Happy Hawaiian Statehood Day!


Or is it?? The Last State is holding some lukewarm celebrations in honor of that great day back in 1959, but there are no cheeseburgers in this paradise:

It's Hawaii's birthday today, but no residents or visitors would know that. There is no parade, no fireworks, no birthday cake, no candles, no political speeches, no additional red, white and blue flags flying high, and definitely no acknowledgement by Hawaii's political leaders that 46 years ago, Hawaii became America's 50th state. There is just a sad, embarrassing silence.

The complete void of recognition and celebration of Hawaii's union with America wasn't always so in the islands—there was once tremendous pride in Statehood Day, now referred to as "Admissions Day."

So sayeth the glum patriots over at The Hawaii Reporter. Why so blue? Because "sovereignty," in the form of a bill that has passed the committee stage and is headed to the Senate floor, is potentially just around the corner. And the bill's author, Democratic Senator Daniel Kahikina Akaka, is all over the islands' newspapers backtracking from his Tuesday statements on NPR that the Akaka Bill "could" be a Trojan Horse leading to Hawaiian Independence. Rush Limbaugh is all over this story like poi on finger, but the bill wouldn't be where it was if it weren't for the contributions of Republican Gov. Linda Lingle, Arizona Sen. John McCain, and in fact the 2004 Republican Party Platform.

I'll have more on this Monday, but in the meantime, I'll throw this chum out to you sharks: Assuming there was strong popular support—which may very well be an incorrect assumption, but just for the sake of the exercise—why shouldn't the islands secede? Isn't it finer to be a 49er?

Pro-independence blog here, anti-indy sentiment here. Grover Cleveland's anti-imperialism here.

UPDATE: Commenters hashed through the pros and cons a year ago, too.

NEXT: Betting The Climate

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  1. what’s the big fucking deal?

  2. didn’t we have a big throwdown about this once upon a time, whereby it was decided that the idea of a voluntary union was determined to be a complete farce?

  3. Let them go. That way we could go ahead and annex Iraq without the bother of stiching a new star on Old Glory.

  4. Libertarians should support this. You could burn flags with 50 stars and not get in trouble.

  5. Tell ’em they can only leave if they’ll take California.

  6. But, Don, I just ordered a 49-star flag so I could burn it safely. I’m so confused!

    It seems to me the rest of us should get some say before parts of our *union* start walking off.

  7. Any indication that native casinos are in the offing? Matt, I’m really sorry for being such a prick, it just is kinda fun since you react to it. Anyway, I’m mostly sorry because the A’s went into a 4-game slide right after my last prideful comment.

  8. Well, Hawaii *was* sovereign from the time it was settled until 1898. The legal government of Hawaii decided at that time to extinguish that sovereignty and be annexed by the United States. If we think that act was a travesty, then correcting the historic injustice would mean giving Hawaii its independence again. But if I recall correctly, the people of Hawaii voted (perhaps more than once) that they wanted to be admitted to the Union as a state. Maybe we need to take that vote again, with voting rights restricted to the descendents of those who were Hawaiian citizens in 1898. (Limiting the vote to ethnic Hawaiians wouldn’t work, because a lot of haoles and others were made citizens, which I’d take as equivalent to adoption into the Hawaiian community.)

  9. Horst — No penalty (from me, at least) for being a prick; all I ask is that you keep the extra-curricular stuff in discussion boards where it’s actually, you know, being discussed.

    As for casinos, I’ll have to check the fine print, and thanks for the tip!

  10. rox — Thanks; I remembered that, too, and have now linked to it, but initial search strings didn’t reveal the thing.

  11. It seems to me the rest of us should get some say before parts of our *union* start walking off.

    If you let it go and it doesn’t come back, it’s not meant to be.

  12. I guess it would depend on whether Hawaii gets more loot from DC than it pays in taxes. The Heartland, where values are strong, gets heap big handouts from Uncle Sam. Or is more like California and NY, subsidizing their rustic cousins by the billion? I suspect with all the military bases it does alright.

    What is a benefit of being in the US any more? As opposed to any other developed nation? (Obviously it’s better than Uzbekistan or Liberia).

  13. I think giving Hawaii to Israel would solve a lot of problems. Replace the Wailing Wall with Waikiki. And who wouldn’t go for the perfect weather and those great roast pig luaus? Wait, scratch the pork. I’m just saying…

  14. Trying to care. Pearl Harbor. Poi. Easy calculation of Senate vote percentages.

    Nope. Don’t care.

  15. This is a deeply conflicting issue, insofar as regards the needs of Hawaii’s native population versus the needs of the non-indigenous residents there.

    I propose that the Reason Foundation issue grants for all Hit&Run Commenters to go to Hawaii and personally investigate the situation.

    As so many factors must be considered, the grants should provide financial incentives for a period not less than six months.

    While staying in Hawaii that long will represent a hardship, it’s the right thing to do given the times.

  16. Since Hawaii gets back $2 for every $1 it sends to Washington, I think Hawaiian independence would be great for the rest of the country.

  17. It seems to me the rest of us should get some say before parts of our *union* start walking off.

    Goodness knows, you don’t want some whackjob writing something like

    When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

  18. Maybe give Hawaii to Britain to be part of the British Empire, they wouldn’t need to change the flag and it would mean Hawaiians would get the right to go live in Tahiti, and other bits of French Polynesia which they might like since they seem fascinated by the place.

  19. Hawaii’s pre-annexation government was questionably legal. It was basically a farce set up by the sugar companies to get around the existing monarchy.

    As for dollars in/out; the calculation for Hawaii is skewed by military spending, and unlike in many bases here on the mainland, the US actually NEEDS most of those bases in order to project force into the Pacific. Even today. So it’s not exactly the same as the large fraction of bases over here which are essentially jobs programs.

  20. Let’s get Puerto Rico independence first, then we can work on Hawaii.

  21. If Hawaii DOES decide to “go native”, maybe Dubya could uphold the Republican President tradition and have the armed forces burn everything in the state to the ground.

  22. First the “anti-indy” link in the article is incorrect. The institute only seeks to educate people as to the possible consequences of the bill. An article in a local daily newspaper last Sunday had quotes by politicians pushing the Akaka Bill that they clearly wanted to keep it “below the radar.” In other words they were trying to pull a fast one and sneak it through without any real discussion. Thus the education campaign.

