Contents of UV’s argument for why intersectionality is alienating:
- Intersectional arguments appeal to intersectionalists
- Intersectionalists’ blindness to their own beliefs
- Should vegans use intersectionality? (Is it useful?)
- Responding to comments
- The importance of focused activism
- Conclusion (I don’t hate intersectionalists)
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Intersectionalists typically believe that all problems are linked and they cannot be solved alone so you have to take and agree to all of it; that’s a big pill to swallow for anybody.
It’s hard enough to get people to agree to and support just one cause right now it’s inevitable that when you add on another you will lose some support and for every issue that you tap on your support base will dwindle further, yelling at people by calling them names won’t help much you can see my video on from victory here  and if you really think that you can get someone to sit down and listen to an ever-growing list of repressions until they sign on to every single last one of them you clearly have no real world experience with activism
Single-issue causes are essential to real social and political change which means that you have to be willing to ally yourself with people who you don’t agree with on every single topic, otherwise you’ll end up quite alone and ineffective.
We have to ally ourselves with Republicans, with Democrats, even with Libertarians to pass realistic laws protecting the environment, despite them not always agree with us on gay rights or legislation to force companies not to discriminate. It sucks to have to work with people we don’t like; but good consequences are always more important than maintaining our ideological purity even if it weren’t for the practical issue of outreach.
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Hey guys this is the second video in my follow-up to my first video on intersectionality so this is actually like the, no like the 4th video or something. This one actually stands alone pretty well on its own – alone on it’s own that’s a little redundant – so if you didn’t watch the last video that’s fine. If you get to watch the last video on justice hopefully you understand why I cannot be an intersectional vegan or a social justice vegan.
To summarize; “seeking justice for its own sake is not compatible with a rational consequentialist moral foundation based on interests or suffering/well-being.” Asking me a consequentialist to be an intersectional vegan would be like asking me and atheist to be a Christian vegan, doesn’t mean that I hate you, doesn’t mean that I disagree with everything that you believe in, I’m just not in the package deal.
So, in this video I’m going to discuss why intersectional veganism or social justice veganism can be alienating and harmful to veganism and I will also touch briefly on the importance of single-issue activism. But first I want to talk about one way that they can possibly be good.
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(click the image to expand)
Intersectional arguments appeal to intersectionalists; if you were talking to someone who is already an intersectionalist you may be able to use the ideas of intersectionality to convince that person to go vegan. Reg flowers says that he found intersectionality useful for convincing some people to go vegan and that’s great if he has. I don’t know that it has a niche use for a minority of the minority, but I am sceptical how many people in his circle he has actually convinced.
Can he convince Kat Blaque for instance?
After her rants saying that she won’t go vegan because of some of the human comparisons that vegans use? Comparisons that Reg has implied intersectionality speaks to? seems to me that attempts at intersectional outreach even to intersectionalists can be counterproductive. But we’ll see, I won’t rule out the possibility, however there is nothing stopping me as a non-intersectional vegan from pointing out the same issues, from using the same arguments without being an intersectional vegan. Just like if I met a Christian I could pull out a Bible and talk about Genesis or many other parts of the Bible and aspects of Christian metaphysics that support going vegan as an attempt to embody compassion to God’s creation and to be good emissaries. Doing that certainly wouldn’t make me a Christian and I wouldn’t have to pretend to be one either, all you have to do is say ‘hey if you believe this, then… [what about this]’.
I can make analogies or talk about poverty and the harm to people in the developing world without being an intersectionalist that’s just being pragmatic. Intersectionalists do not own these, they are just appropriating these arguments from older pragmatic thinkers.
