Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Veganism vs. Cultural Anthropology: Reply to a Patreon Supporter.

Hey guys I'm always happy to reply to letters for my supporters on patreon as I've been reflecting lately I think you guys get a lot of entertainment for one doll or a month especially if you're interested in veganism be hilarious know if anyone subscribing who's not interested in talking about veganism I have a letter here from guy named .

Jackson Jackson rights first off thanks for all your interesting content I'm glad that I'm a late comer to your channel because I get to go back through your entire catalogue of videos so I do have some fans who have watched every single one of my 400 plus videos small number of people and I think that those people probably know me better than they .

Know some of their own blood relations or some other personal friends they may have gone to high school with or people that they met in college that's a lot of hours of hearing my voice if you've watched every single video ever recorded but I went welcome to the club Jackson and thank you for pitching one doll or a month so you can interact me this with .

Us this way on patreon so Jackson rights i'm a 23 year old vegan living in canberra a study philosophy political science and anthropology i am particularly interested in human animal relations in an anthropological context and an ethical context i'm interested in vegan politics and i also have an interesting put his philosophy we seem .

To share quite a few interest so pause there i am not an anthropologist however i have been referred to in print as an anthropologist that happened for the first time when i was living in laos some of my research interests come very close to anthropology some my own studies both groups of formal academia and foreign publications definitely .

Overlap with anthropology anthropology has been a significant part of my adult life but political sciences with my first university diploma was in philosophies but a huge part of my life every stage of my life Western philosophy as well as Buddhist philosophy I was a scholar of Buddhism for more than 10 years and the bad news .

Is if we have a common interest in put its philosophy Jackson there's absolutely nothing worth reading in English language my own articles published in English are okay only a couple of them you can read them but those articles will try to explain to you just how profound the problems of language and bias are and really I .

Cannot recommend at all reading anything of a Buddhist philosophy in English because what's available in English is garbage end of that Gresham back to Jackson's letter here Jackson writes one of the cornerstones of cultural anthropology is cultural relativism at least in theory the contentious statement but we .

Continue how do you navigate cross-cultural moral judgments about ecology politics ethics and so on is it possible to do so how can veganism meaningfully penetrate other cultures hey let's pause how can it meaningfully penetrate any culture like what we're going to talk about this as if it's already penetrated the culture in .

Australia or england or canada boy I think we may be at a big disadvantage in Western culture compared to some Asian cultures bday he says I have heard your account of meeting vegans in Taiwan which I found very interesting indeed I wants a fascinating case study Israel also is probably a fascinating case study but I don't know that much about .

Israel if veganism as we in the West understand it can meaningfully cross into another culture does this reveal anything about human nature thanks for your time I look forward to your response Jackson end of message Thank You Jackson is a great letter and I'm really happy to reply to it I'm happy anyone is supporting on patreon right in .

And I'm really happy to make these videos replying to your questions comments controversies or what have you um so Jackson approaches this question in terms of cultural relativism and my response is relatively succinct because I do not so Jackson is a background not only in anthropology but also in political science so I deal with this in .

A political science manner and I address it under the heading of minimum standards why do I use the term minimum standards because it's much more simple clear and concise than invoking the complex jargon and political baggage of the concept of human rights and or the complex jargon and baggage of animal rights minimum standards this could also .

Be expressed in terms of requirements if a country like Saudi Arabia wants to participate in the olympics and international event they face a set of requirements in Saudi Arabia women do not have the basic freedoms that you may take for granted your country is wearing a bathing suit such as being able to practice swimming in public in a .

Public swimming pool right this actually becomes a problem when a country like Saudi Arabia tries to meet the minimum requirements to participate in the Olympics or the Commonwealth Games or other international games that actually do have rules and regulations requiring gender equality parody equal government support for sports that are done by both .

Men and women now western country is also one of the problems with these requirements because a western country for example may just not support women's boxing or women's football or women's soccer there may just be some sports that are really unpopular in the country where women the female athletes don't get much support and then they run into .

Roadblocks or these international foundation say no no wait we actually have provisions and guidelines here you have to meet certain standards of supporting women's athleticism also under these various settings it's not complete parody it's not that you have to have an exactly equal number of women swimming and men's swimming but there .

Were requirements now again this is much more precise than talking about human rights go with human rights to swim it's a bit abstract yes women have the right to swim in Saudi Arabia but how they can actually exercise that right what it actually means this is a case of requirements when we talk about a minimum standard they have to meet if .

They want to participate in that international event it's very clear what we mean it's also clear that we're not endorsing war as a way of changing Saudi Arabia's culture it's just a requirement either they can isolate themselves or they can meet those requirements and join that forum now in economic matters this type of requirement based reasoning .

Is extremely powerful if you have an international trade dispute committee and you can only join that committee you could only join that international foundation if your country meets a bunch of requirements so this happened with China even more recently happened with Vietnam so Vietnam wanted to join trade organizations international cooperation .

