The Oberdorfer couple, who live in Chiemgau, were recently sitting in a tavern with a Munich couple they were friends with. The Oberdorfers ordered roast pork and master brewer’s goulash, while the lady from the city chose a shepherd’s salad and her husband spinach spaetzle. “Are you vegetarians now?” the man from Oberdorf wanted to know. His voice sounded worried, but there was also a discreetly mocking undertone. No, said the people of Munich, but they are now eating less and less meat, and if they do, then organic. It’s a shame how the animals are tortured in the fattening facilities.
The people of Chiemgau then made a face as if the ghost of Mahatma Gandhi had appeared to them, and if the Oberdorfer had just had a potato dumpling in his mouth, he would have choked on it. The rest of the evening is quickly told: the Oberdorfers insulted their friends, who were no longer friends, as “grass eaters” and “vegan weirdos”, the couple from Munich countered with “animal murderers” and “blood-thirsty sadists”. The bill was paid separately.
Okay, the scene is made up. But it could have happened. Yes, it probably even happened, only those involved keep the incident secret. Regardless, by now even the most uneducated, down to business graduates, know that meat eaters and vegetarians/vegans are as hostile to each other as Catholics and Protestants were during the Thirty Years’ War.
It only takes a little surfing on the internet to find an inexhaustible mixture of hate and resentment pouring out wild tirades against the enemy at hand. The meat eater is therefore an unscrupulous egomaniac who doesn’t give a damn if animals are tortured and rainforests are cut down for his lust for meat. In short: the meat eater is evil. The vegetarian, on the other hand, is a cheerless moralist who thinks he is better than him and who ruins his health and his cooking by constantly eating grains. Conclusion: The vegetarian is a moral killer.
The Bavarian Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger recently tweeted to the Green politician Renate Künast: “If you want to eat the grass of the alpine meadows instead of the cows, Ms. Künast, you’ll get it!” Well, that’s how he speaks, the Aiwanger. It is not without reason that the man is said not to miss an opportunity to say something stupid. But the debate is otherwise at an impressively subterranean level. It is striking that the combatants, meat eaters as well as vegetarians, celebrate the simple consumption of a meal as an ideological manifestation. There are men who make an almost religious commitment to roast pork and celebrate every bite as a courageous act of resistance to the virtue terror of vegans. And people argue about the cultural legitimacy of a vegan white sausage as if the very existence of humanity were at stake.
The dining table is now a dangerous place. Knife and fork should no longer be laid out there.