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Intersectionalists’ blindness to their own beliefs…………… youtu.be/FdPxaYmT6QI?t=2m46s
Intersectionalists’ blindness to their own beliefs. Intersectionalists broadly seem to lack the ability to step outside of their beliefs because they won’t even recognize them as beliefs; as a belief system. I got a flood of comments insisting this:
(click the link to expand http://www.i.imgur.com/TEsN5ih.png)
On the other hand a Christian vegan who thinks that veganism is important can usually recognize that they have a belief system that’s largely based on faith and that many other people don’t agree with. Some Christians do have trouble recognizing how atheists can have morals or you know be good people and that is something that we have to take some of the blame for, or at least loud atheists like Jacqueline Glenn have to take some of the blame for, but this is a very different matter from intersectionalist indignant alienation.
This is the kind of thing that intersection lists are saying, this is like Stefan Molyneux level of crazy; you know not associating with people he thinks want him shot because they think he should have to pay taxes:
Do you support me being shot. . . You don’t keep people in your life who want you shot, you don’t hang with people who want you shot.
I think you should pay taxes = I think you should be shot
I understand how it can make you personally feel uncomfortable to associate with people who have different opinions or who are even critical of your lifestyle or personal identity, I understand that emotionally it feels wrong but that’s a personal issue and really, it’s a short coming. Turning it into an ideological issue where you get feel self-righteous and you get to validate your alienation of others by calling it the morally right thing to do that’s dishonest and its cult like. But aside from that; it’s not helpful, the best way to change someone’s mind, someone who is racist or homophobic or has racist or homophobic tendencies is not to call them racist or homophobic but to engage with them on a friendly human level; like the wonderful Darrell Davis who literally befriends KKK members like the racist of the racists and even collects their hoods when he changes their minds.
I’ve never set out to convert anybody, you know they converted themselves, I set up to find out an answer to a question that I had, that I had since I was 10 years old, after a racist incident, you know that traumatized me. The question was; how can you hate me when you don’t even know me and at the age of 58 now I’ve been seeking that answer for 48 years and I found through the course of sitting down and having conversations with some of these people who would hate me for no other reason than the colour of my skin; that, after coming to know them and them coming to know me, over a period of time, many of them began rethinking their ideologies and converted themselves. Now of course you know there will be those who will go to their graves being hateful and violent and racist but there were those who rethink their positions and I’m glad to have been the impetus and the influence for that, but they converted themselves.
Or Derek Black godson of David Duke and groomed to be the next like Richard Spencer; his mind was changed by fellow college students who instead of casting him out they befriended him. It’s important to understand that this tendency among intersectionalists to cultivate an alienating mindset is not just a few bad eggs. Reg Flowers, Ashley and some of the other comments I highlighted; these are some of the nicest most reasonable members of the movement. I’m not highlighting some extremist fringe that’s an exception to the rule, this is the rule. I’m not trawling tumblr for nut cases, I’m just referencing the very people who are criticizing me.
And again I understand, I sympathize, I feel the exact same way I am loath to work with people I disagree with, even on minor stuff but this is a personal issue for me, this is a character floor; it’s not a virtue. This defence of alienation goes back to the start of the intersectional movement and it’s integral to the foundation of their belief system. Intersectionalism is basically alienation 101; at its core it involves a concept of entitlement to coerce people who don’t share your struggles to spend time and resources to support them and when people don’t agree and they won’t give you what you feel entitled to anger is a natural reaction. This is because intersectionalism is not just a descriptive tool it is a prescriptive tool, it isn’t just an impartial tool of analysis, it assigns value and makes prescriptions on behaviour and activism, it tells people what should be done.
It’s not just recognizing that a black woman might experience oppression differently from a white woman or a black man; it’s not even just the oversimplified oppressed oppressor dichotomy along these axes of oppression and it’s definitely not the pragmatic prerogatives to be sensitive to people’s unique difficulties when advocating issues to them. When applied prescriptively to social movements it’s the insistence that all intersecting aspects of oppression from race to religion, to class, to disability and so on be taken into account and advocated for and supported as part of the whole, and if they aren’t then the whole is racist, sexist, bigoted, classist, ablest etc.
