Brace yourself, I have a feeling this one will be long (again).
This post is about denial, social media isolation, anti-natalism, veganism, doomsday, intersectionality, and the absurdness of each. All brought forward because two of my comments were deleted today (I know, male tears, right?). The plus side is that I am not angry or surprised (even since I was not notified of the removal), just more creative toward my forthcoming echo chamber. I have chose this method of creativity as to not troll (even more) the one who removed the comments, since re-engaging personally is a scrot thing to do, in spite of my not liking social media silos.
Social Media Does Not Work Like That
My second comment (unlike my first which was essentially in agreement to what was already written), was an off-topic (since I forgot to close the thought) comparison (veganism) to what was on-topic in the thread (negative reaction to today’s criticizing of natalism, and the infringing effects on reproductive rights). It went something like this: “The anti-natalism and veganism movements have common elements. They were criticized/mocked for a long time for being outside society’s ‘norm’ … and both movements have taken advantage of the ‘end of the world’ nightmare sauce in an attempt to shame the rest of society for not being like them.”
Had I remembered to closed the loop, it would have read like: “A couple weeks ago a friend posted a link about how the world was going to end if you keep eating meat, due to burgeoning livestock population, added pollution, and other factors. I felt like adding a comment such as ‘meanwhile the elephant in the room…’ but decided against it as I would have been falling into the same pitfalls.” That was a missing perspective that would have turned a trolling remark into one of self-discovery. Instead by the time I got back to what I had written before, it was removed – without a trace.
Maybe some context is in order. I am a member of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (VHEMT), so I am not a typical anti-natalist. I am one where not having children is a personal choice, and I have made mine. It’s not my job to force that on someone else. I am also an omnivore. The comments I have added to a friend’s post – and thus in control of the content added there – well, she is vegan, and an intersectional feminist. So in spite of agreeing with her that support for an individual’s choices should not be denied, I suppose I hit a sore spot when I equated the veganism movement with anti-natalism.
So my content was purged. Wow, that is a long lead-in to this section. Because removing discord has become a common thing in social media (and social justice) in the past few years. Social media has been about discussing issues as a group, not forcing people of differing opinion to start a conversation somewhere else to only receive positive reinforcement. I mentioned “echo chamber” above, and that seems to be a great way to put it (even in spite of it’s use in a popularized memo – and not really in a good way – last year).
The argument I have heard about deleting discord is that “It has all been said before, why regurgitate the same stance? It is easier to delete and block than deal with the fallout of trying to challenge someone.” This isn’t arguing that the world is flat. Even if it were, that would have been one heck of a reply opportunity missed. Also, the fact you have requested or accepted a friend request from me long ago would give you an idea that the conversation is not going to go south very easily. Finally (probably), who said it was only the two options – confront or delete? Ignoring discord does not mean “the other side won.” If you don’t feel up to straightening out someone’s observations – or morals – who cares? No one made it your job to convert people – and deleting it is not going to change anyone’s opinion – the whole thing would be buried and forgotten in a few days anyway.
Left unanswered, someone else could reply to the remark to support you (the thread owner – and this is the likelier outcome since you have your own friends with rights to comment at advantage), or to support the remark. If turns out to be the latter, and given this all does not pan out into a flame war, it may be you that needs to assess values.
None of this could have been possible by forcing “my way or the highway” silos, or “idealistic echo chambers.”
Tough To Chew
So what is so acrid about comparing veganism to anti-natalism? There are many Facebook groups where this is the united purpose – just search within Facebook for “childfree vegan”. Moderators used to push vegan flame war instigators off to these groups (due to being outside of scope) when I was a part of the VHEMT group. While the thread in question was calling out the anti-natalism arguments in a news article as bull, I was trolling by way of saying effectively “Hey, you know this thing you hold very near and dear? It’s bull too.”
Speaking of bull … you know that whole “save the world by stop eating beef” thing that vegans say? You know, how cattle are eating all the grain that could have provided food security instead? I am not going to deny loss of rainforest because of cows. Elsewhere in the world, cattle graze where crops are difficult to grow and more importantly, the “grain” they are eating no human would want anyway.
Whether it be straw or chaff, “crop residue” is a common byproduct of agriculture. Focusing on wheat alone (the west’s most popular cereal), every liter of whole grain grown (often further divided later on) leaves a byproduct weighing anywhere between 0.9 and 1.6kg. That’s a lot of residue that needs to be composted. Ultimately the quickest way to compost that for the next round of crops is to feed it to livestock. So, abolishing big beef also means doing something very different for big wheat (if not the whole grain industry).
Holier Than Thou
The “quick and simple” suggestions to “change the world” in the end have so many intricacies that even feminism has felt it. You may have seen someone post an article on social media like the one I have criticized above, and then later on you see one where the BIPOC community is rightfully rejecting vegan values because the strategy has been largely racist, if not classist. Intersectional feminism’s reaction has been to play a strange balancing act in that “if you continue to eat meat, you are destroying the planet – assuming you are white and well-off enough to make the right choice.” Why not end the whole flimsy moral high ground altogether?
In fact, why not reassess all the “if’s, and’s or but’s” that make up intersectionality and have a more absolute (whether it becomes for or against) stance on issues? If feminism is about equality and equity, then intersectionality – looking at all the factors to only make exceptions based on race, wealth, religion, et cetera – is the antithesis of equality/equity.
This can result to fracture feminism into even more sects in the end – maybe this time each sect will not be identifed by the same name and cause less confusion as to what it means to be a part of the movement. One thing would be clear – set long-term goals of accomplishment instead the flurry of “armchair SJW’s” creating memes and posts in blogs (yes, the irony is not lost on me) of what annoyed them for the day.
The End (Of Humans)
There have been some wacky ideas for population control. Some have lived (or died) through the attempts. Meanwhile population keeps going up. It is said that a 99.99% die off would still leave more than 700,000 survivors, and in less than 50,000 years we could be facing the same problem. VHEMT thus talks about limiting the birth rate – not the death rate – yet at the same time not forcing the issue. The “old guard” encouraged birth rates – to the point of discouraging actions to impede reproduction (with the exception of certain groups such as the neurodivergent – eugenics practices would historically sterilize in these cases). Now we are in this transition and have jumped a few steps (absolute free choice, encourage/praise infertility, subsidize infertility) to discourage and blame those who choose to have children.
To this I say is bad form, as it is the first of “the stick” approach, only a step away from placing a fine on childbirth. China has done the stick approach – it is widely regarded a failure. To me I am in favour of a “carrot” approach, as it allows people to not feel burdened (any more than typical) about the choice they make.
After all, no amount of doomsday nightmare-sauce will make anyone determined to have children change their mind. Or even then, “life finds a way.” Which, for what it’s worth, the Earth has been through worse times. It will survive. Yet be watchful, it just may decide to buck us sometime.