This is the text of the Resolution which Paul Ryan was not so long ago proud to put his name to. It would be great if a wider discussion of its significance (and the fact he supported it) became an element of the pre-Election campaign in the US. That would certainly raise awareness. Somebody drop Obama a line. Here it is in all its Philistine glory:
WHEREAS, we believe that the U.S. Constitution, not the United Nations should be, where appropriate, the guide for the regulation of business and trade;Note it makes absolutely no differentiation between a 1950s linocut print and "art" robbed from an Egyptian tomb or ripped off the walls of a SE Asian temple. It makes no differentiation between a 1972 commemorative issue of the Virgin Islands and a coin of Addedomarus metal detected on an oppidum site.
WHEREAS, we also believe that a government that wishes to regulate the collecting hobbies of private citizens on behalf of foreign powers, especially if it involves the seizure or reclamation of property purchased in good faith has overstepped both the spirit and letter of the 4th, 5th and 11th Amendments of the Constitution;
RECOGNIZING that the numismatic trade provides many fine families with their means of income, and also creates numerous jobs in support industries, key to states such as Wisconsin where companies publish books, manufacture coin and stamp holders, binders, software and other supplies that support the collectibles hobby;
WHEREAS, we believe that import restrictions and cultural property laws may have the unintended consequences of driving hundreds of family businesses into ruin and also criminalize the hobbies and educational activities of numerous law abiding citizens;
WHEREAS, we support reasonable efforts to protect archaeological sites and public and private collections, we oppose the claims of those who say: (a) Anything “old” should be considered state property; (b) Anything without a detailed ownership history should be deemed stolen; and (c) Only foreign states and their favored academics should have the right to preserve, protect and study the past.
THEREFORE we reject recent efforts to restrict the collecting of art, books, coins, pottery, stamps, weapons and other common antique collectibles over 100 years old;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Republican Party of Wisconsin, in convention assembled, asks lawmakers to oppose any import restrictions or other constraints on the collecting of art, books, coins, militaria, pottery, stamps, weapons and other common antique collectibles as a waste of valuable government resources.
BE IT ALSO RESOLVED that the Republican Party of Wisconsin, in convention assembled, asks lawmakers to pass a bill exempting art, books, coins, militaria, pottery, stamps, weapons and other common antique collectibles for consideration from future import restriction and cultural property laws and treaties.
I doubt whether anyone authoring this infamous document (including Mr Ryan) can actually point to examples in the US legislation which claims are made that "Anything “old” should be considered state property" or that "Anything without a detailed ownership history should be deemed stolen" still less that "only foreign states and their favored academics should have the right to preserve, protect and study the past". The existing US legislation restricts only stolen and illegally (in terms of the CCPIA) exported items. Only.
Likewise what is this GOPish nonsense about anybody "restricting the collecting of [...] books [and] [...] stamps"? Really ! What "common antique collectibles over 100 years old" are actually restricted in the USA: Amish quilts? Shaker chairs? Wild West memorabilia? 1910 train tickets or teacups? What are these guys on about? Congressman Ryan? Can you explain why you supported the creation of a document that bears absolutely no relation to reality?
Vignette: UK readers might associate the vignette with something else, but Wisconsin where this travesty was promulgated is known over there as 'the Badger State'.