A while back, I heard someone (let’s call him Atticus) talking about his conversation with another person (let’s call him Buddy). Buddy had presented an argument that made Atticus, for the first time, seriously consider becoming vegetarian (althought he didn’t). Since Atticus believes in non-violence, Buddy’s argument was that killing animals contradicts this belief, and if Atticus eats meat, this makes him somewhat of a hypocrite.

atticus-finch-nonviolenceSo there were two parts to this that made me wonder. The first, I was really surprised when Atticus said, “I believe in non-violence,” and for a while I couldn’t figure out why. I realized the other day, it’s because I see violence towards others as inherently wrong; safety is a human right, violence is not; non-violence is not something you should have to believe in. I think if you say “I believe in something” it means there are others who believe in the opposite side…but no one (I think, I hope) says, “I believe in violence.” They may have the belief that violence is necessary or natural because of cultural conditioning, but it’s one of those things about being human, we know it’s wrong.

Second, Buddy’s argument. I think there’s no denying that it has some truth to it. I thought about petty counter-arguments like human rights technically not extending to animals, and if you’re only eating it, you technically didn’t kill it. I guess I was trying to find a way to mitigate my guilt, because I knew there was no way I could bring myself to give up meat. Ironically, it made me feel guiltier. The only conclusion I came to was that if, for some reason, the meat industry ceased to exist, and we all had to kill animals ourselves in order to eat meat, I know I would never be able to do it. And I would definitely become vegetarian then.