Big Tent Vegetarianism

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Big Tent Vegetarianism

By Maynard S. Clark
January 2012

When I first became vegetarian ages ago, a L-O-Veg, I saw that I was alone and started to gather folks around me. One detractor commented that 'what folks DON'T eat or DON'T do is hardly reason enough to associate together. Why would 2 folks want to be together simply because they DON'T eat dead animals? I balked at that, but over time, I've realized that it's true.

Further, trying to push two vegetarians together when they have nothing else in common is both futile and counterproductive. They will tend NOT to like each other and be tempted to 'take it out on each other' - not good for either person.

I suggest, rather, that we have a 'big tent' view (the way political parties do) and affirm what we CAN affirm - what we share, how we agree, then acknowledge that there are fundamental disagreements on core values, profound differences of outlook that indeed would otherwise put us at odds with one another.

But despite our very real and shockingly profound differences of values and outlook, we continue - amidst it all - to share and commonly affirm that (a) for instance, being vegetarian (or vegan) is the right thing to do, (b) other-than-human animals are persons, (c) no amount of private interest (short of one's own death by an animal) justifies our victimizing them. 

Maynard