An Overview: From the Back Cover
Ash from the Toba volcano some 74,000 years ago wiped out most humans. Our numbers were as low as a few hundred. Around 10,000 BCE we reached 10 million. There are 6.5 billion of us today, and we are headed for 9.0 billion by 2050. Is there some great work that humans are called to do that can only be accomplished by 9.0 billion people instead of by some lesser number?
There is a second population explosion?-?of farm animals. There are 15 billion factory farm animals. Half the land surface of the earth is taken up by animal grazing and growing grain to feed to them. In the U.S. animals eat over 80 percent of corn and soy. To graze animals, we cut down forests and turn them into prairies and deserts, and 75 percent of U.S. topsoil has been lost, largely in the cultivation of animal feed. Less forest and less grassland means less CO2 recycled out of the atmosphere and worsening of greenhouse warming. Deserts can be reclaimed, but only if animal husbandry is eliminated. Our diet affects our land use, which affects our climate.
Before 4300 BCE in Old Europe, land was farmed and owned by women. Most tribes worshiped a mother goddess instead of a male god. She taught peace and partnership. Her priests and priestesses were physicians, midwives, and scribes. The first agriculture was tending nut and fruit trees.
In Old Europe cities had no walls- because there was no war. Around 4300 BCE Aryan, Indo-European speaking cowboys invaded Europe, seeking new pasture. They had overgrazed their own lands, helping turn them into deserts. They introduced cattle, horse, and sheep herding. Sometimes the invading Aryans killed everyone except the virgin girls, whom they took as slave-wives?-?our ancestors on the female side. The Aryans introduced slavery and human sacrifice. Women lost the right to own property. The world has still not recovered from the assaults of the Aryans?-?our ancestors on the male side.
Plato in The Republic tells of a Golden Era when our ancestors ate an all-vegetable diet, which he said was better for the environment and health and would promote peace. Genesis and the Talmud say that before the legendary Flood, humans did not use animals for food. The original kosher excluded flesh food. After the Flood, when Noah was given animals to eat, a curse was included?-?a shortened life span.
Pythagoras (579-480 BCE)-mathematician, musician, philosopher, physician, enemy of slavery?-?opposed killing animals for food. He acknowledged that he learned much from the priestesses of Delphi, the last to survive from Old Europe, and he saved their theories for the modern world. Hippocrates the Pythagorean physician taught: “Let food be your medicine, and let medicine be your food.”
Late Hebrew prophets opposed the sacrificing of animals in the Jerusalem Temple and predicted the coming of a messiah-king who would end the sacrifices. Ancient writers say that Peter, Andrew, Matthew, John the Baptist, James the brother of Jesus?-?in fact, all of Jesus’ disciples?-?ate no meat. Jesus led an armed force which shut down the animal sacrifices in the Jerusalem Temple. The Judeo-Christian church, the original church, for over 300 years, until its destruction by gentile Christianity, rejected flesh food, believing Jesus had done the same.
My theory is that Jesus was one of a long line of prophets extending back to the era before the patriarchal invasions, who strove to revive the values of the world as it was before the invasions, when peace, law, and justice had prevailed.
Eleventh Commandment? I went half way through seminary, but I never heard of any Eleventh Commandment. What is the Eleventh Commandment?” … “Do unto other species as you would have them do unto your own.
I had been a runner, swimmer, and tennis player. But in law school I began to feel angina pains in my left shoulder. My blood pressure was up. I learned that an all-vegetable diet would make me healthiest. I quit all animal products and have not intentionally eaten any for 25 years. My blood pressure is 115 over 72. My total cholesterol is 139; HDL is 46; LDL is 77. I eat raw and cooked greens, sprouted and cooked grains, fruit, nuts, sprouted bread, and flax. My hobbies are growing my own food and inventing tasty recipes with my goddess.
The science is in. All the nutrients that animal foods supply are available from plant-based foods. For adults?-?and children too?-?a plant-based diet is superior. Those who eat this way are leaner, have lower blood pressure and cholesterol, less cancer and diabetes. They live longer, are healthier, and are even sexually active in their old age.
When the topic is breast cancer, “early detection” is all you hear, never a word about prevention, as if cancer were unpreventable. No, a plant-based diet largely prevents cancer.
The biggest part of most species’ brains is the smell brain. Humans find the smell of factory farms to be loathsome. Imagine how factory animals find it. When workers enter these “animal penitentiaries,” pigs and chickens go berserk. Are they begging their captors to release them from their claustrophobic cages? Or are they shrieking in rage at them?
We’re natural born killers.” … “Like in the Oliver Stone movie.” … “I hear Woody Harrelson is a vegetarian.” … “We don’t just kill them; we torture them first. It’s unrelenting, and it’s billions of animals. People just don’t think about it. It’s one of our flaws as a species.”
The punishment does not fit the crime, in fact, the animals have committed no crimes. They are completely innocent. So it is all the more unjust that we treat them so badly. If the ghoulish tortures committed in secrecy against our food animals were committed against our pets, their owners would take up arms.
For the project to civilize the world to succeed, all factors must be considered. When the suffering of animals is left out, the project is incomplete. Insensitivity to animals is a blind spot. Within the shadows behind that blind spot lurk moral errors which poison the civilizing project.
Capitalism loves population explosion. It makes more consumers to buy more goods, more workers to keep down the cost of labor. Political parties have to keep the economy cranked up or they get voted out. So it’s grow, grow, grow. Democracy is a weak force. We need another force, a moral force, to give democracy more backbone, perhaps a religion firmly grounded in what we should do instead of what we should believe.
We are not innately evil. We are innately gullible. We are conformists. We have huge brains, but they are mostly blank computing space badly programmed. We construct rationalizations that justify the status quo and allow us to follow dictators, amoral capitalists, and saturated fat salesmen.
The majority has been wrong on many issues: The majority advocated slavery, anti-Semitism, the subjugation of women, killing witches, and the idea that the earth was flat. If you adopt a green diet, you will be in the minority, but that does not mean you will be wrong.