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first sermon of the new year

Its really easy to (disagree) when all of your disagreements are theoretical - http://ashleighthelion.tumblr.com/post/58498008281/blacksentai-white-dudes-have-this-thing-where

This describes the problem with the idea of a friendly disagreement, where the issues involved are anything but friendly, very well.

To my mind, this also connects to a similar problematic concept: "agreeing to disagree", where both people are supposed to accept that they'll never be able to change the other's mind. Supposedly a model of temperance and fair-mindedness, I'd argue that this, too, is a luxury that many can't afford. I'd argue that agreeing to disagree, far from a virtue, is a reactionary and politically stifling concept that is counterproductive to social progress.

It's one thing if friends come from different places of origin, and bring their own perspective on topics. That's to be expected, even encouraged. Friends -- people in general -- should be able to have animated discussions and even arguments, and not always come to a perfect agreement. But the reason for that is because truth is a work in progress. It's not because people should be defending their mutually exclusive territory. Agreeing to disagree would have us start at different places... and never leave those points of origin. Yes, our personal issues need to be acknowledged. But from there, they need to be surpassed. Debate is a process of improvement, not a way to affirm atomism.

"Judge, and be prepared to be judged" - Ayn Rand, in a rare lucid moment

"I'll call you on your shit, please call me on mine" - Propaghandi

Progress happens when we are respectful of our frequent need to have our presumptions disrespected.

It's easy to stereotype radical groups as closed-minded, unwelcoming, and only concerned with a single set of issues. Some groups that call themselves radical are indeed only radical in the most narrow sense of the word; it's all the patriarchy's fault, they say, or it's all capitalism's fault. But radicalism and multidimensional analysis are not exclusive. Radicalism, if it's worthy of the name, is willing to keep digging. It's receptive to new ideas, flexible in its thinking, and willing to debate, provided those debates are constructive.

In my experience, liberal circles have been the most silencing, and the least willing to work towards uncomfortable truths. On one hand, they've put things up for debate that really shouldn't be, in the name of fairness and inclusion; on the other, they've kept some subjects verboten, in the name of not pushing people out of their comfort zone. But growth and development has everything to do with being pushy. With limited time and limited resources, advocates can't afford to water themselves down, nor to bog themselves down in second-guessing based on how other people might react. Advocates should push in a smart, contextually aware way, yes. But they should push. As far as you push others, that's as far as they might come along with you. While, as far as you don't push, that's as far as they'll never move. You do them no harm by pushing, and though they might disappoint you, you do yourself no harm by being disappointed. For advocates -- and anyone who thinks along political lines should be an advocate of something -- a corollary to being prepared to be judged might be this: allow yourself to risk disappointment in others, as long as they might pleasantly surprise you.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
_wastrel
Jan. 14th, 2014 08:39 am (UTC)
I thought I smelled my ears burning...

It's certainly true that you and I come from different places and bring our own perspective on things. At the same time, I've been resisting exactly this process of debate that you describe here. I guess on some level I've drawn the line of "I can't be friends with this person because they disagree with me about X" a bit too close in the past, been burned by it, and I can't tell whether I'm overextending myself in the opposite direction by interacting with you or not.

It's true that uncomfortable truths are important to acknowledge, but then that something would be uncomfortable is also not enough to make it true, as I'm sure you also know. I admit that in spite of our disagreements in the past, part of me felt good to get back in touch with you, and it didn't feel like it was only a reaction to loneliness. We've known each other for a long time, I get curious about what's going on with you if I don't hear from you for long, I get sad if bad things happen to you and happy when good things do.

But my comfort zone, narrow as it may be, is still inseparable from what I'm being comforted from, and makes sense to me in context. I admit that I've been putting off talking to you about one or two of the specific issues that we've discussed specifically because I don't want to push you away on one hand, and because I'm not sure whether or not our interaction would resist a confrontation of this type, on the other. I can see on some level how postponing something like this because I don't want to lose a sense of existing around you would come across as cowardly and hypocritical - which seems to be what's waiting for me on the other side of my reputation for being randomly confrontational about the wrong things. :P

You do them no harm by pushing, and though they might disappoint you, you do yourself no harm by being disappointed.
I'm going to kick things off by mentioning that some of my experience doesn't seem to corroborate that - from both ends. ._.
scaleness
Jan. 14th, 2014 11:15 am (UTC)
It wasn't entirely you, but you gave me a push towards completing this particular thought.

