“In Praise of Idleness” and Veganism

40 years ago I read Bertrand Russell’s “In Praise of Idleness,” an essay he published in 1932. The piece was already 40 years old when I got around to reading it — 40 years later I reread this essay, perhaps under visitation of some Jungian synchronicity. Reading it this morning allowed my imagination to stagger — where have I read a better statement on redressing an injustice: the theft of productivity gains? My tentative answer — “nowhere more succinctly.”

First of all : what is work? Work is of two kinds : 
first, altering the position of matter at or near the 
earth’s surface relative to other such matter ; 
second, telling other people to do so. The first kind 
is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant 
and highly paid. The second kind is capable of 
indefinite extension: there are not only those who 
give orders, but those who give advice as to what 
orders should be given. Usually two opposite kinds 
of advice are given simultaneously by two organized 
bodies of men; this is called politics. The skill 
required for this kind of work is not knowledge of 
the subjects as to which advice is given, but know- 
ledge of the art of persuasive speaking and writing, 
i.e. of advertising.


I’ve alluded to Russell’s essay “Nice People” several times now. Actually it’s becoming a commonplace theme here.

I checked out the marvelously titled “Why I am not a Christian” from a West German library in 1971 Giessen — the librarian was not, not, not in the least amused. Not.

Das ist Blödsinn. Totaler Blödsinn.


I took up my practice of living iconoclastically shortly (about ten minutes) after graduating from high school — I’d completed 12 years of mandatory Catholic education and needed to discover why free thinkers were so despised by non-freethinkers.

By my estimation vegans are free thinkers who believe that all sentient beings are fellow free thinkers, Genesis 1:26 notwithstanding. Being a vegan just may qualify you as iconoclast. Hold that thought a moment. I’ll be right back…

Hey, it does qualify you as iconoclast.

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

I am convinced that veganism is the gentlest means for solving the ever unaddressed need for addressing global warming. It might even nip a certain extinction event in the bud: The Anthropocene. Is it possible that 7 billion homo sapiens consuming 70 billion animals (from fur to marrow) annually — a practice sanctioned by most religious institutions — might warrant more than a shrug?

Look here, Bill. Humans are created in the image of their maker. Read Genesis 1:26. ’nuff said.

Today’s bumper sticker suggestion:

Meatism kills. Veganism nourishes.

Was Venus once a lush planet? Are we preparing to become a one such once-lush planet?

My irreverent take on Matt:

11 Give us this day our daily sweetbread. (Matthew 6:11)


Thanks for reading.



7 thoughts on ““In Praise of Idleness” and Veganism”

    1. Thanks for the comforting words (and emojis 🙂 ❤ ), Violet. Veg*n e-comics are marvelously refreshing places where vegans find solace and welcome — I am grateful for each of them and value your kindness.


  1. Great post! I love the line: “vegans are free thinkers who believe that all sentient beings are fellow free thinkers.” Yes, animals are indeed free thinkers… they have thoughts, feelings, needs, fears, friends, loved-ones, likes/dislikes… I Love Animals. Respect Animals. Liberate Animals from Human Domination. Now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Spunky Bunny, Thank you for the heartfelt comment. Eye contact with a fellow soul connects sentient minds in awesome and awful recognition — a single instant really. As a deliberate and determined free thinker I now count the 70 billion served since August 2016 as 140 billion eyes.


    1. Thank you for the kind wink, Hariod 🙂 It is always wonderful to hear from you, and to read each astute remark you make on the fabulous blogs we both follow. Wishing your current project success enorm — as John Ciardi oft signed off: Good words to you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Bill, and glad my feeble attempt at irony didn’t fall completely flat; I couldn’t resist it with the words “in praise of idleness” prodding me into a slovenly response. Many thanks for your best wishes, my friend. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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