Why I think people vote the way they do

Here is a paragraph from a link Jamie Soden sent me. I have some thoughts on this. I would say that the way any politician or political party gets people to vote the way they want is just as this describes. By focusing on an issue that people are very emotionally or morally concerned about, the people want to vote for those who they feel are providing protection from the threat. I would say that most people are probably single issue voters because there is always one issue that is at the top of their priority list. And it’s true that for many, it probably is the gay marriage issue. For others it’s probably climate change, abortion, or animal rights. Even though I never vote on anything, I sometimes think about what motivates people to vote as they do.

“Many commentators on the left have embraced some version of the duping hypothesis: the Republican party dupes people into voting against their economic interests by triggering outrage on cultural issues. “Vote for us and we’ll protect the American flag!” say the Republicans. “We’ll make English the official language of the United States! And most importantly, we’ll prevent gay people from threatening your marriage when they … marry! Along the way we’ll cut taxes on the rich, cut benefits for the poor, and allow industries to dump their waste into your drinking water, but never mind that. Only we can protect you from gay, Spanish-speaking flag-burners!””


Anti-Abortion & Antinatalism Conflict

I have had a lot of thoughts on my mind because of recent events that happened after a link I shared that Monique sent me. You can read it here if you want:


After I posted that article on Facebook, a thread started full of comments back and forth of people debating anti-natalism. This inspired me to listen to an old Impersonal Opinion podcast I did with Trick on the topic.

I think that episode and the one after it covered all the major issues surrounding ethics of procreation and also the abortion issue.

There is however one thing that weighs heavily on my mind. While I see procreation as nothing more than a biological urge which is defended by a bunch of illogical and selfish arguments, at the same time I am against abortion because it is a type of killing. It of course makes sense that I am this way given that I don’t like to end the life of any animal and am a vegan who also tries to avoid killing insects.

One thing that Trick and I obviously agree on is that it’s better for people to remain celibate or get sterilized so that no woman ever becomes pregnant in the first place. I think that if we could get everyone on the planet to agree to this in the first place, there would be no actual abortion debate to be had.

Instead, what we have is a debate between two opposing sides both about whether abortion is moral and also whether or not it should be legal. I stepped away entirely from the abortion debate because it’s too emotionally disturbing and I don’t know if it actually changes anyone’s mind because people are too stubborn and set in their ways generally.

But the reason I bring it up is that something just feels off about the fact that I don’t want people to exist but I also don’t want to kill them. I’m trying to dive deep down into my own psychology and resolve this issue. I also don’t know why I bother considering that I don’t know what practical difference it makes in the real world. Maybe I’m just screwed up and conflicted in the head about whether we should live or die.

Poffo recently mentioned in a phone conversation with me that we are asking the ancient question: “To be, or not to be”. It’s an important question about whether life is really worth all the trouble. I think that this is something that at some point all of us who exist very long answer in our own ways.

The person who commits suicide is answering the question with a definite “No, my life is not worth experiencing the pain I am in.” Many others are saying “Yes, my life is happy enough to continue it for awhile longer.” or maybe they are saying: “I really would like to die but all the methods of death that I know about are extremely painful.”

I find that in general my life is generally full of suffering for a variety of reasons such as financial stress and being terribly upset at the suffering of all the non human animals at the hand of carnist humans who torture and kill them for reasons of either ignorance or selfishness.

My life also contains some happiness. The things that make me happy are dancing, playing video games, playing chess, pool, or other fun games with friends, and sometimes just listening or singing to music.

I think that in general each person weighs their own suffering with their happiness and determines that one is greater than the other. However there is another question far more important that is often over looked.

Are others experiencing more pleasure or pain as a result of my existence? This is something I ponder daily but of course is one I cannot answer, only the other animals can answer that question personally of whether they like my existence and how much pleasure or pain I bring them.

I can only guess what someone’s answer will be to the question. I can take a pretty educated guess that my mother, my co-workers at Hy-Vee, and a few others would answer that they are better off as a result of who I am and what I do.

