Monday, April 15, 2013

Alecia & the politics of meat

Alecia Simmonds writes columns for the Sydney Morning Herald. A recent one was called "The sexual politics of meat". Alecia is a vegetarian and so wants to prove that a principled feminist would never eat meat. I'm not so much interested here in the debate about vegetarianism, but about the kinds of arguments Alecia makes.

Her five reasons are as follows:
1. Eating meat is associated with male power in its most vile and repugnant forms. In a logic that sounds positively mystical, real men, we are told, should be physically strong and virile, which means killing and eating strong animals. In rejecting meat, feminists – both women and men – are rejecting a potent symbol of patriarchal power.
In a healthy society, the women would actively want their men to be powerful, physically strong and virile. It's a sign of how wayward our thinking has become that a woman would want to take down the men of her own society.
2. The ill treatment of animals makes the abuse of women tolerable. Following on from my first point, if men get to eat the meat, then women, alas, are consigned to the less savoury role of being the meat.
Alecia has managed to conjure up an image of women being eaten by men like meat. It's that dreary, borderline depressive mentality which, once again, is extraordinarily wayward: young men and women ought to find joy in relating to the opposite sex.
3. Vegetarians, like feminists, care about language. Violence is made possible through euphemistic or derogatory words that distance us from the feelings of the victim.
And women, we are to understand, fill the role of victim and men of victimisers. Difficult to find a joy in relationships based on that outlook.
4. Feminists and vegetarians share a common project of ending discrimination based on arbitrary distinctions. We are all, at our base, animals.
That's an interesting one. Liberals typically argue that qualities that we don't get to choose, such as our sex and ethnicity, are merely "arbitrary" and therefore should be made not to matter. They extend this argument even to issues such as women serving in combat positions; the idea that men are more suited to such roles doesn't seem to be "arbitrary" but liberals still treat it as such.

Anyway, Alecia wants to extend the liberal argument to the idea that it is arbitrary to distinguish between humans and animals and that equality means treating humans and animals the same.

We can safely say, at any rate, that Alecia does not have a very exalted view of human beings.
5. Feminists and vegetarians believe that the personal is political. Just as we tell male partners that the minutia of who unpacks the dishwasher each night really matters, so too do we need to remind ourselves that what goes into our mouths also matters.
That reminded me of a post I wrote some time ago. It was about some research on why traditional marriages were more durable than the modern version. The researchers found that modern-type marriages were too focused on "account keeping" whereas the traditional ones were based on an "enchanted" cultural logic of gift exchange.

Alecia is an account keeper. In her house "the minutia of who unpacks the dishwasher each night really matters". A tip for Alecia: this is not a great strategy to draw out male investment in a relationship.


  1. Interesting post. I see that she mentions the work of one leftist feminist, Carol J. Adams, who has very similar ideas.

    Actually, I believe that there's nothing wrong with anyone, male or female, choosing to be vegetarian. Nothing wrong at all with that.

    What this writer has chosen to do is simply find a way to insult and castigate men - white, heterosexual men specifically. That's a typical feminist leftist tactic.

    It's possible to be physically strong and virile without eating meat. There are other sources of protein.

    Even if this particular woman doesn't want men to be physically strong and virile, there are a lot of more normal women (those who don't have a hardened feminist leftist mindset) who will want men to be that way!

    She doesn't have a great view of human beings? No surprise there. Anthropophobia is common amongst radical leftists. Whilst much of the focus is on the hatred of the West and white people, this can actually extend to a hatred of humanity generally, for damaging the environment, cruelty to animals, and so on.

    Ultimately, all leftists seem to basically view society as being composed of the oppressed and the oppressors, and they also see this as an injustice that needs changed.

    Their vision of 'equality' is a world without white people. To them, genocide is equality.

    Some examples of those entities framed as 'oppressors':

    The rich, white people, Westerners, men, heterosexuals, the physically and mentally able

    And those entities seen as 'oppressed':

    The poor, non-whites, non-Westerners, women, LGBT, the disabled, animals, planet Earth...

  2. We are all, at our base, animals.

    If we are at our base animals, then I'm sure she wouldn't mind parents eating/killing their children, tribal warfare and widespread violent rape.

    Fulfill her wish and treat animals and humans the same/equally.

  3. Actually I think it's worth saying that when I was younger I was briefly into some left-wing ideas, but even by the time I was in my early twenties I could see how stupid such ideas are. If they are about acting in ways that are contrary to what's good for oneself, then believing in them is foolish and is setting yourself up to be taken advantage of.

    Yet, incredibly, many people still value these ideas.

