Banning government bans

Radio host and “Midweek” columnist Rick Hamada got it right: “…if your freedom infringes on my freedom, then freedom ceases to exist.”

In 2010, Honolulu banned consumer fireworks (including relatively harmless sparklers and paperless firecrackers), shark fin soup, and gas-powered leaf blowers (electric leaf blowers are okay, but only between 7 am and 7 pm); Maui and Kauai banned plastic bags (Hawaii, Honolulu, and the Big Island attempted it). In 2009, Honolulu and the Big Island banned driving while talking on a cell phone or texting; Hawaii attempted to ban pocket knives; Honolulu attempted to ban pit bulls and even the Wienermobile (citing the 1927 billboard ban). In 2008, Maui and the Big Island banned plastic bags; and Hawaii banned the genetic modification of taro for five years. In 2006, Hawaii banned smoking in public places such as restaurants and malls. Since 2001, carry-on water bottles, baby formula bottles, pocket knives, and even snow globes have been banned in airplanes. In 2000, Hawaii banned shark finning.

Across the country, states believe they know better than we do and are trying to take control of our lives – by banning Happy Meal toys, trans-fat, soda, snacks, books… Is this the path to the world of “Demolition Man”?

Is it just me, or are state and federal governments banning more and more things from our lives? They seem to think we can’t be trusted. But do you trust government more than yourself?

I have an idea: Let’s ban government bans. Most products and behaviors can be regulated, not banned outright. Government should not have that much power.

We need to take responsibility for our lives. What do you think?

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3 Comments on “Banning government bans”


  1. January 2011 update: Look out! The Hawaii Legislature is now trying to ban aerial luminaries and sky lanterns (SB171 and HB1222), aquarium fish harvesting (SB151), aspartame (SB827 and HB999), leaf blowers (HB95), opihi harvesting (SB1402), and plastic bags (HB1601). Did I miss anything?


  2. February 2011 update: More bans are being considered! The Hawaii Legislature wants to ban loudspeakers and amplified subwoofers in cars (SB1368 and HB1178) and riding unrestrained in the back of pickup trucks (SB59, HB15, and HB419) – something I support if it applies only to minors.


  3. Huh – some lawmakers even want to stop children from buying TOY guns (SB749 and HB432)! Thanks to Senator Sam Slom for pointing out this childishness.


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