It’s the rejection of the idea that we can just advocate for feminism as the shared interest of all women, which they refer to as racist white feminism and the demand that we focus on minority issues that only a few women experience just because they’re women.
(click the link to expand – http://www.i.imgur.com/jOhOiVZ.png)
These recent comments kind of epitomize how deep seeded that belief is and how incomprehensible the concept is to intersectionalists; that other people don’t agree with that particular definition of feminism – as a belief system. Of course it seems unfair to them, life is kind of unfair and it sucks, but unfairness isn’t harm in itself. It can result in harm, but when it does; it’s the harm that has to be weighed against other harms, not a subjective sense of fairness. Fairness and unfairness do not delineate good and bad and justice doesn’t define what is good activism, minority marginalized groups should not feel entitled to have their interests advocated by the majority; particularly when the cost is so high and the number of people it helps is so small. Please understand that I sympathize with these groups, but if I acted on my sympathies alone instead of reason, I would live in a house full of stray cats.
Christina Hoff Sommers ‘the factual feminist’ she has a very good video on intersectional feminism that I encourage you to watch the whole thing, but her experience with it being put into practice is a really great example:
Now I first saw this theory in action way back in nineteen ninety-two at the annual meeting of the National Women’s Studies Association in Austin, Texas. The conference organizers had imbibed the lessons of intersectional feminism and they were struggling to honour all identities; so the participants were told to assemble in small groups based on their healing needs so there were groups for Asian women, African-American women, Elderly women, Jewish women, Disabled women, Fat women. None of these groups proved stable, the fat group polarized into gay and straight factions, members of the black lesbian group could not get along with those who had white partners who were called out for their privilege and had to form a separate group and new identities emerged, a group of women with allergies formed a caucus and issued a set of demands about not wearing dry clean clothing or hairspray.
It was a conference of scholars but we didn’t resolve our differences through rational discussion, instead intersectionality created new reasons for anger and devoured itself, the conference ended with songs and healing rituals.
The prescriptive concepts of intersectionality taken literally and to their logical ends they divide rather than unite, and given the premises of the belief and it’s prescriptions when they are followed, this kind of behaviour is inevitable. There will never be unanimous agreement on who is more or less privileged or whose minority issues must as a matter of principle be taken on by the group as a whole. It’s a coveted position to be able to extort support from others under the threat of accusation and there will naturally arise and oppression Olympics to compete for that privileged status. Given limited resources and unlimited number of potential oppression axes and human beings coming into intersectionality with their own personal interests that they wish to see addressed, this isn’t just an occasional behaviour of the bad eggs. This is an inherent tendency that can be objectively analysed as inevitable using game theory models, it’s just as much an issue in intersectionality as monopolies are in unregulated capitalism denying these problems is denying reality. It’s astounding to me how much intersectionalists and the social justice left have in common with the anarcho-capitalist right.
They have different belief systems obviously but they approached them with the same kind of denial of reality and alienation and with the same dogmatic deontological rationalizations about justice or fairness and ultimately the same aspirational goals of tearing down the system with no evidence-based approach to replace it. Not that the evidence really matters to these people apparently, I mean telling women that they’re not real feminists unless they support all women and if they don’t put in their time to support specific struggles that black women have that they’re racist; that’s powerful rhetoric, it’d be even more powerful if it weren’t bullshit.
Feminism doesn’t mean being for all of the issues any minority of women face, it only means being for the issues that all women face or at least an actionable majority of women face. It’s not hard to see how these principles of intersectionality are inherently prone to creating a divisive us-versus-them mentality and by fixating on certain issues create enemies out of anybody and everybody with different beliefs.
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Should vegans use intersectionality? (Is it useful?)…………. youtu.be/FdPxaYmT6QI?t=13m7s
Should vegans use intersectionality and does it have anything to offer to the broader vegan movement?
