I must admit I am starting this article with a bit of trepidation in considering the possible reactions of the readers. I am aware that it is possible or even quite likely that many will feel like I am discussing them directly when the fact is that I am not thinking of any specific person as an example or source reference upon which my points are actually based. My objective is not to stir the proverbial pot or to invalidate any specific person or even any group of people. I only seek to impart a bit of knowledge and understanding in the Vegan community by which we may grow and further flourish as a movement and a valid way of life. It is further my hope that the world, in general, will gain a deeper understanding of the Vegan lifestyle, and that communities will understand that the Truth of a Vegan agenda is that Vegans seek to improve the world's quality of life. To the Vegan community, the world includes all animals, including humans (since we too are animals), our ecology, our economy, and all other forms of sentient life. This is our general intention or our hope in building a unified world based on peace, rather than cruelty and pain. That is why I am concentrating on counterproductive Vegans in this article, and how they harm our peaceful agenda as a Vegan community at large. Without discussion, there is no hope of positive change, and positive change should be our only intention. Now, after some minor stalling, and some self-explanation I will delve into the subject matter at hand.
I am thinking at this point of the overcompensating Vegan type. I am sure we have all come across the type of Vegans I am referring to here. We all know the type who is prone to making fantastic, but obviously unreal, claims about what magical curative powers the Vegan diet provides. Of course, I am in no way claiming that the benefits of the Vegan diet are not pretty fantastic, but it simply is not the end-all, be-all diet. No diet is. Those pretending that it will cure everything including the common cold are just as bad as are those who claim that a healthy Vegan diet made them sick. That just isn't the way reality works. For me, the Vegan diet was tremendously beneficial. I had faced years of blinding pain, and within a month of going Vegan, my constant pain was less than half as intense as it had been prior to my choosing the Vegan option. Some refuse to admit that they oversell it and that makes them counterproductive Vegans. Some concentrate purely on the nutrition side of Veganism but they leave out the fact that Being Vegan is about all areas of the Vegan's life, not just the food.
Some claim to be the perfect Vegan, and let's face facts; there is no such thing as a perfect Vegan. I am not suggesting that we all slip up with our dietary side of being Vegan because it would be wildly inaccurate for me to do so. I point out that it is the objective of the Vegan to avoid all forms of animal exploitation and to seek to stop the needless killing of innocent sentient animals. We seek to save all animals, not just non-human animals but rather we seek to save the human animals and non-human animals alike. Some Vegans believe that it is purely about sentient non-human animals, but that is a view that is quite skewed, to put it mildly. That is the second type that I consider to be a counterproductive Vegan. Thinking that only non-human animals are all that matters is actually harmful to the plight of Vegans worldwide and that clearly weakens our movement because it leaves non-Vegans considering us to be hypocrites or fakes, or worse yet, radicals.
Another counterproductive type of Vegan would be those who are trolling the trolls. I hate to admit it but I have been guilty of this one. What is meant by trolling the trolls? Joining Vegan Vs Carnists type groups to debate against Omnivores. The problem with doing this is the fact that these groups mainly attract omnivores who are in the mood to troll Vegans and derail the assumed Vegan agenda. The problem is that they go out of their way to get the Vegan angry so that the angry Vegan will sound more negative or illogical, and will say things that they might normally never say. It is no secret that an angry person is more likely to say something that is not entirely accurate when they are angry and they feel backed into a corner. Trolls play on this fact heavily too.
The Vegans who join these groups are commonly relatively new to Vegan life but not in all cases, and they are often subconsciously seeking to atone for their years of life spent consuming animal products without realizing the intense harm they had been doing. Many of us find ourselves driven by a desire to save animals and to educate others about what is wrong with their non-Vegan life choices. What we end up doing is encountering Omnivores who want to make light of us and to weaken our Vegan movement in the process. These are clearly trolls who simply don't care whether their non-Vegan choices have a negative impact or not. Every time we allow them to use our emotions against us, we become counterproductive Vegans because we are giving them exactly what they want. We end up looking foolish and we end up with "egg" on our faces in the process. This is why it becomes necessary to back away from such situations to gather your calmer faculties and to approach the troll from a calm and more well-informed stance. Deliberate truth and sound facts are the Vegan's best friend. Remaining calm and holding onto those facts are the ultimate diffuser in such heated situations. But an angry Vegan easily loses sight of this fact, and it never ends well for them. Often times they only end up frazzled or suspended from the social sight for hours or even days at a time.
I have written and rewritten this paragraph three times now. I felt I had sounded preachy and deleted the earlier paragraphs because of it. I just had a conversation with a couple of friends regarding the Raw Vegan movement. This one is tough to approach because it clearly works great for some, but it isn't so great for others. One of them explained how she developed an ulcer while attempting to live a Raw Vegan life. She is hesitant to blame the raw diet, but she is no longer doing the raw thing now. Her ulcer has healed. Why do I feel this should be mentioned? For all intents and purposes, some Raw Vegan oriented people swear that the Raw diet is the only way to go and that if you aren't a Raw Vegan you aren't truly Vegan. This harms some who are truly not able to thrive on the raw diet, and it drives away potential Vegans who think that all Vegans are Raw-based. We are not. For this reason, those who contend that it is the only way to truly be Vegan do fall under the Counterproductive Vegan heading.
