Department of Interior

The Bundy Ranch Standoff and Attitudes Toward the State

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The immediate "crisis" portion of the standoff involving the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy over his cattle grazing on federal land ended last week.

benswann

Whether this will be end of Bundy's troubles with the BLM, who have been in court with him over his refusal to pay fees to them for decades, remains to be seen, with the Bundys reporting that they've received registered mail from the BLM this week that they haven't opened yet.

I blogged about a lot of the factual background of the conflict here, with links to some relevant court documents.

This story really caught fire with lots of deeply emotional people on both sides of a rough "state vs. citizens" rift in American consciousness. This is even though the specifics of the story don't resonate with that many people's lives—few of us are ranchers or have armed government agencies literally stealing the instruments of our livelihood. On the other side, few of us feel that the order and safety or our lives are seriously threatened by recalcitrant ranchers or "militia members."

The specifics of the case also create many annoying ambiguities for libertarians, especially those who pay fealty to the "rule of law" over a kind of screw-you anarchism. A huge show of force against citizens attempting to peacefully protest seems like it could be overkill even if you think in general, the law has gotta be enforced. (But if you really believe that, you can't blink when recalcitrant people have to be shot dead at times.)

Depending on who you identified with, you could see people on both the government and Bundy sides as making ominous threats, either implicitly or explicitly. Those sorts of facts don't speak to who is right or wrong in principle, but in a story involving humans in conflict people like to feel sympathy for their side's behavior and demeanor, not just their position in the conflict.

It can be tricky, because the type of person who lets conflicts with the state get this far is apt to be, temperamentally, the type to do and say lots of things even a normally sympathetic person in principle might want to shy away from. Similarly, one need not believe in Bundy's eccentric political science vision of where legitimate American authority lies—to him, counties and states, not the federal government—to feel he's been ill-treated by the feds.

Very deep questions of duties to obey and the source of private property underlie this conflict. (And slightly less but still deep questions about federal land ownership and management vs. the prerogatives of states, counties, and citizens.) Let's just say I'd never seen so many people who do not consider themselves rock-ribbed conservatives rising up indignantly to defend the unquestionable value of and need to obey absentee land ownership based on the ukase of the powerful and faraway over the rights of indigenous people to work the lands before this case.

I write all this, by the way, not having done a thorough historical investigation into the specific facts that might establish proper title to the land in question. Neither am I sure about the eco-science behind exactly how and why the presence of Bundy's cattle is or is not harming in a vital and meaningful way the desert tortoise. (Please forgive me for being the only person who has written about the conflict who hasn't mastered those two topics.)

It says interesting things about where we stand as a citizenry, though, the different ways politicians and pundits have reacted to whatever version of the facts of the matter had sunk through their head.

Herewith, some interesting reactions covering the waterfront of who we are an an American people:

• Sen. Harry Reid (I have not been convinced that stories that connect this crackdown on the Bundys to a land grab for the Chinese are true) says that the Bundys and those on their side are "domestic terrorists." Well, they did stand up to oppose what was as legitimate a government orders, as government order legitimacy goes, as one could find.

•Sen. Rand and former Congressman Ron Paul, not surprisingly given that one of their core political constituencies are people who think the federal government and its agents often acts as bullies in enforcing not-always-legitimate demands, are both sympathetic to Bundy's plight. Republican politicians less inclined to want the support of the insurrectionist-minded are understandably avoiding the topic and certainly not cheering on Bundy.

•The New York Times thinks Bundy is just a deadbeat, and wonders if the right would cheer were his supporters armed Black Panthers protecting a black family from eviction. Gracy Olmstead of the American Conservative, writing at the Federalist, also sees Bundy fighting more for his own personal gain than grand political principle. Glenn Beck, often a hero to elements of the more radical American right, did one of his usual not-entirely-predictable turns on the Bundy matter, saying he wants the Bundys' angry supporters to "un-friend him" on Facebook, saying he's all about peace, man.