I'm going to kick things off by mentioning that some of my experience doesn't seem to corroborate that - from both ends.

In my case, I've lost friends by pushing, and/or we've grown apart from disappointment. And they've also lost me by being too difficult from their end. I don't call that harm, though. I call that learning.

The perspective I'm coming from is that I've grown tired of people not thinking of a world beyond themselves and their own monkeysphere. You might say that that's callous, and that people with immediate problems shouldn't be burdened with, or don't have the luxury of considering, the problems of the world. But I think our personal problems are such a trap precisely because we don't bring a large enough perspective to them, and don't undertake the kind of concerted effort it would take to really solve them.

For instance, there's a popular line of thought that if you do enough work on yourself, it'll have more positive effect on the world than if you worked on the world directly (I call it the trickle-down theory of self improvement). That's the kind of narrowness and shallowness I'm railing against.

I don't know if that answers your concerns or not. I don't mean to say that all psychological reality is shallow and unimportant. But I definitely feel that there are social pushes to focus on the particularities of our experience, to be apolitical, to be relativistic and regard morality as stifling, and to show a superficial respect instead of hammering out a shared truth.

So with all that said, I would hope that if you or I get burnt that it's for a good cause.

I don't want to lose a sense of existing around you

Sorry, I'm not quite following... I read that as you'd feel stifled confronting me, but it could also mean a lot of other things.

In any case, I'm sorry that you're finding me hard to be around. You're one of the most understanding, supportive, and fair-minded people I know. And you're good at handling me when my thoughts take a dark turn, which is not something anyone can do. FWIW, that positive energy is appreciated, and you're appreciated.
_wastrel
Jan. 14th, 2014 05:23 pm (UTC)
To clarify the ending paragraph - what I meant was that I hoped not to stop interacting with you altogether. That is, not that I didn't feel like I existed when I was around you, but that I didn't want my sense of existing in general not to be around you. I certainly am difficult, there's no question about that, but it'll have to be up to you to determine whether or not I'm too difficult, as far as you're concerned.

I can't always tell when your response pertains to the first issue we clashed on, or to the second one - which affects my interpretation of it, as they're different enough to cast you and I in opposite positions as part of it based on which it is, as far as I can tell. I do think of a world beyond myself, every day, precisely because I can't help the problems in my life being a part of it - including those we disagree about. I certainly do consider myself political, and I regard morality as absolutely vital - it's what I consider morality to be which leads me to conclusions which differ from yours.

I don't believe that my experience is a be-all end-all, but at the same time, it's going to inform my perspective on what morality is, just as the experience of a lot of people who bring their own to the table informs theirs.
I'm finding you fairly easy to be around for now, I'm just seeing the conversation slowly drift toward a place where you might not find me easy to be around, with some trepidation. I'm going to express my gratefulness for your generous assessment of my attempts to exist around you so far, and return it to you in kind.

So with all that said, I would hope that if you or I get burnt that it's for a good cause.
Then I guess the best thing for me to do is to join you in that hope.
scaleness
Jan. 15th, 2014 03:41 am (UTC)
All that makes sense. I'm speaking in generalities about why I take the positions I do; although I don't like to reduce things to labels, I'd guess that there's a lot of overlap in terms of views between a self identified anarchosocialist and myself.

Animal lib is related to the issue of the prison-industrial complex, but they're not quite the same thing, no. To be a little more specific, I'm not as pacifist as you are about animal rights, and I think I'm more pacifist when it comes to imprisonment. I do want to see a world without cages, of any kind. And I think there's wisdom in the saying "liberate the worst, first". I support some rules of responsibility and accountability, but not the current shape they take, which does more harm than good; for example, the U.S. laws that push sex offenders to the margins of society.

