The most important form of incremental change is the decision by the individual to become vegan. Veganism, or the eschewing of all animal products, is more than a matter of diet or lifestyle; it is a political and moral statement in which the individual accepts the principle of abolition in her own life. Veganism is the one truly abolitionist goal that we can all achieve¯and we can achieve it immediately, starting with our next meal. If we are ever going to effect any significant change in our treatment of animals and to one day end that use, it is imperative that there be a social and political movement that actively seeks abolition and regards veganism as part of the moral baseline.That is fine with me. If everyone chose to be vegan, being a believer in individual liberty, I would not complain. I mean, after all, no one should ever be forced to eat meat or wear wool. I just wish Francione would turn his considerable talents and intellect to solving more urgent problems involving human injustices and oppression. Of course, from his point of view, that is precisely what he is doing, since he doesn’t recognize any moral distinction between humans and fauna. But at least he promotes his agenda with intellectual honesty, skill, and a total eschewing of violence and threats. That’s more than you can say about many of his co-believers. The animal-liberation movement could use a lot more leaders like Gary Francione.
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In addition to which :
It should be a lively evening at the famous Strand Bookstore. As you undoubtedly know, the Strand, located at Broadway and 12th Street, claims to be the world’s largest used-book store, with its eight miles of books, or is it eighty? In any case, they have these events, and on Tuesday, September 12, it is Ronald Dworkin and Fr. Richard John Neuhaus discussing "artificial happiness." That’s the title of Dr. Dworkin’s new book, published by Carroll & Graf. Dworkin is a medical doctor and political philosopher, and in his book he provocatively takes on the politics of the medical profession, the brain/mind/body debates, the future of religion, and, most important, a culture in which people have been induced to believe that unhappiness is a disease. Dworkin and Neuhaus will address, inter alia, the widespread and growing use and abuse of psychotropic drugs to create a nation captive to "artificial happiness." Tuesday, September 12, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Admission free.
From the beginning, First Things has been a collaborative enterprise. It is not just a magazine but—as we rather pretentiously put it—a universe of discourse. Which is another way of saying that it is a moveable feast of personal and intellectual friendships. From time to time, we’ll be posting here pictures of some of the people who sustain the First Things conversation.
At an FT conference, Michael McConnell (left), now a federal judge, Gerry Bradley, dean of Notre Dame Law, and Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard sort through church-state complexities.
To access the running gallery, click here .