The problem is that I don’t think people who use “There’s no such thing as ethical consumerism under capitalism” as an argument against veganism even know what the fuck that statement is supposed to mean. It does not mean that being aware of your consumer choices is useless. If anything, it urges you to be more aware:
Because we understand that there’s a modern capitalist society which engenders cruelties and injustice simply to produce our consumer pro…ducts, and that (for now) we are condemned to live in such a society, our only immediate option is to make sure that we are not as complicit in such a system as we could be. It is better to acknowledge the means of production and avoid that which you absolutely cannot bring yourself to fund, than to adopt a cynical attitude of “everything is evil, so I will do nothing”.
Consumer choices will never be ethically neutral. Whenever you choose to purchase something, you cannot consider that action a plus on the “scale of ethics”. There is decent reason to criticize people (vegans or not) who buy things just to feel good about themselves. You’re not making the world a better place by buying shit. Everyone knows that on some level. But some consumer choices are bigger negatives than others. And veganism isn’t about what you buy, but what you don’t buy.
Vegans are choosing to have a less negative impact on the world.