•My favorite opposing views, presenting the limits of this debate most colorfully, come from Kevin Williamson in National Review, who didn't mind saying that he could praise a little sedition, even if the "the law" isn't on its side:

 Is government our servant, or is it our master? The Left has long ago answered that question to the satisfaction of its partisans, who are happy to be serfs so long as their birth control is subsidized. But the Right always struggles with that question, as it must. The thing that conservatives seek to conserve is the American order, which (1) insists that we are to be governed by laws rather than by men and (2) was born in a violent revolution. Russell Kirk described the conservative ideal as "ordered liberty," and that is indeed what we must aim for — keeping in mind that it is order that serves liberty, not the other way around. And it is the government that exists at the sufferance of the people, including such irascible ones as Mr. Bundy, not the other way around….

Prudential measures do not solve questions of principle. So where does that leave us with our judgment of the Nevada insurrection? Perhaps with an understanding that while Mr. Bundy's stand should not be construed as a general template for civic action, it is nonetheless the case that, in measured doses, a little sedition is an excellent thing.

And paired with that, popping in as if from Central Casting to stand for the "Left" Williamson poked at, were the folks at ThinkProgress with a detailed think piece on, hm, what sort of excuse can we come up with, after the BLM's unfortunate standdown, to make sure that Mr. Bundy still ends up locked in a cage?

Those, then, are two of the (at least) three Americas. The third probably thinks that Bundy should have probably just given up somewhere along the line, but Christ leave him alone now, and also probably that at a certain point essentially sending in an army on such a mild form of disobedience might be overkill. But alas, that's what it all has to come down to, when dealing with a man who thinks he's in the right, and has friends who agree with him.

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108 responses to “The Bundy Ranch Standoff and Attitudes Toward the State

  1. I have not been convinced that stories that connect this crackdown on the Bundys to a land grab for the Chinese are true

    I think a very decent case can be made based on circumstatial evidence. The trick is in realizing that they Bundy lands were targeted for relocating an endangered lizard from lands being considered for the big Chinese solar project. The two are definitely connected. Reid has definitely been pushing the solar project, and actually made an angry little speech about how he wasn’t done with the Bundys.

    The last link is between the Chinese money and Reid’s pocket. His son is involved, so there’s that.

    May all just look worse than it is. But it certainly doesn’t look good.

    1. Reid and a lot of his ilk in high powered government positions have become so arrogant that it is impossible for them to see their own downfall.

      He’s fucking mad with power, and will be his own undoing.

      1. Why am I reminded of House of Cards ?

        1. You’ve left me in the dark here, because I don’t watch the tv, or at least, very seldom.

          1. One of the major plot elements in House of Cards is using government regulation to make or break one’s political friends and enemies. The central characters all routinely use economic regulations as a cudgel against their political enemies. The morality of it isn’t even discussed. it’s just a fact of political survival. And they’re all cutting back-room business deals to funnel money to their side’s campaign coffers. For instance, via Indian casinos and tax breaks.

            It’s one of the best things about the show that it regards crony capitalism as simply a fact of life in Washington.

            1. I haven’t seen the show but it’s a great point. What some of us consider violations of rights, theft, and slavery, others consider a job. A career. A profession. It’s glorified in media. It’s considered a “science,” even. You can get a degree in Political Science from almost any university. I believe that is truly part of the disconnect between the liberty-minded and statists. They don’t even understand where we’re coming from because they assume what they’re advocating is merely part of the natural course of humanity and society. I think many people are literally baffled at the positions we take because they assume that what they do and advocate is not only right but unavoidable. Many politicians know better, of course, because they are the ones pulling the levers very consciously. But the average statist walking the streets, I truly believe, see things through this lens.

        2. Thought at first you were referring to the old George Peppard movie from 1968, so I looked it up to refresh my memory of it. Turns out there have been two different movies with that title, but entirely different story lines. The other was from 1993 and starred Tommy Lee Jones.

          Then I discover that it is also the title of a television series having nothing to do with the movies. Hmm.

    2. Don’t forget that the new head of the BLM’s (actually put in place the day before the order to go after Bundy’s cattle with force) last job was Harry Reid’s Chief Of Staff, Neil Kornze

      1. Has to be a coincidence. Harry Reid is a loyal servant of the public, champion of the little guy.

        You wingnuts are always wearing your tin foil hats. But don’t worry, your boy Bush will get the nomination.

        /love child of Tony and Shreek.

