By David Wolpe | July 6, 2015
We’re not all self-righteous
I was 20 years old and working on a political campaign when I first visited a slaughterhouse. There I saw dead chickens swinging like pale acrobats on a conveyor belt suspended over a vat, and I met a man who called himself, with only a hint of irony, a “goop scooper.” I walked out with the vague idea that I might become a vegetarian one day.
Years later, I stopped eating meat and chicken. On rare occasions, I still have fish, but that grows increasingly less common as the years go by. I am not a vegetable evangelist; I happily coexist with carnivorous members of my family and have friends who worship at the shrine of cooked cow. But permit me to dispense with three myths about vegetarians on behalf of those who, like me, favor beans over beef.
1. Vegetarians are self-righteous. Friends, self-righteousness is a universal quality. Whatever habits people hold dear, they tend to discuss in moral terms. So yes, some vegetarians slide into self-righteousness, but have you ever heard hunters defend their hobby? Or meat eaters talk about the design of the human body, digestive system, and manifest evolutionary advantages? I have had people tell me they cannot be vegetarians because they are “foodies” with the same pride as if announcing they are relief workers in the Congo.
Self-righteousness is more a personality trait than an accompaniment of a political or social position. And sometimes the very accusation is a species of the same malady: “Oh, she is SO self-righteous; I can’t STAND people who are like that. It’s just wrong.” Well yes, it is.
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