This idea of ‘I’ cuts a wide swath. It is not just for Vegans. It is the original question. And the final fault line.
‘This is the entire essence of life: Who are you? What are you?’ wrote Leo Tolstoy [I’ve tried to finish: ‘War and Peace’. Twice.]
Here is Dr. Samuel Huntington from his: ‘The Clash of Civilizations’, that sits on every Foreign Ministers bookshelf:
‘A Civilization is the highest cultural grouping of people and the broadest level of cultural identity… Civilizations are the biggest ‘We’. [And] cultural identity is the central factor shaping a country’s associations and antagonisms…
The question: ‘Which side are you on? has been replaced by the much more fundamental one: ‘Who are you?’ Every state has to have an answer. That answer, its cultural identity, defines the state’s place in world politics, its friends and its enemies.’
[The late Dr. Huntington was the Albert J. Weatherhead University Professor and Director of Harvard’s ‘Center For International Affairs’.]