David Thompson
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March 21, 2010

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Anna

"Keith said the attack appeared to have been planned on Internet sites dedicated to veganism. She called it a case of infighting that harmed activist causes."If this is what is considered radical action," she said, "this movement is dead.""

Ha. Don't worry love. Another radical movement will come along in a few minutes.

jones

Did she call the agents of state oppression before or after she collected her weekly state benefit payout? I only ask in order to try to establish which bits of evil society she finds acceptable.

I wonder what her views are on Eskimo seal hunting or halal practices in the middle-east?(Bit of a tangent I know but I'm stirring here!).

mlrosty

herbivorous rage... :)

Sort of on topic

"Ethical consumers less likely to be kind and more likely to steal, study finds.

When people feel they have been morally virtuous by saving the planet through their purchases of organic baby food, for example, it leads to the "licensing [of] selfish and morally questionable behaviour", otherwise known as "moral balancing" or "compensatory ethics"... Those in the study who bought green products appeared less willing to share with others a set amount of money than those who bought conventional products. When the green consumers were given the chance to boost their money by cheating on a computer game and then given the opportunity to lie about it – in other words, steal – they did, while the conventional consumers did not. Later, in an honour system in which participants were asked to take money from an envelope to pay themselves their spoils, the greens were six times more likely to steal than the conventionals."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/mar/15/green-consumers-more-likely-steal

David

What tickled me was the line, “cowards who should direct their herbivorous rage at the powerful - not at a fellow radical.” Setting aside the notion of “herbivorous rage,” it’s the way that “radicals” never admit their own role as “the powerful,” even when they’re assaulting people, or intimidating them, or disrupting their work and travel arrangements, or vandalising someone else’s property:

http://indymedia.org.uk/en/2010/03/447275.html
http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2009/02/when-children-roar.html
http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2009/04/righteousness-101.html

It’s the standard dishonesty. The vain little shits who shut down lectures by smashing windows, or who vandalise Starbucks and Tesco – thus degrading the lives of staff and those who live nearby – can’t bring themselves to confront their own power fetish and the adolescent thrill that “radical” belligerence no doubt provides. Ms Keith believes the assault on her was cowardly, though it’s not clear what she makes of similar assaults on other people or on other people’s property.

Stork

Its all very childish. The desire to do to others what you wouldn't want done to yourself. The desire to escape any form of responsibility for your actions and the selfish belief that causing problems for others is perfectly acceptable provided you know *you* are right. Oh, and that awful tone in Ms Keith's complaint: that she is one of the gang so surely, so surely!, it isn't right to do to her as they would do to others. Tossers.

I see this same bollocks all the time as a student. A current favourite is the Student Lefties defending our Islamic Society's right to invite who it wants to speak as free speech -despite the fact that many are homophobes, anti-semites and misogynists- and at the same time demanding that the BNP (and lately the EDL) be refused any platform to speak. At the same time as the (majority) middle-class Student Lefties are shouting down the (majority) working class BNP/EDL they have the neck to claim they are doing everything "for the workers". The capacity for deception is limitless.

Anna

"So how's that militant action working for you, Ms Keith? We can assume it's led to change, yes?"

That's the thing. Getting pied in public isn't going to change this daft cow's politics. We can bet on that because she's so "radical". But she thinks doing stuff like this (or worse) to other people will change them.

Hypocritical bint.

simplius

First, argue that the agriculture is destroying the world, and then flee to Kansas? Clever choice.
Proof that being vegan/vegetarian for 20 years makes you stupider.

"I'm not a vegetarian, but I eat animals that are vegetarians."
Marx

(Groucho)
:-)

Tom Foster

I've just been browsing around Ms Keith's website. There's so much to enjoy. She wants to destroy both industrialisation and masculinity. And she has a solution:

'So regarding sexual predators, I've got two words: Smith and Wesson. As industrial culture falls apart, we aren't going to survive as individuals. We're going to survive as local communities, both economically and civically. Community policing and defense are going to be the way we protect ourselves from anti-social elements. Women and pro-feminist men could take charge of that task. We could make sure that rape counts as an atrocity and treat predators accordingly, both predators internal to the community and threats from the outside. But it's up to us to do it. If we continue to accept male domination, we'll keep getting male domination.

