08 December 2003

Henry S. Salt on the Logic of Vegetarianism

The chief object of this work, as stated at the outset, has been to prove the logical soundness of vegetarian principles, and the hollowness of the hackneyed taunt, so often a makeshift for reasoning, that Vegetarians are a crew of mild brainless enthusiasts whose "hearts are better than their heads." How far I have been successful in this purpose it is for the reader to judge; I trust it has at least been made plain that, if it is logic that our friends are in need of, we are quite ready to accommodate them, and that nothing will please us better than a thorough intellectual sifting of the whole problem of diet. Only it must be a thorough sifting. The great foe of Vegetarianism, as of every other reform, is Habit—that inert, blind, dogged force which time called into being, and time only can outwear—and it is this which lurks behind the flimsy sophisms and excuses that the flesh-eater loves to set up, in which, as a rule, though there is much show of controversy, there is little real discussion.

(Henry S. Salt, The Logic of Vegetarianism: Essays and Dialogues [London: The Ideal Publishing Union, 1899], 112 [italics in original])