No, Emotions and Ethics Are Not the Same Thing

The fact that grown-ass men can’t tell them apart is a huge problem

Pathless Pilgrim
2 min readDec 19, 2022


Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

I recently published an article about veganism. I publish a lot of articles about veganism. I’ve been vegan for 36 years and I’m passionate about animal rights issues.

I believe that ethics and morality matter. Perhaps more than anything else.

Anyway, this particular article attracted a troll. Nothing new there, but this one said something I found a little bit strange.

He said that he used to feel sad when, as a child, he discovered that the food he was eating was made out of animals who’d been killed for it. Now, though, as an adult, he had no feelings about it at all.

Imagine being so dead inside that you can read about the most horrific violence and the most unimaginable suffering, and yet feel nothing at all.

An automaton.

What the hell are we doing to our children to produce adults like this?

The troll was keen to point out, however, that although he was a dead automaton inside (he might not have used those precise words) he has no problem with people (people like me, presumably) who “choose to be vegan for emotional reasons.”

Whilst I don’t think there’s anything wrong with healthy emotions, I certainly wouldn’t say that my choosing to be vegan for my entire adult life was a choice dictated by ‘mere’ emotion.

Veganism, at least for me, is very definitely an ethical decision. It’s based on deeply-held philosophical reasoning.

Not abusing or killing other animals (or paying someone to do it on my behalf) is no more an emotional reaction than not keeping human slaves, not mugging old ladies or not raping someone.

These are all ethical decisions. They’re things I don’t do because they hurt others.

Basic morality. Basic respect.

Perhaps you were taught as a young child that emotions were for sissies, something to suppress. Perhaps you were told to toughen up or grow up.

Perhaps you’ve decided as an adult that emotions are useless, or worse. That’s your prerogative.

But none of that gives you carte blanche to throw ethics out of the window and ride roughshod over the rights and feelings of others. None of it is an excuse for abusing others or killing them for your own enjoyment.

Emotions and ethics are not the same thing. The fact that grown-ass men can’t tell them apart is a huge problem.

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Pathless Pilgrim

Many things to many people... A complete enigma to myself.