C Lou Hamilton

“Veganism, Sex and Politics… pleasure, not sacrifice!” – Author C Lou Hamilton – Sentientist Conversation

Find our Sentientist Conversation on the Sentientism YouTube here or on the Sentientism podcast here.

C Lou / Carrie (https://twitter.com/clouhamilton1 & https://veganismsexandpolitics.com/ & https://www.drcarriehamilton.com/) is an author, editor, historian & translator. She wrote the book “Veganism, Sex & Politics: Tales of Danger & Pleasure” about her vegan journey & how veganism relates to wider social justice issues including feminist, queer & anti-racist politics as well as environmentalism.

In Sentientist Conversations we talk about the two most important questions: “what’s real?” & “what matters?”

Sentientism is “evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” As well as the video above, the audio is on our Podcast here on Apple and here on the other platforms.

We discuss:
0:00 Welcome

2:05 Carrie’s Intro – academic history to writing & activism

  • Acknowledging Canada’s indigenous & settlement history
  • Growing up near Toronto
  • Agnostic, democratic socialist parents, focused on social justice, activism, environmentalism & practice. No feminism, animal ethics or colonial awareness
  • “I didn’t know any vegetarians when I was growing up”
  • Extending moral consideration beyond humans. Considering our responsibilities
  • Feminism & women’s studies
  • The liberation of leaving academia
  • Writing “Veganism, Sex & Politics”
  • Academic activism, public reach & politics
  • “The idea that you would do animal studies while at the same time eating their bodies…”

16:25 What’s Real?

  • Agnosticism
  • Psychedelics, spiritual/mystical experiences
  • Having respect for religious people but little patience for religious institutions. Not positive influences. Patriarchy & authoritarianism
  • Institutional abuse & cover-ups
  • Naturalistic & supernatural experiences of awe & wonder
  • How supernatural beliefs can warp ethics
  • How religious organisations use societal deference as a shield
  • The positive contributions of religious institutions
  • Feminism: asking questions & considering practicalities

30:09 What Matters?

  • Supernatural & naturalistic ethical frameworks
  • The importance of challenging our assumptions & influences (e.g. re: sentient animals & veganism)
  • Individualism, collectivism, authoritarianism, dogma
  • Forms of feminism
  • “It’s important to think about… & revise… where our values come from”
  • Movements that are ostensibly secular often mindlessly integrate aspects of authoritarianism & dogma from religion
  • Criticisms of veganism as puritan & sacrificial. But it’s a pleasure!
  • The challeges of talking about veganism as a “moral baseline” (Francione, Steiner). Too much dogma?
  • Applying a naturalistic humility & scepticism to ethics
  • Introspection via Buddhist meditation & writing
  • Having the space & resources to slow down & be mindful
  • Activist burnout
  • Amy Breeze Harper’s “Sistah Vegan”
  • Compassion for ourselves as sentient beings
  • Feminist ethics of care. Where does the burden of caring lie? Frustrating that care often not extended to non-humans
  • Interdependence & mutual relations. Val Plumwood’s “Feminism & the Mastery of Nature”
  • Animal farming is incompatible with feeding 9b humans
  • Singer’s Animal Liberation
  • The imperative of ending animal farming & fishing
  • The pluralism of Sentientism
  • The boundaries of sentience (oysters, shrimp, coral, plants?)
  • A special guest joins us!
  • Eco/biocentrism
  • Environmentalism & anthropocentrism
  • Is Sentientism eurocentric? The global roots of Sentientism
  • The value in indigenous worldviews & the harming/killing of sentient animals in some indigenous cultures
  • The risks of “re-colonising” attitudes to indigenous cultures via a sentiocentric concern
  • Instrumentalisation vs. commodification vs. suffering as primary concerns
  • Brigid Brophy
  • Radical equality vs. prioritisation
  • Taking the perspective of the victim vs. “ethical” animal farming

1:10:57 The Future

  • Naturalism & sentiocentrism (Sentientism) seem solid but most humans disagree with one or both
  • “We’re living through a water-shed moment re: animal farming… but we’re working against the clock!”
  • Millennials, social media
  • Bladerunner. Great movie, not a great vision for the future
  • Suffering & death are bad things!
  • “I’m not optimistic about the ability of capitalism to reform itself” but I’m not optimistic about revolutions either
  • “We’re not interested in reforming animal agriculture…” any more than abolitionists in other fields
  • “The profit motive acts as a huge deterrent for people thinking morally”
  • Listening doesn’t mean we have to agree
  • “I’m increasingly unsatisfied with anyone who has any degree of privilege who claims to be doing social justice work who has no time for veganism”

Sentientism is “Evidence, reason & compassion for all sentient beings.” More at Sentientism.info.

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Thanks Graham for the post-production.

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