see the nonviolent approach as " passive, placatory vegans, like the people who adopt a position on a moral pedestal because they believe they are utterly non-violent." And I see the pro-violence position as nothing more than juvenile chest pounding and heavy breathing. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights For those interested in more info on Jainism, here's a good site that has many texts in original languages and English:

Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights Here's another good site run in conjunction with Kings College, University of London:

Gary L. Francione: The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights Note: Please understand that although I embrace nonviolence as a fundamental principle, my philosophical work on animal rights theory requires only that people have moral concern about animals. My position argues that moral concern requires as a matter of rationality/logic that we abolish animal use. But where that moral concern comes from is irrelevant. FYI:


Jeff Perz Ixian Device, you suggest that you support violence purely for vengeance -- not necessarily to protect someone who is in danger. This is not about animals. This is about -you-. This is about getting "just one fix" of adrenaline and hate. Your hedonism. If this were about helping foxes, you would have joined those who *have* stopped and prevented fox hunts using exclusively non-violent tactics. (Again, I don't support single issue campaigns such as this, for separate reasons.) So I don't think there is much more to say. Wouldn't it be easier to verbally provoke egg eaters in pubs, so then you can violently defend yourself and get your rush?

I did ask you for an example of when you think violence is necessary within a social justice campaign. At first, I thought you were saying, if a fox hunter on horseback was threatening you (with trampling or getting kicked in the head with a hoof) then you would defend yourself with violence -- presumably without hurting the horse. That would be an instance of *individual* self-defence that I would excuse. But then I realised that is not what you are saying at all. You actually meant, if a fox hunter on horseback was threatening you (with verbal abuse or other actions that are unlikely to physically harm you) then you would go out of your way to put yourself in danger, so that you could exact your revenge. Your revenge for being insulted, or for what the fox hunter did yesterday. Or you would wait until the hunter dismounted and then kick him in the head for the pleasure of it.

If this is where you are coming from, I can only say good day and wish you well.

At the end of your comment, you reaffirm your commitment to using violence for individual self-defence. You and I are in agreement about that, but it has nothing to do with animal rights activism.

It seems you don't have an example of necessary violence that advances a social justice campaign.

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