The view from among the detritus alongside the ‘information superhighway’


One reason I have given up hope for humanity is that despite an ongoing improvement, both in quality and availability, in plant-based substitute foods, so few people are vegan. A majority remain unconcerned with the cruelty they inflict, whether directly through fishing or hunting, or indirectly, through consumption; and unconcerned with the environmental impact. A majority choose to believe what they want to believe, that is, false information, about health and nutrition. As a species, we choose to kill ourselves, to go extinct, to take an untold number of species with us, to destroy our planet, rather than to change. If there is a more serious indictment of humanity, I can’t think of it.

Surveys, albeit with abysmal response rates,[1] continue to show that the proportion of vegans in the general population remains stuck at around two to three percent.[2] It doesn’t help that around Pittsburgh, already few in number, vegan restaurants are dropping like flies.[3]

Edouard Mathieu and Hannah Ritchie, “What share of people are vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian?” Our World in Data, May 13, 2022,


People very often forget about the naturalistic fallacy. This, simply, is the confusion of what should be for what is.

Colbert King wants people to vote in pro-choice politicians, vote in pro-voting rights politicians.[4] This is what should be. It is not what is.

The point of human rights is not to protect the rights of the majority, though they may sometimes do so. It is to protect the rights of members of stigmatized subaltern groups from zealous majorities. The simple fact is that a majority of reliable voters in a majority of states in the United States are white supremacist, interested in protecting their own rights at the expense of subaltern groups they despise. Were it otherwise, we would not be facing a right-wing dictatorship.

But King will have us keep doing the same thing, expecting a different result. Another reason to abandon hope for humanity is our penchant for clinging to clearly failed ideologies.

Margaret Atwood, “‘Enforced childbirth is slavery’: Margaret Atwood on the right to abortion,” Guardian, May 7, 2022,

Jennifer Haberkorn, “Abortion pills: A post-Roe game changer — and the next battleground,” Los Angeles Times, May 7, 2022,

Amy Davidson Sorkin, “How Alito’s Draft Opinion on Abortion Rights Would Change America,” New Yorker, May 8, 2022,

David Charter, “Republican states plot to make birth control a crime,” Times, May 9, 2022,

Sarah Gantz, “Outside Philly and Pittsburgh, it can be as hard to get an abortion in Pa. as in Mississippi,” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 9, 2022,

Eriq Gardner, “Was Politico’s Supreme Court Leaker an Inside Man?” Puck News, May 9, 2022,

Peter Hamby, “The Dark Truth Behind the SCOTUS Ruling,” Puck News, May 9, 2022,

Jill Elaine Hasday, “On Roe, Alito cites a judge who treated women as witches and property,” Washington Post, May 9, 2022,

Vanessa Williamson and John Hudak, “The War on Abortion Drugs will be just as racist and classist,” Brookings, May 9, 2022,

Jordain Carney, “Senate GOP, Manchin block abortion rights legislation,” Hill, May 11, 2022,

Josh Gerstein, Alexander Ward, and Ryan Lizza, “Alito’s draft opinion overturning Roe is still the only one circulated inside Supreme Court,” Politico, May 11, 2022,

Molly Jong-Fast, “It’s Mask Off for the Supreme Court,” Atlantic, May 12, 2022,

Colbert I. King, “Justice Thomas thinks he’s being ‘bullied’? He could use a history lesson,” Washington Post, May 13, 2022,

[I]n Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, and Texas the courts will not grant a divorce to a married couple if the wife is pregnant. The courts prefer to wait until after the baby is born to address paternity. The court can then determine if appropriate child-related orders, such as child support, need to be included.[5]

Your tax dollars support . . .

Last, but surely not least, among our reasons for abandoning hope for humanity is how we treat workers, who keep everything else afloat. We love to discard people, as I have learned to my everlasting detriment as I view all this from among the detritus alongside Bill Clinton’s “information superhighway.”[6]

  1. [1]Courtney Kennedy and Hannah Hartig, “Response rates in telephone surveys have resumed their decline,” Pew Research Center, February 27, 2019,
  2. [2]Edouard Mathieu and Hannah Ritchie, “What share of people are vegetarian, vegan, or flexitarian?” Our World in Data, May 13, 2022,; R. J. Reinhart, “Snapshot: Few Americans Vegetarian or Vegan,” Gallup, August 1, 2018,
  3. [3]Dani Janae, “Pittsburgh vegan scene stumbles after losing multiple restaurants,” Pittsburgh City Paper, April 27, 2022,
  4. [4]Colbert I. King, “Justice Thomas thinks he’s being ‘bullied’? He could use a history lesson,” Washington Post, May 13, 2022,
  5. [5]Kris Balekian Hayes, “Pregnancy and Divorce,” American Pregnancy Association, 2021,
  6. [6]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d.,

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