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What is YOUR Definition of Nonviolence?

In an effort to learn from others involved in the struggle for animal rights as well as other issues of social justice/injustice and nonviolence, I’ve always solicited comments and suggestions. Some of the most helpful have been from people not all that interested in animal rights.

Here are some of the most common reactions to Thinking Critically About Animal Rights:

  • The word "Abolition" freaks me out (this is, of course, is from the average omnivore, but also from a couple of vegetarians). In response, I did remove it as a heading (in favor of Animal Rights in an attempt to take the phrase back from those who co-opted it), but I couldn’t delete the word everywhere (nor did I want to).
  • The rights vs. welfare discussion was hostile. I was sort of at a loss with this one. I had asked (actually someone did this for me) a bunch of omnivores what they thought about animal rights and they universally thought it had to do with not using animals AND that PeTA doesn’t believe in any kind of animal use. Go figure. When a first draft was presented to them, they were able to articulate the difference between rights and welfare, but before that they didn’t know about the debate. It was, as you can imagine, vegans (dare I say welfarists?) who had the biggest problems with the discussion. And I have always said that if you’re a vegan, though I might love you for that, you’re not my target market. Heaven knows we’ve got plenty of brochures that walk the reader down a path that ends with decreasing suffering as paramount. My intention was to get readers to see the problems inherent in use that they ordinarily might not think about or consider unjust.
  • By far, the phrase that activists had the biggest problem with and resulted in dozens of e-mails, some of which were rather um, not nice (euphemism alert!), was that nonviolence in strategy means that force, intimidation and property damage are not acceptable. Au contraire, as you know. Despite the thousands of downloads of TCAAR, I started to wonder how many of those people actually read the darn thing when suddenly, about a month ago, my mailbox was flooded with messages about my mischaracterization of nonviolence. I guess TCAAR was posted on some kind of forum and that launched a discussion about how I don’t know anything about nonviolence. I was referred to articles, DVDs, speeches, essays, websites and magazines, many of which I was already familiar with, in an effort to educate me about what violence (and nonviolence) really is. But here’s the deal: There are many definitions of violence, nonviolence and of course, terrorism. I changed the definition to say that harming people physically is never an objective in an attempt to not get into a discussion that deserves its own pamphlet.

I was going to write a post about terrorism (Will Potter got me going), and though I know this will be controversial, I’d rather everyone read Steve Best, Ph.D.’s essay "Defining Terrorism," which includes my favorite definition:

"Terrorism" is a word people use to refer to armed struggles they don’t like. (John Burdick, Associate Professor, Syracuse University)

What are your thoughts about sabotage, intimidation and property damage? (You can e-mail me if you don’t want to comment.) Are they violence? Should such force be included in our efforts? And if so, do you characterize that as counter terrorism? Do such tactics lower us to their level?

A Buddhist mentor used to say to me: If you’re walking down the street and someone clobbers you over the head, do you just stand there? Do you simply move out of the way? Do you defend yourself and clobber back? What if someone were hitting your child? Would you let them get away with that? Wouldn’t you fight back physically or intimidate them or do whatever you had to so they’d get the message that they’re not allowed to hit your child? This of course leads right to me being a speciesist if I would fight for a child (physically) but not for animals, despite the fact that one is direct and immediate (the child is there and the animals, whom I don’t even know, are elsewhere). Hmmmm. So much to think about.

I’m not advocating harming any person physically, and not because there’s a law against it but because I don’t think it’s right unless it’s immediate self-defense.

But what about property? Does violence include property in your mind (think open rescue and beyond), and should it be part of our strategy?

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. Joseph #

    Hi Mary!

    I should make it a habit of posting more comments, as I have only done so twice. Does the fact that I am an ALF supporter make my response a little biased? When it comes to property destruction and animal liberation, I just think to myself, "Would I approve of such actions if children were being tested on?" However, I am not really a big fan of activists targeting property that is not directly involved in the animal exploitation (i.e. the cars of vivisectors).

    January 25, 2008
  2. Peaceful Warrior #

    First, I classify property damage and personal threats as violence. Personally, I’d rather be sucker-punched hard in the nose than find hundreds or thousands of dollars of damage to my property (even if insurance would “cover it”). If you consider being punched hard in the nose violence, then you ought to consider significant property damage violence.