    Second, the wording of the bill basically leaves it open for anything to happen: gambling, secession, a communist government, anything. The only thing the bill really does is set up a 9 member board to determine who qualifies to be part of the newly reorganized “Hawaiian nation” based upon proving one had an “indigenous Hawaiian” ancestor who resided in Hawaii in 1893 or an “indigenous Hawaiian” ancestor who qualified for land under the 1921 Hawaiian Homelands Comission Act. After 5 generations a person could be 1/32nd or less “native Hawaiian” and still qualify.

    Everything else is up for grabs including how much federal and/or state land will be “negotiated” to be given to the new government, aside from the “ceded” lands.

    Third you should care because Hawaiians, under the language of the bill, could be able to buy land anywhere in the U.S. (about half the current Hawaiian population currently lives on the mainland)declare it “Hawaiian” lands and thus part of a separate nation. What could this do to state and local tax bases?

    Fourth there has never been a vote, a pebiscite to determine if this what anybody in Hawaii wants.

    Finally, at present Hawaii gets $1.57 for every dollar paid in federal taxes. A good portion is military.

  23. I, for one, am happy to see our sovereign province finally receive the respect it deserves!! Our culture has been diluted, our language desecrated! No longer will we have to submit to the Anglophone tyranny in Ottawa! Vive Quebec!

    Wait a minute…

  24. Having written a research paper on the subversion and eventual overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy by American agricultural interests, I’d say the legality of the annexation should be viewed as highly dubious. A free and fair referendum at the time would not have resulted in Hawaii joining the US.

  25. Traveling to the Peoples Republic of Hawaii, from the 49 Semi-United States of America, might require a passport. Surely that would hurt the tourism industry a fair bit. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has, several times, started looking into overseas vacations only to settle for Florida rather than dick around with getting a passport. (like I know where my birth certificate is…) Or maybe most travelers aren’t the bigbigslacker I am. Some people can plan ahead. That’s what I’ve heard anyway.

  26. The institute only seeks to educate people as to the possible consequences of the bill.
    I have no serious dog in this fight, but this sounds like something a public affairs guy for said institute would say.

  27. Soylent Hau’oli is made of pineapple! Piiiiiinneappllllllle!

  28. I doubt that the Hawaiian population of Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino descent has any great love for this bill, nor do the Portuguese or other white islanders. According to the 200 Census, non-native groups make up the majority of the population of the Hawaiian Islands (41.6% Asian, 24.3% white), so any independence movement focusing on the 9.4% of the population that calls itself Native Hawaiian is doomed to failure from the outset, no matter how crookedly the US behaved a century ago.

  29. Those guys don’t remember that their hero king, Kamehameha wanted to hand the kindgom over to the British, who yawned a polite no thanks. They got us by default.

    There is just a sad, embarrassing silence

    I hate to break it to the glum patriots but it is EXACTLY the same here in Californicate. On Admission Day, the schools and the DMV are closed. That’s it, dude.

    When I was a kid, I didn’t even know why we got a holiday the week after school started. Neither did anyone else. Admission Day? What’s that? Shrug. No Answer.

  30. That sign reminds me of one I saw on a rocky back road on the north coast of Maui. A big 4×8 sheet of plywood had been hand lettered:

    Hawaii for Hawaiians

    Not Hawaii for Haoulies

    or something like that. That’s significant because Haoulies are also caucasion Hawaiians, many of whom are native born.

    It was startling. Like seeing those bumper stickers in the 1970’s that said stuff like:

    last American out of Garden Grove bring the flag

  31. Pork, but that’s only thirty bucks. πŸ™‚


    kailua pig, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    poi, yeccchhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  32. et’s get Puerto Rico independence first

    They don’t want it. The last vote they had on it the Independistas only got about 12 percent of the vote.

  33. Correction, it wasn’t 12 percent, that’s what they usually get in general elections. The vote on independence though was roundly against it.

  34. for those of you who hate song lyrics in your Hit&Run, go shove a waheenie up your Haoulie.

    Lets Talk Dirty in Hawaiian
    ? John Prine

    Well, I packed my bags and bought myself a ticket
    For the land of the tall palm tree
    Aloha Old Milwaukee, Hello Waikiki
    I just stepped down from the airplane
    When I heard her say,
    “Waka waka nuka licka, waka waka nuka licka
    Would you like a lei? Eh?”

    Let’s talk dirty in Hawaiian
    Whisper in my ear
    Kicka pooka mok a wa wahini
    Are the words I long to hear
    Lay your coconut on my tiki
    What the hecka mooka mooka dear
    Let’s talk dirty in Hawaiian
    Say the words I long to hear

    It’s a ukulele Honolulu sunset
    Listen to the grass skirts sway
    Drinking rum from a pineapple
    Out on Honolulu Bay
    The steel guitars all playing
    While she’s talking with her hands
    Gimme gimme oka doka make a wish and wanta polka
    Words I understand Hey!

    Repeat Chorus

    Well, I boughta lota junka with my moolah
    And sent it to the folks back home
    I never had the chance to dance the hula
    Well, I guess I should have known
    When you start talking to the sweet wahini
    Walking in the pale moonlight
    Ohka noka whatta setta knocka-rocka-sis-boom-boccas
    Hope I said it right Oh!

    Repeat Chorus

    Let’s talk dirty in Hawaiian
    Say the words I long to hear
    spoken: Aloha

  35. First the “anti-indy” link in the article is incorrect. The institute only seeks to educate people as to the possible consequences of the bill.

    Aha, so, sorta like Akaka on NPR, Don leaves open the possibility that the Grassroot Institute might not be anti-independence? Maybe neutral, or even supportive? That’s interesting news πŸ˜‰

    After all it is a libertarian organization, and I have always thought that one could make a reasonable liberatian argument in favor of independence, especially the more one knows about the history.

    Also, I should note that GRIH poll at the “incorrect assumption” link is seriously flawed, both in its method and interpretation. See my post here for analysis.