A few people asked me this, or something like it and I mentioned earlier how intersectional arguments ‘may’ be more effective at converting intersectionalists to veganism, but I don’t think it’s actually useful overall and I’ll summarized why in three points:
1. Even if you believe in intersectionality for humans, it’s very difficult to apply the same arguments to oppression like speciesism.
I showed this comment in an earlier video but it’s worth repeating,
I think it’s a powerful argument and it’s not one that I found a good answer to if there is one I’d definitely love to hear it as the concept of intersection of veganism pushes farther into the mainstream; I think it will run up against walls like this that it’s not equipped to surmount. Well on a small scale advocates like Reg Flowers may have limited success getting intersectional to go vegan; he’s not the most logical youtuber and I can only guess at the kind of mental gymnastics he has to go through to justify this to people. Targeting intersectionalists as part of our activism probably isn’t creating very stable vegans and it may even damage the movement to create more of them because:
2. It makes us look crazy to most people.
Many anti-SJW youtubers have made videos attacking vegans because of arguments made by intersectionalists and fairly in some respect because the intersectionalists were making some insane arguments.
Vegan youtuber ‘Ask Yourself’ has responded to some of them, but in a sense this is damage control. Intersectional vegans may be the new PETA or worse in terms of putting content out there that makes vegans look crazy and hands enemies of animal welfare and animal-rights ammunition to use against us. And all for the sake of increased appeal to some small minority of a minority of the population; I just don’t think it’s worth it.
I talked here  about how I don’t think Nazi vegans are good for the movement either, it’s probably better if the Nazis just keep eating meat or if they are vegan to stay quiet about it because Nazis advocating for veganism is obviously bad for veganism. Or they could like stop being Nazis, that would be the ideal, I don’t have to be an intersectionalist to oppose that kind of overt racism and fascism being tied to the vegan movement or the anti-human bullshit that Gary Yudofsky constantly spews. And given the bad behaviour of intersectionalists and they’re growing terrible reputation where they’re liked about as much as Nazi’s in terms of modern social discourse particularly on the internet, the same may apply here.
I’ll debunk some examples of the most crazy empirical beliefs that intersectionalists have in the next video, but for the purposes of this video it really doesn’t matter how flimsy their evidence is, when you are advocating an assortment of beliefs that most people find patently absurd you need to tread lightly and adopt a burden of evidence that intersectionalists scoff at. They’ll say just look around you it should be obvious when you check your privilege, everything is racist, sexist, homophobic etcetera. You just have to see the connections, and what about this correlation, hey that’s proof. The arguments are poor, and the response of anger and indignation when people who don’t accept them ask for proof is very off-putting to the majority who don’t already subscribe to that ideology.
As vegans we know that we have to be careful about how we address carnists, apparently intersectionalists just haven’t gotten that memo or they threw it out because “victim-blaming”. If intersectionalists cannot repair their reputation and start behaving more civilly towards people whom they disagree with and respond with reasoned arguments then making more intersectionalist vegans is not going to be good for veganism. And finally:
3. In practice, intersectional vegans don’t even focus on veganism and history says they won’t.
They talk about things like food deserts sometimes, but do they ever actually provide useful advice on how to overcome the obstacle? Or are they just acting as apologists and giving excuses for why people can’t go vegan and we should stop asking them to. Take ‘a privilege vegan’ for example; in the past year she did one video with food deserts in the title, what was it about? Actually nothing useful; if anything she negated the possible usefulness of her former video when she decided to call it food apartheid instead and the video devolved into another one of her conspiratorial rants against capitalism, which is what most of her channel is.
You would think that intersectionalists would actually care about and would actually be good at helping marginalized people go vegan but no. In practice intersectionalists seem to spend most of their time railing against capitalism and the imaginary roots of the problems they believe will once fixed result in the world going vegan.
