Thursday, June 01, 2006

Hawaii - Don't Do It!

The State of Hawaii is considering passing a bill that will create race-based laws. In Canada, we have seen how this has been a miserable failure. For example, the Criminal Code of Canada was amended so Justice in no longer blind. A judge must now consider a criminal's "Indianness" before sentencing.

As Alston B Ramsay of the National Review points out, bad history makes for bad laws. Here's a sample

  • Bad history inevitably makes bad law, and the Akaka bill is a case in point. When it is opened up for debate, proponents will cite three findings of “fact”: that the United States, in violation of national and international law, overthrew the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893; that the Hawaiian people have never ceded the right to govern themselves; and that, as Senator Akaka put it back in 1993, the “deprivation of Hawaiian sovereignty, which began a century ago, has had devastating effects on the health, culture, and social conditions of native Hawaiians.” There’s nothing quite like misplaced charges of racism and imperialism to move a piece of legislation. But alas, few if any of these allegations are true, at least according to most standard historical sources, including Ralph S. Kuykendall’s definitive work on Hawaiian history. Before the demagoguery commences on the Senate floor, it’s advisable to examine the relevant allegations.

To read the entire column click here.

Duncan Currie of the Weekly Standard also weighs-in:

  • BESIDES BOASTING ONE OF THE great names in American history, Hawaii's Queen Liliuokalani holds a unique distinction. She is the only foreign monarch to have been deposed with the apparent help of U.S. armed forces and then asked to resume her throne by a compunctious U.S. president (Grover Cleveland). Alas, things didn't pan out for Liliuokalani, who eventually abdicated. Her overthrow in 1893 paved the way for U.S. annexation of Hawaii five years later. To mark the 100th anniversary in 1993, Congress passed and President Clinton signed a resolution apologizing to the indigenous people of the Aloha State.
    The Apology Resolution vastly overstated U.S. culpability in somewhat murky events, whose interpretation was distorted by politics both at the time and since. As a result--and because of the balkanizing implications of the resolution--some 34 senators, mostly Republicans, voted against the measure, including Arizona's John McCain and former Washington senator Slade Gorton.
    "The resolution accomplishes one goal," Gorton argued. "It divides the citizens of the state of Hawaii--who are of course citizens of the United States--into two distinct groups: Native Hawaiians and all other citizens." According to Gorton--and despite the disavowals of the bill's Senate cosponsors, Hawaii Democrats Daniel Inouye and Daniel Akaka--"the logical consequence of this resolution would be independence."

To read the rest of the column click here.

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