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The Godlessness of Cultural Uniformity


A story in Florence, Italy recently caught the attention of many around the world. It was big news when public outcry caused Florentine city officials to backtrack from an agreement to let a McDonald’s open in the historic Piazza del Duomo, not far from Florence’s historic fifteenth-century cathedral.

It would harm the identity of the city, according to Florence’s mayor, to have a vendor like McDonald’s invade a place with such rich cultural history. And it’s easy to understand the sentiment. Florence’s rejection of the golden arches is a necessary stance to protect a valuable patrimony, even if such an act is becoming increasingly uncommon.

But why go after McDonald’s? The company even agreed to locally source half of its food and include table service, so what gives? The answer begins with a conversation I once had with a friend, a college track & field coach.

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