It reminds me of Gary Yudofskys’ crazy theory that once everyone goes vegan or stops being speciesist then all of the rest of the world’s problems will magically disappear. This just isn’t going to work on anybody who has even the most basic understanding of economics and hasn’t drank the radical anti-capitalist coolaid.
Seriously Marine is this your goal? There is such a gulf between what intersectionalists say their issues are in passing and what they really are when they get going. It’s like when Scientologist say that Scientology is all about you know method to learn and grow to overcome addiction and personal issues and then once you’ve been a Scientologist for a few years and you’ve given them all your money you find out it’s really about aliens.
The Mot and Bailey term seems spot-on to me, the more I learned by watching response videos and reading comments, the more the whole thing just seems like a bait-and-switch. Nothing about this seems beneficial to veganism or to the animals, the crossover between veganism and intersectionality seems more parasitic on veganism than the other way around. And that brings me to why I say intersetctionalists not only don’t but won’t focus on veganism; because it’s not just based on existing evidence of poor vegan advocacy by intersectionalists who think we need to talk about capitalism before we can help animals.
We have president to look at such as how intersectionalism inserted itself into New Atheism with Atheism Plus and then appropriated Atheism to advance its own agenda which included among other things an inordinate amount of effort to defend Islam as a marginalized belief system. I have nothing against peaceful Muslims but that had nothing to do with the issues and goals of the secular movement; initial concerns raised by Ronald Lindsay the president of CFI were prophetic. Since that very simple and civil critique concerned for the potential for divisiveness the layers of Atheism Plus proceeded to confirm that and more. It tore the online atheist community apart separating once friends over ideology like PZ Myers for atheism plus and Phil Mason, Thunderfoot who disagreed. Atheism Plus persisted for a couple of years of self-righteous vitriolic behaviour from its founders and did nothing useful before fizzling out a few years later, its legacy is lasting spite and hostility within the online Atheist community.
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And now there are a couple related comments that I want to address:
That’s just not what I see in practice and I don’t think the good ideas intersectionalists sometimes talk about comes from it. Why use such a loaded term at all? Are we not perfectly capable of addressing badly behaved vegans within our community, vegan who shame people or who fail to understand how expensive they’re organic California farmers market diet really is? Without using intersectionality to do it and are we also not perfectly equipped to address animal agriculture perpetuating social attitudes like macho men eat meat without using intersectionality these are issues that should be obvious to anybody and as far as I can see intersectionality where it effects veganism primarily takes without giving, I just don’t see what it has to offer.
Some people do feel the same way about the term vegan, Matt Ball is a great example, he co-founded ‘Vegan Outreach’ but he now focuses his efforts on ‘one step’, basically encouraging people to stop consuming chicken sense we can see chicken as causing the greatest harm since so many more chickens are killed compared to cows for the same amount of meat and they’re treated worse than mammals. The concern is that ‘Vegan’ can be too alienating, that it’s too hard to get people to go vegan and that stopping at what many people will consider half measures like eating chicken instead of beef will result in more harm, so the vegan message may be counterproductive. I can understand this argument and I do agree on giving up chicken first as a first step, but I personally disagree that we should give up completely on vegan advocacy. I certainly wouldn’t blast Matt for this position like some other people have blasted me for my position on intersectionality over the past week, I have tremendous respect for him and even shared his work in past videos. We have the same goals and it’s really just a difference of opinion. There are real arguments behind Matt position, not just insults and accusations, as I said before I don’t think the crazy voices within the vegan movement are the majority I think it’s a split between the pragmatic consequentialists and the dogmatic deontologists. However, as I explained in my last video and in more detail in this video I think that intersectionality has much deeper and insoluble problems at its foundation. In intersectionality, these same voices appear to be the rare exception.