      2. Is it really that hard to imagine Harry Reid telling his Chief of Staff:

        “I’ll get you that BLM position, but as far as I’m concerned, you have one job: clear the way for my kid’s solar power project. Capiche?”

        Bang. His first full day in office, of all the things he might do, he picks this one? Whyever might he do that?

        1. I find your theory pretty convincing actually.

          I’m generally a skeptic about conspiracy theories, but this is not a kooky X-Men thing, this is a story about run-of-the-mill crony capitalism.

          It is completely believable that Reid would be willing to pull some strings to help his son’s “green energy” investment, that a Reid lackey would be willing to do his ex-boss a favor or two, and that neither would consider some old crusty rancher a significant barrier.

          In fact, the larger story here might turn out to be the crony capitalism it exposes. Bundy may have zero legitimate claim, but it shows how politicians really play the game, doesn’t it?

    3. So having looked into it, I think this has some credibility. Apparently the Bundy lands were part of a broad “management area” that the BLM had recently been reorganizing to make room for solar energy projects.

      So the claim that because the ranch was 3 hours away from the specific solar energy site in question, they couldn’t be connected, doesn’t really hold water. The ranch and the solar site were part of the same land management plan, the land management plan needed to be modified to make room for the solar project, while simultaneously satisfying the concerns of environmental groups. And, likely due to some other retarded regulation, the Solar Plant could not move forward until the BLM satisfied the EPA that the habitat was sufficiently protected. Ergo, the only way the solar project could move forward was to get Bundy’s cattle off the now-suddenly-critical tortoise habitat.

      I mean it should ring a few alarm bells that his family been grazing there for over 100 years and ONLY NOW has his land become important for desert tortoises, shouldn’t it?

      1. I still listen to late night talk radio occasionally. One listener called in last weekend with the information that the desert tortoise in question feeds off cattle dung and more-or-less needs it to thrive there. Don’t know if that is correct or not, but if it is, it seems odd they would want the cattle to move. I’m thinking maybe it’s just an excuse to force Bundy out.

    4. “The trick is in realizing that they Bundy lands were targeted for relocating an endangered lizard from lands being considered for the big Chinese solar project.”

      Here’s the thing; why should I care? It’s fed lands. Maybe it shouldn’t be but it is. And it BECAME fed lands because of ranchers like Bundy who wanted subsidies in the form of public lands they could run their business on at a penance. Bundy and ranchers like Bundy loved them some federal lands so long as they were the ones with access to it to run their businesses.

      Ranching isn’t the leading industry that it was in the 1870’s. Tough shit. The energy industry has displaced it in political importance, and these lands were secured by ranchers via government favors and backroom deals just like they are by energy execs today. Why should I care just because a new favored crony industry replaced an old one?

      1. Didn’t the Federal Government use these lands to entice people like the Bundys to move there in the first place?

        I don’t think it was some industry thing with crony capitalism, this a family that has only made a living on these lands for over a hundred years, they haven’t been getting rich, and I highly doubt there were any crony capitalist kick backs for the use of the land.

        Your argument doesn’t hold much water.

        1. Well, I’m from rural Arkansas, and around here 1000 head of cattle is fabulously wealthy. I know a few people with a couple hundred head of cattle, and they drive new $40k dually pickups and seem to live pretty well. And there are no public lands provided to them to graze on for a penance. They have to purchase their own lands.

          If the Bundy family get access to cheap public grazing lands, thus undercutting ranchers in other states, how is that not crony capitalism?

      2. Here’s the thing; why should I care?

        Because crony capitalists and their pet politicians are destroying a man’s business in order to line their own pockets?

        1. How is using public lands for a solar farm crony capitalism, but using public lands for a cattle operation not crony capitalism? How is one morally superior to the other?

      3. …public lands they could run their business on at a penance.

        Excuse me, but I think perhaps the word you might have meant is pittance, not penance – there’s a big difference in meaning between the two.