FYI, some of this is also an indirect and long-delayed response to Nick's comment "I'm just not as radical as you are". He went on to make some arguable points, but that line was an anti-argument; I'm trying very hard to push back against "I'm just (label)" ways of thinking. Labels have to serve a purpose, and I don't take the positions I do as a fashion statement, a statement of identity, or a statement of attachment to dogma. I don't think you do either, but I wanted to clarify that point in particular.
_wastrel
Jan. 15th, 2014 05:10 am (UTC)
All that makes sense.
Thank you for saying as much. Likewise, I do realize that you take your positions seriously, and that you haven't arrived at them without having thought about them first. I didn't assume this about you, nor did I give you so little credit as to assume that you believed it about me. You don't need to worry about that, although I do appreciate that you'd have brought it up.

Paradoxically enough, I do tend to identify as an anarchosocialist myself, but I guess that we're experiencing some of the places in which that overlap isn't there. Maybe the opinions I hold about some of this make me less of an anarchosocialist than I could be if I didn't, I don't really know. If it did, I don't know whether I'd have to adjust my opinions to the label or simply pick a different label which is more accurate.

On one hand, I understand what you mean about pushing back against "I'm just X", but on the other, you have to realize that from the opposite perspective, this is often going to come across as "I won't be your friend unless you change for me", which is difficult to respond to for a different reason. Naturally I know that's not how you're experiencing this, and I know that you're not obligating me to pick a specific one of the two, but it does feel like I have to pick one. Since this sort of consistency obviously matters to you, I can't be respectful without being honest, and I hope I can be honest without sacrificing respect.

From my perspective, you're the one who's more technically compassionate than I am on the whole end of the spectrum, both because you're willing to do so much to save animal lives that most people wouldn't, and the lives of humans which people like me would not. Maybe that makes me a less compassionate person than you, but I guess I'm more Neutral than Good in the end, as much of a half-assed justification as you're entitled to call that. We're coming at this situation from places which are so far away, that they're not even in the same universe, and I'm losing hope they can be reconciled.

The amount of people who I've repeatedly had to talk out of killing themselves over the past decade on an ongoing basis because of how badly the sexual abuse they suffered damaged them can no longer be counted on the digits of a single hand. I am not concerned that sex offenders are being pushed to the margins of society. I realize that there are a lot of problems with the prison system that need to be worked out, and that prevention is much more effective than so-called deterrence, you're entirely right about that.

I've always been against capital punishment and I stand by this belief, but rape is the reason for which I do it the most grudgingly, because I've seen the damage that it really does to people, and it's something I'm unable and unwilling to forgive. If I did believe in the death penalty for anything, it would be for this. Maybe it makes me a bad person, but I've had to fight so hard over the years for me and mine, that I react very protectively against anyone who would harm them, that my mercy is now that of a mother bear seeing someone threatening her cubs.

I don't want to live in a society in which there's an implicit contract between the government and the population that the government can kill members of the population, because that's not a dynamic I'm comfortable being established for anything. Killing changes everything in ways that can't be effectively controlled. But an argument based on the supposed deservedness of sex offenders to live is one that I have a much harder time dealing with.

To me, it's the argument which treats sex offenders as though they haven't broken the most important contract upon which civilization is built which has to be based on not having enough people who have suffered because of it as part of one's monkeysphere, in a way that makes it abstract. I understand if this is goodbye. I will say, in all sincerity, that it has been nice knowing you, if that's the case.
scaleness
Jan. 15th, 2014 09:33 am (UTC)
Well. First of all, I don't think it's unreasonable that you would feel that way. Do I think it's extreme? Yeah. But I'm not going to tell you to censor yourself on my behalf.

'sex offender' actually covers a lot more than rape, but let's put that aside for now.

About my monkeysphere... not entirely true. The person who encouraged my anarchism, including anarchism in this area, the most is a rape survivor.

Another person I knew did kill herself. We weren't super close, and maybe it's shitty of me to make the comparison, but I thought the world of her. My whole family did. I don't know every reason why she did it but her stepfather having raped her didn't help.

