CELDF

Taking back our rights to fish

Posted by Carmine Gorga on October 10th, 2010

My father was not well-schooled, but he was well educated.

One of the pearls of wisdom he inculcated into me from an early age was Giuseppe Mazzini’s injunction, “Diritti e Doveri” — “Rights and Responsibilities,” or, more extensively, no “Rights without Responsibilities.”

That is the chain that ensures an orderly society; rights have to be rooted in responsibilities.

The chain is important for many reasons: responsibilities make for not too extensive a right; responsibilities link the right to each human being; responsibilities make sure that the right is morally appropriate — it has been earned.

This chain is especially important because it allows us to pass secure judgments on the organization of many a societal institution, from family relationships to the governmental connections.

Governments love regulations. And rules and regulations there must be in order to achieve an orderly society. Governments love to tell us “This is the law; you must obey it.”

It is at this juncture that people steeped in tradition say, “Not so fast. Let us examine first the roots of existing regulations.” And there the entire construction often falls apart.

Most stresses and strains in a modern society find their roots in this simple fact: Existing rules and regulations have not been built on responsibilities but on privilege.

I have personally investigated the case of federal fisheries regulations and shown that the record is clear: neither economists, nor environmentalists, nor government bureaucrats have any right to impose the regulations they have been imposing upon the fishermen during the last 20 or more years. Indeed, those rules and regulations have been depriving the fishermen of their rights to fish, their right of access to the common wealth of our natural resources and appropriate it on the basis of their labor.

Of course, fishermen have to be — and indeed have been — responsible for the stewardship of natural resources. Every time they have been shown better, more ecologically friendly technology, they have adopted it, often at great expense. Indeed, most often, it is they who have had the bright ideas on how to improve upon existing technology.

The dictatorial rules and regulations imposed upon the fishermen by our federal government must be stopped and must be stopped now! Please study the issues and apply as much political pressure as you can, on a daily basis, on our elected representatives to right such unholy set of wrongs as that suffered by the fishermen these days.

We are losing jobs every day; infrastructure is deteriorating; and we are importing more than 80 percent of our seafood needs from unsafe foreign sources — at great damage to our balance of payments. We ought to be exporting seafood instead, as it has traditionally been.

The case of the family fishing fleet is not an isolated case. If you investigate the case of the family farm or the case of the independent retailer, and even the case of the local banker, you find the same story.

Indeed, if you look at the case of such an essential natural resource as our water, you find that we are on the brink of the same slippery slope. Government rules and regulations are threatening municipal ownership and local control of our drinking water.

Water is more valuable than fish or even oil. As our friend, David Lincoln, the author of “Deep Horizons Exposed,” says, “If you like what the English did to our oil, wait until you see what the French want to do with our water.”

There is still hope to preserve our rights; there is still hope we can use our wits to fight unjust regulations. The details have been analyzed by a group of people gathered around the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) led by Tom Linzey, an attorney. They explain those gory details in a one- or two-day seminar format that goes over the judicial and constitutional history of our country.

The seminar is called The Daniel Pennock Democracy School. We are privileged. We have already had a few such seminars in Gloucester. One is just being formed and others will undoubtedly take form in the future.

Come and see for yourselves. Do not take the word of past participants like me. Above all, stop being frustrated and paralyzed by existing regulations. Learn how you can take your rights back.

Yes, stop believing that it is other people’s rights, the rights of fishermen and farmers and independent retailers and local bankers that are being infringed. It is your rights that are being infringed.

You might not clearly see your rights to full employment, safe seafood consumption, and economic independence as being infringed. But they are.

More importantly, if you do not, you will certainly see your future rights being smothered by the spiderweb of rules and regulations enveloping your business — and your life — one day soon.

Carmine Gorga is president of Polis-tics Inc. In addition to many publications in economic theory and policy, he is the author of “To My Polis, With Love: May Gloucester Show the World the Ways of Frugality.”

 

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