Fascism in a Lei

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What could be friendlier or more welcoming place than Hawaii, America’s 50th state? If S-147, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2005, introduced by that state’s Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka, is passed by the U.S. Congress, the ugly scourge of racism — the real, honest-to-badness type, not the name calling type that gets flung around too often — will rule those islands which, in the future, might cease to be part of the United States.

The proposed legislation would divide Hawaiians into “natives” and all others. Anyone with a drop of blood of the original inhabitants of the islands might quality. How is that determined? There would be a nine-member race commission to declare who is “really” a native. (Can you imagine such a commission to determine who’s really a white or Aryan?) Further, the bill would allow these official “natives” to establish their own government with laws that are outside of and thus not subject to the U.S. Constitution. This government would be related to the federal government by treaty, like a foreign power or a Native American Indian tribe.


This proposal on the surface might seem to mimic the arrangement between many American Indian tribes and the federal government. It might seem like an innocent attempt by some native Hawaiians to grab a chance at setting up tax-exempt casinos and to make a pile of money. But the real motives are much more sinister and dangerous.

To begin with, the current tax advantages that many American Indian tribes enjoy today hardly make up for the tragic fact of reservation life that stretches back to the nineteenth century. America is the land of opportunity; immigrants from all over the world, the poorest of the poor, came to these shores and, thanks to economic freedom, prospered. Cultural clashes and injustices, sadly, put Americans Indians on reservations where they have suffered in squalid, socialist poverty rather than becoming part of the American economic and cultural mainstream and enjoying its blessings.

Native Hawaiians, however, were never ghettoized. They and the latecomers to the islands mixed together and now form a multiethnic community. S-147 would undo this. It would set aside huge tracts of land for a new apartheid arrangement. It could even create “extraterritoriality,” meaning that natives outside of their reservations might still be subject to reservation law.

And what of this law? Subjects of the native government would not enjoy any of the protection of the U.S. Constitution. The native government would in fact be a corrupt, third-world type dictatorship that would abuse the rights of it subjects. We know this because those are the core values of the advocates and anyone who would take away the protections for freedom accorded by the Constitution and replace them not with a government that respects individual liberty even more but, rather, political power exercised on the most vile, race-based premises. Many advocates do not disguise the fact that they want Hawaii to secede from the United States.

The advocates of this plan are true tribalists. They take their identity from their accidental membership in some group to which they were born. But the achievements of others in their groups are not their achievements nor are the failures and follies of those who share their genes theirs either. They should be judged