Arthur Polettiís Polemic Against Al Gore
Recently, Arthur Poletti has launched a major polemic against Al
correctly lambasts Gore for saying nothing about eating meat while
campaigning against global warming, but he does it in such an outrageous
way that one has to wince in embarrassment.
A number of vegetarian groups have uncritically reprinted or
circulated his letter, including the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) online
newsletter, the European Vegetarian Union (EVU), and the All-Creatures.org
Poletti says that Gore didnít mention vegetarianism "because
you lack real character," and "because you are a meat eater
you and your family think it is perfectly okay to torture and murder
millions of vulnerable animals every day so that people like you can use
your stomachs as graveyards for the dead flesh." He also adds a
number of demands completely irrelevant to global warming, such as
"to shut down the entire fur industry." You can read the whole
thing at the European
Vegetarian Union web site, or at the All-Creatures
web site, or as posted at the
Congress.Org "soap box."
This is so obviously off the wall that I normally wouldnít even
comment on it. However, because JVNA, the EVU, and All-Creatures have
all picked it up and
passed it on, apparently without comment, I feel obligated to point out
This is really, really unhelpful. In the first place, I donít
believe itís true that Gore and his family believe in torturing and
murdering animals for pleasure, and secondly, character attacks are not
going to win friends and influence people. Many people have a stereotype
of vegans: that they are angry, indignant, and self-righteous. This
letter plays into and reinforces this stereotype. It also sets a poor
example for others in the movement, by playing into the attitude that
"anything goes" so far as attacking those outside of the
movement. It makes me wonder if I really want to have anything to
do with this movement.
I would suggest two actions that might be helpful in this case: (1)
for Mr. Poletti to rewrite this letter to remove the character attacks,
to remove other obviously inflammatory and false comments, and to remove
irrelevant demands; and (2) for groups such as JVNA, EVU, and
All-Creatures to decline to reprint or
pass on such letters or articles without a fairly strong disclaimer,
such as that they do not agree with the views expressed in the letter.
I am actually not sure if these groups were simply passing on a news
item, or if they seriously shared, or at least held as plausible, Mr.
Poletti's attacks. Figuring out that this sort of attack cannot be
supported -- and in fact must be opposed -- should not be that
difficult. A movement that cannot figure this out is not a
movement worth supporting.
July 21, 2007