    Also note that while many who support the Akaka bill do actually support independence, at the same time some of the most vocal voices against the Akaka bill, completely separate from the Grassroot Institute, are folks who strongly support independence, and see the bill as an attempt to actually undermine independence, legitimize the American presence in Hawaii, and finally settle claims. Then there are also those who support the Akaka bill but do not support independence. So taking sentiment regarding the Akaka bill and applying it to independence neglects the more subtle dynamics at work in the public opinions of Hawaii’s residents. In fact, no poll has really looked at the sentiment for independence, so it is pretty much speculation. Purely based on speculation and my anecdotal observations, I wouldn’t assert that it is a majority, but I do think the level of support for independence, and the degree to which it is openly and regularly debated in the opinion pages of Hawaii’s papers and elsewhere in our communities, would probably surprise most folks who are not familiar with the issue.

    But anyway, if you really want to try to understand the issues, it is important to understand that the Akaka bill and independence are not at all the same, despite the tendency to lump them all together in the fears expressed by Limbaugh and others who are largely ignorant of the real history and issues.

  36. If Hawaii ever gains independence, the states of the CSA should sue for independence as well. πŸ™‚

    On a more serious note, is there anyone else who expects the future to break a breakup of the United States (and other large countries)? I’ve read arguments (which make a lot of sense to me) that there were advantages to size in the industrial era which just don’t exist in the information age. Why not split up into various regional groupings that make more sense. People in various parts of this country have darn little in common, in many cases. I’m not necessarily advocating it (although I like some of the possibilities). I’m just asking whether it’s a serious possibility for 50 or 100 years or so down the road.

  37. I am not amazed that people have different perceptions on this topic. It relies on knowing the true facts that escape most; especially in history revised books used to teach the children and the corporate media that censors and selects what they want you to know.

    Hawaii is just a passing thought to most without consideration. Status quo, jobs, McDonald’s type operation, Starbucks, and what’s on TV deems it so. Who cares? Just don’t make waves; the less one knows, the better. Regardless of the facts and truth no one cares. What the US government does in one’s name – who cares?

    What US Americans did in your name, who cares? Not one’s problem, right? Leave your country for the corporations to rule and strip your freedoms away, just don’t burst one’s bubble and take away the comforts one is accustomed to, correct? This is about one’s belief in the sales and marketing schemes, religious beliefs, self-gratification, and sustenance which requires blind patriotism.

    It would be irrelevant how Hawaii became a recognized friendly, neutral, independent nation and part of the the Family of Nations, forerunner of the League of Nations, and the UN. What would be relevant is the USA’s involvement and relations with the Hawaii Kingdom.

    As documented, treaties between the two countries began in 1826. US covert and overt actions began at such time to the present. The endeavor was to destabilize Hawai’i’s government for a takeover in order to establish dominion over the Pacific area. Key players in the US invasion of Hawaii were US Americans residing in Hawaii and influential men on Capitol Hill in Washington.

    They created the “fake revolution” that ultimately resulted in the US invasion, takeover, and the ongoing unlawful occupation of Hawai’i.

    Of the Hawaii Nationals, 84.4% were Kanaka Maoli and 15.6% were of foreign ethnicity. This comprised 50.1 of the residents of Hawaii. Like Texas, the USA allowed it’s citizens to migrate to the islands. In the 1890 census, it also showed 49.9% were of foreign citizenship, mostly US Americans. This set up precluded the USA takeover.

    At the time of the invasion, only a handful was aware of what transpired. US Minister Stevens proclaimed recognition of the US revolutionaries as the legitimate government without them securing government buildings and the police station. This US Provisional Government was backed by the US military which stayed to insure its position in Honolulu.

    In 1897, the Ku’e Petitions overwhelmingly signed by the Hawai’i Nationals protested the US takeover and rebuked the annexation to the US. That was the people’s plebiscite or referendum. They did not support the US-puppet Provisional Government nor the farcical Republic of Hawaii.

    The hoax continued with the US annexation against the people’s wishes with the US internal resolution to annex the islands. After the Queen’s death, the assimilation attempt continued and the Stockholm Syndrome took hold.

    The Statehood Act was voted upon in the islands. Of the registered voters, some 37% voted, which included the US military and their dependents. Many Hawaiians were barred from voting. The campaign of showing that all the people expressly wanted US statehood was pushed a year before NGO was knowingly going to be passed in the UN.

    Throughout the following years, attacks on the Hawaiian entitlements expressed in the Statehood Organic Act, was increasing to support the genocide and ethnocide of the Native Hawaiians. Our voices have been suppressed, trivialized, and ridiculed. The myth lives on, but who cares, right?

  38. i rather like this independence idea. folks can go build themselves an ethnic republic or whatever, and my taxes will be .0003% lower.

    is there a chance in hell it would come off without outside interference?

  39. Can Texas leave next? And expel our foreign occupier in Crawford?

    Hawaii becoming seperate would be a big mistake for them methinks. How do they think they’re going to make up for the loss of government funding, by raising their own taxes? Do you think the citizens want that? Travel would have to be overhauled to account for international restrictions. There’s so much against Hawaii becoming independent that I think a few agitators are not going to get much farther if the majority of the citizens perk up and pay attention.

  40. support the genocide and ethnocide of the Native Hawaiians

    Are you counting the genocide and ethnocide of the Maui culture by the folks from the Big Island in the drive to unite the Islands under one king?


    One of the biggest lies perpetuated today is that when Hawai`i achieves nationhood once again it will be at the expense of everyone else.

    But no one will be kicked out; their businesses seized or their homes and property confiscated.

    Instead, everyone, Hawaiians and all others, will be citizens of the sovereign and independent Nation of Hawai`i. The Hawaiian Nation included people of many ethnic backgrounds that were loyal citizens before the illegal overthrow and it will be so again.

    The truth is a sovereign Hawaiian nation will need the contributions and talents of all of its citizens to remain viable in the world. Hawaiians would be no better than the very supremacists that overthrew and occupied them were they to divide people by race.

    Hawaiians have always been inclusive, not exclusive.

    How would this be accomplished politically given a civil war resulted the last time a state tried to leave the US?