I would've tried to protect her if I was there. And I would've tried to protect that stepfather from whoever got to him, because before I say "he was a monster, and that's that", I have to remember that molesters were often molested themselves.

It's not just to be nice and forgiving that, when people are broken enough to treat other people like things, I don't want to treat them like things if I can help it. No, what I want is to stop any notion that some people are fair game, before it can reproduce itself further. That's the best response I think I can rationally give you.

But if you're speaking from a place of damage, then I'm not going to be able to argue rationally about it. To work on that takes another skill set entirely. If it's any comfort, I care more about how you're feeling than about scoring a point for my side.

I hate suicide. More than it's rational to hate it. I see it as a crack in my lifeworld and I want to prevent those cracks from forming, because the life that's in me is the life that's out there in some profound sense. That's something I believe that may be in a different universe from you. I've accepted that for most people, an individual's life is their own property to do with as they wish, and that this right is inviolable. It's still not how I feel, though.

I don't like it when you give ultimatums. It's like... exactly how comfortable do you need me to be with this? I'm not 100% down with it, but I'm also not going to cut you out and never speak to you again because of some problem areas. If the post I wrote gave you that impression, I'm sorry.
_wastrel
Jan. 15th, 2014 04:59 pm (UTC)
It's frustrating to me to have come across as though I were giving you an ultimatum when I did in facts interpret this post as you having given me one first, and my response as a reluctant attempt to address that, but I don't blame you for that. I just wanted to clear that up for now. But this is too complex for me to respond to right now on this dumbass phone that insists on writing in these ridiculous huge letters for some reason, with LJ repeatedly eating elaborate responses that I have to make myself relive things to write.
scaleness
Jan. 20th, 2014 03:30 am (UTC)
That wasn't very charitable of me, no. :/ I'll try to make less bad-faith assumptions in the future.
_wastrel
Jan. 16th, 2014 06:57 am (UTC)
I guess I can live with being extreme but not unreasonable, most people would certainly consider me unreasonable as well as extreme, I should take what I can get.
But I'm not going to tell you to censor yourself on my behalf.
Thank you, and likewise.

You're right that sex offender was the wrong word for me to have used, I let myself get carried away and borrowed it from your post as a contextual synonym for rapist even though I know it's anything but.
The person who encouraged my anarchism, including anarchism in this area, the most is a rape survivor.
It's entirely possible that if I'd known someone in that situation, my opinions would've turned out closer to yours than to mine. I guess I'll never know. But I can see how that would've made an impression on you.

The people I have in mind were super close. Close enough that I remember the specific details they felt comfortable enough to share with me. I'm sure that didn't help. The phrasing one of the attackers used to make fun of my friend for having trusted him, before "stealing their light", as I'll always remember my friend put it.

To work on that takes another skill set entirely.
I know, I wish I lived in a society that valued the skill set to help the victims more than the skill set to help the attackers. :P But I'm not in charge of which kind of society I live in, and I know enough about skill sets that you didn't pick the one you have anymore than I picked the one I have. I don't have the skill set to argue rationally about this, but yes, it is a comfort that your priority as to this would be what you say it is.

That's something I believe that may be in a different universe from you.
You may be very surprised by that... I hate suicide every bit as much as I hate rape, for the exact same reasons, I just can't disconnect the two. It's the life of the victim, in situations like this, which is "in here" for me, more than the rapist's, though. I'm likelier to blame the rapist for causing the pain in the first place than the suicidal person for resorting to that to get rid of it, if that makes sense.

I only need you to be as comfortable with this as you need me to be. It's difficult for me to imagine that, knowing what you now know about me, you wouldn't think of me as a monster.

All these theoretical political ideas and lively debates effect real people, and I won’t be friends with someone who disagrees with me on them...
I'd argue that agreeing to disagree, far from a virtue, is a reactionary and politically stifling concept that is counterproductive to social progress.

That was what I read as you giving me an ultimatum: either engage the issue I'd been dodging, or go. If that's not what that was, then so much the better.

