An Open Letter to Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson on vegans

Dear Mr. Peterson,

I discovered your persona a while ago and was amazed by your intellectualism, eloquence, and remarkable degree of intelligence. Full of admiration, I listened for hours to your reflections on the human condition, the inevitability of suffering, and your propositions to minimize it. Until I saw a Youtube video in which you urged people who suffer from depression, to eat bacon and eggs, or in other words, to eat suffering, for breakfast. Words do not suffice to explain my level of disappointment to realize that you, an internationally recognized, respected and highly knowledgeable professor, are simultaneously utterly clueless about one of the most agonizing problematics in human history, that has become particularly alarming in postmodernity: the abominable treatment of our fellow earthlings and the devastating effects this treatment generates on the environment, our fellow humans, and the wellbeing of animals.

You tell your audience that the meaning of life is to give life a meaning and that we should try to reduce our suffering by becoming meaningful to our surroundings, yet you advise it to increase its own suffering by consuming acidic carcinogens, to increase the suffering of 56 billion non-human animals that are violently killed for food on a yearly basis, and to increase the suffering of the common habitat, that is on the verge of annihilation due to climatological catastrophes majorly resulting from extreme pollution caused by animal agriculture. You tell your followers, many of which are highly influenceable youngsters, that animals do not have rights because they can not shoulder obligations. In that line of thinking, handicapped people and infants shouldn’t be granted any rights, since they too, are incapable of shouldering obligations. And, are these animals not obliged to undergo rape, abuse, isolation, mutilation, torture and a violent death because humans force them to? Regardless of whether animals do or don’t have rights, we, as superior humans, have the moral obligation to not exploit and kill those who can not defend themselves.

You accuse people who identify with any group of tribalism, but you are guilty of it yourself, since you choose to be part of a tribe. Today, this tribe is the oldest and has the largest amount of members of all tribes that existed throughout the history of mankind. It in fact comprises the majority of the earth's population, and sternly believes that humans are superior to animals, that animals are beings devoid of rights and can therefore be treated as the members of the tribe wish. The tribe you, perhaps unconsciously, take sides with, totally disregards the ability of animals to feel pain, fear, and all the other emotions you so eagerly ascribe to the only beings who truly have rights in your eyes. Well guess what, Mr. Peterson, despite your intelligence and brilliant rhetoric, you lack the very thing that is an absolute necessity for the survival and ethical evolution of mankind: compassion, a trait you mention pejoratively as ‘pity’, but which is the most sophisticated form of altruism, and of which the opposite, egoism, has been the major cause of all the tragedy this world has known. It is impossible to find an antidote to our own pain by making choices that increase the pain of others. “Do to others as you would have them do to you”, because ultimately, harming others will harm yourself. To diminish our own suffering is a great accomplishment, but to diminish the suffering of others is the highest moral good.

I sincerely hope you will take the time to profoundly research how exactly the bacon and eggs you recommend arrived on our plates, change your mind, and reformulate your message in which you extend your sympathy to not only the members of your tribe, but to the animals and to the compassionate who dedicate their lives to open the eyes and hearts of those who trivialise non-human animal suffering. Many of the most brilliant figures in the history of humanity understood that the self-proclaimed dominion of humans over animals is counterproductive to our prosperity, and the time is ripe for you to join them. After all, we should never stop striving to evolve and transcend our lesser selves… At least, that’s what I once heard a Canadian professor say.

Alexandra Villers
Vegr Contributor, Political Commentator, Pianist, Animal Rights Activist

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