Science Says: Most Vegetarians are A-Okay!

It’s only a small percentage of vegetarians that are jack-asses about it. The problem is that we omnivores are SO completely annoyed with those in that small percentage, that we let it cloud our perception. It’s called anticipated reproach, and Josh Rothman recently wrote about it on Boston.com.

Once you know how to spot it, “anticipated reproach” is everywhere, and it bedevils people who want to lead morally. Argue on behalf of an environmental cause, and non-environmentalists, anticipating your moral reproach, will think you’re stuck-up and self-righteous. Often, the anticipated reproach — driven, as it is, by fear — is exaggerated and caricatured: vegetarians, Monin finds, aren’t nearly as judgmental of meat-eaters as meat-eaters think they are. Unfortunately, one or two genuinely judgmental do-gooders can put everyone else on a hair-trigger, twisting discussion about moral issues into a vicious circle, in which both parties anticipate reproaches from one another, and put each other down in advance.

What’s to be done? Monin argues that we need to keep in mind one of the classic lessons of social psychology: Our moral views are all tangled up in our social lives. If we’re going to talk with one another about moral issues, we need to cultivate an awareness of the ways in which social hierarchies and interpersonal tensions cloud our judgments.

This also works with those who advocate for organic standards, locavorism, lower-costs for food, repeal of corn subsidies, better judgement by the food media, etc., etc. It’s also the primary reason why I’m getting invited to less and less parties.

I kid, I kid. I don’t get invited to parties for far more legitimate reasons.

(h/t to The Dish)