Authorizing segregation by heredity

NRO has the story Aloha Segregation:

A bill expected to pass the House today with overwhelming Democratic support would accomplish something peculiar for a liberal republic in the 21st century: It would partly disenfranchise a portion of one state’s residents, create a parallel government for those meeting a legislated criterion of ethnic purity, and would portend the transfer of public assets, land, and political power from those who fail to satisfy the standard of ethnic purity to those who do. For these reasons and many more, the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act richly deserves opposition.

It appears that the idea stems, in part, from the tribal reservations that are allowed to exist in the United States. The distinction is that those tribal reservations are the result of negotiations with defined political entities whereas the Hawaiian proposal is strictly ethnic.

Even if there had been a kind of collective ethnic sovereignty exercised by native Hawaiians, that sovereignty has long been extinguished: Sovereignty is a political fact, not a racial fact. The United States cannot enter into a relationship with the Hawaiian sovereign because no such sovereign exists. And it would take an odd and overgenerous reading of the Interstate Commerce Clause to imagine that Congress has the power to create a sovereign foreign nation through a legislative act.

The accommodations of the United States to its conquered peoples is one of the interesting contrasts the to allegations of imperialism. The real question is that of cultural incorporation. This has often happened in conquered lands by the need of the conquered peoples to survive – think of the French influence in England for an example. In the modern culture of the United States, it appears that this lesson of history is being set aside and the focus is on rendering cultures asunder rather than building them together.

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