      4. Why is it federal land? What right did the federal government have to claim this land?

        About half of the land in the western United States is under the Department of the Interior. Most farm land was settled informally and formalized under the Homestead Act, which later simplified settlement in the west. But, the Homestead Act was based around traditional family farms and Homesteads were restricted to 160 acres (this was later increased to 640 acres). They did not include the much larger grazing lands that were leased. In many ways a lease is a property right. The land has remained in families, and ownership is recognized by the community. It does have limitations however. Land can not be freely sold, it can not be used for a mortgage, and it can be taken on the whim of government.

        If these leasees were given preemptive fee transferable title, it would mean a system where land could be traded based on market needs.

    5. in other words… you don’t have a shred of proof.

  2. Where’s Lon Horiuchi when you need him?

    1. Collecting his pension and sipping margaritas while making mooneyes at his I love me wall.

    2. On the Grassy Noll.

  3. I’m going way out on a tiny little limb here and am going to say that if not for the internet, this would have ended very badly for Bundy and his family.

    The lamestream media would have painted Bundy as some type of wacko terrorist, and the fed goon squads would have burned and shot up the entire family.

    1. Waco terrorist.

      1. +1 burning estancia

    2. dont know if its true or not but the reports of cell towers being shut down and no fly zone were pretty concerning.

  4. Erm… Why did the author refer to anarchism as some screw you, lawless idea? They had a constitution that was supposed to be the law of the land. Except, they say screw you while standing behind the police and a standing army (all branches) that was warned about long ago. This way if you’re not in compliance with their new made up “law” they will eventually use violence against you. The result of the experiment of government throughout history has been failure, and a loss of freedom and liberty.

    You then get a douchebag like Harry Reid who calls people domestic terrorist, meanwhile he is a crook and a terrorist to freedom and liberty himself, that are elected by folks who feel the same way and he makes up new “law” and uses force against those not in agreement with it.

    Wishing what government ought to be (ordered liberty lol, that is such bull sheisser) and what it is, which is violent is what the author seems to be doing. Quit lying to yourself and others. Government lacks the ability to protect freedom and liberty, but rather forcibly takes it away. The govt is not order, nor can it create a condition such as “ordered liberty” as anything imposed and non voluntary is antithetical to liberty.

    1. Why did the author refer to anarchism as some screw you, lawless idea?

      Because it is.

      Government lacks the ability to protect freedom and liberty

      Actually it did just that in America for a long time albeit imperfectly. It did so even longer in the Serene Republic of Venice. Can’t have freedom without government.

      1. First of all, law and legislation are not the same thing. There are many laws that much of society follow that are not legislated, and there is a lot of legislation that much of society ignores. Would murder cease to be against the law sans legislation? Why don’t people cut in line at the grocery store even though there is no legislation (that I know of) prohibiting it?

        Anarchy means ‘no archon,’ with archon being a central authority. Society follows plenty of laws without need for legislation or a central authority enforcing it.

        So anarchism is not lawless. It’s legislationless.

        Can’t have freedom without government.

        Free people don’t have to ask permission or obey orders, so long as they follow the known law. Law is not legislation. Law is what society accepts as rules of behavior.
        So yeah, you can have freedom without government.
        Unfortunately, what you cannot have is freedom from government, because there will always be assholes who use organized violence for the purpose of plunder. They are government, and they have no interest in freedom for anyone but themselves.

        1. So in other words without government the order and law of things is entirely dependent on society? Thanks for demonstrating that anarchism is a form of collectivism just as Rand stated. I’m sure this new spontaneous order of things would have worked out great for Negroes in 1950s Missouri or Mexicans in contemporary Arizona. I’ll take a pass on living in Somalia.

          1. I think there is a difference between controlled collectivism (our govt) and a collection of free people who share a common set of values (which help define the known laws sarcasmic mentioned). Free people in a society of laws have the ability to leave the society and find somewhere else if they don’t like where things are headed.

            Controlled collectivism (federal) does not offer that choice and thus diminishes one’s freedoms. There are more examples I am sure (taxes).

          2. It is not a form of collectivism.

            The only issue with Anarchy is that it is a defenseless ideology, as sarcasmic talked about.

            There will always be groups of people willing to use force, and that will always become government. The point of libertarianism is keep this monopoly of force in check and only used towards the liberty of the people. Which is why dumbasses like Tony claim we’re freedom tyrants or something like that. It is actually kind of descriptive of what we’re about if it weren’t such an oxymoron.

