Several sources are reporting that the Swaziland Civil Aviation Authority has "banned" witches from flying their broomsticks above a certain altitude. An amusing idea, to be sure, but I suspect there's more, and less, to this story than we may assume.
I haven't been able to find the original report online, but a few of the second-hand reports note that the Swaziland media was unclear whether the quoted official was joking. Moreover, as this and other stories acknowledge, the whole incident began when a man was charged with illegally operating a camera-equipped remote-control helicopter above a certain altitude. When a reporter asked an official, Sabelo Dlamini, to explain the charge, Dlamini said that witches on broomsticks would have to stay below the limit--which sounds to me like a cute rhetorical exaggeration. If I were taking about U.S. civil rights laws, and said it was illegal to discriminate against "black, white, brown, or even polka-dotted people," nobody would assume that I was saying that I actually believe there are polka-dotted people. If I were explaining fire-prevention rules, and said "The Human Torch himself would have to obey these restrictions," nobody would think I believed the Torch really existed.
Why, then, the immediate assumption that this African gentleman must so backward as to believe in witchcraft--let alone the exaggerated claim in many sources that Swaziland has "banned" high-flying witches? True, many in Swaziland actually do believe in witchcraft...but that's also true of the U.S.
I could be wrong; the country may indeed have prohibited high-altitude broom-flying. But I doubt it. I suspect there's some other explanation for the media's smug assumption that Mr. Dlamini believes in black magic. Well? Any suggestions?
I ordered this shirt from Declaration Clothing the other day. It's great, and the customer service was very nice, too. They allowed me to return the one I'd ordered that was too small. And items come with some nice little freebies, too. Check them out.
I, too, was discussing this recently with some friends. The problem, it seems to me, is that while there is much to be said for pursuing in work what you love in life, a lot of people seem to assume that their “passions” will just come to them like a bolt from the blue. At some point, they seem to imagine, you just wake up knowing what you love, and then you’re able to plan a career around that.
But it does not work that way. Instead, you discover only after doing things that there’s something you love to do. The point of a broad exposure to different ideas, pursuits, and cultural influences during your education is to enable you to discover what it is you love doing—which, of course, will come only after doing many things that you don’t love. You don’t just somehow know that you want to be an architect because building is your passion, or decide that researching the history of coal mining in upper Silesia or the genetic diseases of fruitflies is what you love to do. Instead, you read a book about architecture or European history or medicine, and that leads you to another book or to a lecture or to a documentary film, and then you take an intro class at your community college, and get a summer internship at the Silesia Cultural Foundation…or whatever the story. You go from one discovery to the next, exploring your way forward. You must discover your passion—it isn’t handed to you. And you only discover it by trying things and being patient and allowing that discovery to bubble up from underneath. That involves a lot of work and a lot of trial and error and a lot of dead ends, sometimes. But that is true of all things in life. Often you do not realize that you have a passion for a particular thing until after you’ve been doing it for a long while. To say you don’t know what job to pursue because you don’t know what your passion is is like saying “I know I should marry a person I love, but what if I don’t have a person I love?” or “I know I should eat food that is palatable to me, but what if I don’t know of a food that’s palatable to me?” You have to go out and find these things; work to discover what you love to work at. Yes, that’s sort of a bootstrap paradox. But it’s still the only way it can be done. The idea—pushed by inspirational posters and Hollywood—that you just know what you want from life and go out and get it, is misguided and ultimately self-defeating.
Doesn't mean it shouldn't be abolished. Liberty, not "loyalty," is our national virtue. "These are our grievances," said Jefferson in the Summary View,"which we have thus laid before his majesty, with that freedom of language and sentiment which becomes a free people claiming their rights, as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate: let those flatter who fear; it is not an American art. To give praise which is not due, might be well from the venal, but would ill beseem those who are asserting the rights of human nature. They know, and will therefore say, that kings are the servants, not the proprietors of the people."
This is my personal blog. The opinions expressed here are my own, and in no way represent those of the staff, management, or clients of the Pacific Legal Foundation, the Cato Institute, or the McGeorge School of Law.