'The facts are not easy to face. They're painful and gruesome. Vast numbers of men are predators, and the looming industrial collapse and civic chaos are going to provide them with more opportunities to act like it. Perpetrators don't change. No form of therapy or rehabilitation makes a dent in their sociopath entitlement. So to put it bluntly: shoot them. When the bullets run out, I've got two more words: long bow. The long bow is such a lethal weapon that the church tried to ban its use in the middle ages.

'And I've got a question here. If everyone knows that men are going to behave this way, what are we waiting for? Bullets are available now.'

Interesting that her hatred of industry doesn't extend to a hatred of guns. A bit like the Taliban. Her love and admiration for the longbow, meanwhile, seems completely unqualified.

And notice how - to connect this to the earlier Left Equals Virtue thread - she talks about how we're going to have to become 'communities' rather than 'individuals'.

It's all connected, I tell you. And not in a Gaia-like way.

David

Stork,

“The desire to escape any form of responsibility for your actions and the selfish belief that causing problems for others is perfectly acceptable provided you know *you* are right.”

Again, it’s a standard conceit. It’s illustrated quite vividly by the events linked below, in which the very first demand of those causing the damage and disruption is “full legal and disciplinary amnesty for all parties involved in the occupation.” It’s the very first demand and so presumably the one that really matters. So who do we think the “activist” pantomime was actually about?

http://davidthompson.typepad.com/davidthompson/2009/02/when-children-roar.html

Apparently these pretentious little pricks imagine it’s righteous to disrupt dozens of classes, make threats, assault police officers, wield bolt cutters and vandalise property – all at someone else’s expense and with no comeback of any kind. Because they’re of such geopolitical importance, see? It’s moral masturbation and those responsible deserve expulsion followed by a public hosing, ideally delivered by the people who’ve been left with the job of clearing up and a bill for $80,000.

Tossers indeed.

David

Tom,

I quite like Ms Keith’s unironic reference to “sociopath entitlement.” Given her own presumptions and those of her associates, it suggests a certain... obliviousness. When confronted with “anarchist” drop-outs and student “activists,” especially the belligerent kind, it’s wise to entertain the distinct possibility that you’re looking at a malignant narcissist.

tehag

"Bullets are available now." From Genghis Kahn to Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Hitler... mass murder has been the preferred solutions to social problems. That our pitiable society produces millions of people filled with inexplicable rage against freedom and prosperity is the surest sign of its decline; that they voted their Leader into the White House, the surest sign of our doom.

simplius

Tom,

It's obvious that Ms. Keith was Andrea Dworkin's protege. And she consumed too much of those zombie movies.

Trimegistus

Even when they literally get their faces rubbed in the contradictions and hypocrisy of what they espouse, they still just don't get it.

Geoff

"Proof that being vegan/vegetarian for 20 years makes you stupider."

You have studies to back that up, yes? (No, you don't.) Because the weight of evidence is actually in exactly the opposite direction:

High IQ link to being vegetarian: http://www.britishmeat.com/low-intelligence.html

High-Fat Diet May Make You Stupid and Lazy: http://www.livescience.com/health/090812-fat-lazy-stupid.html

And my own piece, on the effects of a High-Fat Diet: http://www.geoffreyfalk.com/wp_blog/?page_id=23

Not that the science is close to being settled, especially with regard to vegetarians having higher IQs than meat-eaters. It's just that if you're going to claim "proof" about something, you should be able to back up your confident claims (incl. of implicit superiority) with evidence, simplius. And you cannot.

simplius

Hello Geoff,

When will veggie extremist brains understand that we human are omnivorous? I'll repeat again: OMNIVOROUS.
So, essenntially veggies are as obtuse as Ted Nugent. No heavy science is needed for that, just common sense.

WTP

""Proof that being vegan/vegetarian for 20 years makes you stupider."

You have studies to back that up, yes? (No, you don't.) "

I don't have any proof to back this statement up either, but I'd say your response is more than a little defensive and lacking a sense of humor. I'll have to do some research and get back to you. Wait right here...