    Second, as to whether we’re justified in inflicting violence of any kind on animal exploiters, IMO, the question follows the same criteria I would use to justify a proposed war:

    1. The enemy of the war must be doing something seriously immoral. So far, so good with respect to animal exploiters; they’re certainly doing something immoral enough.

    2. All reasonable diplomatic avenues to stop the immoral behavior/policy must be exhausted. In some cases, this criterion has been satisfied with respect to some exploiters; in other cases, it has not been satisfied.

    3. The benefits of fighting the proposed war must be expected to clearly exceed the costs (unless we have nothing to lose – see 4.B below). In the case of ARA property damage, the costs to ARAs in jail time and overall bad reputation of the movement in general exceed the benefits, which in the case of ARAs amounts ONLY to the specific animals saved with permanent new homes, if any. In all likelihood, the number of future animals hurt by our lack of influence caused by our worsened reputation for violence will far exceed the number saved in the property damage attack.

    4. The proposed war must either: A) have a very good, and preferably excellent, chance of ending with a victory for our side, or B) be fought under conditions where we have nothing to lose (our personal death would be better than not fighting due to the tyranny of the enemy toward us if we live). We are outnumbered at least 9,999 to 1 and we have absolutely no chance of winning such a war. In fact, even if some efforts of the ALF have shut down certain groups, the abuse just moves to another location because it is the general demand for the abuse, not the specific supply, which runs the abuse engine. Not only that, but ARAs are displayed as “the bad guys” every time in this situation. Not only that, but the more stunts like this that are carried out, the more rigid law enforcement gets and the more people-at-large “hate” ARAs and can hang their hat on the “bad reputation” of ARAs.

    I was recently debating AR on an anti-AR environmental forum. My opponents LOVED IT when news of ARA property damage came up in the news media. Because they crave the moral high ground and don’t get anywhere near high ground in debate, they are DESPERATE for ANY opportunity to feel indignant. Property damage news gives them that feeling. Not that it is justified in the least, but they feel utterly redeemed when stuff like this hits the news. The forum “smiley faces” and “LOLs” came out in force before I could do damage control. And damage control is exactly what I had to do by saying, truthfully, that I absolutely opposed these acts.

    There may come a time when 20-50% of the population is vegan and for AR. If and when that time comes, certain “agitation” may be politically beneficial to forward the AR agenda much like agitation moved the civil rights agenda. But we are not even remotely close to that critical mass, folks. Property damage, threats, etc. will only set us back at a time we cannot afford it. In fact, violence at this time could even snuff out the movement entirely for decades if it is prevalent enough.

    One final comment: if you are going to engage in property damage against exploiters, start with your non-vegan family members. If you cannot justify destroying their property or threatening them, then you probably can’t justify it against others either.

    January 25, 2008
  3. Peaceful Warrior,

    You have articulated the problems I have with property damage and the like. It's not the property damage that's the problem, per se (for me), but it's what effect it has, as in: does it help you reach your goal? (And if your goal is to rescue the animals in THAT lab, right now, I guess it does.) As I say often, I like results. When I give money, it's usually (not always) to an organization that has a mission with clearly defined goals and a plan to reach them. It doesn't seem like we've given vegan education enough of a try to say we've tried everything and it hasn't worked, so now we must resort to force. Though the issue may have been on the table in a serious way for well over 100 years, we don't seem to be making a lot of progress. However, that could be because we don't seem to have a plan for worldwide vegan education, as many who comment have observed.

    So I'm ambivalent.

    January 25, 2008
  4. the (idealist) bunny #

    No, I don't consider sabotage, intimidation, and property damage as violence; then again, I don't advocate it. There are better ways to hit the meat/dairy industry where it hurts. What is more effective…saving a hundred chickens by breaking them out of a factory farm (and possibly facing jail time, where you will no longer be able to help any animals)? Or converting one person to become vegan, which will save hundreds of factory farm animals (or many more if that vegan converts yet another person to become vegan and so on)?

    In terms of sabotage/intimidation…that to me is immoral if it results in harassment and the mental breakdown of a person out of fear. I myself would never do it. Property damage just seems like silliness to me–not an effective solution.

    The question is not are these actions violent, but are they peaceful? I'd say no. And it seems to me that veganism is really all about peace (toward all animals). Call me a naive idealist/pacifist (some do), but that's my simple take on it at this moment in my life. If I believed these actions were okay and worked, I would be out there doing them this very moment.

    Peaceful Warrior: I love your final comment.