    Unlike the southern US states, the Kingdom of Hawai`i and its citizens never agreed to become part of the United States in the first place. Therefore a move for Hawai`i to secede from the US would be both unnecessary and inappropriate.

    Much like removing the top coat of paint to reveal the one underneath, the US Congress, after consultation between Hawaiians and the US at the level of state to state, could simply enact a US federal law that dissolves the entity known as the “state government” in Hawai`i.

    What would be left in its place is what has existed all along anyway without interruption – the Nation of Hawai`i.

    Only at that point, would it be appropriate for the citizens of Hawai`i to decide their future as it relates to a relationship with the United States.

    Those possibilities would include –

    Full Independence – Joining once again the family of nations in the world.

    Free Association – Much like Palau and the Federated States of Micronesia.

    Integration with the US – Becoming a state again or a tribe of the US under federal recognition.

    Did you know that when Ronald Reagan was president, one of the most conservative US presidents in recent times, his administration actually granted the Marshall Islands independence in 1986, which then lead to a free association relationship with the US?

    Precedent for Hawaiian independence exists right now within US law as outlined above.

    There are no laws that exist today within the US to prevent the US federal government from dissolving a state government. It is only fear and ignorance that holds the status quo in place.

    Visit http://www.FreeHawaii.Info

  42. Ain’t gonna happen.


  43. OK. So the original US annexation of Hawaii was illegitimate. Fine. You could argue the same for the US annexation of a lot of land belonging to North American Indians. In fact human history is basically a cycle of people killing each other and stealing each others lands. But ultimately don’t most of us believe that the legitimacy of of a government comes from the consent of the governed? 94 percent of the Hawaiian population voted for statehood in 1959. That would seem to me to override anything that happened in the past. You might be able to make an argument for some sort of indigenous Hawaiian soveriegnity on specified lands in the style of Indian Reservations but you can hardly argue that it is correct to strip American citizenship from the entire state because what happened to the forefathers of a small minority who live there. I dont really see what Hawaii would gain from independence except a loss of tax revenue and tourism and it seems very unlikely that most people there would be in favor of it.

  44. Many people seem to let this go over their heads and maintain frivolous arguments why Hawaii should keep the US as its lord and master.

    Hawaii was known as a progressive, modern nation. While the USA, a WASP racist society, still had slavery in their country; ours had it outlawed at the onset. Any slave entering the Kingdom’s territory was automatically free and considered a human being and not a possession or piece of property.

    What is at issue here is the US relations with another nation equal in status. As usual, the USA bends or reneges on the international rules to suit its whims. The world now views the USA as a government believing they are above the law.

    Many US Americans exude false pride in their country, believing that they can do no wrong. This arrogance has been detrimental in the way they exercise justice and freedom and their perception of it. Living in a bubble prevents one to see the whole picture.

    As much as you profess to love your country, you must concede others love theirs with as much passion also. For you to voice disparaging remarks about my country and its people; demonstrate your disdain, indifference, and apathy. Shame on you.

    I’m sure if the table was turned; you scream the loudest, using the venom you now possess. We say, waha nui – all mouth. You demonstrate no confidence of your worth. Realistically, no one needs to agree with your belief that the US is the alpha and omega in this world.

    Your pro-imperialism and ideals of manifest destiny is archaic at best. We do not rely on it for our survival nor do we believe in it as you do.

    We just want your country, who stole ours in your name, to return it to the rightful owners and that is to the Hawaii Nationals. Like all criminals, there is a price to pay. The shame and dishonor is on your country which needs to do the right thing for a change.

    Historically, we never hated the US American people; many are wonderful people. We hated the political snollygosters who did shameful things in your name and represented your country.

    You wouldn’t be losing anything; but you would be gaining a friend.

  45. snollygoster

    teehee, you people talk funny

  46. Wow, two seperatists on Reason. Or one with two names. But probably two, yeah, let’s go with two.

    I don’t think the issue is the evils the US perpetrated in the past, but what all Hawaiins desire, not just those that think 1/32 pure Hawaiin blood entitles them to some sort of past evil correcting power, but all who live and pay taxes in Hawaii. Sure, if a poll shows that more than half of Hawaiins desire independence, it should go, but somehow I get the feeling this is a minority movement from those who can’t let go of the past. I for one don’t think highly about what the US has done, but I’m also not an advocate of correcting misdeeds against the will of the majority. Sure we probably should give back most of north America to the indians we slaughtered many years ago, but we’d be endangering the economic livelihood of people living there that slaughtered no indians. We’d be giving undue power to a minority out of guilt. I endeavor to prevent the mistakes of our past from repeating, but not hurting alot of people to help a few.

  47. the US actually NEEDS most of those bases in order to project force into the Pacific.

    What would happen if the US could no longer project force into the Pacific?

  48. Since Hawaii gets back $2 for every $1 it sends to Washington, I think Hawaiian independence would be great for the rest of the country.

    Maybe. Depends on how much rent Hawaii decides to charge the US for the military base after Hawaii becomes secure in its independence. Hopefully a good and iron-clad lease can be negotiated as a condition of letting the state go.

  49. i’m glad you are open to at least considering the possibility. then one can seek to understand the history and why this sentiment exists so strongly among Hawaiian nationals, and debate the future implications with an open mind, and the possibilities that it might enable.

    If you want to learn more and explore the history and legal implications from an academic perspective, I recommend checking out the Hawaiian Journal of Law and Politics published at UH.

  50. Fine, as long as they give back the interstate highways.

  51. Can Texas leave next? And expel our foreign occupier in Crawford?

    I bet you’d get some support for that down in Texas, and get rid of Cindy Sheehan? Hell yeah!

    I hate to break it to the glum patriots but it is EXACTLY the same here in Californicate. On Admission Day, the schools and the DMV are closed. That’s it, dude.

    Damn. If I had known schools were closed for Admissions Days in the latecoming states around the country, I mighta gotten off my student-activist ass when I had the chance, and urged a Ratification Day here in New York.

    Beyond that, I’m having a hard time giving a rat’s ass. If someone would like to pass a bill to ensure my sovereignty, which seems more and more in jeopardy every day from the likes of joe and Rick Santorum, I’d much appreciate it.

