The Cliven Bundy saga reminds me of the Trayvon Martin case: it is a very squishy example of a very real problem. Because the facts of these cases could be interpreted either way, they divide the rank and file rather than uniting us against the real enemy from above. In light of this, rather than the nuanced Bundy case, it would have been nicer to see the government forced to back down on a cut-and-dried asset forfeiture in which property was permanently confiscated from someone never convicted of a crime (like Rudy Ramirez), or an eminent domain case in which the government seized private property for the benefit of a private developer (like in the case of Vera Coking).
Sometimes I think that political operators deliberately choose cases that aren’t clear-cut because rather than despite the fact that they will generate grassroots activism on both sides of the aisle. In order for this to work, the case must have merit and flaws on both sides of the argument.
Such is true in the Bundy case. For example, the only valid legal justification I can see for Bundy not paying his fees is that they are so exorbitant, they would bankrupt him and the BLM knows it. That would mean the BLM wasn’t actually managing or regulating his rights to the land, but taking them from him by driving him into bankruptcy. This would be a regulatory taking and it’s illegal.
Bundy claims the BLM wants him to reduce his herd from 1,000 head to 150 head, which does sound economically crippling. Bundy also claims he owes the BLM fees of up to $1 million. The economic significance of this figure is less obvious. If Bundy owes $1MM for 20 years of grazing 1,000 head of cattle, that’s $50 per year per head…that might well be a fair price for feeding a cow for a year. But Bundy won’t pay it, he says, because he does not recognize the authority of the federal government to own that land.
If he is not actually arguing a regulatory taking but simply trying to take a stand against federal land ownership, perhaps he should be paying the fair value of his grazing rights into escrow in trust for whomever is ultimately adjudicated to be his rightful landlord. The right of the federal government to own and manage land in the west is of serious concern, especially if one is aware of the invisible hand of the UN in transforming land ownership from private to public whenever and wherever possible, but Bundy taking a stand against that is more philosophical than defensive, seems to me.
So Bundy’s claims may or may not be valid, however, there is another issue that indisputably needs vetting if not remediation. The Bureau of Land Management put out a report on mitigating the Dry Lake Solar Project in March 2014 that required the removal of Bundy cattle from federal lands. For the BLM to remove the Bundy cattle not to preserve the desert tortoise as officially stated nor to satisfy his debt but to serve the needs of an outside project is not allowed. Harry Reid’s possible connections with First Solar and his influence over the BLM, together with several known instances of Reid’s abusing his authority to benefit the energy or casino projects of clients of his son Rory, cry out for investigation.
Rule of Law
Bundy’s detractors claim that he is “denying the rule of law,” but thinking Bundy is in the position to do this fundamentally misunderstands the concept of “the rule of law.” In this case, only Harry Reid is even capable of denying the rule of law, and only Eric Holder or Daryl Issa would be in a position to restore it.
The left isn’t really invoking “the rule of law” in their anti-Bundy arguments, however, they are merely holding, as statists must, that whatever the government deems “law” must be obeyed, nay respected, even if it defies natural law or the tenets of liberty and justice. This is how Obama could object to Bush’s wiretaps but justify his own: Bush’s were “warrantless” while Obama’s have the imprimatur of a kangaroo court – case closed, the law has spoken. (One wonders if the left would maintain this argument if there were a military draft under a Republican president.)
In fact, the term “rule of law” doesn’t mean that the law is the final arbiter of right and wrong, nor that people like Bundy should obey the laws whether they agree with them or not, it actually means something qualitatively different. The expression “rule of law” means that we are not ruled by men, we are ruled by law. We do not have “rulers,” we have leaders and even they are subject to the law.
It is true that the most significant issue of the Bundy case is the violation of the rule of law. Not because the militia showed up to face down the government, nor because Bundy isn’t paying his taxes, nor even because the federal government may be overreaching its constitutional mandate, but because the Bundy case shows that Harry Reid is above the law. Not that he abuses his power – that politicians’ foible is as old as government itself – but that he will not be held accountable for it even though it has been exposed.
The Chairman of the Committee on Government Oversight & Reform, Darryl Issa (whose approach to prosecuting Operation Fast & Furious, for example, reminds one of Putin’s mysterious comment about the Snowden affair: it’s like shearing a pig – lots of squealing, little fleece), has already said Reid would not be investigated on this matter, and recently Attorney General Eric Holder stopped the FBI from investigating Senator Reid for campaign finance corruption. Simply put, Harry Reid is above the law. (For that matter, thanks to Issa, so is Eric Holder.)