    January 26, 2008
  5. Anyone who doubts just how far some in the AR movement are willing to go to get their way needs to read this "editorial" by Gary Yourofsky that recently ran in the student newspaper of Indiana Southern University. In this little diatribe, among other things, Yourofsky advocates that women who wear fur should be viciously raped:

    This "editorial" is the ranting of a lunatic and a hate-mongerer. A lunatic and a hate-mongerer that happens to be a spokesman for the AR movement who "lectures" thousands of impressionable young minds every year. So long as your movement has the likes of Yourofsky, Vlasak, and Best speaking for it, it is forever destined for failure.

    January 26, 2008
  6. Clearly nobody here is advocating rape. One thing we struggle with in our efforts to help animals is the fact that the people who say the most outrageous or frightening things get all the attention while those who work day in and day out, quietly and respectfully trying to help animals are often invisible.

    This is not just a problem for animal advocates though. Many Christians feel embarrassed to be associated with those who use Christianity as an excuse for hate and violence, just as many Muslims believe absolutely in their faith but deplore those who use it as a weapon against others.

    What I do find amazing though is that so many concentrate on one clearly fringe statement to discredit an entire philosophical movement, yet spend so little time thinking about their own actions. So many people shrug off the suffering of others, whether those others are children laboring long hours in dirty unsafe factories, or animals who live short miserable lives to wind up on our plates. Many people are good at waxing eloquent about how offended they are by this or that sentence in a speech or article (ok, me too, I get offended and can go on and on about it). They will spend hours describing how this statement hurt them deeply, yet if they eat or wear animals they are dismissing much larger harms simply because they happened to someone else, a member of another species, or whatever words they use to excuse that violence, that cruelty.

    In any case, to answer Mary's points rather than continue this tangent, I'd have to say I remain undecided on the concept of violence. I've said many times that my life was saved in a violent attack when someone else intervened with physical force and saved me. I cannot be against using force to protect one's self or others. But I don't think that unnecessary violence is justified. I think most people I encounter on a daily basis are more violent than I would like, but then I live in a violent area.

    I'm not sure if destroying property is violence, and so much depends on context. I think that if someone were using their property to violate my rights I would be justified in hurting that property. For example, if I were on an escalator and turned to find a man using a camcorder to film up my skirt, I'd feel fine about grabbing the camcorder and tossing it on the ground, possibly breaking it. And that's a pretty minor example. Few people would feel bad about smashing out a window to rescue a kidnapped child held inside. It's just a question of where we draw the line and how we balance it with the laws and values of the society in which we live. To that I have few answers only musings.

    January 26, 2008
  7. joey #

    I think that looking at the issue of violence, and whether you would stop someone from hurting your child, or yourself, or a friend, or, or, or, misses the fundamental question we should be asking ourselves when we engage in activism. This is partly what Ward Churchill misses in pacifism as pathology, and what Best misses in … well anything I have read by him ….. (feel free to email me essays I have missed).

    In Rain Without Thunder, Francione speaks about micro and macro moral problems in trying to explain why someone can be against welfare reform and still, for example, offer a thirsty cow water when he/she is in line to be slaughtered. Perhaps we should offer water to the cow in order to lessen his or her suffering at that moment, but, this does not mean we should pursue 'give water to thirsty cows on their way to slaughter' campaigns. Similarly, when we speak about what you would do if someone tried to kidnap your child, or an animal you are caring for, and then use that moral reaction to justify larger campaigns, a large error is made. While rhetorically powerful, the argument does not hold weight.

    January 28, 2008
  8. Joey,

    I'm missing something.

    What are you saying is the fundamental question we should be asking ourselves when we engage in activism?

    I get that you agree with Francione about the thirsty cow bit. And I don't disagree. But this isn't about welfare versus rights. And I don't get the connection with the harming of the child part and the "large error." What is it that doesn't hold weight?

    I'm just trying to get clear about your message (other than you agree with Francione and you don't agree with Churchill or Best).

    January 28, 2008
  9. Joseph #

    "One final comment: if you are going to engage in property damage against exploiters, start with your non-vegan family members. If you cannot justify destroying their property or threatening them, then you probably can’t justify it against others either."

    I get what you are trying to say, Peaceful Warrior, but how many of us actually know people in our own family that are vivisectors, slaughterhouse workers, furriers, etc.? The majority of people are ignorant to the suffering of nonhuman animals, so attacking the property of an average person doesn't seem to be all that prudent.