  52. I had no idea Rick was married. Or gay.

  53. All you secessionist talking folks:

    Yes, it can happen, and may in the next 40 years, though I think it more likely beyond that.

    All that is needed is a peaceful example of a secession of breakup that the US population can relate to. The breakup of the USSR doesn’t count, and wasn’t that peaceful in any case, though it could have been hideously worse.

    I think Canada will provide that example. their has been a lot of grumbling up there for decades, and not just from the Quebecois. The western provinces are none to happy either.

    If/When Canada breaks up, look for a serious secessionist movement here to start immediately, and be successful in 20 years or less after that.

    Who will secede? I think at this point, good bets would be one or more of: The West Coast, Texas and possibly the southeast, ending up with at least 4-5 independent political jurisdictions.

    New England, (Northeast of NY), and New Netherland, (NY south to Del), are too intertwined and politically Dependant to break apart, though Vermonters are a bit of a wild card. The Midwest, plains and high desert areas are up for grabs.

    (Opinions are like lower bodily orifices. They should never be shared with anyone that does not request it. Pardon my rudeness)

  54. If past injustices are where it’s at, I want my great grandfather’s farm land back. The government stole it, waiting for the depression to come along so it would be worthless. They stole it and built a dam, flooding his home and destroying forever his land.

  55. Hawaii was known as a progressive, modern nation

    Umm, I don’t think so.

    But it is also good to remember that Hawaii became a united kingdom after the good king of the Big Island invaded, killed, slaughtered, raped, and beat into submission every native tribe on every island, thus imposing his culture and beliefs while wiping out all other Island cultures and then stole all of their land for the monarchy, which still owns a goodly chunk of it today.

  56. Sigh, all coups, revolutions, and overthrows of governments are illegal by definition. If Hawaii isn’t a state because of an illegal coup that occurred over a hundred years ago, then there isn’t a legal government on the face of the earth. Although, that may be the anarcho-kook position.

    Nice to see “libertarians” defending the idea of racial nationalism and race based citizenship.


  57. “All that is needed is a peaceful example of a secession of breakup that the US population can relate to. The breakup of the USSR doesn’t count, and wasn’t that peaceful in any case, though it could have been hideously worse.”

    How about Singapore from Malaysia? or Slovakia from Czechoslovakia? or Norway from Sweden? or Iceland from Denmark? Syria from the United Arab Republic?

  58. Grant, not everyone who posts here is libertarian and of those who are I doubt there are many who support any special race-base priveleges based upon any premise.

    The case for righting any social injustice is fraught with peril. First of all, where do you draw the line? How many injustices do you make right in your quest? How far back in history does one go?

    I don’t particularly care if Hawaii seceedes but I want to know who gets to choose? Just the decendants of the natives? All the state residents? All the voters? Congress? And what about the distinct minority who doesn’t want to secede? How are their rights protected?

    Aside from that, the mythical idyllic, pristine native culture of Hawaii is forever tainted, if you will. It will never be what modern day fringe seperatists insist that it once was. Nobody is going back to raising poi and spearing fish in tidepools. Not even if Hawaii becomes it’s own nation.

  59. So Grant, per this little dustup and some of the stuff I see on your blog, I guess my plans to move to Hawaii should be shelved for a while, eh?

    Hate to buy a place and have it nationalized and turned over to the natives after they achieve independence.

  60. Grant, you seem to be basically arguing that “might makes right” and I thought we believed in civilized government and the rule of law.

    One important point to recall is that the “overthrow” of Hawaii in 1893 was not a revolution at all, but an intervention by one country into the internal affairs of another country, an act which the United States admitted at the time as being illegal, even if done without authority of Congress. In a powerful statement of America’s anti-imperialist principles, which I highly encourage everyone to read to understand more about the historical background of this issue, President Cleveland said to Congress on Dec. 18, 1893:

    By an act of war, committed with the participation of a diplomatic representative of the United States and without authority of Congress, the Government of a feeble but friendly and confiding people has been overthrown. A substantial wrong has thus been done which a due regard for our national character as well as the rights of the injured people requires we should endeavor to repair. The provisional government has not assumed a republican or other constitutional form, but has remained a mere executive council or oligarchy, set up without the assent of the people. It has not sought to find a permanent basis of popular support and has given no evidence of an intention to do so. Indeed, the representatives of that government assert that the people of Hawaii are unfit for popular government and frankly avow that they can be best ruled by arbitrary or despotic power.

    The law of nations is founded upon reason and justice, and the rules of conduct governing individual relations between citizens or subjects of a civilized state are equally applicable as between enlightened nations. The considerations that international law is without a court for its enforcement, and that obedience to its commands practically depends upon good faith, instead of upon the mandate of a superior tribunal, only give additional sanction to the law itself and brand any deliberate infraction of it not merely as a wrong but as a disgrace. A man of true honor protects the unwritten word which binds his conscience more scrupulously, if possible, than he does the bond a breach of which subjects him to legal liabilities; and the United States in aiming to maintain itself as one of the most enlightened of nations would do its citizens gross injustice if it applied to its international relations any other than a high standard of honor and morality. On that ground the United States can not properly be put in the position of countenancing a wrong after its commission any more than in that of consenting to it in advance. On that ground it can not allow itself to refuse to redress an injury inflicted through an abuse of power by officers clothed with its authority and wearing its uniform; and on the same ground, if a feeble but friendly state is in danger of being robbed of its independence and its sovereignty by a misuse of the name and power of the United States, the United States can not fail to vindicate its honor and its sense of justice by an earnest effort to make all possible reparation.

    You also raise the straw man of “racial nationalism and race based citizenship” but this is not what independence is based on at all. The Akaka bill and independence are two completely separate issues. The Akaka bill is attempting to set up a domestic dependent nation based on indigenous ancestry (which isn’t actually race anyway), and Sen Akaka is right that it has nothing to do with independence. Meanwhile, the Hawaiian kingdom was a multi-racial country with naturalized citizens from all over the world, and all those born in Hawaii were automatically citizens, and every major proponent of independence today seeks to be consistent with this history. The only way independence will succeed is being inclusive. See, for example, Hawaiian Nationality: Who Comprises the Hawaiian Citizenry (PDF) and An Interdisciplinary Study of the Term “Hawaiian” (PDF). So if you want to argue against a “Native Hawaiian government” of a domestic dependent nation, you are arguing against the Akaka bill, but you cannot fairly and accurately argue against independence based on “racial nationalism and race based citizenshi.”