This has been extremely draining for me to talk and think about. I'm overwhelmed with schoolwork and RL entanglements as it is, and in a context in which I'm having to absorb and retain large amounts of unfamiliar information in a short time, this has been having quite a way of gripping the mind, for one thing. For another, I'm recognizing a lot of red flags that led to my previous breakdowns forming, and I can't overemphasize how much I want to get out of this without your outright enmity, so I feel that a small emotional buffer might help me develop the critical distance to address this with appropriate nuance.
scaleness
Jan. 20th, 2014 05:49 am (UTC)
FWIW, it's taking me some time to get around to this too, both because it's hard work for me and because I don't trust my reactions in the heat of the moment.

I think my argument was an overly-broad generalization; I still think there's a lot of truth to it, but I may have to figure out how to express it in a less clumsy way.

Having limits on how far your sympathy goes seems like a normal part of being human to me. That's not something I can agree or disagree on, it's something to be worked around. I'd argue that our individual biases have to be transcended for the good of others, but that also includes seeing where other people are biased and what vulnerabilities those biases come out of, if that makes any sense.

I don't mean to blame the victim or apportion out less help to them than to the people who hurt them. But I don't think help is a zero-sum game, either. It's very often the case that the more that the people that need help get help, the less they'll hurt other people.
_wastrel
Jan. 16th, 2014 10:39 am (UTC)
Okay, since I can't sleep because I can't make myself stop thinking about this anyway - having OCD is fun! did you know? - I might as well let you know how I'm intending on dealing with this for now.

I'm not going to try to silence you about this. This is a public forum and you should be able to say anything you want. But if "agreeing to disagree" is too problematic for you to be able to accept that I don't agree with you about this, I don't know what to tell you, I don't know which avenues you're leaving me. As far as I can tell, I'm unable to change my mind about this, even if you come up with the best arguments in the world. It strikes at the heart of everything I am. So I don't know what to tell you. Go ahead and write more about why you care about this, I'm not going to tell you to stop. You've made your point here probably as well as it can possibly be made, and I've explained where I'm coming from extensively. Onlookers can definitely make up their own mind about where they stand on the issue based on what each of us has said. If I see other entries like this, I'm going to ignore them, and you can talk about this issue with others, as you should be able to. If I see another entry calling me out for being a hypocrite who "agrees to disagree", I'm not going to respond to it either. That's your prerogative too. It would be considerate to precede entries like this with trigger warnings, but if you write more without doing so, I'm not going to say anything about that, either. If you consider that the point in any debate when you can get the other person to throw up their hands and admit they are out of arguments with which to refute yours is the point at which you've won, you can consider that you've won this debate. That's all I have. I'm not going to be posting about how I feel about this, myself. I'm going to be licking my wounds on my own time.
scaleness
Jan. 20th, 2014 07:31 am (UTC)
I might not be the easiest person to deal with, but I didn't write this post to attack you, or attack anyone. A discussion we had inspired part of the post, but I wasn't angry at you over it.

It would be considerate to precede entries like this with trigger warnings, but if you write more without doing so, I'm not going to say anything about that, either.

No. Absolutely not, I wrote nothing here that warrants a trigger warning.

This hasn't been a debate, and I'm not trying to be the winner. You raised some issues and I tried to address them. Intent isn't magic, and I'm sure I could've done a better job of some things, but those were my intentions nevertheless.
scaleness
Jan. 24th, 2014 01:02 am (UTC)
I need to be clear about something. The only thing of yours that this post was a response to was your mention of a growing discomfort with radicalism in activist circles. And that was intended as an addition of my own perspective, not a refutation of yours.

Whatever emotional baggage you carry, I don't have to like or agree with it to acknowledge it as baggage. That's not detente or an argument postponed, and it's not the attitude of superficial tolerance that I was railing against. On this issue, in this case, I respect that your feelings are different.

I don't like having words put in my mouth. I was the one who had to do damage control after you gave me all kinds of grief over what you thought I was talking about. So it frustrates me a great deal that, just when I thought things might be taking a turn for the better, you angrily declare that I've argued you into a corner and storm off. I did the best that I could.

