Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Lesson for Politics from Hawai'i

A Lesson for Politics From Hawai’i
P. Schultz

            In 1883, the plantation owners in Hawai’i introduced the mongoose to their island in order to control the rat population that was wreaking havoc with their sugar cane. As a result, while the rat population was unaffected – rats are nocturnal while mongoose are diurnal – the mongoose population grew exponentially, feeding off the eggs of birds, almost all of whom were ground nesters, until the that population was all but extinct. From the article linked below:

“Like so many invasive species that now run amuck on islands around the world, mongooses were intentionally introduced to Hawaii. Sugar cane farmers took their cue from Jamaican plantation owners who imported mongooses to control rat populations. In 1883 the mongooses were let loose in the fields, an approach that proved to be colossally uninformed. As it turns out, rats are nocturnal and mongooses are diurnal. The exotic predators never came in contact with their rodent prey, and native bird populations began crashing instead.”

What’s the lesson here? Well, if your dealing with rats and you think that an invasion by an alien presence will solve the “problem,” think again. Think this isn’t relevant for politics? Well, then read a book entitled Operation Flytrap, which deals with a successful gang intervention program in Los Angeles. That is, it was successful in the limited sense of moderating gang behavior in the area where it was implemented. But when its results were looked at more closely, this “success” came at a rather high price, i.e., it devastated the families of the gang members arrested and imprisoned, thereby reinforcing the very conditions that led to the creation of the gangs in the first place!

Or, if you wish, just look toward and into the Middle East, and you will see the same phenomenon occurring. It is an interesting situation.

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