I have explained what being Vegan is about but in approaching my next Counterproductive Vegan type I will recap. Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. The most counterproductive of all Vegans are those who forget this point or objective and pervert the aim of being Vegan by expanding it to outrageous or harmful excess. They get lost in their own tangents and ultimately they deem themselves to be the end all be all Vegan Police. This ends up harming the Vegan movement because their claim is that unless you think exactly like them you are not Vegan enough. They go off on tangents that can even include the wild claim that you can not have pets and be a True Vegan.
Another point about the Vegan Police oriented type would be those who claim that you can't respect a blind person who depends on a service animal, or a person suffering PTSD, among other crippling issues, who needs a service companion animal and be Vegan enough to not suffer their meaningless wrath. Let's face reality mixed with a reasonable measure of "what if." It would be wonderful if we were advanced enough to supply the blind or otherwise handicapped with companion service robots, but that just isn't realistic at this time and age, because they do not yet exist. I actually believe that they will someday be an existing option, but for now, we are stuck with what we have accessible to us. (I dare say that the heavy-handed Counterproductive Vegan Police types with such an unrealistic attitude are far from thinking about how, and why, these wonderful animals are actually needed. They would certainly not be able to make it on their own if they too were handicapped in such a way as to need a 24/7, year-round companion for help. But out of a misguided desire to be "Vegan enough," they refused the special help offered to them via a service dog.) It is not even remotely realistic to suggest that they should turn to a human companion for such help. The cost of such a personal assistant is impossible for the average person to afford. I also don't consider humans to be all that trustworthy either. Multitudes of fellow human beings share that same mindset with me too.
There is also the type of Counterproductive Vegan who demands that if you need vaccination and get it, regardless of why you needed it, you are not Vegan enough or that the person is a fake Vegan over getting the shot. Who do they think empowered them to make such decisions for all humans if they opt to be Vegan? It does not work that way. Why do we need to remind such heretical types that our aim is to do the least harm and to avoid harming and exploiting animals in every way we can really do so? There is nothing Vegan about opting to die in order to avoid a shot that is needed purely because an egg might have been used in producing the serum which is contained in the vaccine. It is incredibly dangerous and counterproductive to be that unrealistically heavy-handed about Veganism and Vegan
A fantastic Vegan Mentor named Gary Yourofsky is said to have retired from the animal activist public life due to Counterproductive Vegans who were muddying up the original intention of the Vegan communities. I even had an occasion where I watched him block a Vegan whose radical attitude very much mirrors the types of Counterproductive Vegans I am discussing here. This woman even attempted to gather her cronies to attack him for having blocked her. It amazed me that she was so self-righteous that she would entirely miss his reason for not wanting her on his Facebook Timeline. It came as no surprise to me that she tried to get others to harass him for her. I have no doubt that he would have blocked them as well. He was a busy man and didn't need the headache of self-appointed Vegan Police ruining a legitimate and noble movement to make life better for animals in general. It was just a short time after I witnessed this needless exchange that he retired. I don't even have to wonder why he did so.
I think you may have a clear picture of the type of Counterproductive Vegans I am speaking of now. Thankfully not all of us are that type of person or that type of Vegan, and we refuse to lose sight of what Veganism stands for and is geared toward accomplishing in this world. For many Counterproductive Vegan types, they claim their entire aim is to get others to become Vegan or to get those they wrongfully consider to be bad Vegans to become better Vegans through the bullying pressure they subject them to. One thing is clear, however. No amount of cyberbullying by Counterproductive Vegan trolling and attacking will ever inspire an omnivore to honestly become Vegan, No amount of hand-holding will inspire them to do so either. It is purely through honesty and frankness that a new Vegan is created. All other methods are purely egocentric oriented and clearly becomes a waste of time for the misguided egomaniac who tries to force it to happen through insults and intimidation. Veganism should be beyond corruption by weird or Counterproductive offshoots of the original Vegan community. But clearly, it is not, and we must remain vigilant in maintaining the integrity of our movement by refusing to join the fringes that muddy up the waters. Part of me wishes to instruct all of the realistic-minded Vegans to speak out and call the lunatic fringes on the mat for their perversion of our movement, but then we run the risk of becoming them in our own efforts to stop them or wake them up, and that would make us just as bad as those we need to avoid becoming. The one thing we can do is to continue being responsible Vegans so that we can show others the way to be healthier, happier, and more compassionate for the animals and for one another. Above all, we must always remember that as animals we are never worth more or worth less than any other type of animal on this planet. No mouse is more important than an ant, and no elephant is more important than a mouse. We all occupy equal worth.