by Colin Denny Donoghue
[revised July 28th, 2017]
There is truth to the idea that beliefs create our reality, for better or worse; thankfully the modern vegan movement is strongly challenging a common and long-standing belief that has definitely had effects for the worse. This belief, that the murder and enslavement of animals by humans is a beneficial and necessary element to our existence on the Earth, is a lie. The domestication & exploitation of animals is actually a leading cause of health and environmental damage today. If you're already a vegan you are probably already aware of this, but something you may not have considered is whether humans have also been domesticated, and whether this domestication has been the other root cause of massive violence, suffering and destruction in our world. In this short essay I'm going to share a radical perspective on how the false beliefs on the benefits of animal domestication relate to the belief in the goodness of a human social-system, which I will argue equates to a system of human domestication, that is just as unprincipled and destructive as animal domestication has been.
The foundational ethic of veganism is that violence and slavery are bad. Simple and true. Yet many people would say that concerning animal domestication, confinement and murder, this violence and slavery is not really violence and slavery, because it is “necessary and natural behavior;” “we are simply acting out our natural part as omnivores in this ecosystem.” A seemingly rational perspective at first, if you're unfamiliar with certain facts, like: a) eating animal products is not necessary for optimum health, b) human physiology and instinct match that of an herbivore, and c) this activity is certainly not harmonious with the rest of Nature, being a leading cause of desertification, deforestation and climate change. And so, truth be told, that seemingly rational perspective is actually ignorant and uncaring nonsense. The massive violence toward and enslavement of animals for food and beverage products is completely unjustifiable and unethical. The same goes for animal testing, the fur and leather industries, etc.. i.e. for all animal products and exploitation. All of it isn't necessary for human survival or betterment, yet many still try to justify this human behavior operating on the belief that it is “a necessary evil.” The interesting thing I'd like to point out is that is the exact same belief that is used to defend and uphold human domestication. One often hears of how governance is “a necessary evil,” and that social-systems may be very faulty, but things would be worse without them (the fear thy neighbor doctrine). We are indoctrinated with the belief that being domesticated is for our own good, and that being forced to pay taxes is not really force, but a service by “superior authorities” (to use the language of the false apostle of Jesus, Saul of Tarsus, who has instilled this belief in billions of people who believe his words come directly from the Creator). Hence most people believe having to earn money for survival rather than live naturally is not really enslavement, but a “natural and necessary part of human existence.” Just like with anti-veganism argumentation, we are told there are valid exceptions to the baseline moral rule against aggression and involuntary servitude. But is that belief really true? An informed vegan knows it isn't true concerning the treatment of other species by humans--could it also be true concerning human-to-human relations? To find the answer lets return to the animal realm and look at what makes up the phenomenon of animal domestication.
Domesticated animals are animals whose wild ancestors were taken from their natural habitat and forcibly made (through trapping, confinement, beatings and breeding) to change their wild characteristics for domesticated ones whereby they become dependent on humans (humans now deemed their “owners”), for various human uses (like companionship, hunting wild animals, or sources of meat and milk); in this process these animals mostly lose their ability to survive in the wild. It's defined as the process wherein humans “tame” animals or “cultivate them for human use.” So with this in mind, consider: Have we been tamed into consumers rather than producers? Are we being cultivated for the use and profit of someone else? Have we been made dependent on others who “own” us? Another way to contemplate this is: Would you consider yourself a free human on the Earth? Can you do things natural to humans, like forage for food, plant seeds, build a shelter, etc., without other humans putting demands on you? Perhaps some of you would respond with something like: “Well, I have a small garden in my backyard, I went on a foraging walk through the woods last weekend with some friends, and I built a great tree house for my kids.” Well, if that is the case, that's great, you're living better than many people nowadays; but to prove my point, let's say such a fortunate person that responded in this way is actually typical of most humans on the planet. And let's complete this lucky ultra-green personality by having them also be able to walk to work, get their food from farmer's markets, and buy organic fair-trade clothing and various other nice natural products at an upscale natural supermarket. Again, this is economically not a possibility for most people in the world, but what I'm getting at is that even the ideal of what we can achieve in modern industrial society is still compromised, the person is still unable to live a truly independent and natural life wherein they could have all those good things for free, produced in natural (and autonomous) homestead communities. Lets look a bit deeper into this imaginary “ideal” person's life. That garden they mentioned, can they grow enough food for their family to live off of? Can they just do natural homesteading work and enjoy other creative and spiritual pursuits with the rest of their free time? Unless they are a millionaire, they'd probably respond with something like: “Well, no, I have to go to work of course to pay the mortgage, property taxes, school for my kids, utilities and hospital bills and so on, and that doesn’t leave me much time to do gardening, artwork, or communing with Nature and the Creator.” And that foraging walk, could they have foraged enough to provide meals for their family as people did centuries ago? Or is that wilderness area under threat of (or already) contaminated and lessened in size by government-backed corporatization/industrialization? Since natural areas have been mostly decimated by such action, wild foraging nowadays for most people is symbolic, something neat to do, but no longer a viable way of survival (veganic homesteading however, is still viable). And that tree house, will their children be able to renovate it for their own children? One might reply, “Well that depends on whether we still live here, we may have to sell the country house and move to an apartment in the city actually, since my partner just got laid-off at work.”