Spiny Norman

And of course, Geoff's "proof" seems a bit suspect. Especially his own overwrought screed which clearly begins with a predetermined conclusion and then cites whatever tidbit he thinks backs him up, along the way accusing anyone who may disagree as "quacks".

It reads like the recent Climate Science snake oil from Jones, Mann, Hansen, et al...

Or the 9/11 Troof gang.

dcardno

Thanks Geoff - we at least know that veganism robs you of your sense of humour.

Sam

"It's insane. My entire book is about how the world is being destroyed," Keith said. She said the first pie hit her just after she uttered the sentence, "You should not eat factory-farmed meat."

It's a bit surreal.

JuliaM

Surely the deterrant factor (for a rapist) of the Swith & Wesson is firstly that you don't know which supposedly-defenseless female is so armed?

I can't quite see Ms. Keith getting the same reaction with her concealed-carry longbow...

Anna

"vegans and vegetarians are a definite minority, face constant bombardment with pro-meat messages [from] our American cattle culture, and frequently have to deal with direct attacks from government, law enforcement, and multinational corporations."

Haha. Martyr complex or what? I looked at the "direct attack by law enforcement" link and it's two Animal Liberation Front nuts refusing to testify in court (twice) and getting jailed for contempt. What the hell did they expect? Oh yeah, the law doesn't apply to them. So they're the ones trashing research labs and burning stuff down and they think THEY'RE being "attacked"?

David

Hence the title of the post and the tag “psychodrama.” The phenomenon becomes more comprehensible if you approach it in terms of role-play and self-preoccupation. We are, after all, dealing with people who depict their assaults on others as demonstrations of their own piety and victimhood.

Tom Foster

Julia,

'Surely the deterrant factor (for a rapist) of the Swith & Wesson is firstly that you don't know which supposedly-defenseless female is so armed?

'I can't quite see Ms. Keith getting the same reaction with her concealed-carry longbow...'

I took it that she was advocating a more proactive approach, along the lines of taking out all the men before they get the chance to actually do any raping. As she says:

'If everyone knows that men are going to behave this way, what are we waiting for?'

But I agree she's not very clear. Personally I think she might be taking on a little too much in trying to take down both patriarchy and industry in one go. I admire her ambition, but really, someone should suggest she concentrates on one world-changing project at a time.

Ed

Simplius,

"When will veggie extremist brains understand that we human are omnivorous? I'll repeat again: OMNIVOROUS."

That’s called an appeal to nature. It’s a logical fallacy – the same mistake behind all that hippy health food nonsense, ironically.

Tim239

Wow. There's some powerful dumb in the IndyBay comments.

"a pie in the face is good fun. But not to another comrade."

"there will be resistance to all promoters of speciesism masquerading as "radicals" and attempting to embed themselves in our movement."

"many people saw her filing a police report, right in front of the bookfair. Someone who calls the cops to an anarchist conference had no business being at the bookfair."

Police at an anarchist bookfair! It's an outrage! Something must be done!

One sane comment though:

"Thanks for making sure that I didn't get to hear anyone who disagreed with your way of life."

David

“Thanks for making sure that I didn't get to hear anyone who disagreed with your way of life.”

Quite. For some reason I’m reminded of this little ditty.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUwpLyIDIJw

Something about the dynamic...

simplius

Ed,

Where is my fallacy? Being omnivorous doesn't exclude one to be strict veggie, or strict carnivourous to the end of the life or for a period of time. Au contraire. Eat what you want, what you feel like, what you think is best for you, or what your doctor prescribed. Being omnivorous is a fact, not ideology.

Steve

Ms Keith got a pie in the face for obvious reasons: when she dared think outside the approved thinking of the collective, she was disapproved of.

Independent thought and critical analysis is never liked by lefties.

Ed

Simplius,

“When will veggie extremist brains understand that we human are omnivorous? I'll repeat again: OMNIVOROUS.”

“Where is my fallacy? Being omnivorous doesn't exclude one to be strict veggie, or strict carnivourous to the end of the life or for a period of time. Au contraire. Eat what you want, what you feel like, what you think is best for you, or what your doctor prescribed. Being omnivorous is a fact, not ideology.”