            1. Sarcasmic,

              No government power leads to plunder by the strong of the weak, because assholes are a fact of life. Force is needed at times to deal with armed groups who are entitled to your shit.

              How is society going to deal with human nature? I forget which founder said if men where angels we would not need government, but since they are not we are stuck with having some form of government.

              The question then becomes what to do with the necessary that is government. Montesquieu’s separation of powers is one way of limiting government power, the other is to look at the nature of the laws that are passed. Laws should not give Government the power to kill you [this is the tough one], take your stuff, or be allowed to enslave you.

              I do not think there is a perfect solution, but as time goes on I am moving toward a legislature of people who are chosen initially by lottery, and they can be voted out of office every two years.

              1. *think they are entitled*

              2. RJ, I was just pointing out to the toxic asshole that law and legislation are not synonyms. They are commonly used as such, but they are not the same thing.

                If that concept interests you at all, here’s a great lecture on the subject by someone much more intelligent and eloquent than myself.

                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPn84m1pvh4

                1. They couldn’t put some telephone books under the chick introducing the speaker?

          3. Somalia is not a condition of freedom. Are we going to ignore the damage government did for all those years? You then go on to talk about individuals in the 1950’s, but forgot some important things.

            Government institutionalized slavery, and then government institutionalized segregation with the Jim crowe laws that lasted for 89 effing years!

            Free individuals are able to repel aggression against their liberties immediately. So instead, these jim crowe “laws” were passed, and enforced through a barrel of a gun if necessary by the very government you claimed saved individuals in the 50’s. Such a blatant disregard for liberty, and a violation of the constitution that was supposed to protect individual liberty went on for 89 years. Would you let someone rob your house and even rape you for 89 years??? Even if you would like it, who are you to subject other individuals to it, and how many of those who didn’t wish to be subjected to that, segregation, slavery (taxation and forcing others to work for the benefit of another is slavery) are you willing to kill?

          4. I’ll take a pass on living in Somalia.

            I was pointing out that law and legislation are not the same thing. That’s all. Trust you to miss the point. Every time.

      2. “Can’t have freedom without government a mafia, but one with better PR.”

        When you translate from StatistSpeak to English, the absurdity of most political arguments becomes clear.

        War is Peace.

        Freedom is Subjection.

        Room 101 is for your own good, comrade.

        1. Um no. Mafia is what we’d have and only have without government.

          There has never been a sustained free society without government. Government is inevitable. Government is necessary. Accept government.

          1. Government is inevitable. Government is necessary. Accept government.

            Do you have any idea how fucking creepy you sound right now? That’s Tony levels of authority worship.

            It may be worth mentioning, btw, that no un-free society has ever been sustained without government either. Could be that this whole “society” thing, by definition, appeals to central authority, and the only thing differentiating them is what level of oppression the plebs will tolerate.

            1. The day when government ceases to exist is the day that that technology allows the individual to become powerful enough to completely ignore the government if they so choose.

              I honestly do not think this is more than a couple hundred years in our future.

              As far as Government is inevitable. Government is necessary. Accept government.

              I could be alright with it except the accept government part. That is dangerous, no government that infringes on the rights of the individual should be accepted. It may be tolerated as long as said government is on a path towards individual freedom and empowering the individual in their lives. Sadly, I do not think our government or any government in the world, really, fits that description.

              1. The day when government ceases to exist is the day that that technology allows the individual to become powerful enough to completely ignore the government if they so choose.

                Unfortunately the government would probably also have access to that technology.

          2. You are Cass Sunstein stupid Cyto!

          3. There has never been a sustained free society without government. Government is inevitable. Government is necessary. Accept government.

            Well that’s a heaping, stinking pile of conventional wisdom if not just plain ole unthinking propaganda.

  5. Is government our servant, or is it our master? The Left has long ago answered that question to the satisfaction of its partisans, who are happy to be serfs so long as their birth control is subsidized.

    The Free Shit Army is more than happy to succumb to an increasingly regulatory, overweening central state as long as 1) they get their Free Shit, and 2) most of the attention of said central state is directed against people they don’t like.

    1. grazing and watering your livestock on public land, where other ranchers are paying money to both public and private interests, isn’t free shit?