    It's not difficult to see why someone like Anders Breivik appeared a few years ago. Whilst of course it was wrong to kill defenceless teenagers, his anger at suicidally altruistic leftists is in every sense easy to understand.

    Basically all Western European countries have been behaving in such a way that they are betraying their native population. A similar situation exists in the other countries where white people live in North America and Australasia, even if white people are not the true natives there.

    An older man that I knew who died of a brain haemorrhage earlier this year aged 70, was talking to me last year about the amount of immigrants that were here in our city. He said "it's like a foreign country these days, I hardly even recognise it sometimes".

    Now this was a good guy, a grandfather and someone who was always willing to help other people, and a Christian as well. Yet he still felt unease at the way the immigrant colonisation was taking place.

    There are no mainstream political parties that are willing to stop the takeover of the West by non-whites. Anyone advocating such an idea is immediately put into the "socially unacceptable" category.

  4. Is the purpose of social conservatism to control women?

    Even if it is, then what's necessarily wrong with that?


    There are parallels between leftists' desire for change (such as the Labour Party's immigration policy in the UK) and the ideas of Pol Pot. Both ideologies value the creation of a new society in which that which has existed before must be erased.

    So whilst Pot Pot's regime killed ideological enemies and created big piles of their skulls, New Labour in the UK allows millions of non-white third worlders in, wants old 'racist' white people to die, and promotes miscegenation (race mixing) as an ideological goal.

    Whoever controls Western governments has targeted their white populations for destruction, no doubt about it.


    Whilst in academia, there are people who harp on about how awful and oppressive contemporary bourgeois capitalist society is, outside the ivory tower, what kind of people do you find?

    Well you do get the ordinary decent people who do private sector work, but these seem to be diminishing as a proportion of the population. These are a suitable target for leftists to attack, because they're not so much below them.

    We do see however a growing number of people whose lives are very different from those in academia...

    The homeless, those permamently on benefits, drug addicts, criminals, and the social underclass generally.

    Whilst academic leftists can find time to whine about little aspects of our behaviour, there are people who are drug addicts and violent criminals who never get reprimanded in the same way.

  5. A tip for Alecia: this is not a great strategy to draw out male investment in a relationship

    That's probably exactly the point: by making or portraying men as ever more repugnant, you encourage single mothers and lesbianism. Economically, you encourage stealing from men en masse via taxation, rather than honestly earning it by being in a relationship with them.

  6. Off topic but I came across an article in The American Conservative which I thought you would be interested in:

    To Rieff, ours is a particular kind of “revolutionary epoch” because the revolution cannot by its nature be institutionalized. Because it denies the possibility of communal knowledge of binding truths transcending the individual, the revolution cannot establish a stable social order. As Rieff characterizes it, “The answer to all questions of ‘what for’ is ‘more’.”

    Our post-Christian culture, then, is an “anti-culture.” We are compelled by the logic of modernity and the myth of individual freedom to continue tearing away the last vestiges of the old order, convinced that true happiness and harmony will be ours once all limits have been nullified.

  7. Feminists and vegetarians believe that the personal is political. Just as we tell male partners that the minutia of who unpacks the dishwasher each night really matters ...

    In tomorrow’s column, this harpy will blame men for not wanting to commit to her. ‘Marriage strike.’ ‘There aren’t enough good men out there.’ Etc and ad nauseum. It’s amazing how utterly clueless the ‘intuitive sex’ can really be.

    The researchers found that modern-type marriages were too focused on "account keeping" whereas the traditional ones were based on an "enchanted" cultural logic of gift exchange.


    You may want to write something about the power of myth in traditional culture, and how it can manifest a certain Truth that modernist rational thought in unable to grasp. The loss of the ‘enchanted’ aspects of culture are a result of the so-called de-mystification of everything from religion to sexual relations.

  8. Vegetarians like Alecia Simmonds cannot have their cake and eat it.

    If you believe in the theory of evolution (and I imagine she does) then you should not be a vegetarian in the modern world.

    Humans have a large brain and small gut. Our primates cousins have a large gut and small brain.

    Yes it's complicated, but it was the consumption of nutrient dense meat that allowed humans to develop a larger brain / smaller gut, and therefore a sophisticated language and ultimately, consciousness. (Apologies to Christian Creationists but for me the answers lie somewhere in-between).

    The irony, of course, is that it was only by becoming carnivores that humans developed the mental capacity to develop the idea that they didn't want to be carnivores (vegetarians), a concept they couldn't have conceived of without their ancestors consumption of meat.

    Cheers, Stuart L