I know you gave up on this discussion a long time ago, but I don't want to let it lie without at least one more attempt at mutual understanding. You said a lot of things that got to me, too, and I don't want to let resentment smolder.

Edited at 2014-01-24 01:03 am (UTC)
_wastrel
Jan. 24th, 2014 01:36 am (UTC)
I need to be clear about something. The only thing of yours that this post was a response to was your mention of a growing discomfort with radicalism in activist circles. And that was intended as an addition of my own perspective, not a refutation of yours.
That does clarify matters. Thank you for going to the trouble of doing so.

Whatever emotional baggage you carry, I don't have to like or agree with it to acknowledge it as baggage. That's not detente or an argument postponed, and it's not the attitude of superficial tolerance that I was railing against. On this issue, in this case, I respect that your feelings are different.
That was all I needed to hear.

I wasn't trying to put words in your mouth, and I regret that's how I came across, but in my defense what you said could've been applied just as easily to either of these matters. I want to withdraw for now, not because I'm trying to make you feel bad about yourself, but because this is taking too much out of me and I'm getting too little out of it to justify carrying the guilt of giving you grief on top of having to fight for my emotional survival. This discussion I felt baited into has been interfering with my schoolwork and affecting my health.

I'm not the one who sought you out last year, you tracked me down to talk down to me about my politics after years of absence. I was honestly more of a class act about it than I had to be. I was lonely and weird about gender and I connected you to people you no longer even talk to. You may not have wanted to argue me into a corner, but all I really meant is that in practical terms, I'm backing down, and giving up on convincing you otherwise, because I don't think I can, or that it's necessary that I do.

The truth is that while I wouldn't necessarily "liberate the worst first" - I admit I don't fully understand why that's a good idea, but my understanding is limited - I suppose I can't intellectually put rape as worse than murder, after having talked about believing in rehabilitation for murderers. I've already said I don't believe in capital punishment, that I know that there are a lot of things wrong with our prison system which actually play into the rape culture, and I'm not going to turn into some kind of vigilante, obviously. My friends need me out of jail, myself, and I know that not everyone who's accused is guilty.

That said, when I see things like the recent so-called "furry drama" on FA not being taken seriously at all even though it's a case of a woman having been raped by Zaush, because rape is just that thing they joke about without an equivalent in the real world, it does give me some serious pause. In practice, I'd probably end up voting for the same people supporting the same policies you'd vote for, package deal and all, grudgingly or not, if that means anything, because we don't differ on both means and ends. It just bothers me that I'd only get to choose politically between conservatives who believe in jail but who don't care about rape because they hate women, on the one hand, and liberals who say they care about women but hate jail, on the other, because I feel like it creates a social environment in which rapists know they can get away with anything no matter who's in charge, and it seems to leave no real outlet for the acknowledgment of the pain that victims and their loved ones have endured. That's all.

That's all I have about this for now. I have no grudge against you, and hope you have none against me. Please, let this be enough.
scaleness
Jan. 24th, 2014 07:09 am (UTC)
Understood. You needed to know where the hell this post was coming from, and I needed to be heard and not have a misunderstanding snowball out of control.

I don't have a grudge against you, and I wish you the best in the future. However, I'm still disengaging, for good this time, because I'm no longer comfortable around you.

When being called out, whatever your personal feelings or whether or not you feel talked down to, you should always be gracious about it and willing to learn. Moreover, when I wasn't on LJ, you didn't engage with me, other than once to seek closure for yourself. I don't hold that absence against you, but you could have known more about my friend situation, for instance, if we had continued to interact at that time.

And you're a person who understands oppression and understands about bias. If even you don't grok that cows are raped for every milk product, and if even you dig in your heels and get defensive rather than taking steps not to support that rape, then what chance is there with someone else? That's why I found your "I will live as I am" comment particularly depressing. It's as bad as a joke about rape to me. It's as bad as a comment saying "I will go on seeing trans women as men". If I called out something transphobic, you wouldn't say that you would go on doing the thing that was transphobic, but when I call out speciesism, you say that you don't see yourself ever making changes. In the past, I was willing to stifle my feelings and let you work this out (or not) on your own. But given recent events, I feel that that's been rewarded with a falling-out over something I didn't do. I'm sorry, but I'd rather that we fall out over what I genuinely have a problem with. I find you as high-handed as you find me.