    January 28, 2008
  10. Joseph,

    Most of us have family members who know very well, or should know if we’ve been honest with them, how cruel and wrong meat, dairy, and eggs are, yet they insist on continuing to consume these products. Your family members should not be among those “ignorant of the suffering” or YOU are not being honest with them. The way I see it, these people (including, for example, my mother, brother, and sisters) are absolutely no different than vivisectors, furriers, and slaughterhouse workers. The fact that they remove themselves from directly participating in the immediate action and cruelty of these industries may make them feel better about it or “removed” from it, but as long as they are buying the goods sold, they are the ULTIMATE cause of the action and cruelty itself. Fact: Without buyers, there would be no sellers. That you pay someone to slaughter animals for you, in my mind, is absolutely no different than killing them yourself. In fact, in a way, it’s more cowardly from a moral standpoint because it has dishonesty and self-deception entangled in it. It’s like saying, “I just own the fur farm; I don’t break the necks.”

    Therefore, if we are going to attack those directly killing animals, we should also attack our non-vegan family members who are ultimately responsible for the actions of the former.

    January 28, 2008
  11. Joey #

    Joseph: the point PW was trying to make, I think, is that we all know people who live as omnivores who, through their diet, are violent towards animals in much the same way that vivisectors are.

    The point I was trying to make in regards to micro and macro issues discussed in RWT is that how we should think about macro moral problems is often different from how we should think about micro moral problems If this is true (I don't think you're looking for a justification of that particular point since you accept the reasoning in RWT?), then it should apply to how we think about justifying violent campaigns as well. When people try and defend violent campaigns (macro) based on what most of us would do when faced with a loved one being attacked (micro) the error in reasoning made is analogous to the thirsty cow example from RWT.

    The reasoning, as I see it: since I would do X in micro situations, then I am justified in doing X on the macro level (as a larger campaign).

    From RWT: We would all give a cow water who was suffering (micro). It does not follow from this that we should do this on the macro level.

    As analogous to violent campaigns: most of us would protect, and perhaps harm others, to save loved ones (micro). This does not mean we should do this on the macro level (violent campaigns). It is the same reasoning at play in both situations, and if one is flawed, then so is the other.

    Because most of us would fight to defend our family, and perhaps kill aggressors, does not mean we should start violent campaigns. This makes intuitive sense to most of us, and the macro/micro distinction helps, I think, explain why. Campaigns should look for justification on the level they operate on, the macro level, rather than looking for justification based on what we would do in very intimate, micro, situations. I guess my point is: so what if we would all defend our family and friends from aggressors? What does this have to do with a large scale social movement?

    If this is true, then the worry about being descriminatory because one does not endorse violence in certain situations fades away.

    January 28, 2008
  12. Joseph #

    Hey Peaceful Warrior,

    You are certainly right about the supply-and-demand aspect of animal products, and by extension, cruelty. My family and friends (the immediate ones, anyway), know where I stand on the use of animals. I unfortunately cannot force them to accept a vegan lifestyle.

    A you know, the point of property destruction for animal liberation is to inflict economic sabotage on those that seek to profit for animal suffering. (I would aruge that this is more effective along with grassroots vegan education as well, but that may be another topic). Going back to what I originally implying, nobody I know personally has fur traps, vivisection tools, and other sadistic instruments, so there would be no need for me to target their belongings.

    January 29, 2008
  13. Joseph,

    I assume that you don’t agree with personal and non-business-property threats against exploiters; only destruction of specific property used in carrying out animal abuse?

    If so, that’s understandable, or at least more consistent with how you might treat family members (i.e. trash the tools, if any, they torture animals with). The only question to ask then, from a practical standpoint, would be: does the benefit to the animals of this economic sabotage outweigh any negative press generated that cannot be mitigated or offset by increased public debate in FAVOR of animal rights. If the economic sabotage is significant (e.g. a building was burned down), then I would say the negative media press far outweighs any benefits to animals or the movement as a whole. If the economic damage is not significant (e.g. broke locks, destroyed cages and instruments used for experiments, etc.), then it’s somewhat akin to civil disobedience and I’m not going to say much pro or con about it.

    IOW, the degree of public relations damage to the animal rights movement is directly proportional to the degree of severity of the property/economic damage. Little or no economic damage; little or no public relations damage to the movement. Lots of economic damage; lots of public relations damage to the movement.

