Posted on October 5, 2004

A Race-Based Drift?

Bruce Fein, Washington Times, Oct. 5

The nation’s mindless celebration of multiculturalism and denigration of the American creed has reached a new plateau of destructiveness. A bill recently reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee (S. 344) would establish a race-based government for Native Hawaiians unconstrained by the restrictions of the U.S. Constitution. The bill’s enactment would mark the beginning of the end of the United States, akin to the sack of Rome by Alaric the Great in 410 A.D. A country that wavers in its fundamental political and cultural values — like a nation half slave and half free — will not long endure.

S. 344 would erect an independent government for the lineal descendants of Native Hawaiians to honor their asserted “rights as native people to self-determination and self-governance.” Best estimates place their number at more than 400,000. Like Adolf Hitler’s blood tests for Jews, a minuscule percentage of Native Hawaiian ancestry would establish an entitlement to participate in the new racially exclusive domain.

The right to self-determination means the right of a people to choose their sovereign destiny, whether independence, federation, accession to another nation or otherwise. Thus, the bill would overturn the past and prevailing understanding of the Civil War. As Chief Justice Salmon Portland Chase lectured, Ulysses S. Grant’s defeat of Robert E. Lee established an indivisible national unity among indestructible states.

The Native Hawaiian government would be unbothered by the “irritants” of the U.S. Constitution. Thus, it might choose theocracy over secularism; summary justice over due process; indoctrination over freedom of speech; property confiscations over property rights; subjugation over equality; or, group quotas over individual merit. The Native Hawaiian citizens of the Native Hawaiian government would also be exempt from swearing or affirming allegiance to the United States of America or the U.S. Constitution.

The race-based sovereignty created by S.344 is first cousin to a revolution against the United States. As the Declaration of Independence elaborates, revolutions may be justified by repression or deafness to pronounced grievances. Thomas Jefferson’s indictment of King George III is compelling on that score. But S. 344 does not and could not find Native Hawaiians are oppressed or maltreated in any way. They are first-class American citizens crowned with a host of special privileges. Indeed, the proposed legislation acknowledges that, “Native Hawaiians . . . give expression to their rights as native peoples to self-determination and self-governance through the provision of governmental services to Native Hawaiians, including the provision of health care services, educational programs, employment and training programs, children’s services, conservation programs, fish and wildlife protection, agricultural programs, native language immersion programs and native language immersion schools from kindergarten through high school.”

The annexation of Hawaii by the United States in 1898 has proven a bright chapter in the history of democracy and human rights. Native Hawaiians had failed for centuries to build a democratic dispensation and the rule of law. When Queen Lili’uokulani was ousted from power in 1893, the potentate was no more eager to yield monarchical powers than was the shah of Iran. Annexation and statehood in 1959 brought all Hawaiian residents irrespective of race or ethnicity the blessings of the U.S. Constitution — government of the people, by the people, for the people. Native Hawaiians prospered far beyond the destiny available under Queen Lili’uokulani and her royal successors. Suppose Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor when under the queen’s sovereignty. The Hawaiian Islands would have been colonized and brutalized as was Korea from 1910-1945.

American civilization has been a boon, not an incubus, for the Native Hawaiians living today. Generally speaking, they thrive from the benefits of science, medicine, literature, higher education, free enterprise, private property and freedom of inquiry, amenities and enjoyments not found in lands untouched by Western values and practices. As elaborated in the report of Senate Committee of Indian Affairs accompanying S. 344, Native Hawaiians’ nagging resistance to complete assimilation seems to explain their suboptimal demographics. Hawaiian law, for example, has invariably guaranteed subsistence gathering rights to the people to retain native customs and traditions.

Not a crumb of legitimate grievance justifies the odious race-based government championed by S. 344. To borrow from Associate Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in Adarand Construction vs. Pena (1995), in the eyes of the law and the creed of the United States, there is only one race in the nation. It is American. And to be an American is to embrace the values of freedom, individual liberty and equality acclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Gettysburg Address. S.344 would create a distinct race of Native Hawaiians subject to a race-based Native Hawaiian government with the purpose of creating and preserving non- American values: namely, “Native Hawaiian political and cultural identity in accordance with their traditions, beliefs, customs and practices, language, and social and political institutions.”

Native Hawaiians hold no more right to a race-based government than countless other racial or ethnic groups in the United States. They are no more entitled to secede from the jurisdiction of the U.S. Constitution than were the Confederate States of America. Enacting S. 344 would surrender the intellectual and moral underpinnings of the United States.

Bruce Fein is a constitutional lawyer and international consultant with Bruce Fein & Associates and the Lichfield Group.