Nov 24

Look beyond symbols of holidays

Tag: Life Stories,Makes you think ...,Smokingerm @ 6:40 am

Look beyond symbols of holidays

Among my favorite historical stories is the “War on the Sparrows,” which was declared in 1958 by the Maoist government of China.

The Communist Party sought to increase the agricultural yield of its peasant-farmers and identified what it believed to be the chief culprit: the millions of sparrows flitting around the countryside. One study claimed that each sparrow ate four pounds of grain per year, which amounted to hundreds of thousands of tons of lost grain.

The party declared that manual extermination would be the most efficient solution. On Dec. 13, the entire country was mobilized to wave red flags, bang gongs and generally harass the birds until they dropped dead from exhaustion or tiny cardiac arrests. Some sources estimate that 4 million birds died that day. One young man, Yang Seh-mun, was celebrated as a national hero for personally strangling 20,000 nestlings during the nights that followed the big day.
Two years later, a locust plague broke out and the sparrows, their natural enemies, were nowhere to be found. Crop harvests were decimated, and the sparrow eradication program became a byword for a governmental failure that was based on well-meaning symbolism rather than genuine actions that produced long-lasting benefits for actual people.

That story reminds me of what appears to be a universal human propensity to believe that sincere but ultimately empty gestures are the same as genuine actions.

Problems always arise when we substitute well-intentioned or even cynical symbolism over substance. In the case of the sparrows, the Maoists saw an opportunity to unite the people in a massive project that would instill nationalistic pride. For a time, the citizenry’s steps certainly must have carried a bit more swagger.

The truth, though, surfaced as it always does, and the hollow logic of the program was revealed as being, in fact, short-sighted and foolish. The program accomplished less than nothing; it took even more food out of people’s mouths.

Actually the article has nothing to do about smoking, however it does completely make sense in the area of banishing smokers because you’re scared of second hand smoke.

When you take a group of society and force them into outcast status because they are doing something legal you start treading on thin ice.

You could in the end be destroying something that actually helps you. Is it possible that second hand smoke might actually help your immune system?

I don’t know, but I do know this, getting ostracized from society sure does suck.

I don’t think I should have the right to smoke anywhere, I do however think that owners should have the right to make that decisions on their own.

In the end if smoking is ban in all public places in the US, I think that bigger even more horrifying civil liberties will be taken away. We will be forced into “good decisions.”

I’m not really sure I want the government forcing me into “good decisions.” I like being able to smoke, eat red meat, and also drink caffeinated products.

I like being able to make bad decisions on my own without the government going into helicopter parent mode.

In the end I think the government of the United States shouldn’t be scared of terrorists, they should be scared of their people, because many of us are getting pretty dang pissed off.

The only thing I’ve seen Wyoming do this year that I was pleased with was the fact they repelled the Real Id Act.

People who are not smokers don’t understand that once you start baning us from smoking in public places we become the new despised race.

I’ve read stories of being harassed for smoking outside on their own patio. Even smoking in their own apartments. It’s insane I tell you. In just 10 short years CA has made a new despised segment of society.

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