Monday, September 13, 2010

NZ Vegan Podcast Episode 64 - Interview with Professor Gary L. Francione Part 2


This is Part 2 of the interview.   with Professor Gary L. Francione.


  1. Given your comments in the podcast, Elizabeth, I thought you would appreciate this from "Thinking Sociologically" by Bauman and May (2001: 24): “…as far as we know, there is no conclusive evidence that human beings are naturally aggressive and so must be bridled and tamed. What tends to be interpreted as the outburst of natural aggression is more often than not an outcome of callousness or hatred – both attitudes traceable to their social rather than genetic origin. In other words, although it is true that groups train and control the conduct of their members, it does not necessarily follow that they make such conduct more humane and moral. It means only that as a result of this surveillance and correction, the conduct better conforms to the patterns recognised as acceptable within a given kind of social group.”

    I think both you and Professor Francione are right that we cannot respond with hatred and violence, and we cannot dismiss anyone as beyond education or as a stupid person. We have to be tolerant of different voices because, as Bauman and May suggest, we are all subject to social constraints that are all around us and deeply embedded into social attitudes and opinions. On top of that, as you pointed out, some have financial incentives which encourage the expression of certain views and the adoption of certain forms of advocacy.

    This inevitably means that we will not always see eye to eye with others, or even agree on what we are talking about or what the solutions to perceived problems may be. As educators we have to be tolerant and not be abusive to others who do not see things our way. It has been suggested that human beings are far more social than they are rational – we have to hope that they are social AND rational but since the social part of this equation is guided by the powerful norms and values of the ideology of speciesism, with traditional animal welfarism as an integral part pushing for “humane use,” there is bound to be tensions and inconsistencies of actions and viewpoints.

    We must allow for those inconsistencies and promote a position of consistency even though we know that is harder for some and easier for others: but that does not imply being simply or stupid just other ways of looking at the same thing. Those struggling to think through ideas – and we all know the resistance to even begin to engage with philosophical “pie-in-the-sky” ideas – must be given time and we certainly cannot help them in any way if we say they are stupid or that they cannot be educated. That is negative and defeatist in the extreme for advocates who rely on putting new ideas into the social and encouraging critical thinking about them.

  2. Liz, I'm incredibly indebted to you for this interview! It's an incredible education and advocacy tool!

    When your animal sanctuary gets up and running, I'm hereby committing to 6 months of volunteer work *solely* in payment of my debt for this interview.

    Simply amazing...

    Thanks for producing such wonderful resources!

  3. Thanks for your insightful comment We Don't Dig it, Man and for your positive comment Tim, you would be welcome to come to the sanctuary without owing a single thing, it would be a pleasure to meet you!!