It’s a fact, all right, but one from which nothing relevant follows. If you’re saying the fact we’re omnivores means eating meat is OK, then you’re making the mistake I mention. There could be good reasons for thinking eating meat is OK, and thus why vegetarians should shut up and leave you to it, but the fact we’re omnivores isn’t one of them.

simplius

Ed,

Everything relevant follows from the fact that we are omnivores.

Nevertheless, I didn't see from you any other reasoning why food extremists should shut up and just eat whatever they want.

mlrosty

"Wow. There's some powerful dumb in the IndyBay comments."

But it's fun to watch them play victimhood poker. Does being rude to trans-womyn trump being rude to vegans? It's funny how all that radical caring causes so much fighting.

Jim

Simplius,

“Where is my fallacy? Being omnivorous doesn't exclude one to be strict veggie, or strict carnivourous to the end of the life or for a period of time. Au contraire. Eat what you want, what you feel like, what you think is best for you, or what your doctor prescribed. Being omnivorous is a fact, not ideology.”

It is, indeed, an instance of the naturalistic fallacy:

http://www.fallacyfiles.org/adnature.html

David

mlrosty,

“It’s funny how all that radical caring causes so much fighting.”

Isn’t the fighting and aggravation all part of the theatre? I mean, how could anyone tire of playing More Radical Than Thou?

It’s worth noting that such movements appeal very strongly to certain types of personality. For some, the ostensible cause – whether communist, “anarchist,” radical vegan or whatever – is almost beside the point. The Great Cause may in effect be little more than a license to behave in a certain way. (When “anti-capitalists” go out of their way to smash shop windows,* do they imagine society will be transformed as a result? Or is it more likely that they enjoy the thrill of vandalism, albeit vandalism in ideological drag?) And people who embrace one ostentatiously radical cause may shift to another, then another, even one at odds with their previous fixation. In many cases, it’s the role-play and collective dynamic that matter most.

* http://davidthompson.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451675669e20120a96fe4c8970b-pi

Which is why it’s possible to encounter “radicals” who loudly announce their contempt for “bourgeois” social hierarchies while manoeuvring continually to elevate their status within their own in-group.

Jim

David,

I'm inclined to agree with you on the sociology of these movements. Although I don't have any evidence on it I'm willing to bet they act as a selection filter for exactly the kind of people you describe.

Do you think it possible in principle, however, for a "radical cause" to be correct and justify at least some kind of radical action?

simplius

Jim,

When I said omnivorous, I don't constrain myself to natural products. Eat if you want astronaut pills.

Jim

Simplius,

I'm sorry; I think we've misunderstood each other.

I took you to be making the argument that since we are - as conferred by our biology - capable of eating both meat and vegetable matter we are morally justified in doing so.

That is a clear instance of the naturalistic fallacy/appeal to nature. However, it seems that you're talking about your dietary particulars.


David

Jim,

“Do you think it possible in principle, however, for a ‘radical cause’ to be correct and justify at least some kind of radical action?”

I don’t think all professed radicalism is theatrical bad faith. Just lots of it, and quite obviously. So, yes, I suppose there could be situations in which “radical action” might seem excusable and honest. Though that depends on the kind of action (and to some extent on whether I’m being inconvenienced). And I can’t offhand picture a suitably admirable, good faith example here in the UK.

Ed

Simplius,

So what exactly did you mean when you said that “veggie extremist[s]” need to “understand that we human are omnivorous”? What do you think follows from fact we can digest both kinds of food? Also, what the feff are “astronaut pills” – ecstasy?

Ed

David,

I agree a good proportion of activism owes to narcissism. Many will join movements regardless of their validity. Consequently, though, it’s inevitable a good number will adopt what just so happen to be good causes. So a certain movement being riddled with these needy wankers doesn’t necessarily mean it’s nonsense. Would you concur?

David

Ed,

“So a certain movement being riddled with these needy wankers doesn’t necessarily mean it’s nonsense.”

Indeed. (And in case it isn’t clear, I have no particular view on veganism per se. I don’t generally consider other people’s dietary preferences any of my business unless they’re coming for dinner.) What interests me is the way that ostentatious caring – or needy wankerism - can often lead to quite sinister behaviour. It’s one of the reasons I tend to be a little sceptical of people who bang on at length about their altruistic credentials.

