Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Political Correctness Loses

The 2016 US Presidential election is now history, and the big loser was political correctness.

Millions of ordinary Americans who were so tired of "everything being politicized" that they would not discuss their true views with pollsters or even their families, friends and neighbors, spoke decisively at the polls against that trend which became so obnoxiously intrusive on their lives during the past eight years.

In a few months a new Administration will take office, dedicated to the goal of "making America great again." That Administration will need to address many very important issues, which affect the entire nation and large segments of its population.

It is my hope that in applying its attention and energies to these large issues, this Administration will remember that there are also many smaller problems and injustices which in fairness and justice to their limited constituencies, should also be addressed. Taken together, these many smaller issues do add up to a big issue. It may be conceptualized as righting wrongs which have arisen from the failed and negative culture of political correctness.

Here is a plea for the remembrance of a wrong that has been inflicted upon American collectors of antiquities, specifically including my specialty of ancient coins, by a small coterie of dedicated ideologues in the US State Department bureaucracy. I refer to the exploitation and perversion of the 1983 Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act by the State Department's Cultural Heritage Center and its predecessor agencies and bureaus, under the direction of archaeologist Maria Kouroupas, who over a period of thirty years of systematic and wily bureaucratic maneuvering twisted what was originally a carefully thought out, well balanced system for ensuring fair and equitable implementation of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property into a tool for protecting and advancing the interests of archaeology, at the expense of those of US collectors.

The authority of the Cultural Heritage Center to administer this system derives from Executive Order number 12555, dated March 10, 1986, delegating specific functions conferred upon the President by the 1983 CCPIA to the Director of the United States Information Agency, a predecessor agency to the Cultural Heritage Center. This Order was signed by President Reagan.

By promulgating a new Executive Order revoking that delegation, and establishing a new agency to which these specific functions are delegated, the new Administration could with one stroke of the pen, remove the Cultural Heritage Center and its director from all future involvement in and influence upon the 1983 CCPIA, which they have so deviously and unethically maladministered.

I urge that this new agency be specifically chartered to, and tasked with, return of the administration of the 1983 CCPIA to its original legislative intent, of fairly and equitably balancing the interests of all concerned parties in considering requests by foreign governments for the imposition or extension of import restrictions upon designated artifacts.

Such an administrative process could, in this observer's view, best be directed by a respected and experienced administrative law judge with a background in international commerce. 

This new agency should, after whatever transition period is appropriate to set it up and transfer control of the delegated functions from the Cultural Heritage Center, become part of the Department of Commerce. No one in the staff of the Cultural Heritage Center should be transferred or in any way participate in the operations of the new agency, as it is glaringly apparent that their primary loyalty is not to the interests of the American people, but to the interests of archaeology.


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