The difference between “can’t” and “won’t”.

Like every vegan, I’ve encountered the “I couldn’t live like that” response, as in this story from Ryan at VegBlog. Explain veganism to someone and it’s always “I couldn’t”, usually followed by rambling about deprivation (and protein). Ryan has the right take on this:

… You say “I couldn’t live like that!” to someone who’s living in squalor with cat feces piled on top of decade-old newspapers. You don’t say it to someone who simply chooses not to consume animal products (including cat feces piled on top of decade-old newspapers).

Veganism isn’t about deprivation. It’s not about sacrifice. …

I choose to be a vegan because I’ve weighed the factors to the best of my intellect and determined that it’s right for me. I’ve chosen a specific path. I have not denied myself anything.

Contrary to popular disbelief, I do not crave meat. (Nope, not even steak hamburger beef.) I don’t secretly sneak off to McDonald’s for a Big Mac/fish sandwich/chicken nuggets combo, with a milkshake chaser. And I don’t feel like my life is lacking anything.

It’s hard to believe that I could have a different opinion and act on it, but I do.

P.S. You aren’t the first person to offer me “just one little bite” of your steak when we’re at a restaurant. It wasn’t funny the first time it happened. It gets less funny every time. But thanks.

One thought on “The difference between “can’t” and “won’t”.”

  1. I get caught up in this problem when people learn that I enjoy casino gambling.
    “But it’s rigged!”
    –“Yes it is.”
    “So why would you do it?”
    –“Because I enjoy it.”
    “But you’re going to lose money!”
    –“No, I’m going to spend money on leisure and entertainment.”
    “How can enjoy that?”
    –“If I go to a Broadway show for $100 or more, then what do I get out of it? I get entertainment out of it. If I go to an amusement park, then what do I get out of it? I get excitement out of it.”
    Saying it is per se irrational to enjoy gambling is no different (i.e., just as invalid) as saying that it is per se irrational to enjoy going to the theater or an amusement park.

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