I want to withdraw for now, not because I'm trying to make you feel bad about yourself, but because this is taking too much out of me and I'm getting too little out of it to justify carrying the guilt of giving you grief on top of having to fight for my emotional survival.

I feel much the same. You shouldn't have to shoulder that guilt, nor should I have to shoulder the guilt of putting your emotional survival at risk. I didn't think I had that kind of power, but if I do, I sure don't want it. I want out of that power dynamic. I really do, and I'm truly, truly sorry, but I don't think it's healthy to keep being your friend. ;_; Maybe if I'm perfectly honest about just how uncomfortable I am around non-vegans, you'll only walk away hating me and I won't have to risk having you walk away shattered.

I think this was the inevitable result of our getting back together. For whatever it's worth, I did get a lot of positive things out of it, and I'm glad that you convinced me to come back to Livejournal and spend some months thinking out loud here. If a failure, our friendship has at least been an interesting failure.
_wastrel
Jan. 24th, 2014 07:42 pm (UTC)
Understood. You needed to know where the hell this post was coming from, and I needed to be heard and not have a misunderstanding snowball out of control.
This is all true.

I don't have a grudge against you, and I wish you the best in the future.
Good luck, in earnest.
However, I'm still disengaging, for good this time, because I'm no longer comfortable around you.
I've been trying to tell you I was uncomfortable around this from the start. Even now writing this my heart is racing. Thank you for finally stepping back.

you say that you don't see yourself ever making changes.
But I've always said that, it's always been my prerogative, and the fact that you think you can resort to this kind of "my way or the highway" emotional blackmail to coerce people to change their lives for you show you're coming from a place of emotional entitlement where you can no longer be reached.
I think you and I have different - possibly equally valid for all I know - conceptions of what friendship means that can't be reconciled. When someone always tries to get me to change my way of life to meet their expectations, I don't feel like a friend, I feel like a recruit, like a putative notch on that person's belt - like a piece of meat, dare I say, like my value to "the cause" overshadows the possibility of my intrisic value. If you can't accept someone for who they are, they may be a verbal sparring partner, someone you interact with on a certain basis somehow, but from my perspective, they're not your friend.

When being called out, whatever your personal feelings or whether or not you feel talked down to, you should always be gracious about it and willing to learn.
See, though... that's exactly the kind of rhetoric that's going to make people feel like they're being talked down to in the first place. :P I mean, really stop and look at it. It's patronizing.

I didn't seek you out beyond LJ because I read your entry about Polanski and rape, on the one hand, and because we strongly clashed on vegan issues, on the other. Some people would've taken that as a hint.

I'm sorry, but I'd rather that we fall out over what I genuinely have a problem with.
I wouldn't know whether to address that it wouldn't occur to you that other people's problems would be as important to them as yours are to you, or that you'd have more of a problem with the meat industry than the rape culture in the first place, if I were going to address either.
I don't think it's healthy to keep being your friend.
I agree.

Maybe if I'm perfectly honest about just how uncomfortable I am around non-vegans, you'll only walk away hating me and I won't have to risk having you walk away shattered.
The former is certainly true, and I'm grateful to you for the latter. Your comparisons between rape and the meat industry appall me. To me, it's like you're calling my friends who have been victims cows, and calling my friends and mate and parents rapists, which is offensive to me. I finally understand what people mean when they talk about how some activists develop blood-chilling blind spots around other people's subjectivity and human empathy.

I think this was the inevitable result of our getting back together.
It was only a matter of time. I kept putting it off.
For whatever it's worth, I did get a lot of positive things out of it, and I'm glad that you convinced me to come back to Livejournal and spend some months thinking out loud here.
Likewise.
If a failure, our friendship has at least been an interesting failure.
That's true.
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