Meat and Identity Politics: Should the Neck Steak Be Canceled?

When politicians realize how thin the sauce they serve the people is, something else has to be on the plate: meat. Nothing evokes reactions as sure and as predictable as a courageous commitment to roast pork or the demand to please limit meat consumption for the sake of the climate. The rhetoric of the flesh is understood immediately, even without words when in doubt. A photo of the species-appropriate feeding of a pig stomach from the Palatinate, the preferred means of communication of the former Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl, is enough – and the public knows what meat the politician is made of.

Reinhard Bingener

Political correspondent for Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Bremen based in Hanover.

The former CDU parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus has summed up the connection between meat consumption and politics in a downright classic formula: “I’m not ashamed of representing people who drive with a combustion engine, eat neck steak and work hard. These people are the backbone of our society.” The reference to the apostle Paul and his statement “I am not ashamed of the gospel” is revealing. “Shame” indicates that the speaker thinks he is on a cultural defensive.

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