Hawaii agency withdraws support for TMT

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Maybe it is time to get out: The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), which had approved the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in 2009, has formally withdrawn its support.

I think the testimony to OHA by the opponents of the telescope says it all:

Thursday’s vote followed a day of emotional testimony at OHA’s offices in Honolulu.

“We have compromised and negotiated 13 times already, and enough is enough,” said testifier Mehana Kihoi. She said scientists did not understand the significance of the mountain to Hawaiian people. “These are people with no sacred place, no connection, no culture,” she said. Kihoi had spent more than 28 days occupying the mountain with other protesters and choked back tears as she described the spiritual experience of being there. “When you place your hands and your bare feet into the soil, you feel that warmth, you feel her heart. At 3 a.m., when … you feel her breath come down and sit on your bones, you know that she is alive.” She called on trustees to oppose the project: “Money comes and goes; our aina [land] is forever.”

Longtime Native Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte said stopping the TMT was no longer enough and that Hawaiians needed to take a stronger stand on the mismanagement of the mountain summit. “They’ve misused it to the point that they need to get all of those telescopes off Mauna Kea,” he said. “It’s a matter of principle.” [emphasis mine]

The comments of the first woman reveal an underlying bigotry and hatred of non-Hawaiians. The comments of the second person reveal a hostility to science and the advancement of knowledge that is most striking.

My instinct is to tell them to go to hell and to pull out all the telescopes, and financial support, to the islands. Maybe a tourist boycott should be started, since they obviously find non-Hawaiians and Western culture so offensive. We’d suddenly discover that these self-righteous claims are as shallow as I’ve described, bigoted and small-minded. Suddenly Hawaiians would be begging Westerners to return to the island.

My second and stronger instinct is to also tell them to go to hell, and to push through construction so that we do not bow to this kind of bigotry.

Unfortunately, our society no longer has the courage to do either. We will bow to these demands, and bigotry will win again.


  • Cotour

    Social justice (reparations) for the natives after their lands were appropriated by the U.S., or respect for religious beliefs?

    If its the beginning of a social justice movement then we are all going to have to go back to where we came from.

  • Andy Hill

    At first I thought this whole situation was a way of exhorting more money from the builders but after watching some of the testimony of the protestors I think there is genuine concern.

    The pictures of the building hardly appear to be sympathetic to blending in to its environment. I didn’t get any sense of bigotry, just people who felt that the people they were dealing with obviously come from a different background of science and technology rather than the spiritual one they do. Not being very spiritual myself I don’t understand that way of thinking, but everyone has a right to live as they wish and this project seems to be causing to many people to get upset.

    I agree that its time to move on, build the TMT somewhere else – its going to be quicker in the long run. Give somewhere else the investment dollars if these people don’t wont them.

  • Cotour

    There is definitely native resentment in Hawaii towards the white usurpers of native Hawaiian sovereignity, the main land Americans are called “Howlie’s” by the islanders.


    This I realize is where our president was “born” and where he grew up and it is reasonable to conclude that Hawaii is where the germ of his political philosophy was formed and where social justice has a strong following.

    Justifying this kind of logic will in time be the reason that our country will be disassembled at which point the Chinese will strategically just move in, claim victory and that will be that. No concept of social just for the Chinese. And then the native American Indians will be transferred the deed to “their” land and we will all have to leave or pay reparations.

    Power or “justice” ? What in time will prevail? In the socialists mind it is definitely “justice”, this is the foundation of the self hating person, its a self justified suicide pact.

  • LocalFluff

    Just abandon them! The solution is as simple as that.
    Give them what they want, let them organize their own society. And then after ten years when most of them have died from starvation, pest and childbirth, maybe they will renegotiate the terms for us who discover physics to make it possible for them to stay alive, using a mountain top to keep make that possible. Let them pay the price they beg for. Let evolution select away those who actively try to kill themselves and all of their relatives. Let their “culture” go all the way to its final logical consequences.

  • PeterF

    “This I realize is where our president was “born” and where he grew up and it is reasonable to conclude that Hawaii is where the germ of his political philosophy was formed and where social justice has a strong following.”

    I’m not so sure. I get the impression that his political philosophy may have been formed earlier in the Indonesian Madrassa where he was the skinny wimp with the big ears. The outsider. The rich American. The infidel that so desperately wanted to fit in…

    That would explain his apparent desire to please the Mullahs at all cost…

  • Cotour

    An example of social justice:


    A prosecutor charges several police officers with MURDER without any grand jury investigation, no testimony, no presented evidence, nothing other than the pressure from the community. This is more about politics than justice, this is an example of social justice, justice with an agenda.

    And I am in no way suggesting that anyone arrested and put in a paddy wagon for what ever reason should wind up dead at the end of the day.

    Good luck in the future attempting to recruit the best qualified people to do that job in the future.

  • A. Feit

    All the more reason to put telescopes in space.

  • Cotour

    These are all the layers that have created our president’s world view, probably no one particular layer is THEE layer that defines him, only he could answer that question. But this “Howlie” angle is one that I had not fully appreciated before.

    Obama really does have a unique pedigree.

  • Cotour

    Alan Dershowitz’s take on this version of social justice, a liberal who gets it correct more often than not:


  • LocalFluff

    Just tell the natives that their God/mystic phenomenon has approved the construction of the telescope. How could the natives disprove it?

  • Max

    Americas inner cities are resembling concentration camps more and more each day. It’s hard to believe that people stay there by choice rather than choosing opportunity elsewhere.

  • Max

    Perhaps the Chinese can take the contract, they seem to have more sway in the Pacific. They have a way to make problems go away.
    The days of earthbound telescopes are numbered. I also vote for putting the observatory in orbit.
    With the new technology, and private cheap launch platforms, we should be able to place five or more Hubble type telescopes in the Lagrange point in earths shadow for about the same price with 10 times better technology / capabilities. Plutonium batteries can provide power in the cold dark for generations.
    Better telescopes can be built in the low gravity of the moon’s dark side (if they build a manufacturing plant there). Then they Can send early warning detection observatories into deep space in all directions. They can map the solar system with radar and infrared as they head for interstellar space. Clear precise pictures with triangulation will do more for mapping our universe and exoplanets. Space is our future…

  • Cotour

    That is the effect of the drug of dependency, it creates a culture that has no will, kind of zombie like. It took an investment of 50 years to create.

  • Edward

    The effect was known long before the beginning of the “Zombie-ization” of America in the 1960s. Bob Hope recognized it in 1940.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAIpI8IxgFs (1 minute)

    Now I understand the growing concern, in America, about zombie invasions and attacks. It mystified me, half a decade ago, when I first heard people express this concern, but the cause for this concern is clear, now: the drug of dependency.

    And the resulting effect is clear, too.

  • Cotour

    That whole zombie thing as did the vampire thing had me mystified too, maybe we are on to something here, better late than never.


    However the real zombie nation that has been cultivated by the government by using the drug of dependency is perhaps thee most disrespectful action that any government has ever undertaken against its own people. Many black people were brought here as slaves and many have again been made slaves by the government that freed them. Now that is a sad irony.

    Power at any cost, retention of power at any cost.

  • Absolutely. I favor a lunar site on the farside.

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