Overview for education

Introduction

In The Reactionary Mind, Corey Robin explains that a large part of what drives reactionaries is the desire to silence and repress (or, in academese: deny voice to) others. This partly from a strong belief that their putative 'inferiors' have no right to speak (or to be heard), and partly from a fear that "society" (or their place in it) will be negatively affected by the latter being heard, or organizing themselves; and that the world can only function if everyone 'knows their place'. I found this explanation quite thought-provoking, and it led me to wonder what analogous desire and world-view animates those who the media refer to as 'the (center-)left' (liberals in the US, liberal or social democrats elsewhere), given that the overwhelming majority of these folks are uncomfortable subscribing to the ("radical") egalitarianism, inclusiveness and solidarity that I take as central.


Veganism, and "so long as we accept violence in any form, we accept violence in every form"

As I've explained elsewhere, pretty much everyone is taught how to systematically devalue the equal needs of some. By the time we reach adulthood, this 'skill', and the meritocratic moral logic that undergirds it, are deeply rooted, though people differ in how broadly they apply it. As a consequence, hardly any of us manage to ignore the many distractions (skin color, nationality, ethnicity, intellectual ability, wealth, mannerisms, religious affiliation) we are taught to focus on, and to embody the kind of inclusiveness, egalitarianism and solidarity that, abstractly, nearly all of us know is appropriate (and required). The question I want to talk about here is how this relates to our stance on the use and killing of other animals by humans, and how our thinking about the other animals as 'inferior' feeds back into our treatment of other humans.


Nonviolent Communication -- an introduction

A large part of the reason I started this blog is to introduce others to Marshall Rosenberg's nonviolent communication. I ran into his work about a half-decade ago, shortly after going vegan. It resonated with me very strongly, because he and his work showed me not just why it is so easy to lose sight of the fact that everyone's needs have equal value, but also how we can learn to listen for and express what's alive in ourselves and in others, and how to separate the strategies we come up with to meet our needs from the needs that we try to meet that way, and to always focus on the latter. Briefly put, NVC showed me how language enables and reinforces domination structures and inequality, both inside our heads, and in the societies we produce through our actions.