W. Reich, The Mass Psychology of Fascism; L. Tolstoy, "The First Step"; Vasu Murti, "MEAT: Root Cause of Endless War ..."; M. Joy, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows; Plato, Rep. II; T. Adorno, "Education After Auschwitz."
A link between wars and the eating of animal flesh is often noted, even though a meat-free diet does not necessarily make one a pacifist. "We cannot have peace among men whose hearts delight in killing any living creature," Rachel Carson wrote. Gandhi, Tolstoy, Schopenhauer, I. B. Singer, among others, also argued that war as such will not end until meat eating ends. Melanie Joy suggests that the dominant, invisible belief system behind meat eating, a system of denial she named "carnism," from the very outset generates violence. Both wars and meat production entail massive violence, obscene sadism, self-anesthetizing, radical depersonalizing, a studied looking away, and, to use Wilhelm Reich's phrase, a "suppression of life impulses." Though the architects of wars and the architects of slaughter may differ, the animals in the abattoir and the victims of warfare ultimately share a common oppressor—an implied fascist system. If slaughter, that is, is a form of Hitlerism, and all animal agriculture moves toward that end, then Hitlerism, at least on a subterranean level, is what the meat eater tacitly assents to and vicariously practices, even though, obviously, not every fascist eats meat. If "Fascism is the vampire leached to the body of the living, the impulse to murder given free rein ... " [W. Reich, THE MASS PSYCHOLOGY OF FASCISM], then it is not merely the logical and psychological culmination of a might-makes-right ideology and comportment, it is a systematized parasitism marked by an absence of limit. With particular reference to fascism, this panel will explore some of the psychological, political, and philosophical connections between war and meat.