My wife and I recently returned from a cruise between the different islands of Hawaii. It was a great experience for us aside from getting a little motion sick. We saw some new things, learned about the cultural heritage of Hawaii, did some things we had never done before and generally enjoyed ourselves.
While we were snorkeling one day, our guide talked to us about the Yellow Tang. The Yellow Tang is a fish, not a breakfast drink. As you might guess it is yellow in color. We were told that the reason Hawaii is called the gold coast is because there were, at one time, so many Yellow Tang in the waters around Hawaii that planes flying overhead could see the yellow color of hundreds of thousands, probably millions, of Yellow Tang in the water- from the air. Yellow Tang were everywhere in great schools of fish.
We saw Yellow Tang when we snorkeled, but were told that the number of Yellow Tang were greatly reduced in number. Where there used to be schools of yellow tang, now we saw four or five at a time. Because millions of Yellow Tang have been collected to be sold to those who wanted the fish for their salt water aquariums, the number of Yellow Tang are greatly reduced. We were also informed that the life expectancy of a Yellow Tang in captivity was about one year while it typically lives 40 plus years in it’s natural habitat.
Those who want to collect and sell Yellow Tang have to get a permit to do so, but we were told there is no limit on how many Yellow Tang they can take if they have that permit. That seemed wrong to me. It still does.
In any society, it is necessary to have laws. Those laws are meant to protect us and our world. We have laws to restrict the taking of big and small game animals in the United States. We have laws that limit how many trees can be taken from the forest. We have zoning laws that restrict where businesses can locate. We have laws that demand a certain level of competency from a Doctor, a Lawyer, an Accountant, or a Beautician. From a guy who thinks our biggest problem is too many unnecessary laws, I have to admit that law is good and it is necessary in moderation.
Some people would argue that those types of laws are unnecessary. I disagree. We need laws to prevent people and businesses from acting only in their own self interest with no regard for the impact they might have on forests, on wild life, or on the rest of the citizenry. Some laws are necessary for our society to function properly. We can not function in an environment of anarchy. No law is worse than too much law. The question is not whether law needs to exist, the question is how many laws are needed and what entity should have the authority to make and enforce the law.
Before about 1930 most of the power and authority to make law regarding the environment rested with the states. The Tenth Amendment was being respected at that time. The Tenth Amendment is the amendment that reserves to the states and the people all rights and authorities that are not enumerated in the Constitution as being a federal right or authority.
After 1934, under the Franklin D Roosevelt administration and continuing to today, the Federal Government has assumed virtually all control to regulate at every level. Whether federal regulation had to do with Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Businesses, Elk, Moose, Rabbits or Yellow Tang, the Federal Government has been the maker and enforcer of most of the regulations.
Are many of those laws necessary? Sure they are. Has the federal government gone too far in some cases? They have. How easy is it to fix a federal regulation that is poorly written and poorly administered? It is very difficult to change federal law. Why should we go back to state control rather than federal control of regulations? Because the states are more attuned to the issues and state law is much more responsive to people and community concerns than is federal law. We should always keep our government at the lowest level possible.
If a family can and should handle a family problem, no higher level of government should interfere. If the family can not handle the problem but the city can, the law and authority should remain with the city. If the city can’t handle the problem, but the state can, the law and authority should remain at the state level. It is only when families, cities and states can not deal with issues that the federal government should involve itself.
The federal government should only handle the big stuff. They are constitutionally in charge of defense. They are constitutionally mandated to coin money. They are in charge of treaties with other nations. They are in charge of regulations of commerce with other nations. Section 7 of the Constitution lists the 18 enumerated powers that are granted to Congress-the law making branch of government. Section 7 says nothing about education or welfare or licencing of forests or Yellow Tang. States should, constitutionally, be in charge of all of those issues that are not enumerated by the Constitution.
Yes we need regulations. However, states will do a much better job of handling those problems than the federal government ever will. The federal bureaucracy has gotten too big and too clumsy and too overbearing and way too expensive. Many of our debt problems would be quickly solved if we allowed the states to have the power promised to them by the 10th amendment. The solution to most of our problems that we are facing today lies in abiding by the Constitution of the United States. Limited government, appropriate government is the answer.
Are we willing to go back there? We better be willing because the liberal/progressive path we are on is destroying our nation from the inside out. It should be obvious to anyone with a brain that the path we are on leads to destruction.
As far as the Yellow Tang are concerned, the federal law has not protected them like they need to be protected. Most of the time it seems that federal law is too restrictive. In this case, however, the opposite seems to be the case. If the state of Hawaii were given back the control over the Yellow Tang, I am confident the Yellow Tang population would begin to climb back to normal Yellow Tang levels.
The Tenth Amendment, in my opinion, is the most often violated section of the Constitution. Ignoring the Tenth Amendment has hurt our nation a great deal. It is past time to respect the rule of law again in our nation. The Constitution is the law of the land.