Many other examples of the compromised-by-domestication-life could be given, but they all point to the same conclusion: we are not truly free and natural humans while subject to the demands of social-systems (mainly land & water costs, and property taxes), we are forced to have a relationship with money rather than the Earth and each other in a pure way, i.e. we have been domesticated. The effects of this have been and continue to be very destructive, just as with animal domestication, and so both should be brought to an end (ideally through voluntary communities of sovereign veganic homesteads). Another parallel to consider: dogs & cats get all kinds of illnesses and attract fleas & ticks so much because Nature is rejecting them as a foreign body, like an ecological immune system. Could we being seeing the same with domesticated humans who have lost their proper ecological role here on Earth?
Some may find the call to end human domestication “too extreme,” or “too different from tradition.” But aren't those the same principle-lacking common rebuttals to the call for veganism? Aren't the principled reasons for ending both human and animal domestication exactly the same?
Both forms of domestication are based on violence, slavery, and the false beliefs that “It is necessary for the greater good that this control and domination exists.” The truth is both forms of domestication constitute an abusive relationship that cannot be rationally justified. Both disrupt ecological, social and personal balance; both cause toxic environments and toxic relationships; both need to end. The way that can be achieved is for people to claim their natural birthright of their fair share of water and land (about two arable acres per individual or small family), and establish sovereign veganic homesteads, making up voluntary vegan anarchist (a.k.a. veganarchist) communities.
Maybe you still have hopes of really principled/saintly/benevolent/angelic government that will bring peace, justice and ecological harmony to the world. If so, I understand, I used to think that way too; but I was mistaken back then, and so are you now if you're thinking that way. If you observe and analyze our reality (and all of history) more carefully and objectively, the truth is inescapable: social-systems have been a complete disaster for humanity, usually based on the lie of “representation.” True representative governance is actually an impossibility, you can only represent yourself in reality; governments always force the will of a few (who tend to be the power and wealth-crazed) on the masses. Furthermore, nations-states, on top of all the destruction they visibly bring (war, for example) are by their very existence unprincipled; they forcibly disconnect us from the Earth which is our birthright as humans, irrespective of whatever country we are told we were born into (because of some lines drawn on a map one day by politicians). Nation-states are truly nothing more than human farms, operating under the guise of “advanced civilization.” What good exists within them (like wonderful Arts from different cultures) exist despite of them, not because of them (in fact cultural diversity is decreasing globally for more of a corporate/globalist mono-culture spread by social-systems).
So coming full circle, we can see that animal domestication, which is the vehicle for the most massive violence most humans participate in, was an unprincipled mistake by humanity, and until they end that practice it is unlikely they will escape their own domestication. Until humans acknowledge the domination they condone and participate in, (namely the exploitation and violence towards animals that's unnecessary and unjustifiable), it is unlikely that they will recognize and resist the same towards themselves. Domestication was founded on unethical actions, and so it keeps producing karmic disturbances, and will never stop doing so. The solution is clear: end the breeding and increase the utilization of domestic animal sanctuaries. Animal sanctuaries are a win-win; they get the disturbances out of our homes, neighborhoods and communities, while giving the animal a more enjoyable place to be than on the street or in a city animal shelter. Likewise the means to end our own domestication/slavery is also clear: sovereign veganic homesteads, making up voluntary gift-economy communities.
Unnatural and unprincipled social norms based on violence and slavery (towards other humans and animals) is what's really “too extreme,” and all you have to do is note all the destructive and disturbing everyday events in the world happening now, and throughout “civilized” history, to see the truth of that. The modern “liberal” compromise with our own domestication, deemed by many as the most reasonable perspective to have, is just as intellectually and morally flawed as the majority's current view on the compromise of “humane” domestication and slaughter of animals. The “at least it's not Hitler” political stance and “veganish” lifestyle both demonstrate lacking human intelligence and morality, not the advanced and well-educated perspective those adherents believe they have. Is occasional rape, murder or slavery ever okay? News-flash: It never is. Veganarchism will be the moral baseline for humanity if it ever can wake up from the delusion, no doubt planted by the Devil himself, that there are “necessary evils” in the world. You don't actually have to support and participate in slavery and murder; a “crazy extremist” idea, I know, I know... Might as well forget about all this and just go and see another new movie (<cough> entertainment vehicle for propaganda <cough>) right? It's not like morality actually matters, or that you can make any difference anyway right?