Thoughts on the Accusation of “Self-Righteousness”
Pondering something all of us vegans face at one time or another…the accusation of “self-righteousness”…this came to my mind after a pig farmer who was against factory farming announced that he was good to his animals before he shot them in the head.
He was throwing around the word at vegans who dared to question this treatment of animals.
He was perfectly fine with it all, and had no problem whatsoever with blithely betraying the trust of animals when it suited him, taking their lives against their will (although he did admit to me in an angry email that “humane slaughter is an oxymoron” –his words).
I began to think about the label of “self-righteousness”.
The definition on google reads like this:
“having or characterized by a certainty, especially an unfounded one, that one is totally correct or morally superior.
“self-righteous indignation and complacency”
synonyms: sanctimonious, holier-than-thou, self-satisfied, smug, priggish, complacent, pious, moralizing, preachy, superior, hypocritical;
The lightbulb went off. It suddenly occurred to me that anyone who feels their path is morally superior is “self-righteous” but everyone judges behavior they consider repulsive, and feels that in relation to certain others, they are in fact living a more moral life.
For instance, people who happily eat meat but are dog lovers judge dog-fighters and are convinced of their moral superiority to the ones who engage is such cruelty–which is absolutely correct–they ARE in fact living a morally superior life, at least in relation to how they treat dogs.
The pig farmer was very proud of the fact that he didn’t own a factory farm…sooooo….he feels self-righteous towards the factory farmers…whether he admits it or not.
The ones who spoke out against human slavery were no doubt labeled “self-righteous” by slave-owners…how dare these freaks against human bondage think the “personal choice” to enslave other human beings was not as moral?
Labeling someone “self-righteous” is usually just a way of dismissing what the person stands for because it’s a lot easier than examining oneself.
The truth is that all of us judge, and when harm or evil is being done, we should indeed judge (as long as we’re willing to judge ourselves).
So the bottom line is that people feel they can be judgmental of another as long as they aren’t judged themselves, because then THAT judgment would be believed of course to be “an UNFOUNDED certainty that one is totally correct or morally superior” and would smack the human ego in an intolerable way.
It’s only when we are willing to be called out on our moral/ethical blindness or hypocrisy and get our own egos out of the way that we can learn and grow and then of course….continue to be labeled ‘self-righteous’ by those who refuse the growth themselves. 😛
I will continue to find people on social media trashing vegans as self-righteous, because they clearly must find a way to stop this annoying trend that these arrogant people have created toward actually giving a damn about the suffering of animals.
Who do we think we are to try to give voice to the voiceless? How dare we question someone’s God-given right to eat a steak and not consider the suffering and death involved? We have a lot of damn nerve and we will be banned accordingly–silenced by being unfriended on Facebook and in real life by friends and family, hidden on FB newsfeeds, and attacked by trolls constantly on social media sites as if we were promoting Nazism!
And who are vegans really judging? The question actually is, what are vegans really judging?
We’re judging actions that cause pain and suffering and death to sentient beings when completely unnecessary.
What utter self-righteousness to have compassion! 😛