It is becoming clear to more and more people that this country is no longer governed by the rule of law but by the rule of men, so it is understandable that a call to arms citing government injustice got a resounding response. As demonstrated when American Exceptionalism spread terrorism rather than cauterizing it, making exceptions to the rule of law destabilizes the system. When government actors don’t strictly adhere to actual law and even less to natural law, the voluntary compliance of the citizenry–an absolute necessity for law and order–begins to break down.
To restore the commitment of an otherwise law-abiding citizenry to operate within an imperfect but basically just system, we do indeed need to restore the rule of law. Bundy should pay a fair price for his grazing rights and the BLM should keep their hands off his cattle, but most of all Harry Reid’s every suspect dealing since the earliest evidence of his corruption was exposed over a decade ago, should be subject to a real investigation.
I have no hope whatsoever that this will happen, and because it won’t happen, the citizenry will continue to withdraw their consent from this government. That in turn may someday bring Harry Reid to echo the words of Woodrow Wilson, whose presidency more than anyone’s marked the end of the American Experiment:
I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. . . .We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world; no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.
Wilson was referring to having sold the country down the river to a tiny cartel of extremely powerful international bankers; how much more painful would Reid’s realization be (in the unlikely case he would be so honest) that he sold out this once great country for a few
pieces of silver legal fees for his son.
THEY ARE ALL INTERWOVEN AS SNAKES CURLING UP WITH ONE ANOTHER; THE ENVIROMENTALIST ARE ASSOCIATED WITH THIS LAND GRAB FOR THE REASON THEY THINK WE CAN NOT MANAGE OUR OWN PROPERTIES. CAPITALISM IS NOT PERFECT AND NOTHING WILL EVER BE OF PERFECTION, UNTIL THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST, AT THAT TIME WE WILL NOT NEED CAPITALISM, FOR WE HAVE OUR OWN IMMORTALITY. WE MUST CONSIDER THE FACT NEVER THE LESS, THAT CAPITALISM ALLOWS FOR THE EXPRESSION OF THE SOUL AND GROWTH, REGARDLESS HOW FINITE FOR THIS WORLD. CONSIDER THIS FACT, THE MORE MONEY YOU CAN MAKE (ASSUMING LEGALLY), AND THE MORE MONEY YOU CAN RETAIN FOR YOURSELF, YOU CAN THEN CHOOSE YOUR CHARITIES AND SUPPORT OTHERS OF LIKE MINDS, AND THEY WOULD RECONIZE YOU AND NOT THE GOVERNMENTS. PEOPLE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CONCERNED WITH PEOPLE, WHY DO YOU NOT THINK, WE HAVE EXISTED FROM ONE GENERATION TO ANOTHER; HENCE, PEOPLE IN NEED HAVE ALWAYS BEEN CARED FOR IN A SAFETY NET, GENERATIONS AGO WIDOWS AND ORPHANS WERE SECURED. NEIGHBORS CHECK IN ON OTHER NEIGHBORS TO SEE THEIR NEEDS, NO LONGER IS THIS TRUE, NOW YOU HAVE THE IDEOLOGY OF LEAVE ME ALONE AND I DO NOT WANT TO BE BOTHERED. THIS IS LARGELY DUE TO GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION IN OUR LIVES, TELLING US WE DO NOT HAVE TO CHECK IN ON OUR NEIGHBORS, THE GOVERNMENT DOES FOR YOU. READ THE FOLLOWING:
As I’ve said before, A government that is powerful enough to give the people anything they want is also powerful enough to take all that you have. As Ronald Reagan put it once, ” The problem isn’t with the government, the problem is the government.”
Hit the nail on the head!
I tried to find some data on the finances of ranching, to see if the BLM’s fees are reasonable or set so high as to be a clear attempt to drive these ranchers out of business, but hard data is pretty hard to come by. I found a couple of sample statements like:
Those are from Kansas State University, and ranching conditions in Kansas are going to be a bit different from Nevada, but it hopefully gives a very rough ball park idea of the numbers.