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The importance of focused activism. There are many reasons why I’m opposed to the intersectional approach and it’s not just because of the way it harms the public perception of veganism and vegan activism. I am a progressive liberal and so I have many of the same aspirations for society that intersectionalists do, I want progressive tax reform and I want to see an end to poverty and human suffering and I want to live in a reasonable fair society where people are judged by their characters not by irrelevant differences like skin colour. Just because I oppose intersectionality does not mean I oppose all applications of social justice when they make sense, my passion for these important issues is one of the reasons why I reject intersectionality. Racism, sexism, poverty these are incredibly important issues, they do not deserve such crude ideological and ineffective treatments as intersectionalists seem determined to give them.
Intersectionalists particularly those who subscribe to critical race Theory are perpetuating racist ideology and mindset that would make Richard Spencer proud. I’ll touch more on that in the next video with some references, in essence you don’t end racism by calling people racist and then confirming and validating a racist worldview. I wish I could give you examples and studies on intersectional vs focus campaigns but as this commenter mentions:
Intersectionalists seemed to have a very different idea of what success means, citing movements like black lives matter as successful due to the superficial size of the movement and crowds it generates it so ridiculous – it’s hard to parse. Intersectionalists don’t use the same metrics of success because they have no interest in reforming the system; they want to tear it down completely. And for that they want the numbers to start a revolution, for them success seems to have nothing to do with positive measurable changes because their faith is in some future society that comes after this one, there have never been any successful intersectional movements because as I look around, society is still here, yet every real civil rights movement in the past has relied on pragmatism and working within the system to make real change that helped people.
Martin Luther King has been cited as having had an intersectional mindset and yet did he insist on respect for gay rights at a time when the majority of those he inspired would have had issues with it. 
Rustin was a special assistant to King and once had to be Southern Christian Leadership Conference. During the planning of the March on Washington, King resisted calls to jettison Rustin because he was gay, Podair says.
King, though, didn’t speak out on behalf of gay rights because he was doing all he could to hold the movement together, historians say.
He had to constantly fend off rumours that the movement with infiltrated by communists. He was also criticized for expanding the movement to take on poverty and oppose the Vietnam War.
The movement superseded any discussion of gay rights,’ Ambar says. ‘King was dedicated to the cause at hand.’
With all that was going on, King couldn’t afford to wage a public campaign defending Rustin’s homosexuality, says Vivian, a SCLC collegue of King’s.
In any effective movement there are always limits and King found his with gay rights. If you want real change, pragmatism always wins, you can say that it’s a shame but to ignore the necessities of reality and to forge ahead anyway? That puts everything you’re aspiring to do at risk. Intersectionalists monomaniacal goal of tearing down the system and establishing some speculative radical equality in its place through whatever communistic critical race theory system isn’t based on reality or any evidence, it’s based on faith that everything will work out okay if they just push ahead with their dogma despite all evidence current and historical against it.
I’m constantly surprised at the extent to which intersectionalists will manipulate the definition of their own beliefs, again going back to that mot and bailey term, intersectionality means the most general thing when they want to defend it against attack but that’s not intersectionalism, like at all. That’s just basic persuasion and presenting multiple reason for people to support a cause, this kind of stuff makes the movement look like a joke and it would be funny if it weren’t so dangerous to the future of very important causes; from race equality and ending sexism to alleviating poverty and putting an end to the horrific industry of animal abuse.
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So in conclusion and contrary to the kind of smug, frustrated nature I’ve had throughout some of this video; I don’t hate intersectionalists. I feel the same way towards them as I do towards any conspiracy theorists from flat-earthers to anti-vaxxers; I think they’re delusional. They have a faith based belief that they refuse to admit is a belief and they refuse to admit that its founded on a particular kind of faith-based worldview I think it’s largely because of this delusion that they are so hostile towards others; they can’t recognize that other people have different beliefs or don’t share their faith because they don’t recognize it as a belief or faith. Instead they just see bad intentions and evil bigots everywhere. And That’s it, thank you so much for watching. . .
10. Intersectionality and motte-bailey doctrine
12. Matt Ball