However, I want to end this post by bringing it back to the conflict and how I hope to resolve it. I could be right or wrong about this but the key issue is that I know I don’t have a free will and can’t blame myself for how I feel.

I have come to the current conclusion that it is always wrong to procreate. Even IF the person who comes into existence absolutely loves their life and experiences bliss all the time and then dies a painless death, it’s still a gamble with someone else’s life and they cannot agree to it.

Imagine a woman who is raped by a man and yet somehow experiences great pleasure from it even though she never agreed or consented for it to happen in the first place. Suppose she then goes and declares that rape is a good thing because SHE liked it. The obvious problem with her logic is that just because she enjoyed something that she didn’t consent to does not mean that others will enjoy it.

I think that the natalist who argues against anti-natalism is basically doing the same as the hypothetical woman I just mentioned. They are saying: “I enjoyed my life so I’m going to make new children because their lives will be happy like mine was!”. It’s a decision based on a belief that they CANNOT have evidence for. It’s the belief that they somehow KNOW the future experience their child will have. They can’t have access to such information. None of us can.

Now I want to apply this to the topic of abortion. Both the decision to kill an unborn child or to let it be born and live out its life are both decisions based on information that none of us have access to. We cannot know whether that child will be glad that they came to exist or if they will suffer greatly and commit suicide at a young age or perhaps die from a car accident or terrible illness.

Since we cannot know what the outcome of these types of decision in terms of pleasure and pain, what we’re basically doing is trying to play baseball in the dark. We’re emotionally feeling and guessing where the ball is and swinging wildly trying to hit it.

Since we cannot know the outcome of these decisions, how do we rate the morality or ethical status of an action? That’s a question for you to ponder and answer in your own way. Meditate on that for a moment.

I will provide my own answer to how I answer this question and make my moral decisions. It is immoral to do something to someone else that I would not want done to myself. In short I basically try to follow the golden rule. Since I do not even want someone else to take an action which MAY cause me suffering, I think it’s wrong to even take a risk in the first place that affects someone else.

And after all this consideration, I’m back once again to the conclusion that the only logical solution is to promote celibacy and/or sterilization so as to not impose the suffering on a woman of having to choose whether to kill her child or let it live. Either way, making someone choose something that they don’t want to is a crime in and of itself.

In an average scenario a woman may not want to be pregnant. She also probably does not want to kill her child either. So whichever she chooses she will be unhappy and experience regret and wish she could go back and choose the other option. It seems that the real suffering here is the “burden of choice”. I am against imposing suffering on the woman in the first place.

So naturally it all goes back to avoiding unwanted pregnancy. It’s the only solution that people are likely to agree to. If they don’t agree that steps need to be taken to avoid women becoming pregnant in the first place, then there is no further discussion to be had.

As a final note, I personally never saw the abortion debate as a “women’s rights” issue. The reason for this is because if all the men went on strike and refused to have sex with them, the women couldn’t get pregnant even if they wanted to. So what’s really going on as that this is about a man’s right to choose whether or not he wants to impose suffering on a woman he has sex with and additionally the potential suffering of children which are created as a result.

It seems that my logic concludes that a man having sex with a woman is always wrong unless there is zero percent chance of her becoming pregnant and that she also consents to the chance of being infected with a sexually transmitted disease.

And in the end I still feel that I’m both an anti-natalist but at the same time anti-abortion. I’m against the idea that we should be given a choice which has the potential to cause suffering to us and others. For this reason, I stay with my preferred label: “anti-choice”.

Why My Veganism Requires Atheism

As some of you know who read my blog posts or listen to the podcasts I do with my cohosts already know. I call myself a vegan and also an atheist. In my experience there has been much misunderstanding about both of these labels. In this post I hope to explain why both of these labels go together for me personally, however they may not apply to every vegan or every atheist.

However, if you follow my reasoning. You will see exactly how it became impossible to believe in the existence of a “good” god who is also extremely powerful. I think that one doesn’t need to believe in an omnipotent god in order to understand this. For the most part, one only need to believe that a god exists that is the creator of all things. All monotheistic religions teach this and claim that everything was designed by God including every part of the planet and our own genetic code or DNA.

