I do have to say that Lierre Keith has caused me to think about my veganism in some respects. That is not to say that I am really considering not being vegan anymore. There are a lot of fallacious errors that she makes, which make it impossible for me to side with her.
Mainly, she makes insane hasty generalizations ... it's kind of embarrassing. She brings up one or two examples of vegans doing stupid things with agriculture or food and all of a sudden that is meant to prove her case. I had hoped for more evidential support for her points myself. But hey, maybe that's just me ... or maybe it's called science ... or maybe it's called being logically consistent and not an ASS!
I just read a passage that throws Keith's integrity out the window, as well. Keep in mind that this is by her own doing. She claims that this book, and her journey (or whatever it is) has been about actually, truthfully, earnestly (you get the point) reducing suffering and her adverse impacts on the world.
Then she explains, after going to a vegan permaculture farm, where the people don't seem to understand what they are doing, "[m]y carpool begged to stop for pizza and ice cream, and we soaked up animal protein and fat like parched ground in the rain." I take it she thinks that she is being poetic, but the hypocrisy is so glaring that it's disappointing.
In the next paragraph she goes on to talking about how everything ... yes EVERYTHING is alive. Honestly, that makes it hard to take her seriously. A rock is NOT alive. It isn't organic ... it exists, but that is categorically different from life. Existence is its own brilliance, but that does not make it congruent with life.
It is important to be cautious and remember that these points about integrity and the rock thing to not discredit the whole book or most of her points. That would be to slip into a fallacious loop (employing the genetic fallacy).
I once read that this is a very logical book. The person who wrote that clearly has very little understanding of logic. Anyway, the main reason that I want to post today, is not to pick on Lierre Keith. This book has made an impression on me.
I am not so proud now, bitter, and angry. This is great, as I always felt ashamed of the pain that everyone else ignored. I felt ashamed for them, and angry that they do not care.
The point is that my hands aren't clean. This isn't news to me, but I am hearing it now with a readiness that I didn't have before. The agriculture I support is destroying habitats, the earth, and many animals. It is not something that I am proud of, but it cannot be swept under the rug. There's no doubt that within this system veganism is still the better answer. I am confident that without this system, veganism is still the better answer ... The larger point however, is that my hands are not clean, and they never will be. If I am ashamed for everyone else, then I have to be ashamed for myself (for parallel reasons). That would be a foolish way to live. The shame for everyone else was foolish enough to begin with.
Besides, a noble heart does not make the world better, until it has changed it. I am more concerned with the interest and the sentience of my fellow creatures than most people ever will be, but that does not make me pure. More importantly, it never will.
Lierre Keith doesn't explain or provide enough knowledge to make a strong case against veganism. More to the point, that is not even really what she is arguing against, so far. I am only about a third through the book at the moment. She is arguing against mainstream agriculture (especially since the Green Revolution), and expressing her bitterness to her own past, which she sums up as a failed attempt at veganism. She really just seems like a bitter ex vegan who wants to proselytize her new faith to the rest of the world. Then she tells us about how now she is an adult, imlpying wisdom. Of all the words that come to mind to describe this book, wisdom is not one of the first that comes to mind.
Her main criterion for determining the wisdom of a person is whether that person tries to make the world (the land especially for Lierre) conform to what one desires it to be, rather than accepting the reality of what is. This is an ad hominem in disguise, and it blinds her to the hypocrisy of her own position. For example, she looks at plants and how they interact with the world and calls that sentience. Sentience is something we understand from our way of being in this universe. And she is assuming it into other organisms who interact with the world. The fact that we can create some resemblance and some understanding of how they function does not mean that we know the whole story. The fact that a plant interacts with the world does not then create a necessary assertion of its sentience. The fact that a bacterium has biological functions and is organic, does not make it sentient. What arrogance, to assume that we know the whole story from details of plants emitting chemicals and having responses to their environment! It may seem poetic to get inside the 'mind' of a plant, but it is more arrogance and pride than anything else. I am not sure if her's is an argument from incredulity or from ignorance. But, nevertheless, by her own standards this is not wise, nor is it "adult."