There are plenty of items in the archive that illustrate the kind of thing I mean.

Karen Armstrong, for instance, blathers continually about how “we” must be “understanding” (of, in this case, poor little Islam), while lying through her teeth and rewriting history, presumably to make sure we “understand” the right things. Then there’s Jakob Illeborg, whose empathy for his Designated Victim Group entails abandoning free speech and learning to be dishonest on a sociological scale. Or Jane Elliott, whose “diversity” classes are a license for prejudice and overt sadism. Or Kevin McKenna, whose altruism entails depriving others of hard-won opportunities. Ditto Zoe Williams, whose egalitarian vindictiveness is stated openly and with pride. And then there are people who describe the desire to keep most of one’s own earnings as “greed,” while hailing as “altruism” the desire to confiscate even more money from others, by force, via taxation.

The eagerness to impose on others, or to control them or make them lie, should invite suspicion, at the very least.

Anna

"It's worth noting that such movements appeal very strongly to certain types of personality."

David,

Zombie's in San Francisco again.
Communists, Islamists, radical queers, Truthers, Stoppers and the La Raza 'militia' in one big radical happening. And Israel did 9/11!

http://zombietime.com/sf_anti-war_rally_3-20-2010/

David

Oh wow. It’s like a convention of imbeciles with bad signage. The “Freedom Socialist Party” amused me no end. It all looks very jolly.

No wait, not jolly. The other thing.

The photos from the Los Angeles rally are even more revealing. Note the gentleman with the banner that reads, “To stop all war’s [sic] you must first do one thing. Be kind to animal’s [sic] – spay and nueter [sic] all filthy Jews.”

Feel the love, people.

Ed

David,

“What interests me is the way that ostentatious caring – or needy wankerism - can often lead to quite sinister behaviour. It’s one of the reasons I tend to be a little sceptical of people who bang on at length about their altruistic credentials… The eagerness to impose on others, or to control them or make them lie, should invite suspicion, at the very least.”

I’m with you on all of that, especially Armstrong.

“I have no particular view on veganism per se. I don’t generally consider other people’s dietary preferences any of my business unless they’re coming for dinner.”

Sure. (Parenthetically, though, I’ll mention this. You criticise, rightly, the sinister behavioural preferences – the attempts to impose, control, etc. – of activists, hagiographers and assorted apologists. You don’t just leave them to it. You make it your business. Why? Presumably it’s because you don’t consider them mere behaviour preferences, like what to wear or who to bang, but also have sober, rational arguments for why they’re harmful/wrong. You’re right that avoiding meat *can* be a simple dietary preference, but it can also be a decision based on equally serious ethical arguments for why partaking is harmful/wrong. If those arguments turn out to be good, then perhaps people’s meat eating is itself behaviour about which one should be suspicious, and thus a legitimate matter to make one’s business.)

David

Ed,

“You make it your business. Why? Presumably it’s because you don’t consider them mere behaviour preferences, like what to wear or who to bang...”

Yes, generally because I regard those targets as symbolic of a larger issue, maybe one that’s potentially threatening to values and freedoms that suit me. The examples I mentioned, and others I had in mind, involve varying degrees of imposition or excuses for imposition, or attempts to load the debate in a dishonest way, again with an eye to imposing something or other. I suppose it’s the attempt to intrude on my territory, as it were, that irks more than anything. The urge to impose, directly or otherwise, is quite often what makes it my business. (Though sometimes the target is just a pretext for a decent one-liner.)

Andrew Duffin

Having viewed the video, I reckon the whole thing was a put-up job.

She didn't react THAT outraged, and it's rather strange that the audience (or what you can see of them) did not react at all.

As to exactly what factions-within-factions might feel the need to so this, and what or who they thought they were likely to influence by it, well I just can't be bothered to speculate.

It's a bit like the dozens of splinter groups into which the Free Church of Scotland has now disintegrated - "we do EVEN LESS on Sundays than you heathens" and all that. Yawn.

Laban

It's always worth repeating : "Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

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