In the past, I believed this. I was raised as a Christian and attended church with my mother up until the age of 18. I also visited other churches in my early 20s. You can safely assume that I know my fair share of what is taught in churches and what is in the bible. I have read the entire new testament as well as most of the old testament including every word of the first five books of the old testament.

Let me begin with what is the most obvious fact but that many Christians deny. The bible contains contradictions.

In the following verse, we see one of the most famously quoted parts of the old testament. It is believed to be God commanding the jews not to kill.

Exodus 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.

However, there are plenty of places in the bible where God commands people to kill other humans as well as tons of animals in ritual sacrifices. The most famous example of this is most likely this part where god commands Abraham to kill his son Isaac.

Genesis 22:1-17 King James Version (KJV)

1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

2 And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

3 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

4 Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

5 And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship, and come again to you.

6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together.

7 And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?

8 And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

9 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood.

10 And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

11 And the angel of the Lord called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.

12 And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.

14 And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.

15 And the angel of the Lord called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time,

16 And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son:

17 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

I do not need to go into the hundreds of other examples of God commanding people to kill things. You can read them yourself if you want.

The point that I want to make is that no matter what your belief is about killing, this God described is a very contradictory God who sometimes wants people to kill others and sometimes does not.

This simple fact was something I knew for a long time but wasn’t sure how to process. However I came to believe that killing is wrong. Basically I preferred the “Thou shalt not kill” more than I did the other commandments about killing bulls, goats, sheep, and other humans in war.

However, as soon as I came to accept that killing is wrong. I realized that it must mean that God is morally wrong when he himself kills or commands others to do so. However most Christians hold God up as the standard of morality and they must do as he commands whether or not they want to and whether or not it contradicts with God’s other command not to kill.

So what happens is that the Christians who believe in the God described in the bible have no actual standard for morality. Morality can change from one day to the next. Tomorrow God may command someone to kill, rape, lie, or steal and it would be immoral to disobey god if he commands such things and is the moral standard upon which you base your life.

So anyhow, I hope that wasn’t too boring. Now on to my major point. I do not base my life on the writings of an ancient book. I do not wish to kill any animals if it can be avoided. For this reason I am a vegan who also tries not to kill even insects that are annoying me. I wasn’t always this way but became more committed to the principal of ahimsa after leaving behind religion and evolving my actions to be consistent with what I think morality is.

I’m not here to debate whether morality or ethics is objective or subjective. I also don’t expect someone to agree with me that killing is wrong. The larger point that I don’t want anyone to miss is:

I try my best to live consistently with what I believe is the right thing. Everything else including the Veganism and Celibacy that I promote in my podcast with Monique is consistent with the belief that killing is wrong and I want to avoid it when possible. Also keep in mind that I do not believe in the existence of a God who is going to reward or punish me in an afterlife based on my actions. In short, there is no reward for me for my avoidance of eating animal products or staying a virgin for life. I do it because I want to and that’s all the reason I need.

Now the final point I want to make is that the reason I call myself an atheist isn’t just because I don’t believe in the existence of the Christian God of the Bible. It’s true that I don’t believe it anymore because I think that the entire concept of gods and goddesses is a fairy tale invented by humans who loved to create their own stories about the meaning of life and heroes and villains who are fighting some huge cosmic battle. I think the entire bible is just a work of fiction and should be recognized as such.

There is a much larger point to make. Whatever gods or goddesses exist is not my concern because I do not view them as a moral authority. That is to say that if it was possible to prove the existence of any of the gods of the many world religions, my behavior would not change because I don’t think we should obey anyone just because “they said so”.

So while it’s true that I am an atheist, the MOST important point is that I am also an anarchist. By this I only mean what I have already basically said. Killing is wrong even if your mother, father, government, or a god tells you.

If there is anything at all that I believe in which could be described by some people as a god or a moral standard, it is the golden rule, which ironically happens to be in the bible as well as other sources.

Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

And right now that’s all I have to say about that.