Claim: Veganism sounds extreme


  • "I will eat less meat, but I don't want to cut it out entirely"
  • "A half measure is more appropriate for my lifestyle"
  • "Vegans are extremists. I'm all for being a part-time ovo-lacto-pesca-flexitarian between 2-3pm on a Tuesday, but I can't see myself going all the way vegan"

Problems With This Argument

1. This can be used to justify anything

The halfway point between a stealing two cars and not stealing cars is a single car theft, but you'd be hard-pressed to say that this fact somehow grants legitimacy to such an action, or that it's somehow ethically justified. Sure, it's "not as bad", but it's definitely not "good" and not something to somehow aim for since you can always push the goalposts.

As a result, you can legitimize any action as not as bad as double that action. we can do anything then, and even thinking of ethics is meaningless.

2. History is littered with correct "extreme" examples

Imagine someone in the mid-1800s in America saying "I don't think we should keep slaves... but I still think only whites should enjoy certain privileges. It's the middle ground. Being completely egalitarian seems... extreme." With hindsight, we recognize that the "middle position" here is still deeply unethical. The fact that something horrible is currently happening isn't suddenly justification for a "not as bad" lesser evil being "good".

3. It doesn't matter what it "sounds like"

Eating animal products hurts animals, other people, the environment, and yourself. If you want to do that less, then ask yourself what the motivation for that is and whether you can carry that all the way to the finish line rather than part-timing the pain.

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