The Claremont Conservative was mentioned on the website of the National Association of Scholars when I wrote something against the tray bans on campus. They wrote a lengthy and good article against tray bans. They argue that the real reason we have had trays banned is to inconvenience us into supporting bogus politics. Here are a few mentions.
That third rationale, “social awareness,” is the most important goal. Like the campus-driven movement to ban bottled water, trayless dining is mostly symbolic. Those who seek to use higher education as an incubator for the sustainability movement know that to transform people’s mindsets, they need only require small changes in everyday habits. When we are confronted with trivial daily lifestyle choices, we are constantly reminded of how we’ve been told we ought to behave.
Leaders of other activist movements have used this technique before. Feminists succeeded in getting us all to stop and worry over titles and third person pronouns (Is it ‘he or she’? Mailperson? Ms.?). They also achieved the substitution of the word gender for sex, signifying that “sexual identity” is socially constructed, not biologically assigned.
In the same way, when college students juggle plates and cups and silverware on their way through the cafeteria, they are obliged to think about sustainability every day at every meal. Sustainability advocates know that trayless dining is not going to change the world; they achieve victory simply by getting inside people’s heads.
Because sustainability initiatives seem so trivial, most people don’t think it is harmless, as illustrated by one person’s response to our list of ten reasons to oppose the campus sustainability movement:
I am unconvinced...As a counterexample, see the University of Chicago’s page on sustainability on campus: http://sustainability.uchicago.edu/. There’s nothing more controversial than recycling batteries and minimizing the use of leaf blowers.
Yes, Chicago’s webpage, with an eco-tip of the month and information about this year’s Earth Week, seems perfectly inoffensive. And many sustainability programs arestrictly concerned with its environmental stewardship aspect, not its social and economic aspects. But at the same time, the sustainability movement is unmistakably bent on changing attitudes, outlooks, and behavior. And like the feminists, sustainability advocates have been successful in their mission to act as our conscience. We are reminded of this every time we catch ourselves wondering, “Oh wait, can I say that?” or “Hmm...is this eco-ethical?”
Given the disdain for the tray-liban, I think it's time to reinstituted the old anti-ban Facebook group, "Tray Stupide! Give us Back Our Trays."
And I think it's time that we protested. (Seriously, why can the far left have all the fun?)
Here were some of the slogans we brainstormed when we first created this group several
Tray Guevara (Bryce Gerard CMC '11), General Petrayus (Aditya Bindal CMC '11), and I, the Traywalker, came up with some of these hilarious jibes last year at the Tray-liban.
- Give me tray or give my money back!
- From time to time, the tray of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
- They can take our trays, but we will break their plates. (Or would that be a plate crime?)
- Support Tray Rights! Tray-Plate Alliance!
- The North American Free Tray Agreement.
- Free Traybet!
- Ask not what you can do for your tray. Ask what your tray can do for you.
- Hey, hey, Pomona, what do you say? How many trays did you steal today?
- Trays are just another word for nothing left to lose.
- The Lorax speaks for the trays.
- Fight the Trayliban!
- Stop the Trayophobes! They want to Pray-The-Tray-Away!
- Join the ProleTrayriat