Monday, August 22, 2005

Hawaiian Separatism

This movement has been underway for a while, but it seems to be picking up some steam. I admit that I am whole-heartedly in favor of it. Partly because I think that if they wish to leave we should let them go in peace (compact of states and all...) and partly because my sadistic curiosity meter jumps into the red when I think about the possibility that a state might actually give the old middle finger to Washington. Yeehaw'maheamea! Matt Welch at Reason has a similar take on the issue:

There is something decidedly, um, European about the notion of some faraway islands, annexed under dubious imperialistic circumstances (which the U.S. officially apologized for), taking up a star on the American flag in these post-colonial times. If the historical relationship with America is indeed built on a stack of lies and unfulfilled promises, and if separatism is truly a growing phenomenon, is it not a matter of basic democratic morality to ask the islanders point-blank whether they want to remain in the union? If the vote is decisive, it may stave off ever-more elaborate (and costly) arrangements on Capitol Hill.

Non-violent political separation is rarely as traumatic as opponents fear. Czechoslovakia, and an impressive amount of the former Soviet Union, devolved into nation-states without a shot being fired or the various predicted economic catastrophes coming to pass. Washington, it's safe to say, has enough economic clout to ensure that American citizens would not be maltreated by any fledgling new country. And there are no analogous admission histories in the continental U.S. (Hawaii shares more in common with The Philippines than the American Southwest), so even if hell were to freeze over and a decisive majority of, say, California residents wanted to secede, there wouldn't necessarily be any legal precedents created by Hawaiian independence.

Of course, this will never happen. And this time, Washington will not even have to draft an army, suspend habeas corpus, and throw a bunch of newspapermen in jail. No, the professional extortionists in our nation's capitol will just remind the people of Hawaii that they receive, roughly, $1.60 for every buck that they send our way. Who needs a stick when you have a carrot like that?


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