Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Francionist Instant Karma!

As some people are aware, Gary Francione in recent years has declared himself to be literally a Jain. He has read Jaina scriptures and agrees with them, and even talks about being reincarnated. Well, let's recall the excerpts from the Abolitionist Approach Forum in which I was attacked, called a "putz" without Francione expressing the least bit disapproval, and Francione said my work cannot possibly be interpreted as serious remarks. Recollect, too, his libel that I "tell outright lies," that I have committed "insane acts," that as a person I am "disturbed," and so forth. See this and much more utterly documented in my blog entry for December 25, 2011.

Gary should be reminded that according to Jainism, there is "knowledge-obstructing karma," or particles weighing down the soul as a result of:

Activities such as neglecting or ridiculing learning or knowledge, insulting, disrespecting, harassing or hating the learned;...obstructing others in scholarship activities, and speaking incorrect information can cause the soul to accrue knowledge-obstructing karma. (Parikh, 2007, p. 87)
Knowledge-obstructing karma tops the Jain list of types of what are called "destructive karma." (pp. 86-88). The Francionists neglecting my work by not even bothering to clarify how I supposedly misrepresent them, and saying it is a shame that no one corrects the record when they are free to do so, including Gary, is inconsistent with his Jain tradition. Neglect also applies to him failing to answer the many critiques that I have directed at his views, and to answer my rebuttal to his three critiques of my views. Francione said debate with me "will not be productive," even though at the very least it would produce corrections of my alleged "misrepresentations" that are reaching literally thousands of people according to objective webstats. I would be more than happy to achieve complete accuracy if the Francionists can be bothered.

Whether this offensive man actually hates me is less clear, and I lack sufficient evidence to accuse him of that, albeit his more recent actions are consistent with overbearing contempt. He used to praise my animal ethics work extremely highly, that is before I started openly critiquing anti-incrementalist animal law. E-mails and learned witnesses, also documented with e-mails from them, dating back to the 1990s and early 21st century, will attest to this fact if need be.

And what about him unapologetically misrepresenting Singer's views as I have documented with Singer's own confirmation of this fact? That--and of course Francione's libel against me--goes under "speaking incorrect information." Being "diligent in performing penances" (which includes apologies) is also required of Jains. (Parikh, 2007, p. 75)

Anyway, neglect, ridiculing my learning or knowledge, insulting, and disrespecting do straightforwardly apply. Obstructing and harassing in scholarship activities applies to the Francionist who tried unsuccessfully to get me blocked from being rehired as a contract-teacher at Brock University. That person knows who he is.

In sum, virtually all of the knowledge-obstructing activities listed by the Jains apply to the Francionists. With the possible exception of hatred...though I would not care to bet on that.

Gee, from this reflection on ancient South Asian scriptures, it seems the Francionist antics are nothing new in their degradation. Oh yes, and knowledge-obstructing karma particles tend to "impair or obscure the soul's capacity for cognition, comprehension, and knowing." (Parikh, 2007, p. 87) Note how two of Francione's three feeble critiques of my views involved fundamentally misunderstanding what I was saying, and the other showed a basic incomprehension of the laws of economics, including that factory farming costs "animal industrialists" less money by far. That, indeed, is their purpose rather than cruelty per se.

The first edition of Dr. Parikh's book cited here, by the way, won an award in 2003 from the Jain community for its authoritative contributions to Jain education. Unlike Gary, I am not a Jain, although I am deeply moved by the principle of non-violence that the Jains originated, as my writings attest.

The block quote produced above also applies to the scorn, etc. that the Francionists heap on AR Zone, whose mission it is to promote learned dialogue about animal activist and related issues. The Jain tradition also uniformly holds in low regard: "A self-righteous doctrine that refuses to acknowledge differing viewpoints or urges its followers to push and spread its message as the 'only truth'..." (Parikh, 2007, p. 90) Yes, there are wise folk who had the Francionists' number thousands of years ago, as Dr. Parikh's work on thoughts within the Jain heritage demonstrate.

Jain? I suppose that Gary is a Jain. But his actions do not always reflect that fact.

John Lennon said: "Instant karma's going to get you!"


Parikh, Vastupal, Ph.D. 2007. Jainism and the New Spiritualiy. Toronto: Peace Publications.


A Selection of Related Articles

Sztybel, David. "Animal Rights Law: Fundamentalism versus Pragmatism". Journal for Critical Animal Studies 5 (1) (2007): 1-37.

go there

Short version of "Animal Rights Law".

go there

Sztybel, David. "Incrementalist Animal Law: Welcome to the Real World".

go there

Sztybel, David. "Sztybelian Pragmatism versus Francionist Pseudo-Pragmatism".

go there

A Selection of Related Blog Entries

Anti-Cruelty Laws and Non-Violent Approximation

Use Not Treatment: Francione’s Cracked Nutshell

Francione Flees Debate with Me Again, Runs into the “Animal Jury”

The False Dilemma: Veganizing versus Legalizing

Veganism as a Baseline for Animal Rights: Two Different Senses

Francione's Three Feeble Critiques of My Views

Startling Decline in Meat Consumption Proves Francionists Are Wrong Once Again!

The Greatness of the Great Ape Project under Attack!

Francione Totally Misinterprets Singer

Francione's Animal Rights Theory

Francione on Unnecessary Suffering

My Appearance on AR Zone

D-Day for Francionists

Sztybel versus Francione on Animals' Property Status

The Red Carpet

Playing into the Hands of Animal Exploiters

The Abolitionist ApproachES

Francione's Mighty Boomerang

Dr. David Sztybel Home Page

Monday, January 2, 2012

Looking Back on 2011, and Forward into 2012

Hi folks,

I think that 2011 was productive for me as an ideas-roots activist, a notion I elaborated in my November 17th entry.

  • January 16th I made my first appearance on AR Zone. Although I was leery about being attacked by Francionists, it was actually one of the most positive events in my life so far, overall. I figured Roger Yates would hate me till I die, but in my second appearance in a podcast chat just this last month, we found ourselves rather liking and respecting each other as people, a great thing I never would have predicted.
  • In February I also let go of my old home-made blog and surrendered to the superior design inherent in Blogger. I'm grateful for this terrific, free platform.
  • March was a really busy month for marching onward as it were:
    1. I offered a historical retrospective on rights laws for blacks, women, and children to show how that has all been incrementalist, and Bruce Friedrich (then of PETA, now affiliated with the Farm Sanctuary) a stalwart figure in this whole debate, said my essay is "essential reading."
    2. I wrote an essay for Toronto Pig Save entitled "Extending Our Circle of Compassion to Pigs."
    3. I made a suggested guide on how to deal with anti-incrementalists in animal rights groups so that they do not take over, as they sometimes try to do, de-railing important works or threatening to do so.
    4. I added a historical list of great achievements for animal welfare and animal rights to my web page.
    5. I wrote a new, one-pager sheet called "Animal Rights in Essence" in which I draw a connection to AR and non-violence.
    6. BioMedLib rated my peer-reviewed journal article in the Journal of Applied Philosophy, "A Living Will Clause for Supporters of Animal Experimentation" as the top of the top 10 articles on animal experimentation in terms of popularity of accessing papers.
    7. In a blog entry, I pretty much buried qualms about using the term "Francionist" because I pointed out how much the terms "Reganite" and "Singerite" are used without the negative connotations that the Francionists themselves seem to fear--they have a lot of fears upon closer examination...
  • In April, a large and super-active animal rights group called the Northwest Animal Rights Network adopted my peer-reviewed journal article, "Animal Rights Law: Fundamentalism versus Pragmatism," as a position paper for their group respecting incrementalist animal law.
  • Also in April, doctoral student Jana Crawford and I teamed up to write another short essay for Toronto Pig Save.
  • In May, wonderful activist Brandon Becker coaxed me to blog up my remarks on using the term "animal," and how it is sometimes stylistically and even theoretically better than "nonhuman animal"--depending on the context of usage. These remarks were a passage from my first AR Zone appearance, an answer to his question given to me before the interview.
  • In August I announced that albeit I felt obliged to leave the Fellowship program of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, through my own choice alone, due to unsatisfactory treatment, I was coincidentally appointed the same day (as my official resignation with the OCAE) as a Research Fellow at the University of Vienna.
  • In the month of September I contributed a new chart to show the time-line for incremental laws pertaining to African-Americans, and also a new essay, "Anti-Vivisection and Anti-Violence".
  • The next month of October saw the release of a new paper, "Veganism versus Violence" and I also added a bit on public speaking to my website, offering my services thusly.
  • In November I put together an abridged version of "Veganism vs. Violence," which was officially adopted by a poster-campaign in Toronto modeled after a Mercy for Animals drive. Also in November a top journalist cited my views on PETA suing for orca personhood, and I wrote my "Ideas-Roots Activism" blog entry which Carolyn Bailey kindly cross-posted on the AR Zone.
  • Finally, in December, just last month, I made a second appearance on AR Zone, a chat-podcast that all participants enjoyed and learned from. I also effectively rebutted Gary Francione's three supposed critiques of my animal law views on anti-incrementalism, and pretty much mopped up the floor with the would-be-back-stabbing commentators on the Abolitionist Approach Forum. (Is such loving attention to the floor consistent with non-violence? You bet. If you are attacked, you may defend yourself vigorously. For a justification, see my discussion in "Veganism vs. Violence," for example, of what I name the principle of non-violent approximation, where in this case I have a choice between:

    1. refutation of libel, insults, degradations, and so forth and
    2. passively suffering these harms inflicted by others.

    A lot of these Francionist bullies are not accustomed to having others fight back.)

I was really quite surprised that there was so much activity to 2011 when I looked back through the blog recently. At any given moment there is only the one or few things one is working on, sometimes. And there is a whole lot else on the back-burner by way of potential books and essays. The year was tremendously fertile for a number of these projects too. I did a lot more grassroots activism here too, such as for the Toronto Veggie Pride Parade, where I was also a speaker, and at other events too. It was a fine year. I am an independent researcher and proud of it. Honestly, I see my not currently teaching at a university largely as a social consequence of speciesist hiring practices. It is oddly untoward in some ways to encounter academic colleagues at conferences who tell me with admiration that I should be teaching somewhere. I would gladly trade such noble sentiments for a decent job. Still and all, my blog is entitled "On the Road to Liberation," and I feel that in some sense perhaps I am on such a road, and I am by no means the only one. Indeed, not all of us are human.

I don't think the Mayans are correct that we will experience the end of the world in 2012 (these armageddonists have a way of being disappointed, thankfully), although hopefully we will see the end of some histories of oppression in the life-stories that constantly surround us.

May you and yours experience a great year in 2012, unlike any other, with much health, loving-kindness, and joy.

Happy New Year!