I often see or hear about vegans that are so morally self-righteous, that instead of engaging in discussion with carnists, they cut down, mock, ridicule, and ad hominem them to oblivion.
For instance, there is a popular video on YouTube entitled “Vegan Activist DESTROYS Ignorant Reporter” where a news reporter is simply doing her job, asking questions or making statements, and being responded to, probably a bit too harshly, by vegan activist Gary Yourofsky.
I actually had a debate the other day with a vegan, who claimed that the populace are ignorant morons for not knowing complex statistics and risk analysis when it comes to health.
We as vegans often forget that we were once these same “ignorant morons”. For many of us, it took months, years, decades of study and research into nutrition, statistics, environmental science, correlations, and the like, to even partly understand how to properly directly read scientific literature, and find out if a methodology is flawed, or if statistics were blown up or skewed. Most people are not researchers, scientists, dietitians, most people have no degree even related in the field, so people don’t know how to even find a peer-reviewed paper, what a Relative Risk is as opposed to an Absolute Risk, or even know what Peer-reviewed, Meta-analysis, Double-blind, or Cross-sectional studies even are, or whether or not a study can be ignored due to a low sample size, low response rate, method of response, biases, or any other thing in terms of knowing anything about health research.
So we are mocking and degrading people for simply not being as educated as we slaved for hours upon hours on a near-daily basis in order to be. Other people have lives, they have families, struggles, passions, jobs, and interests, so they are simply not going to know as much as many vegans do, probably ever.
Many won’t watch Earthlings, Cowspiracy, Forks Over Knives, or any other documentary that engages in a emotionally-based topic that most Americans believe to be slanted and overblown, like The China Study, which almost no vegan I know of even talks about due to the major flaws in both the actual study, and the book. I am a vegan, and I have never watched any of those documentaries.
If some carnist is trying to debate with you, fine. engage in debate. Healthy debate is good. Or if someone is purposefully trying to warp and misrepresent data to make veganism look awful (I’m looking at you Authority Nutrition), then fine, jump on them. But claiming that all people who simply aren’t as well-versed in the scientific literature as some of us are (Many vegans are idiots when it comes to knowing the facts unless it’s been parroted by Greger or the likes, so it’s not just carnists), or people who simply don’t understand animal sentience, or animal biology, or the impacts of animal agriculture, are idiots, morons, ignorant, or the like as if someone should be shamed for not having that years of education you chose to do, is just obnoxious, and elitist.
It’s like having a well known Astrophysicist like Neil Degrasse Tyson, mock you every time you get something wrong about physics and call you an ignorant moron for not knowing. Neil would never do that, but you get my point. Of course you don’t know anything about Astrophysics, you’re not researching that topic, you are researching Nutrition, or environmentalism, etc.
Many people are raised being told that animals have no feelings, no sentience, no memory, by many people to want animals to have none of that, or are just misinformed themselves. It’s an old wives tale, and many kids are prone to believe in those. There are many books out there dedicated to dispelling health myths beaten into us by our parents, but nobody really blames you if you don’t know that Poinsettas are not poisonous, or that Vitamin C will not cure your cold.
It is this elitist and annoying attitude that has given an awful name to many vegans to the point where “Rational Vegan” sounds a bit like an oxymoron. It’s one of the many reasons why vegans are not on the rise, despite a increase in the number of people interested in plant-based meals.