  61. darn, my links don’t work here, not sure why… here’s the links from the post above:

    Cleveland’s message to Congress:

    Hawaiian Nationality: Who Comprises the Hawaiian Citizenry (PDF)

    An Interdisciplinary Study of the Term “Hawaiian” (PDF)

  62. I’ve never been to Hawaii, but my father was there (while in the Navy) during and right after WWII. He recalls how frosty the locals were toward the servicemen and mainlanders in general; by comparison, he said, the deposed Japanese were respectful to the point of being downright deferential!

    I’ve spoken to other folks who tell me that the “f— you, give us your money,” attitude is prevalent in the Alhoa State. In fairness (and again, I have never been there) I suspect the natives feel like they got a raw deal. So maybe if you imagine Hawaii as one giant Indian casino with palm trees…

  63. Matt Welch,

    You implied that most Hawaii residents want independence. In reality, most Hawaii residents are too intimidated to make public statements criticizing the Akaka Bill and other forms of special treatment for Native Hawaiians. They fear being called “racist”,”anti-Hawaiian”, etc.

  64. Point taken Scott regarding the fact that the Hawaiian Monarchy was multiethnic, although the Crown remained in ethnic Hawaiian hands. Not that I consider Monarchy a legitimate form of government.

    But, if a future independant Hawaiian polity will be “inclusive” then I don’t see the point. Look at our state government, the most corrupt in the Union. Giving those gangsters the power to print money and grant monopolies to their cronies is too scary to think about. The only thing holding them within some bounds is fear of the Federal Pen. I’m assuming in the future Hawaii you envision all now living here will have rights as citizens and be able to vote, run for office, hold property, etc. Or if you mean that only those born in Hawaii would be citizens and the rest of us would have to be natualized, I don’t think that won’t change much on who the electorate sends to office.

    Independence would be an economic disaster for these Islands. Has anyone done a study of what would happen if Hawaii was no longer a part of the American economy? The basic reality is that Matson liners arrive in Honolulu full and leave empty. The overthrow had as much to do with the McKinley Tariff as with the Constitutional crisis. Frankly, I think there are only a handfull of states that could go it alone and Hawaii isn’t one of them, unless we start electing honest people to office who respect private property and are not completely hostile to business.

    I’m not saying might makes right. There have been many elections between the Overthrow, Statehood and today. Do you doubt the outcome of a referendum held to vote on “Statehood or Independence” where all residents of Hawaii could vote? Let’s have a Con-Con and hash out these issues. Notice supporters of Akaka don’t want a debate. And they won’t wait and hold a Con-Con to find out what the people think.

    On this perhaps we can agree, the Akaka Bill is a power grap by OHA and the Bishop Estates. As a liberal, I would like to see the land held by OHA privatized. Give ethnic Hawaiians their long promised Kuleanas as individuals held fee simple. The Alii will never do this. They want to keep the people on land they can never own as Makaainana.

    I’m not sure the Marines where responsible for the Overthrow. I don’t think the Household Troops had a prayer against the Honolulu Rifles. If the Marines stopped a battle from occurring, then they saved lives whose loss would not have altered the outcome. I think the Crown totally disarming over a period of several decades and depending on the foreign powers to protect the Monarchy was foolish. All governments must retain the ability to protect themselves from internal coups or they will not be long for this world. This is not saying “might makes right,” it is just the political reality.

  65. Grant, it is a long discussion to actually get into the pros and cons of independence, and I don’t assert that it would necessarily or automatically improve things. I do think there are a range of economic benefits that could come from independence. At this point, though, I just seek to establish that there is at least a reasonable basis for a legal argument for it being possible, and I think that as we look toward constructive solutions for the future of the islands, we are well served if we have the full range of options to consider, rather than only being limited within federal law, and at least be willing to openly debate what independence might look like.

    I think you are on pretty shaky ground arguing that a democratic constitutional monarchy is not a legitimate form of government! Tell that to the UK and all its commonwealth countries, Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Japan, Belgium, Thailand and the 40 or so other constitutional monarchies in the world today.

    Secretary of State Gresham and President Cleveland were quite clear at the time, based on the exhaustive investigation by Blount, that the efforts of the traitors would have failed due to lack of popular support and insufficient arms, that the provisional government owed its existence to the presence of U.S. troops, and that the PG was no more than an oligarchy or executive council. Please read the excerpts I have posted at this page, and preferably the entire statements that they are taken from:


    I don’t think we can define absolutely at this point who would be a citizen and who would have to apply for naturalization, but unlike what the U.S. tried to do to Hawaii nationals, we couldn’t just impose Hawaiian citizenship on Americans living in Hawaii. But I think that a very large portion of the population would probably want to apply for naturalization if Hawaii was independent and they were able to. My point is just that it will not be limited to Native Hawaiians, and citizenry would probably end up largely reflecting the current population overall.

    I don’t really know what the vote would be if held today, statehood vs. independence, but first that question isn’t entirely relevant because from a legal perspective, if the Hawaiian kingdom has had a continuous existence under prolonged occupation, that is a fact of law that we have to deal with, and not a matter of popular opinion. Second, those who transmigrate during an occupation don’t necessarily have a right to stop the nationals who are occupied from pursuing the effort to regain the effectiveness of their government. Third, there are many causes that were once in the minority that eventually win popular support, and being in the minority does not necessarily reflect whether something is right or just or good. I will continue to push for at least having an open debate about independence, which is happening now more than ever, and I believe that over time and with real information and honest discussion the support will only continue to grow.

    There are those on the independence side, who oppose the Akaka bill, who are proposing a con-con, including Bumpy Kanahele.

    Finally, folks might be interested in seeing this article at the Maui News about the Statehood “celebration” event here yesterday, where the Hawaiian flag flew upside down and more people sang the Hawaiian national anthem than the American one. Not exactly what Malia Z was hoping for, I doubt.


