Foreign Trade

Johnson Grass, kudzu, starlings and those huge water rats known as “nutria.”

This is the short list off the top of my head of great import ideas run amok. The first was going to be the greatest fodder ever, growing quickly and providing lots of lush forage for livestock. The second was going to protect the deep ditches of the Deep South from erosion. The third was, at least according to the illusion of memory, brought over to control the English sparrow population. The final one was to extend the financial opportunity of bayou fur trappers. I won’t provide a comprehensive comparison but I will note that all of them share one thing in common; things didn’t go according to plan.

Johnson Grass proved itself to be a noxious weed, extremely persistent, pervasive and invasive, displacing native grasses, pasture and hay. And, while its early growth is somewhat fodder-like, it quickly becomes tough and unsavory. This I know not so much from personal experience as from observation of livestock. Kudzu is great for erosion control, growing several inches per day and covering the ground with protection from pounding rain. It also covers and smothers trees that are fifty feet tall and is similar in persistence, pervasiveness and invasiveness to Johnson Grass.

With similar undesirable attributes, the prolific starling quickly became a pest, completely unconcerned with the purpose for which it was invited here. As for the giant water rats, a drastic decline in fur values yielded a corresponding declining interest in trapping. Now, nutria are destroying the natural habitat and over-running the swamps of the South.

I could have added the Asian carp and with a bit of research, numerous other examples of things that were seemingly held in balance in their native homes yet became disruptive and destructive when taken somewhere else.

The human creature is a strange bundle of contradictions. We are so often suspicious and inclined to believe the worst in so many situations. Yet, in the very situations when suspicion and pessimism are singularly rational, we toss them aside and stride, even run straight for trouble.

Too often, when we think we see some advantage to us in a situation, we are too willing to believe nothing but good can come of it. And while it may often appear to have some pleasing, immediate result, the ultimate effect of importing sin into our lives is never positive. We will always end up dealing with the consequences of having something in a place where it never belonged.

H. Arnett
9/13/12

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About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Blair, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-five years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-one grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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