    Someday, we might have enough troops as a percentage of the population to neutralize any negative PR (like the environmental movement does now), but currently, we’re outnumbered by far too great a magnitude to offset the damage to our message and PR standing, which is extremely important when you’re trying to garner public support for the movement and public outrage at the exploiters.

    January 29, 2008
  14. I believe animal advocates must reject the corporate-state definition of violence. When we categorize both physical harm to life as "violence" and destruction of property as "violence," we seriously erode the value of life. Also, the charge that underground activists are "terrorists" (as made by government, industry, and some who are supposedly on our side) becomes more absurd considering the fact that the property destroyed by the ALF is used to commit atrocities on innocent animals. Terrorists destroy life, the ALF defends life.

    I can understand debate over what strategy is the most prudent in the abolitionist struggle for animal liberation. Morally, however, if we accept the "by any means necessary" approach to liberate humans from torture and death, we cannot categorically deny this approach for the liberation of other animals.

    Finally, I believe there is value in strategic nonviolence.

    For example, in the case of the ALF and ELF, it is written in the guidelines that one must "take all necessary precautions against harming any animal, human and nonhuman."

    Even if violence (defined as physical harm to life) is morally justified as self-defense of the oppressed, it may be tactical suicide.

    What do you think?

    January 30, 2008
  15. Hi everyone,

    So we've got some differing opinions. I was actually trying to see if there was agreement that violence should mean physical harm to life (and exclude property damage and sabotage). I've felt that intuitively, but "rejecting the corporate-state definition of violence," as BrandonXVX says, is a much better reason than "I feel that intuitively."

    I don't think anyone who advocates direct action that involves property damage is dogmatic about it. I believe that people who have moved into that realm take each situation on a case-by-case basis.

    My biggest concern, as I have a healthy disrespect for the law, isn't the breaking of the law, but the PR effect. But I'm happy to entertain an argument about why I shouldn't care about that or about how many abolitionists of over a century ago didn't care about it. I'm open. All I know for sure is that whatever it is we're doing, we don't appear to be doing enough or maybe we're not engaged in enough of the most effective actions. I know that's not a popular belief, but I won't be winning any popularity contests, anyway.

    January 30, 2008
  16. Joseph #

    Peaceful Warrior,

    You are correct to assume that I advocate destruction of property that directly ensures animal suffering. Well, not totally, because I don't quite see the problem with an ALF cell writing on the wall "Free the Animals", after destoying the battery cages or whatnot.

    As far as the PR side of property destruction goes, practically everyone I have ever encountered in my life that is anti-property destruction (in relation to animals anyone), has at least a negative view of veg*nism to begin with. The degree varies of course with each person, but it seems like most people (seem) already against the idea of animal rights (ignorance moreso than hatred?), and ALF activity wouldn't really sway them. Heck, I've met a lot of "ethical" vegetarians that nearly abhore the idea of animal rights.

    I feel that there are enough vegetarians/vegans in the United States that can sway public opinion in favor of AR. The problem is that we need to remove the speciesist tendences of these people.

    January 30, 2008
  17. Joseph,

    I think ALF activity causes people who don’t understand AR (which is a vast majority of the population, at least in the US and Canada) to dislike or hate AR by psychological association and negative media coverage. We’re much better off politely educating now. If people view us as hostile, our task of education will be very difficult, if not impossible.

    As to lacto-ovo “vegetarians”, I consider them equivalent to omnivores. What’s the difference between eating cheese, eggs, milk, or meat? There is no difference, ethically. They all require the same exploitation, and 99.999% of the time, abuse. Despite their name, they are much closer to omnivores, at least in practice, who happen to eat a little more healthy than they are close to vegans. The speciesism of L-O vegetarians and omnivores is the same; and for L-O “vegetarians” to support ALF actions is blatant hypocrisy.


    To clarify my views on this topic:

    I do consider property damage as “violence”.

    I accept the “corporate-state” definition of “violence.”

    I REJECT the “corporate-state” definition of “terrorism”, since terrorism, IMO, must involve action that is extremely dangerous to public welfare and/or kills or maims people, or it is better classified as “vandalism” or “political vandalism.” What the ALF has done so far is NOT terrorism, but it is violence.

    I’m not a pacifist (despite my chosen user name for this topic), and do accept as much violence as necessary to win a *just* war if it is clear that such violence will be effective. The war to liberate animals from tyranny is certainly just, but violence is not effective in the current situation.

