In “Make Mondays meatless,” (Oct. 8) Eitan Fischer ’13 and Shebani Rao ’12 propose a highly illiberal means of propelling their pet issue into the consciousness of the wider Yale community.
The reason for my disagreement with their plan is not difficult to comprehend. I like meat. I’d also like to be able to eat my dinner away from the interference of overenthusiastic idealists. I don’t force you to live your lives according to my standards, and I resent your attempt to impose your views on my diet.
It is evident that there is no groundswell of support for Meatless Mondays. How many times have you walked into your college dining hall and had to wait for one of the main meat options to be replenished? And how often have you seen an unloved bowl of tofu stare at you from the next counter, while everyone waits for more meat?
If the advocates of this scheme had any genuine confidence in their proposal, they would not have included what is in fact its key element — compulsion. But they already know that their suggestions aren’t exactly popular; they’ve been tried before and have failed miserably. A one-day pilot scheme during last semester led to 652 students joining a Facebook group in opposition to what was a pointless and arbitrary restriction on their diet. Meatless Monday fans were few and far between; for all the empty green rhetoric, their Facebook ranks totalled a distinctly underwhelming 44.
Although the authors of the original article create the impression that other leading universities such as Oxford are firmly in support of the meatless crusade, the reality is very different. Only one of their 38 colleges has switched to an entirely meat-free Monday; the number embracing the scheme in any way at all is a feeble three. Any suggestion that the project is generating a crescendo of approval is delusional and disingenuous.
Not everything we do in life needs to make a political point. Different things matter to different people, and if your concern for the environment is such that you want to change your Monday eating habits, then I commend you for practicing what you preach. But if your plan and its supporting evidence are so compelling, why do you need to force me to join you? It is frankly insulting to the intelligence of your fellow students to suggest that your opinions are so important, and ours so insignificant, that we must live by your rules.
Meatless Mondays aren’t merely authoritarian; they are also devoid of practicality. I doubt that the coaches of Yale’s athletic teams would take kindly to the suggestion that a lentil-and-red-onion cupcake would be an appropriate replacement for the meat components of their dietary plans.
Schemes like this are particularly lamentable because they downgrade important environmental issues to irrelevant and insignificant ideological gimmicks. I’m not a climate change denier who spends his days gleefully tossing cans and bottles in with the general trash before taking a pointless drive in his SUV come evening. There’s nothing wrong with advocating for a sensible and sustainable development plan as our campus expands. However, this is not an excuse for us to meekly succumb to the tide of environmental extremists who drive pitifully opportunistic schemes like Meatless Mondays.
But if the Yale administration is tempted to give Meatless Mondays a try, I’ll live with it. I ask only that they also embrace my additional proposals for meat-only days in the rebranded Carnivorous Commons, which would support hardworking meat farmers in this difficult economic climate. Let’s start this week, with Turkey Tuesdays, Salami Saturdays and Sausage Sundays.
OpinionFisher: Time for Turkey TuesdaysIn “Make Mondays meatless,” (Oct. 8) Eitan Fischer ’13 and Shebani Rao ’12 propose a highly illiberal means of propelling their pet issue into the consciousness of the wider Yale community.