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IPFS News Link • Food

The Immorality of Eating Steak and Why I Acknowledge Your Right to Eat It

• The Daily Bell - Marc J Victor

Being humble or even productively self-critical isn't fashionable. People groundlessly and publicly proclaiming, "I'm the greatest" or "Nobody is as smart as me" seems commonplace today. When people hold differing opinions, I have noticed many people "listen" to others but hear nothing as they prepare their "brilliant" and mostly regurgitated stock responses. We live in a chest pounding, self-aggrandizing, money flaunting society. I don't pretend to be totally immune.

Like most people, I have always thought of myself as an enlightened guy. I am generally comfortable I have arrived at correct conclusions for all the issues I have carefully considered. However, as I have grown older, I have learned the value of carefully and regularly re-evaluating all my conclusions. I now enjoy the process; especially discarding a long held but erroneous conclusion for a new more correct one. I have become a bit more humble in my conclusions, at least inwardly. I have sincerely adopted the difficult position of being more dedicated to holding correct conclusions rather than simply maintaining the same conclusions forever.

The Non-Aggression Principle

I'm proud to say I'm a man of peace. I have enthusiastically been telling people for decades I oppose the initiation of force or fraud against non-aggressors a/k/a the "Non-Aggression Principle" hereinafter, the "Principle." The Principle seems simple, elegant and self evident to me. Sometimes I express the Principle as follows, "How about we agree I'm in charge of me and my property and you are in charge of you and your property?" Duh! Sometimes I express the Principle in a slightly more complex way thusly: "Voluntary exchanges between peaceful and competent adults ought to be legal, while involuntary exchanges ought to be illegal."

I'm not advocating for utopia. I realize lots of important issues remain unresolved such as determining actual competency, identifying who is initiating the force and defining the outer boundaries of "force" or "fraud" or "imminent risk of force" and "coercion."1

Despite these debatable issues, adhering to the Principle as the major foundational and guiding legal principle of a civilized society is the only way to possibly achieve a free society. To the extent this Principle is not followed, what results is a tyrannical society where force or fraud is initiated against non-aggressors, allowing some people to unjustly impose their will upon others. Said another way, to the extent this Principle is adhered to, a civil and just society results.

I have probably thought through, discussed and even gladly argued about countless applications of this Principle with more people than I could ever recall over many years. I'm generally offended by any compromise of the holy Principle. As such, I consider myself to be pro-freedom, pro-peace, and a solid, some would say "hard core" or even "radical"2 libertarian.

Honestly Considering Animal Rights

Every once in a while, during some hotly contested debate with either a statist or another libertarian, the issue of animal rights arises. Like most libertarians I have met, I quickly and mindlessly dismissed the issue with a terse assertion about how the Principle is simply inapplicable to "animals."

I have never been consciously aware of any conflict in promoting the Principle as I was cheerfully eating my way through some portion of a cow's dead flesh. In fact, I suspect few people regularly ate more dead animal flesh than me. I clearly recall the joy I once derived from strictly adhering to the Atkins Diet. For me, eating bacon cheeseburgers for breakfast, chicken for lunch and steak for dinner was second only to eating some form of pork for any meal. For the first 44 years of my life, I was undoubtedly a huge fan and regular consumer of eating dead animal flesh.

I have always been very interested in promoting good health.3 I have exercised vigorously and regularly since the age of 16. In Marine Corps boot camp, I achieved the highest score in my series for the physical fitness test. Few Marines could ever outperform me on either a physical fitness test or a push up challenge. For most of my life, I have regularly been going to the gym approximately six days per week. I have always appeared to be both healthy and fit.

However, at age 44, my doctor informed me that both my cholesterol level and my blood pressure were a bit high. After the issues persisted, prescription drugs were suggested. At this point, I grudgingly decided to reexamine my diet. After reading The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Eat to Live by Joel Fuhrman, I resolved to radically change my diet and adopt a "whole food plant based" diet instead.4 I made this change solely for health reasons without the slightest thought to any ethical or environmental concerns. It wasn't long after I had adopted a whole food plant based diet my overall health dramatically and objectively improved.

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1 Comments in Response to

Comment by PureTrust
Entered on:
Animals fight back.

We, the animals, have decided that Marc is right. Those of us who are meat eaters, ourselves, have decided to change our intestinal tracts so that we are able to digest grass. And all of us have decided to go a further step, although it may take time.

What is the further step? We are going to gradually phase plants out of our diet. After all, plants' rights, you know. Those poor, humble plants, who don't even have the option of running away like we do. We have been trampling on plants' rights for a long time, now, just like we have been trampling on the plants themselves.

We are aiming to start eating sand and rocks direct. But it's going to take some doing to adjust our digestive systems to eating rocks and sand. However, since we evolved ourselves into the way we are now, we are certain that we will be able to evolve ourselves into rock eaters over time. It might take some millions of years, though. But we are definitely going to work at it.

There are some among us who have brought up an even further, disturbing point. And that is the point of all the humble microbes (germs and bacteria and viruses) our immune systems are killing off daily. Those poor, little, "bugs." All they are doing is trying to stay alive. And we are viciously killing them off with our immune systems. Even though they may be somewhat aggressive - we might have the right to defend ourselves because they might be acting against the Principle - we should at least consider their rights, and where they are coming from, politically.

I guess you are going to get your wish, Marc. We calculate only a 0.00000001% chance that we will survive long enough to evolve sufficiently to be able to live off rocks and sand. And our survival is entirely doomed if we adopt the Principle in favor of the microbes.

In addition, a few of the more theoretical, scientist-types among us are now considering rocks' rights. I mean, just because rocks may not be alive - we are not sure that they and the rest of the inanimate objects don't have a slight aura of life in them - doesn't mean they don't have rights.

So, what does the future hold for people? Who knows? Once we get rock's rights down, the plants will want to follow the Principle, and stop eating the minerals. The plants will die out, too. I guess the whole universe will need to self-destruct simply to avoid messing with the Principle.

Oh, well. It's been fun. You might as well gorge yourself on meat as long as you can.