The Self-Righteous Vegan Plague

The self-righteous vegan stereotype has a grain of truth. Vegan sometimes lose sight of larger goals and become focused on critiquing each other for perceived flaws (real or imagined).  While understandable, petty infighting and Pharisaical attitudes damage the movement and undermine our cause.

Discussion and debate are great. We all have different opinions on his how to solve problems. And that diversity of views is a great thing! But when things devolve into accusing other people of being “fake vegans”, it’s usually a sign we’ve lost sight of the bigger picture.

There’s nothing wrong with letting someone know that an item isn’t vegan. That’s not what I’m talking about. The problem is assuming the worst of others and having a negative view overall.

Focus on the positive

It’s easy to feel pessimistic about the state of the world. Especially when you first go vegan. I think we all go through a period where it’s a struggle to retain positivity. But I still think that positivity is worth fighting for.

It’s very easy to become negative in light of the darkness in this world. But even though things can seem bleak and it’s tempting to give in to frustration, I truly believe that we need positivity to help spread the vegan message.

Don’t lose sight of the goal

Our goal as ethical vegans is to end the suffering and enslavement of animals. We don’t live in a vegan world. There are a lot of mistakes that we can all make in our day-to-day lives. But the answer isn’t attacking others for their flaws – it’s focusing on our own shortcomings, and educating others with kindness and patience.

The vegan community needs more love and less judgement. Vegan-on-vegan violence doesn’t just discourage others, it hurts the movement.

This is not to say that offering advice or education is a bad thing, because it’s not. But before you say something, it’s always wise to think about how to approach the other person in a respectful and loving way. Not to be trite, but honestly, the vegan community could use a whole lot more love, and a whole lot less judgement.

The “Self-Righteous Vegan” Image Problem

If you’re new to veganism, you’re probably pretty angry about what happens to the animals. And that’s okay. But being angry is not going to solve the problem. Try to focus on your commitment to veganism, not on your personal feelings. Be righteous! Just don’t be self-righteous vegan.

Self-righteous vegans are a stereotype, and that’s unfortunate. Unfortunately, society sees us as self-righteous, and that’s probably not something we can fix. People don’t like being reminded of their shortcomings, and often just living according to your values can upset others.

However, that doesn’t mean we need to prove them right. Vegans will likely be criticized regardless of how we conduct ourselves. But we shouldn’t see that as a carte blanche permitting us to treat everyone – vegan and non-vegan – with contempt. As I mention in the video accompanying this post, this is very alienating. And it’s also an avoidance (in my view) of real issues. Instead of fighting for animal liberation, vegan trolls are scouring the web for evidence that other vegans are drinking non-vegan wine or eating cereal containing vitamin D3. Are these legitimate concerns? Maybe. But don’t we have bigger, better things to do with our time?

I certainly hope so. The animals need us. And honestly, they need more vegans. Would they like us to be perfect vegans? Of course. But do they want us to start denouncing each other for eating bread with honey? I don’t think so. I think they’d rather we were spreading the vegan message in a winsome way. Not alienating potential activists with our own particular form of Pharisaical vegan Tourette’s syndrome.

Thanks for watching,
Margaret

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