En problemas

“Leaving the issue of charity aside (Zizek’s own critique already deals with this), we might look at other political choices which involve consumption – such as vegetarianism, veganism, consumer boycotts of Israel, buy-nothing-day, etc… I do not think that there is a  problem with asserting that all of these actions are based on a moral impulse which we should call genuine – we want to stop the suffering of animals, we don’t like the occupation and attacks on the Palestinian territories, we see that the consumer economy is needlessly destroying the environment and enslaving the population with debt, and so on. But each of these actions tends to presume its own success in the carrying out of the action itself. Take for example, vegetarianism – is there not a tendency to see your decision to stop your own consumption of animals as a personal sacrifice, as “doing your part”, and when you’ve succeeded in cutting yourself off from the omnipresent luxury of meat, you are “doing your part”? When of course, if one actually holds to the principle of ending the suffering and slaughter of animals to serve a contingent human need, the only value in becoming vegetarian is the value it derives from being effective towards that end. And yet – how many vegetarians are capable of imagining a world without meat production? And of those, how many are capable of an analysis which links where we are today to a world without meat production, and actually take part in forward-looking activities other than being vegetarian and talking to other vegetarians about how great it is to be vegetarian? The key is, I think is in the satisfaction of the moral impulse: if one’s moral impulse is satisfied, or satiated by the activity one takes up on the basis of it, then one is entrapped in an ideology of personal goodness (“Ideology” here means a way of grasping a problem which mystifies it, which renders one’s engagement with it a fantasy rather than reality). If, however, one constantly experiences the inadequacy of one’s attempt – and even the more strongly the more resolutely one engages in the attempt, then one might have freed oneself from ideological mystification.”

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