09 February 2006

Four Forms of Influence

There are four ways to change the world:
1. Force.
2. Coercion.
3. Manipulation.
4. Persuasion.
Of the four, only the last is respectful of the person. I also believe that it's the most secure form of change. This is why I say that PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is bad for animals. Its chosen methods are coercion (changing the law) and manipulation (appealing to emotion, rhetoric, vanity, celebrity, &c). If you really care about animals and want to make things better for them, you will try to persuade rationally. This involves showing your interlocutor that he or she already believes, without realizing it, that it's wrong to treat animals as resources for human use and consumption. Rational persuasion is not only the most effective means (in the long run) to helping animals; it's the right means. See here for a superb example of rational persuasion. I don't know how anyone can read this essay and not become a vegetarian.

No comments: