Thursday, February 29, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Sunday, July 7, 2019
Do We Have a Legitimate Government?
By Tom Yamachika @ 5:00 AM :: 3467 Views :: Hawaii History

Do We Have a Legitimate Government?

by Tom Yamachika, President, Tax Foundation Hawaii

Every so often, the news reports on people who deny the legitimacy of the government we have here in Hawaii. “We’re not subject to those laws,” they say, “so we don’t have to follow rules or pay taxes.” It pains me to read stories of people who lost their homes after being told that they didn’t have to pay back their mortgages because the laws under which they were made were invalid in Hawaii.

It’s true that the path from Kingdom of Hawaii to Territory of Hawaii was peppered with events that were morally questionable...of course depending on your morality. Some people value strength—“Might makes right!” Some have ideas of a moral objective, and the path to get there isn’t important—“The ends justified the means.”

What is legitimacy? I’ll start with the first clause of the first article of the Hawaii Constitution: “All political power of this State is inherent in the people and the responsibility for the exercise thereof rests with the people. All government is founded on this authority.” That sounds a lot like "The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government," Article 21(3) of the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” from the 1776 document that the United States celebrates this month. So I propose that legitimacy of a government comes from the consent of those governed.

There are, of course, those in the “Haole go home!” camp who may say that the only voices who matter in Hawaii government are those of the kanaka maoli, perhaps meaning “any descendant of not less than one-half part of the blood of the races inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands previous to 1778,” as section 201 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act defines “Native Hawaiian.” Are we talking about a favored race here? They are entitled to their opinions, but they appear to be in the minority.

In 1959, the U.S. Congress passed our Admission Act. One unusual thing about this act was that it wasn’t a declaration like most laws are. Rather, it was an offer. If the people of Hawaii, at a referendum election, accepted statehood, then the United States of America would welcome us in. That’s what section 7 of the Admission Act says. The Act specified three questions to be put before the voters, and if any one of them were not approved by a majority of the voters the Admission Act would have no effect.

On each of the three ballot questions, more than 132,000 people voted in favor while fewer than 8,000 voted against. There were 155,000 registered voters then, and the voter turnout was the largest we have ever had. When we became a state, sirens blared, horns honked, bells rang, fireworks were launched, and there was literally dancing in the streets.

We accepted statehood and all that came with it, including submission to the federal government of the United States. We accepted it even though our history with the United States included an unprovoked attack on the Queen of Hawaii, Japanese internment, and sixty years of being an “insular possession” (a second-class status that no one should have to endure for that long). The acceptance was not unanimous, but it was decisive. It was a clear expression of the will of the people. That’s why I conclude that our government is legitimate.

In no organized society can everyone do what they want, when they want, and where they want all the time. We have a set of rules that all of us must follow. We can’t just walk into a random person’s property and pick their mango tree bare because we happened to be hungry. We can’t expect to borrow money from a bank and then forget about repaying it. We can’t just accept the benefits of government and force the rest of us who pay taxes to pay more to make up for those who refuse to pony up. Those who have a different opinion can have it, but acting upon it may land them in the hoosegow. Instead of having that happen, let’s work together, even with our differing opinions, to make the best out of our civilized society.

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT