September 27, 2020

Taking Away Government Overreach, Then Giving it Back

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It makes little sense, to me anyway. A friend of mine I have often heard state, that many people don’t understand that they are supporting people and agendas that oppose the things they think they are fighting for. I’m not sure that there is a technical term placed on this sort of behavior, but I might call it blind ignorance. It has been said many times over that you can’t do much about stupidity but ignorance can be cured. I believe you can do something about ignorance but you have to remove the blinders and find a willing participant.

An example of this sort of misunderstand reasoning I found today when I read an article in the Morning Sentinel, a small newspaper of central Maine. The article was written by George Smith, a writer and political activist. He was once the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.

Smith has for a long time been an advocate for teaming up with environmentalists, yes, those groups that want to put an end to hunting, trapping and fishing, and finding ways of funding the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW). His belief is that it should come from general taxation and or other forms of taxation besides the tax revenue collected now from license fees, etc., along with excise tax reimbursements from Pittman-Robertson and Dingell Johnson monies reallocated back to the states from the Federal Government.

The MDIFW always pleads poverty and Smith has been a shill for the department’s pleas.

In his article, Smith states that:

In the December 1954 Sportsmen’s Guide, Commissioner Roland Cobb outlined the desperate financial situation of his Department of Fisheries and Game.

Whoa is me! Smith says for 59 years the MDIFW has been broke. One could reasonably ask if that were true, how did it manage to survive for 59 years? I have heard the argument that because there is “never enough money” it is the reason for everything bad, at least that which is perceived as bad by some, that is found associated with fish and wildlife in Maine. Smith goes to task to name some of those. You can follow the link and read about them.

But is lack of money really the problem, at least as it is described by Smith?

But what I really want to draw readers attention to is the statement the author makes about this funding issue which reveals the lack of understanding that exists in supporting agencies and agendas that are not your friend.

In 1992, Maine voters endorsed a constitutional amendment that placed this department in our Constitution and protected its revenue — essentially stopping the Legislature and governor from stealing its money. I managed that referendum campaign. Almost a half-million voters (74 percent) endorsed the amendment, a stunning statement of support for this agency. (emboldening added)

For some reason Smith believes this act, a good one that keeps the governor and legislature from stealing sportsman’s money, was a go ahead to have general taxation pay for fish and wildlife. If it is so important to keep these people’s hands out of fish and wildlife money, why then do we want to turn around and give back to them the power to take over how the department is run? For surely once general tax dollars are funneled into the fish and wildlife department coffers, so too will the environmentalists and animal rights groups be demanding seats at the table to dictate how things are run. Trust me when I say these groups and individuals have a history of destroying fishing, hunting and trapping opportunities and heritage.

The problem isn’t necessarily that MDIFW is underfunded. Smith pines for the good ole days when Maine, he says, made all the lists of favorite places to hunt and fish. So what’s changed? The biggest thing that has changed during that time is that the fish and game department became a fisheries and wildlife department spending more time and effort on non game programs, much due to the pressures from environmentalist and animal rights groups. When you take the funds away from game management, what do you think will happen to game management?

And so Smith’s suggestion is to throw more money, including money from other taxable programs, at MDIFW and hope it sticks and returns things to the days he perceived as being good. Isn’t taking money from the arm of government you worked hard at protecting yourself from kind of like defeating the purpose?

Instead of finding ways to fund all the non game programs and putting control of fish and game in the hands of those whose bent is to end consumptive game management, why not give the environmentalists the non game programs and tell them to go find their own funding?

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