Haha, I say that in jest. Because, truth be told, I’m probably an activist by just writing this blog post. But actual activists do rub me raw most times.
I say that every activist is most likely a hypocrite:
Anti-Fossil Fuel: They are buying electric cars and doing everything electric, when most electricity comes from the burning of fossil fuel. A smaller percent is nuclear energy. And way at the bottom are renewable sources. Every building you visit is either heated or cooled by fossil fuel by way of electricity. Every product you can buy is probably fueled by fossil fuel. Every vegetable, tofu, couscous, Chia seed, avocado, and kombucha likely involves the burning of fossil fuel either in production, transport, marketing, or storage for sell. You can’t pretend that you are not a consumer of fossil fuel. So you are a hypocrite if you think otherwise.
Anti-Plastic: I’m all for cleaning up oceans and reducing plastic usage. But behind every anti-plastic activist you’ll find a raging hypocrite. Plastics are all products of petroleum refining. But beyond the paper bags and plastic straws they decry, look at your car dashboard and all the trim on your vehicle. Look at your bicycle hand grips, helmet, and seat. Look at any synthetic fabric in your clothes. Look all around your house and tell me there isn’t any plastic. Hypocrites!
Anti-Animal Products: This is a big one since its so hard to find a yoga teacher who isn’t vegan/vegetarian. I also don’t know many of that sort who doesn’t wear makeup, use lotions, soaps, cleansers, or other products that aren’t tested on animals. Even if the product is not directly tested on animals, its likely that the substrate for the product is. Another thing you’ll find is leather. You’ll surely find leather on an anti-animal use person or somewhere in their dwelling. Even in the most ethically harvested vegetable you’ll find a root to animal testing or even use in production. Anti-animal folks are generally anti-hunting, but they are very short-sighted on the ecology of such things. You could go far and wide with the research and evidence that goes against their disdain for that activity.
On this latter point and the others as well, most of what we do in life is a knee-jerk reaction. And that reaction is largely based on emotion. We see a cute face with pretty eyes and want to save it. I do too. But if something is unsightly or just plain ugly, we scream and run the other way. Even though, that animal, spider, rodent, bacterium, fungus, etc. is an organism with a right to live as well. Do you still swat at mosquitoes and flies? Do you dislike bacteria? Do you kill plants for food? So along the continuum of life, where is the cut-off for what you can kill and what you can’t? Maybe it is cute eyes and a heart that makes the criteria? But then its OK to kill something that is ugly? I’d call that organism shaming. What gives you the right to kill any living creature for your benefit? This is where the vegan/vegetarian ideas fall apart. I once had someone tell me that it depends on if the creature has a soul. Huh? Now humans are interpreting what has a soul? How self-centered is that? I used to teach a botany lab. We studied thigmonasty, which is a plant or fungi’s response to touch. They respond to our breath as CO2 enters their stomata. They have a physiological wound response. Plants have many negative responses to what humans do to them. Yet who is standing up for plants? My Ph.D. is in plant pathology, the study of plant diseases. I say let the plants live!!
For every -ism there is a hypocrite. Stay in your lane. And stay true to yourself. If you don’t walk a pure life, then don’t throw stones. And by all means, social media isn’t the platform to promote your activism. Walking the streets is largely ineffective. Pinning signs to the sides of the poor trees isn’t the way. Kneeling at a football game when you are millionaire and can do something tangible in depressed communities. Its weak to make visual social statements. Instead, work within a system to find the most effective way to elicit change. Write a proposal that leads to legislation. Present your ideas to your city council, to your congress person, or to any representative. If need be, talk with a lawyer and bring suit against an offending activity. But don’t send out a tweet or witty meme on Instagram. That is weak and ineffective. If you want to help a homeless person, don’t talk about it; actually do something. If you want to give to charity, don’t tax people to give charity; give of your time and money and physical effort yourself. Don’t talk about it. Do something!