Flower Bomb – Egoist Vegan: Some Thoughts on an Individualist Animal Liberation
The Anarchist Library
Title: Egoist Vegan: Some Thoughts on an Individualist Animal Liberation
For any readers who may not already know, “egoism” or egoist anarchism or anarcho-egoism, is a school of thought originally found in the writings of 19th-century existentialist philosopher Max Stirner.
Stirner’s egoist philosophy suggests that identities used to uphold social hierarchies in society are ‘spooks’ in the mind rather than fixed, universal truths. The personal acceptance of these spooks as irrefutable truths ultimately plays into the normalization and maintenance of industrial society. Rather than personal surrender to these spooks — including the very notion of Society itself — Stirner’s egoism suggests an individualist rejection of any and all social constructs used to preserve hierarchical control and domination.
“To affirm the individual is to destroy the species. I find myself experiencing bio/eco-centrism as ego-centrism. From this, I have found a union of egoists that includes all living beings, where anti-speciesism is a living encounter, not a dead-moralistic revolutionary Cause.” -Julian Langer from An Eco-Egoist Destruction of Species-Being and Speciesism
In the quote above, Langer beautifully summarizes individual as ungovernable by species, recognizing an anti-speciesist union with all other living beings. Human supremacy is one of many worldviews that attempts to transform complex life into identity-based groupings. My egoist critique of‘Human’ as an identity and concept is no more sophisticated than my critique of race and gender; I reject any socialized binary worldview that pre-supposes categorical divisions based on hierarchy. Regardless of the noble efforts by those who are bound and determined to reform and re-define what it means to be human, humanism, in my opinion, will always bean enemy of the wild – of those who adapt badly to the civilized life of caged conformity. The identity and ideology of humanism is loaded with assumptions of superiority used to justify control and domination over non-human animals. As an egoist, I too recognize anti-speciesism as a living encounter. As an anti-authoritarian I reject all supremacist ideologies including those that privilege my comfort and existence above the lives of others. So as an anti-speciesist I reject any species-based privilege or intrinsic morality that entitles me to control and dominate another animal.
For eons, human supremacist has enjoyed an ever-expanding, moralist entitlement to those animals categorized as ‘non-human’, as well as the wild landscapes upon which they inhabit. My refusal to consume the flesh and secretions of other animals is an anti-speciesist assertion of individualist revolt against humanist conformity. Speciesism is a narrowed view of other animals guided by the authority of anthropocentric morality. To view other animals as food is to surrender one’s primal instincts to the ideology of human supremacy. My egoism is a rejection of the socially constructed spooks of human, humanism, and the same ‘humanity’ that slaughterhouses and hunters speak of when attempting to justify their ‘humane’ domination.
As an individualist I recognize and respect the individuality of every animal. Each and every animal is unique, possessing a complex personality developed in relationship to a complex surrounding. But similar to the homogenizing effect of other forms of oppression, speciesist oppression limits this understanding in order to tranquilize potential empathy shared between human and non-human animals. This ultimately creates a dominant, one-sided narrative which is used to portray non-human animals as merely objects rather than individually unique, complex living beings. For example, when placed in labs under stress and tortured with human-made devices, non-human animals are viewed as mere test subjects instrumental to the‘greater good’ of human scientific progress.
Non-human animals are not only reduced to products for dietary consumption; they have all become a categorical monolith. And in order to enforce this view and treatment of non-human animals, human supremacy must be collectively reproduced on an individual level. Just as any other socio-political doctrine of supremacist ideology, human supremacy demands nothing less than participant conformity in order to uphold its power and values.
Humanity celebrates its victorious dominion with holidays, culture, and familial traditions. Its separation from the wild resembles an insular prison built by the confines of industrial society. And within this prison – at every family gathering – the charred corpses of those deemed inferior are cut up and served for consumption. The bodies and bodily secretions of these dead animals are fortified with nutritional value to justify filtering nutrients through their consumption. Each glass of cows’ milk represents a product of labor stolen from both the cow and calf for which nature intended. Due to the same regurgitated, patriarchal, and anthropocentric analysis (based largely on various historical misconceptions and domesticated interpretations of ‘wildness’), pro-hunter primitivists justify their authoritarianism with claims to resurrect ideas of ‘respect’ and ‘spiritual connectedness’ toward animals. All of this serves as social conformity toward the view and treatment of non-human animals as mere objects for exploitation and consumption.