I do have opinions, points of view. These opinions generally fall into two broad categories. Those that are obvious and coincide with most other people’s opinions e.g. Islamic State and climate change are bad things, and those opinions which may be contentious but where I can see and accept the POV of the other side.
Generally speaking, I tend not to impose my opinions, my beliefs on others. Sure, if a subject comes up in conversation I’ll say my piece but without announcing that what I say is the last word on the matter and that everyone who disagrees is wrong. And most certainly I never shout my mouth off on social media where one can be dragged into an inescapable vortex of people baying and shouting into the void where there is no pretence or hope of arriving at a consensus.
But I suddenly became a militant the other day. Sitting in my car, negotiating a long diversion to reach my destination, then crawling back through town at a snail’s pace (this was in the middle of a working day, who was doing the work?) I became a member of the anti-car militant front. One way or the other this has to stop. Jersey has more registered vehicles than people. In many families every adult owns a car. Virtually every piece of land not otherwise designated is full of parked vehicles.
I don’t have the answers, who does? The small measures that are being taken to encourage walking, cycling, public transport and to make town less of a polluted hellhole are the subject of outcry from those who presumably think the present situation is quite OK. It is not OK.
And from one cause to another. All my (long-ish) life I’ve eaten pretty much what takes my fancy including meat and fish and other animal products, the staple of most diets. Recently, and under guidance, I modified my diet and lost a fair chunk of weight. On looking at my new routine I observed that what I was now eating was, in the main, plant-based. Some lean meat certainly, some fish, but predominantly vegetables, grains, fruit, beans etc. I thought, well I’m pretty much a vegetarian now and it wouldn’t be much of a jump to make it so.
Then, out of curiosity, I looked up what a ‘vegan’ was. Turns out veganism can be as much a form of activism as it is food choices. Animal rights is a proper crusade with its proponents determined to make known the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals during their often sorry lifetimes and barbaric deaths. Tiptoeing into the subject on Twitter, trying to get a grip on what the facts were and suggesting there may be mitigations, I was howled down with something approaching hatred. My first reaction? I’m not going to be lectured, I’ll make my own mind up.
My decision? The activists are correct. There are no grey areas. I might slip up occasionally but I’m now essentially a vegan. But I’m not going to shout at everyone who isn’t, simply explain my reasons if asked.