What kind of an argument is the statement that vegetarians secretly want to eat meat? A profoundly stupid one that is more telling of the quaint polemicist's baseness than the secret drives of all vegetarians. How does one arrives at a sweeping dismissal of vegetarianism by a smug revelation of the supposed desires of humankind?
One reoccurring ethic I encounter in confrontations about vegetarianism is "Meat tastes good; therefore, it is right to eat it, and I shall eat meat." But, can they show me how this thought process is different from "Rape feels good (for the rapist); therefore, by their hedonistic principle, rape is justifiable." Am I comparing eating meat to rape? Yes, it's not as outlandish as it seems in the context of the assertion that meat consumption can be justified by how good it makes one feel; this ethical principle allows for any action to be justified that feels good. You must justify your meat consumption by something outside of "it tastes good" in order to not be complicit with rapists. That I must clarify this to people is baffling. Most never ask "why?" in considering their behavior, and when they are forced to think, an irritating experience, they see no need to justify or explain anything. Meat is pleasurable. I do what pleases me.
The other argument: vegetarians are not outside a human nature that craves meat. Most, including myself, are unwilling to refute the argument that humans are physiologically omnivorous, making the deduction from our anatomical structure and the omnivorous eating-habits of closely related species such as the chimpanzee. Though, it should be considered that humans are built to be geared toward carbohydrate consumption, the main source of our energy. Nearly all mainstream councils on human diet have formulated a nutritional guideline with carbohydrates as the largest percentage of a diet compared to protein and fat; most traditional human diets before industrialized farming consumed many more grains, fruits and vegetables than the much more difficult to acquire meat. Have humans always desired meat as they desire it now?
We begin to unravel nature as a historical event. When we speak of desire, can it be something universal, written into our biology? History says otherwise. The human body, its nature, has a measurable history. A history that cannot be refuted if we are to consider the measurable consequences of the body in dialouge with humanity.
An incessant need to consume meat at every meal is not natural, but rather, it is a manipulation of the omnivorous human by a consumerist economy. How have humans become more obese than ever before in human history? Has this natural desire the polemicist speaks of always existed in human nature? Something in history has changed to make people fatter, and this something must be outside of human nature. Meat, and the desire to eat meat, do not exist in our current world as a natural phenomenon. The formation of identities by corporations through mass-marketing (i.e. commercials, etc.), the supplier controlled market, and government-industry alliances have formulated a world view from which all of us peer. A way in which we view our bodies, exist with our bodies, and formulate a nature which dictate our bodies in a dialogue of restless conflict. Not being able to fit into your pants and dying from heart disease are not only everyday physical events for a large percentage of Americans, but also the physical unfolding of metaphysical events occurring between a human body that has its own physiological reality and the human-made nature from which we attempt to analyze and contort the body. Unprecedented profits and government subsidies make industries such as the meat, dairy, and corn incredibly wealthy and their product abundant; therefore, their wealth buys them political power in the form of lobbyists, and market power in their ability to sell their goods at the cheapest prices ever in history. An entire system is born of this power, and it produces a mindset, a way to view, a way to view the world. Human nature is formulated as a human idea in the context of a society and historical period.
What is the new "innate" nature? Buy. Buy. Eat. Eat. Consume. Consume. It is your nature, and it is who you are! How convenient this identity works to the fattening of wallets. Hmm, suddenly the oh-so-important human nature, the genetic structure that predetermines all of our actions seems to be taking a backseat to the economic-driven rape of our supposed nature with the intention of gaining as much profit and power as possible.
But what of nature? We have the highest ability to overcome our nature, to manipulate nature to our needs, to needs distinctly above and beyond nature. In a sense, we can destroy our nature; we destroy nature daily at an alarming rate -- why not our own!? Meat tastes good, meat is good -- but I am no longer human by your American estimation if I deny my love of meat -- I'm vegetarian! I am seizing my own nature and saying that I am going to cease to be omnivorous. I will be vegetarian, seizing nature, reforming it to my needs, and wrenching it from the hands of a society that attempts to quietly manipulate nature by recreating it to their benefit and profit.