A couple more sites that maybe could be useful? I don’t know how trustworthy these sites are, or their data, but here’s one from Texas – pay close attention to the questions on gross income and net income (neither of which is profit, but are still useful numbers):
And one from Nebraska with some useful tidbits (e.g. average herd size, which is only 43! So Bundy apparently has a very large herd, and presumably economies of scale work to some degree in ranching, giving him greater wherewithal to pay the fees):
Monica, I have listened to your show on WSB in Atlanta several times and I find I can’t go all conspiracy theorist as you sometimes seem to do. I say seem because I can’t tell if you are doing as I do when I look at that sort of material – being open minded to the possibility of broader aims by small groups. Yet I find this to be a well thought out piece. You indeed hit the nail on the head. This particular case is just a particular case. Perhaps this and perhaps that. But the corruption and the idea that some may be above the law which this case have helped bring to light are truly disturbing and damaging beyond anything Mister Bundy may or may not do. But even more disturbing is the idea that America should be so filled with ignorance as to not understand our basic founding principles such as “the rule of law” along with the clear blurring and out right changing of definitions for ideological purposes or personnal gain that is so evident. Is it ignorance in charge blurting out their ignorance for those with ears to hear or is it people who should know better doing it on purpose? It makes me wonder. Perhaps there are those who understand the necessity of a well educated and well informed populace and so understanding fear it and would do anything to undermind it. So….who sounds like a conspiracy theorist now?
But no, though I know this thing has been happening for a long time, this dumbing down of the people, this subtle shift in definitions, I do not think there is some illuminati type organization lurking in the shadows. Rather there are many groups of people with differing aims who understand the subtle power of words, definitions, and meanings. Change the definitions, you change the way people think. Repeat the lies often enough, and they take on the patina of truth.
I have concluded two things: (1) there is a power elite that is much more deliberate and sophisticated than we think, that they are very savvy in the ways of mass psychology and that they are basically in control of the western world, and (2) it doesn’t matter who they are or even if people know they exist.
If the majority of American citizens understood the fundamental principles of liberty and justice for all as the founders understood them and as we have come to love them, and if they defended these principles against any and all violations, no single cabal or network of self-interested groups or charismatic demagogue could do anything to cause the American experiment to fail. Unfortunately, the people have lost sight of this and the experiment is failing. I think they are deliberately misled so that they misunderstand the principles and their implications, but the ultimate responsibility is with each individual to exercise the three things that no one can take from an honest person: understanding right from wrong, employing reason to apply this understanding and exercising free will to choose sides and take actions.
It doesn’t matter if the system is run by international bankers, interdimensional beings, the Dragon Family, Zionists, the Queen of England, the Illuminati, Cecil Rhodes’ Round Table, the Venetians, the Rockefellers, Big Oil, the military-industrial complex, Satanists, or any other group I’ve heard is at the top – all power derives from the citizen who is the ultimate sovereign – if each and every one of us defends our rights, the power will not rise to the top. Demanding that the Bill of Rights is restored would be a great place to start.
I wouldn’t begin to think that my ideas are original, but I have one I would share. Liberty isn’t like other revolutions, where hierarchies are first formed, collectives gather power, and force the current rulers from power, only to become the thing they were formed to abolish. A revolution in liberty is an individual, choosing not to obey on whatever level he can maintain, and the idea catching on. Some animals can be easily herded and controlled because it is their nature to derive their prosperity from a herd or flock. Others are lone creatures, who will never stop testing the cage, until they are free. There are some animals, so set on being untameable, that they are rarely even seen, or are even undiscovered. A friend of mine who farms pigs, related the story of a pig that seemed fixated on figuring out how to escape from the pen. the other pigs learned from the rebellious one, and soon all the pigs were continuously testing the fence. That , to me, is what a libertarian revolution would be.
I think you are onto something…I have recently noticed that our government seems to care first and foremost about the psychology of the people – they are truly less concerned that we have guns than they are concerned that the media is 100% totally controlled at all times…all their efforts on false flags and propaganda – it’s obviously their main focus…i started to think they don’t even care about civil unrest, they can handle that – even welcome it to wipe out the first movers, it’s just our voluntary compliance they need. I have begun to conclude that if we simply begin to think for ourselves, just stop saying stuff like “i won’t vote for Ron Paul because he has no chance of winning” – if we just see it all for what it is – maybe stop voting entirely, stop watching the news, maybe even stop working like dogs to consume like pigs (as an anarcho-capitalist it’s hard to choke out that last one!), but still, if we just stopped buying in it might all fall away…any chance of that?
oh, btw, if you haven’t read it already, please check out Bastiat’s The Law – it’s one of those tiny, awesome, must read libertarian classics – he warns against starting a revolution just to switch places with the oppressors – here it is… http://fee.org/files/doclib/20121116_TheLaw.pdf
What a weird coincidence – right after i read your comment and left the first reply, i got an email from my brother with this youtube video in it…this is the first pig!!!
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