  66. oh, and just because the queen or kind of england will always be white doesn’t mean england is a racist country or not multiethnic! same with all the other constitutional monarchies.

    And after all, Crown Princess Ka’iulani was hapa.

    also, please note that I’m not necessarily advocating that Hawaii be a monarchy in the future. I think there might be a limited role for a monarch in a way similar to other constitutional monarchies today, representing the national identity of the country, heading up diplomatic protocol, being a patron of the culture and arts of the country. But I would not support a monarch having any real significant authority.

    The main point, though, is that it is up to the Hawaiian citizenry to decide what form of government they want, which could be a constitutional monarchy, a republic, or whatever.

    And that, the monarch being an aboriginal Hawaiian doesn’t change the multi-racial nature of the citizenry.

  67. Regarding the inevitability of the breakup of the US, I have to disagree.

    In the end only a handful of states (California and New York) could make it on their own, and I don’t see in these places the strong attachment to regionalism that is present among the Quebecois. Can you really see these people shouting “Proud to be Cascadian”, “Born in the California-Nevada Commonwealth” or “NY, NY, NY”. Frankly, its telling that the South, the only region to actually separate from the US, is now home to some of the most extreme pro-US jingoism.

    And let’s not forget, size matters. It allows you to assume a greater global profile than would normally be your due. The EU would not have been formed if the former were not true. Canada would be just another quaint relic of the British empire if it were not for its vast resources. And it’s also the only reason Russia is still relevent and not some post-Soviet backwater like Belarus or Ukraine.

    One note about Quebec separation. Most Quebec separatists are actually sovereigntists. Less than half actually favour complete independence. Most would like greater autonomy from the federal government. As for western separation, this has more to do with cultural disagreements over issues such as gay marriage and policy decisions by the federal government favouring Ontario and Quebec. Sort of the reverse of Blue staters separating from the US. And equally as likely.

  68. Scott, regarding the British Crown, if the Anglos became a minority maybe it will be time for us Celts to take over. Just Kidding. πŸ™‚

  69. The Royals in the countries you cite serve no purpose except to sponge off the productive and serve as an emotional crutch. Why else support them if they perform no political purpose? Because the people in those nations need a flesh and blood representative of the Collective.

    When you cite Bumpy and some of the others, it doesn’t inspire confidence that this independent Hawaiian government, which has existed as a legal fiction for a hundred years you say, is going to afford more liberty to all of Hawaii’s people than what we presently have.

    Seriously, to make your case you have to do better than some legal Hegelianism about non-existent, but legal, governments. You need to have a detailed, concrete plan on what, exactly, will be replacing the current democracy. Especially when many of us think that this democracy, warts and all, is the best that can be achieved by fallible humans.

  70. Interesting comments; mostly spoken from within the US box of assimilation. The “what ifs” seem irrelevant at this moment as if one is looking for guarantees for changes. All these concerns as to the complexion of the Hawaii Nation would be inconsequential to outsiders since it’s an internal decision.

    Remember the US is responsible for its actions and because of the belligerent occupation, the US is subject to the international laws prescribed for its own protection and that of the occupied. If the US disregards the guidelines; than it becomes liable and the rammifications would be affecting all. The US citizens unknowingly were permitted to violate these rules through their government’s fraud and deceit, while the governemnt’s action in the name of its citizens makes it liable to its citizens as well. If those who choose not to give up their citizenship and must relocate, then the US government is liable to compensate its citizens for its illicit acts, not Hawaii.

    Most that object to Hawaii’s restoration of its independence feel that the US WASP society they come from is more acceptable than the non-WASP society. This ethnocentrism of the US WASP society upon others is the continuous dogma of manifest destiny. You all use arguments using that form of mentality. It seems like a US Americanized point of view.

    Some of the comments I’ve listened to shows that many really do not know much of Hawaiian history except for the revised one expressed in your books written by US Americans. It would be too lengthy to rebuff all the misinformation you were led to believe. Like Scott says, don’t confuse the (US) Akaka-Stevens Bill with the Hawaiian independence issues.

    Mr. Jones, don’t kid yourself about the US involvement in the takeover. Congressman, Wm. Springer, acknowledged that the “overthrow” could not last for more than an hour without the intervention of the US military. There are documented facts that support the US complicity in the invasion of Hawaii and the reasons for it.

    It is wise to know that under the Kingdom, the rights of tenants were protected by law and there was no one that was homeless. Today, under the US rule, we have many of our citizens homeless and many arrested for having no place to go. You’ll find it interesting that today and for decades, US States on the mainland send their derelicts and homeless to Hawaii and we can’t send them back.

    The US military have been dumping toxic wastes and hazardous materials on our islands. They have also used DU which has affected our community whereby many now suffer from leukemia and cancer, which is in the rise. Of the US Army’s land use, 70% are the “ceded” lands they received for a dollar a year; displacing many people who had use of the land.

    We have no say in the land use nor control of our island assets. This is to name just a few of the derelict practices spawned by your country.

    Many of you speak as if you have ownership of our territory and we should kowtow to your whims that suit you. Your concern is appreciated but unnecessary. We had a viable government and it’s constitution and laws are still applicable.
    It doesn’t take much to update and ratify. It’s not like we are creating something novel and unfamiliar to us.

    To Mr. Walsh, You are right to an extent. The attitude of the islanders were a reflection and reaction to their treatment by the US military and US Americans since the US-belligerent occupation. The resentment increased with the Massey Case and it’s US version of justice. Of course, most of the Military were not what you would call cream of the crop of the US or matured people. They came from small little towns, the poor districts, and racists backgrounds. For the most part they were very disrespectful to the community they were based in. They weren’t meant to be US ambassadors. I suppose military towns have experienced some of the treatment I expressed.

    Most reactionaries came from foreign Asian countries with their hang ups about US Americans and you generally passed them off as being Hawaiians. Bottomline is to show respect to one another. Our house is always open to strangers and you would be most welcomed; unfortunately, most that live here are groomed as US Americans.

    Making us a USA dependency is nothing new, it was orchestrated that way. It doesn’t mean we are incapable of surviving. The choice is for the Hawaii Nationals and no one else’s.

    Yes, we are looking for justice and freedom through the deoccupation of the US. We love our country just as much as you love yours.

