Vegan Purity and Adjunctivitis

Two good articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education. One is about the astonishing fact that US college faculty are now only about 31% tenured or tenure track.  The rest are adjunct part-timers (about 50%) and full-time lecturers, etc. The other is about vegetarianism and veganism.  Comment sections of both are worth reading too.


Mel said...

"Vegans and the Quest for Purity" - absolutely brilliant. Thanks for the link.

Wayne said...

"Life is everywhere.... With every swallow, I destroy some of the bacteria in my gut that keep me alive by helping to digest my food. But even larger creatures like cockroaches and rats, do they enter into the purview of animal-rights activists? And the HIV virus, the swine flu, tuberculosis? Do I want to eschew antibiotics and vaccines that help my life out of respect for theirs?"

He lost me here.... Seems like a straw man to me.

Oh and your first link to the tenure article doesn't work. I found it anyways though, and I think proclaiming the future end of tenure is a little premature. Society has changed in the last 35 years.... Higher ed has changed.... And it is disturbing to see the incredibly high adjunct to tenured professor ratio that exists now, but unless we either increase the cost of education, or increase taxes for public universities proportional to our economic growth, and not to inflation, we'll need to make such changes.

Why I doubt the end of tenure is because tenured faculty are increasingly becoming managers themselves. A college/university with nothing but adjuncts, has no one to do the administrative work, except deans... Which would cost a lot more than a tenured professor. So economics will continue to keep tenured professors around... But clearly the purpose behind tenure has changed.

Ed said...

I agree that the veg vs veg article is pretty much attacking a straw man, and using dubious tactics to do so (reductio ad absurdum anyone?).

He does not understand what veganism means. It's not as extremist as he thinks, nor does it impossible in theory and practice as he asserts. To be fair, though, there are some very strident vegans out there who are probably at least partly to blame for his confuision (Steiner and Francione maybe?).

The bit towards the end about us all being carnivores from conception because the fetus "eats the mother" and after birth the baby consumes a "dairy product" from the mother strikes me as pretty sick.

Aeolus said...

I'm surprised that the Chronicle of Higher Education would publish a piece as intellectually shoddy (both ignorant and illogical) as Harold Fromm's "Veganism and the Quest for Purity". I don't think I'll bother commenting at the website, since other commenters there have already taken Fromm apart.

Justin Van Kleeck said...

When I read things like this, I have to wonder if the writer is really comfortable in his/her veganism...rather than forcing it and/or looking for a way out. For me at least, it really boils down to an underlying intentionality: the intentionality to reduce the suffering of animals through humans' lifestyle choices. If you have that core compassion and concern, then veganism is not about purity or perfection, but about considering the welfare of nonhumans and striving to act appropriately.

I always think of the Buddha's teachings on killing in this respect. He made clear that killing other lifeforms is inevitable in our lives: just breathing in air or drinking in water, or walking down the street; and today we know about the immune system, we have vaccines, and so forth. But the key factor, what determined if a word or thought or deed was a karma-creating one, was the intention behind it. I consider this a good way to think about mature veganism: trying to do no intentional harm to other beings as much as possible, not adding unnecessary suffering to their lives (or one's own).

Jean Kazez said...

Yes, some straw man in there, which distracts from better points. I decided to create a separate post about it.