Of Canaries and Coal Mines
I have heard and read in numerous places of late that “Greece is the canary in the coal mine…we must save Greece!!”
Um…those saying/writing this do not understand the “Canary in the coal mine” metaphor.
The canary that the coal miners have brought down with them stops chirping and falls off its perch, unable to breathe. The compassionate coal miners immediately attempt to revive the brave canary, pumping its little chest and even trying to blow air into its little beak. They cover its cage with some sheeting and open a canister of pure oxygen under it…reviving the canary!!
Nope. No offense, canary, but you’re NOT A PET! You’re not down there to amuse the miners. If you can’t breathe, then real soon THEY won’t be able to breathe! So while you’re expiring the miners will be running for their lives!!
The miners COULD put some plastic over the cage and open a canister of pure oxygen…and the canary would revive!! In other words, they could actively DISABLE the warning system that the canary represents! Result: dead miners!
Heroically “saving” Greece (and Spain, et al) will just ensure that the miners (aka: the rest of Europe and the U.S.) wind up asphyxiating.
A canary in your home is a pet…enjoy it! A canary in a coal mine is an alarm…listen to it!!