  71. which could be a constitutional monarchy, a republic, or whatever.

    I part with the democracy crowd when it votes away freedom, which would be, for example, something like a return to monarchy. Voters do NOT have the right enslave anyone whether in actual leg irons or in the way many libertarians insist modern governments do. And if the voters of Hawaii decided they wanted a Nazi Republic I would have near total agreement with my premise from everyone here.

    Thanks for the link Scott.

  72. For me, I love America, and I love Hawaii, said Sidney Piosalan, a veteran of the first Gulf War, who served as master of ceremonies and unexpectedly found himself on the verge of breaking down. ?My family comes from here. But when I was on a (military) ship, I felt hurt because my ship shot at Kahoolawe.

    Kahoolawe is a Martian desert in the rain shadow of Maui. It once was dryland forest that was clear cut and rendered uninhabitable by native Hawaiians eons ago. It was a bombing range until George Bush the elder knocked it off.

    But I can empathize, it hurts every time I think about the Navy bombing San Clemente Island, which is still a target range. I was born here and I am a native Californian and this is just one more way in which the hordes of outsiders have destroyed forever the idyllic range land and expansive citrus groves that made this open land of mild winters and clear summers the paradise it was.

    Welcome to California, Now Go Home!

    All 20 million of you bastards. πŸ™‚

    Call some place paradise…..

  73. tane said

    “You’ll find it interesting that today and for decades, US States on the mainland send their derelicts and homeless to Hawaii and we can’t send them back.”

    yeah because that statement is based in reality

    leave by all means if there is popular support…it is a states right to do so (err well at least it was)

  74. Wine, a country can be a monarchy and a democracy at the same time. Hello, England, Spain? In the 1800s, Hawaii was a democratic constitutional monarchy. A return to some form of democratic constitutional monarchy would not be voting away freedom. Of course I would not support a form of government that was authoritarian, but I would be open to a democratic constitutional monarchy where the role of the monarch was similar to a number of other constitutional monarchies in existence today, and I think that it could play an important role in promoting the identity and culture of the Hawaiian nation, at home and abroad.

    Grant, how ’bout a Pict? Being part Scottish and Irish by heritage, maybe that’s where some of my independent streak comes from that identifies with the Hawaiian cause πŸ™‚ (William Wallace’s mother was a Crawford)

    We’ll work on the detailed plan. Meanwhile, if we can at least think about it and talk about it openly, and gain exposure for the issue, that is good.

    But for me, aside from the historical justice of it, one point that it comes down to is that I think that Hawaii could be better of with ultimate sovereignty being exercised by the people of the islands, and not by a government an ocean and a continent away that imposed itself on the islands primarily for military strategic reasons, and that sees the islands today primarily as a military base and vacation getaway. I think Hawaii could be better off with the people of Hawaii having final say over their own affairs.

  75. Scott, the people of Hawaii have as much say over their own affairs as the people of Californicate or Utah do. To cast the shroud of victimhood with the implication that Hawaiians have less say so than mainlanders do about their own affairs is disingenuous and counter productive.

    The former editor of this fine magazine recognized the inherent problem with this kind of thinking in the question of slave reparations.

    The best argument against reparations is not that America is innocent. It is not. The best argument against reparations is that the past is past. The dead, innocent and guilty, are dead. Payments today will offer neither solace to the victims nor punishment to the perpetrators. Reparations will only offer excuses and victimhood, to living Americans of all races.

    The principle is equally applicable to the decendants of the indigenous peoples of the Hawaiian Islands who perceive themselves as victims of an arrogant US. Dude, it’s a long frikkin’ line, and all the perps and their victims are dead.

    On another note, I should have been clearer with respect to the monarchy, although IMO the monarchy of Britain or any other country should be entirely abolished or at least cut free from the public teat.

  76. Scott, the historical justice is simple, the Hawaiian Monarchy is every bit as illegitmate as the US annexation, why would it be moral and just to return to such an arrangement?

  77. WTF? It’s their FOURTY-SIXTH anniversary of becoming a state. Who the fuck celebrates the number 46 anyway?

    What is Alaska doing to celebrate its 46th? While we’re at it, why don’t we rag on Delaware for not celebrating its 229th anniversary this year??

    This is stupid.

  78. Larry A says, “Tell ’em they can only leave if they’ll take California.”

    We in California can only hope.

    If the Bear Republic secedes, it’ll take all the billions of dollars it now pumps into the Federal budget without getting value in return. I’ll bet you didn’t know that the Federal government is listed as owning almost 50% of ALL California acreage. That’ll go, too. Uncle Sam and the other 49 are too greedy to let California go. Uncle Sam says to California, “You can check out any time, but you can never leave.”

  79. I agree with Larry A. They can only leave if they take and assume responsibility for California.

  80. One clear difference is that Hawaii is geographically completely separate from the United States, 2500 miles from the “mainland.” There are no borders to dispute (except perhaps a few outlying islands) and there is international waters in between. Historically, Hawaii also was a fully recognized independent country. And it has a unique culture and history. Yes, all the states have a unique culture, but I think anyone who spends a while in Hawaii will tell you there are cultural differences here that are significantly more pronounced than those between most other states.

    People actually think of Hawaii as a separate country already. Numerous times through the years, especially when travelling back and forth to America, I have heard questions like “Do I need a Visa?” and “Do they speak English there?” and “Do they use American money?” I used to hear this stuff even back in the 80s before I was aware of the history and knew anything about independence. I just thought they were ignorant. And yes, they were, but there’s a reason why people have those kinds of questions. How many people ask those kinds of questions when travelling to CA? Seriously, people already think of Hawaii as a separate country. It is not a big stretch.

    But actually all comparisons are beside the point. I am not saying Hawaii has less say over its affairs than anywhere else, and whether or not someone thinks CA or any other state would be better off with full sovereignty is irrelevant to the fact that I think Hawaii could be better off. And I think we should at least openly discuss the possibility.

  81. Well, Scott when/if Scotland becomes independent we can get together there. I’ll be going back to claim my share of the McAlpin clan’s ruling hegemony. Just Kidding, I can’t be pried off the Big Island. πŸ™‚

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