    I consider the laws that protect the property status of animals and the abuse of animals as grossly immoral and have absolutely no respect for such laws, even though I have plenty of respect for laws I consider moral. As a moral matter, I have no problem whatsoever breaking immoral laws; in fact, I support it.

    My only objection against violence (toward people or property) to liberate animals is pragmatic; I believe that significant violence will only backfire at this stage of the game and make our task much more difficult.

    January 30, 2008
  18. Joseph #

    Peaceful Warrior,

    I agree, it is inconsistent of a vegetarian to support ALF activity, considering the amount of exploitation involved in the dairy/egg industries. I remember Gary Francione mentioning that he'd rather eat a burger than drink a glass of milk because there is more cruelty involved in the latter.

    You mentioned "politely educating", at least at the moment. Does that mean that you disprove of campaigns like SHAC? The campaign, as well as sister ones, seem to be succeeding. I am sure HLS will fall.

    I didn't realize that you are the same person that runs Unpopluar Vegan Essays. I very much enjoy your posts.

    January 31, 2008
  19. On lacto-ovo vegetarians:

    I agree with Gary. I’d rather eat a burger (or any meat-based sandwich) than a glass of milk, a bowl of ice cream, or a cheese omelet because of the relative cruelty involved in each.

    On SHAC:

    I don’t support many of SHAC’s tactics. While they may ultimately cause HLS to fail and therefore win that battle, we need to look at the bigger picture of what they will actually have accomplished and what they have already sacrificed in the effort.

    First, what will they have ultimately accomplished if HLS goes down? Perhaps the biggest gain is that some people will realize that the “bad cop” in the animal movement is serious, and therefore perhaps we should listen to the “good cop” in the movement more than we have. In any movement, a good argument can be made that the people willing to go the furthest in the fight will push the envelope for the more moderate to appear more moderate in relation. This is true of theory as well as practice and self-sacrifice. Another potential gain is the potential temporary reduction in animals tortured while the people behind HLS reorganize under a different name and move to a different location or move in with Covance or another testing company.

    Second, let’s look at the sacrifices. The biggest sacrifices are 1) the increase in dislike and even hatred of the animal movement by at least as many people, and probably more, as those who pay more attention because of the “bad cop’s” behavior, and 2) the loss of *perceived* moral high ground (whether SHAC is justified morally is irrelevant to the practical question of the public perception of justification). These two sacrifices are “the PR problem” in a nutshell, and IMO, they outweigh the benefits of the public realization that the “bad cop” is serious and the “good cop” is reasonable. The PR problem results in laws like the AETA and a general public distain of ARAs as *perceived* hypocrites and misanthropes.

    Speaking of the AETA, it can be counted as another sacrifice, along with the ultimately unjust and heavy sacrifices of those who are in prison now. Finally, the fact that HLS personnel and activities will just blend back in to the animal testing industry under greater cover and legal protection must be viewed as a sacrifice.

    If we had 100,000 people ready to march in Washington DC in protest of HLS and the prison sentences of SHAC members, and if we could fill the media with close to as many “talking heads” supporting SHAC’s actions as those opposing SHAC’s actions, then we could literally transform what is or will be a bad PR move into a good one. The problem is that our numbers are not currently big enough as a percentage of the public population to create the transformation of the PR result from “unreasonable extremist ARAs need to be stopped NOW!” to “there needs to be a national debate on the morality of animal testing.” That critical mass is an essential ingredient to SHAC’s tactics working instead of backfiring.

    On “politely educating”:

    I have been in many AR debates with many people. For various reasons, not the least of which is frustration at the insults from and moral imbecility of animal exploitation advocates, I have been quite rude at times. I have found, without exception, that my rudeness and insults, as fun as they may be to fling at the time, have only hardened the opposition and made on-lookers skeptical. The times when I’ve been very dry, reasonable, and factual, sticking to only points of fact and reason and ignoring insults and general stupidity, I have softened the opposition and made on-lookers respectful, if not believers. This is human nature in action. Regardless of what we think of the topic, we tend to listen more to those who avoid insults and stick to facts and reason, and listen less to those who do the opposite. To a large extent, this rule translates well into PR issues, which is why I believe we’re better off taking the perceived high moral ground and staying away from vandalism, threats, and insults, and sticking to the truth, facts, and reason, which are on our side, 100%.

    I’m glad you like Unpopular Vegan Essays. Thank you for the compliment.

    January 31, 2008

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