Organizations development organizations and in order to join they had to in effect bring about certain types of human rights certain they had to meet certain minimum standards right now again no one was threatening to invade Vietnam no one was threatening to bomb Vietnam the United States has quite a spectacular history of invading and .

Bombing Vietnam you may have heard of it but in the last couple of decades since the 1990s no one was considering the option of using violent coercion to force Vietnam to live up to those standards but the standards exist and you say if you want to sit at this roundtable if you want to participate in this international foundational .

Organization here are the standards you have to meet now I mean these this this line of reasoning which is really kind of hard brass tacks political science and has nothing to do with cultural relativism we completely evaded the issue of cultural relativism shoe raise it's a good question but my answer I think kills the heart of the matter .

While totally evading all those problems you could have something similar like this the production of alcohol and cigarettes are very tightly regulated that way internationally where people say look if you want to sell cigarettes in our country if you want to be able to import and export cigarettes if you want to be able to sell alcohol in our .

Country there are a whole bunch of requirements you have to meet for what can and can't be used in cigarettes what can and can't be used uncle now this may seem like a ridiculous comparison but it's not step by step it is definitely true that the type of ethical concerns vegan at vegans have can be brought to bear on leather and milk and meat el .

What's in our diet and the other products and the exploitation of animals the handling of animals that are bought and sold to be tortured to death in laboratories for medical research for vivisection all of those issues actually can be addressed in the sense under the heading of minimum standards of requirements here's what you need to do .

To be able to access this market to be able to participate in this forum or what have you does cultural relativism still matter yes when I first opened my patreon I had a number of very devout Muslim members join my patron I don't know if they've quit I don't know if they've quit because I talk too much you put my sex .

Life or what have you I don't know I have heard me I haven't heard from members and well but they were serious believing Muslims who were trying to promote veganism within the Muslim world within North Africa are the ones that I remember more you know Muslim north africa the challenge of approaching and explaining and expressing veganism as a .

Movement as a moral landed as paradigm in a Muslim context is much much more challenging than pursuing and expressing it here in China I currently live in kunming china or in Thailand or in Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka had a blog entry about this there was a Buddhist monk who actually committed suicide in spectacular fashion because he was .

Really the only monk at that time trying to lead a political movement in Sri Lanka against the slaughtering of cows and other large mammals now you know sir I've obviously if your many vegans who object the speciesism they'll say why or are you just trying to object to cows and not dogs whatever but all right let's leave that aside here he lit .

Himself on fire and burned himself to death as I recall and maybe mr. Murray but he committed suicide publicly I guess giving up on the fact that he was in this devoutly Buddhist country majority Buddhist country Sri Lanka but nobody cared and everyone in that Buddhist country was living with the hypocrisy of being a member of a .

Religion that um says you shouldn't hurt a fly you shouldn't kill mice you shouldn't you know I mean you should you should fit minimize violence or sandals all kind of yet everyone around you one way or another is buying meat and yes you meet some Buddhists who buy chicken but won't buy cow or who buy fish but won't buy pork butt veganism is almost .

Non-existent in tera vaada countries it's a new idea it's not in a traditional part and tera vaada bosoms been incredibly weak in support for even just vegetarianism so you know I sympathize however as desperate and hopeless as that may sound a Buddhist monk committing suicide for the the concept .

Of veganism or concept of caring about cows being slaughtered in a Muslim cultural context can we even imagine a parallel you know the struggle so far off and the basic understanding the concept is still far removed I think that many of these Asian cultures that have a history connected to Buddhism and Taoism have many advantages over the .

Western world and on the other hand there are disadvantages the one I really feel most keenly here in China is access to the type of information that vegan gains features all the time vegan gains is all the time promoting information about health science and he's able to very rapidly get on the internet look at a bunch of articles and come to .

Conclusions about cancer and heart attacks and your health and outs going to be is veganism the English line which is very very powerful for accessing that kind of health information and putting together a cogent argument if your first language is thi if your first language is sin alize if your first language is burmese very very hard to get up that .

Ledge so but again this is not a issue of cultural relativism I'm just saying they have some advantages in these cultures in terms of just having the concept that killing animals matters I think they have advantages in terms of conceptualizing ecology responsibility for the state of the world says I think there are many advantages but in terms .

Of the progress of science and the way science may or may not be able to dynamically contribute to our own nascent movement here in veganism they're at a disadvantage and large part they are dependent on English translation and that's true when you meet scientist from Germany they'll all tell you right away that even if you're .

Laying your first language is German you rely on english language publications german is also very you know affluent language and as its own publication so it's this is not unique to asia so that's my answer your question Jackson I do appreciate cultural anthropology it's been a significant part of my adult life as well as of .

Course political science and philosophy however I actually approach these issues with a totally different attitude instead of considerations that I phrase in terms of minimum standards and requirements and I do not end us in this way I eschew this problem of cultural relativism


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