Traveling abroad? Don’t take your mandolin or guitar. Or, if you do, expect to hire a lawyer to fill out the paperwork.
It’s all about protected wood. The ebony of Madagascar, for instance, is legally protected. Anyone transporting wooden items across borders is supposed to fill out forms proving the provenance of each piece of wood. Make a mistake, go to jail. And pay a hefty fine.
And travelers aren’t the only targets. Gibson Guitar, a world-leading instrument maker, was raided by federal agents last week. The agents seized wood used in the manufacture of guitars — in a previous raid, they’d seized pallets of wood as well as guitars and electronic files. Apparently they are out to prove that Gibson has been knowingly purchasing illegal materials.
I might as well confess: I’m skeptical of the whole shebang, the protecting of wood by criminalizing sale and possession. Prohibition of the materials seems the wrong way to protect renewable resources, just as prohibition of the ownership and sales of elephant ivory has worked to the detriment of elephant populations. It’s where elephants are owned and their populations managed that elephant populations have stabilized, rather than shrunk.
I bet that private property in ebony forests would similarly preserve resources as well — if that property were defended by a rule of law so that the capital value of the land the forests sit upon, as well as the trees themselves, would figure into the accounting of entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, our federal government continues to prove its anti-Constitutional, pro-tyranny bent.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.