more political bad taste

Lest I appear more out of my gourd than usual, I should stress that looking at the face of vegan professor T. Colin Campbell was a bit of a revelation for me yesterday.

I realized that political preference can be a taste.

This is not an easy thing to contemplate, but I think it's true. People spend an awful lot of time trying to change each other's preferences, and they forget that in matters of taste, there can be no disagreements. (Well, I suppose anyone can dispute anything, but the ancient wisdom holds that taste-based disputes are a waste of time.)

Not very often have I experienced an insight so simultaneously comforting and unsetlling.

To think that it took a disagreement over food!

If only other matters were that easy.

Examples can be seen everywhere. Earlier this morning, the communitarian views of a minister in the Inquirer made me want to mentally vomit:

Last year, when churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania were asked to acknowledge the legal end of the Atlantic slave trade in 1808, Taylor thought it was about time to end the trade in silence at her own church.

"It's coming to terms with our illustrious ancestors and then realizing that they had slaves," she said yesterday, describing the motives and feelings behind the dedication. "It's hard for white people to deal with that - that the people who were our founders, and whom we're real proud of, had slaves. And they're both part of our church history, the same as they're part of our country's history and everything else."

The service and dedication - Frank Turner, the first African American bishop in the Episcopal diocese here, will deliver the sermon - has been generally welcomed by Trinity congregants, although not universally.

Taylor said some members of the congregation, which is almost entirely white, had expressed indifference, if not hostility.

"One thing I get from here is, 'My ancestors weren't here then, don't blame me. That was then, not now,' " said Taylor, who was born in Canada and is now a U.S. citizen.

"I say when I became American - because I wasn't American, either - that became part of my history, too," Taylor said. "That's the way I look at it. If you join this country, you adopt the good and the bad and the whole thing and you become an American. So in that respect I am responsible. I made myself responsible when I became an American."

I disagree with the notion of collective guilt, and the idea that all are responsible for the actions of some. I don't think that Reverend Taylor is responsible for slavery, and whether she became an American ten years ago or whether she was descended from slave holders is irrelevant. She did not do it. Nor did I. Nor did anyone alive.

Etc. (I've written about this more than a few times.)


But to the extent that it is an argument, it really is a hopeless one. Individualist thinking and communitarian thinking are like tar and water. Like meat-eaters versus vegans. They just disagree. I can say that the communitarian view is wrong till I'm blue in the face, while communitarians can say the individualist view is wrong till they're blue in the face.

This is an argument over taste. Of course, this is my blog, and I like to discuss my tastes here.

Suppose I declare, for now and forever -- my love for paella!



And my love for Cream filled donuts!



But I don't like liver and I don't like hard boiled eggs.


No, I will not upload pictures of what I don't like -- especially of liver. It would just be too gross, and I don't want to look at them in my own blog. I recognize, though, that there are two sides to this issue. The pro-livers think their pictures are mouth-watering, while the anti-livers think they're disgusting.

Again, I share the "Ick!" reaction of the latter, but de gustibus and all that stuff....

posted by Eric on 05.23.07 at 09:57 AM


The pro-livers think their pictures are mouth-watering, while the anti-livers think they're disgusting.

So, are you a pro-liver or an anti-liver? Are you instead a pro-choicer? Do livers have a soul? Do they go to Liver Heaven? Is Liver Hell really nothing more than a frying pan?

Froblyx   ·  May 23, 2007 10:40 AM

I don't entirely agree that you can't debate "people's tastes" in the sense you are using it here.

If someone is a vegan because they prefer the vegan diet, they get more enjoyment out of it, then that's that.

But most vegans are vegan for philosophical (animal cruelty), "nature" or health reasons. I believe you can have a meaningful discussion about these underlying issues and whether they hold up to scrutiny.

I know people have been convinced to become vegetarians or abandon vegetarianism based on such discussions. Vegans are a slightly different breed so reason may not sway them, but interesting and fruitful discussions can still be had.

tim maguire   ·  May 23, 2007 11:13 AM

There is the novelty factor. I think people are often willing to try or consider new things and new ideas. But once they decide to like or dislike the things or ideas, the taste factor sets in, and it's unlikely to be easily changed -- especially by someone else.

I realize the food analogy doesn't apply across the board, but I do think political tastes are surprisingly stubborn -- especially when they go to an individual's general philosophy.

(Not trying to announce a new rule here; just remarking on something I noticed. Ever tried arguing logically about guns with someone who hates them?)

Lord deliver.

Eric Scheie   ·  May 23, 2007 11:47 AM

You are missing the boat when it comes to both liver and boiled eggs.

Boiled eggs should be sliced over salad so that there is enough yolk to go with each slice. Slices with no yolk are unfit for human consumption and should be fed to disliked animals, such as cats that don't kill mice, but just sit around next to their dish.

Goose liver, anyway, makes an excellent spread. And it is useful for attracting kittens, which are very nice with the right sauce.

But tastes, as they say, differ.

Socrates   ·  May 23, 2007 1:42 PM

You are discriminating against diabetics, you glucose-crat.

Bleepless   ·  May 24, 2007 10:06 PM

Post a comment

April 2011
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30


Search the Site


Classics To Go

Classical Values PDA Link


Recent Entries


Site Credits