Rooted in Reason: Nurturing the Seeds of Liberty


Of “special interests” and slippery slopes by grassroothawaii
April 20, 2010, 8:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

By Dick Rowland

In the Honolulu Advertiser 4/20/10 was a revealing opinion piece by Representative Marcus Oshiro “Budget bill dilemmas force hard decisions” His thoughts keep returning to “special interests” which he is against. He says many of those “special interests” benefit from “tax exemptions and tax credits”. I say how in the world did that happen? In fact, these terrible “special interests” were given the goodies by earlier votes of the legislature. Why? How?

But wait; who is it that defines “special interests”? Mr Oshiro never reveals that. Nor does he say who they are. But wait again. Isn’t Mr Oshiro himself a “special interest”? Doesn’t he have a special interest in being reelected and in the pay raise he and his fellow representatives just got? Oh my, now I realize that “ special interest” is actually chosen, willy- nilly, by Mr Oshiro and his cohorts. Do they have a “special interest” in any of the special interests?

My goodness, this line of thinking is getting deep and disturbing. Maybe we should go back to first principles. First, every one of us as human beings has special interests and we are particularly interested in our own well being. Accordingly, our ancestors formed government to serve them. In doing so, they had no intention or ability to give government any power or authority that they did not inherently possess— think “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.

Certainly, they had no intention that government would, in dealing with the worthy non-criminal citizenry, give some individuals or groups of them special benefits, privileges or rights and force the others to pay for such. Please note that every right creates an obligation. Otherwise the right is meaningless.

So in his essay, Mr Oshiro laments that he and his fellow legislators have to deal with some “special interests” which he and his colleagues created. But each of us being a special interest, could we say accurately that he is against the very people he asks to re- elect him? It seems to me that he and his fellow legislators have painted themselves into a corner. Or, to put it another way, he and we are on a slippery slope which is oiled and greased by the special interests of a vast majority of elected officials.

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