      1. United States Senators and other politicians using national lands and other public resources to do business deals with the Chicoms isn’t free shit?

        Funny, but I remember a couple of wars -one in which I served – that were fought with the avowed purpose of stopping the spread and influence of world-wide communism. So why are the fucking democrats, from Al Gore all the way to Harry Reid so damned eager to help them out by doing business with them?

        1. Hopefully you aren’t using a Chicom computer and other such devices to access the internet, watch TV and elsewhere in your daily life – because that would be collusion and hypocrisy, wouldn’t it?

        2. FYI, perhaps some may change their minds when they learn a bit and find out the largest part of many of these Solar Farms out there goes to an Israeli firm….named Brightsource.

          They just happen to employ some people I know – many many many people – right here in the good ole USA.

          But, heck that wouldn’t make as good of a story as Communist Chinese. After all, they are simply “Banker Socialist Jews”, eh?

          You guys are hilarious – throwing out every tin foil theory on earth – while typing on your CHICOM computers which were likely available to you cheaply because of stuff these same “bad bad” liberal politicans did…you know, like allowing China into the WTO and allowing US corporations to skirt our tax laws and leave trillions overseas.

          I thought y’all loved that stuff….low taxes and all??

          Now you are against it because it puts money somewhere else…..but when it’s money in your pocket (cheap goods everywhere in wal-mart, electronics, etc.)….then you LIKE communism. Oh, then you tell us it’s not really communism – that they have reformed their markets.

          Which is it, folks? Get real.

      2. That is an interesting question.

        First of all, would anyone pay the grazing fees for that land?

        Is it prime land, or is it marginal land?

        Well, we know that all the other ranchers have left, leaving one last guy – that seems to suggest overpricing.

        Also, they are limiting the number of cattle – so even if the price is right, that might make it uneconomic.

        Now, a logical person would say, why not auction off the land and let the market decide the best use. Environmentalist groups do actually buy such land and then reach deals to have sustainable business done on them…or maybe the solar people will have the most cash…whatever.

        If you are adamant that the land remain in BLM control…well, then we need to ask if they are overpricing or underpricing. The fact that dozens of ranchers have quit, and only one remains, who doesn’t even pay!, while beef prices are reaching market highs suggest grazing rights for that land are too high.

  6. Definitely one of the most well-written and witty posts I have seen recently on Reason. Well done.

    1. Definitely one of the most well-written

      I liked the post overall, but I choked on some of the run-on, overly parenthetical, so-long-I forgot-I-already-have-a-verb-so-here-it-is-again sentences. Like this gem:

      Sen. Rand and former Congressman Ron Paul are, not surprisingly given that one of their core political constituencys are people who think the federal government and its agents often acts as bullies in enforcing not-always-legitimate demands, are both sympathetic to Bundy’s plight.

      Sic, sic, sic.

      1. Doherty’s writing has been terrible for the last couple of years. I can’t remember well further back then that but I didn’t think it used to to be this bad. Brain injury?

        1. Shouldn’t an editor catch this sort of thing?

          I mean, you can post that into Word and it’ll tell you how messed up it is. Do these guys still use WordPad?

          1. Editors should be catching that sort of thing.

  7. Judge Napolitano — no statist — says that Bundy has already lost two court cases on ownership, and federal ownership of the land is enshrined in their state constitution. He says the best solution is for the feds to put a lien on the Bundy ranch — fines and interest — and walk away until Bundy dies. Bundy has no legitimate claim at all … to the judge. He said all this on O’Reilly, and O’Reilly agrees that Bundy cannot possibly prevail. I was surprised.

    1. That’s what I was thinking. Just put a lien on his property and call it a day. Why the need to go all asshole?

      1. That’s what I was thinking. Just put a lien on his property and call it a day. Why the need to go all asshole?

        The moneymen of the Chinese solar project are probably getting antsy and little boy Reid likely complained to his daddykins that he wasn’t going to get his giant shitpile of money if it didn’t happen NOW NOW NOW.

        1. I understood the Chinese solar project to be a rather moot point – that the cheap energy boom from fracking has dissuaded people from investing in it. No way it can compete without a bunch of subsidies and government help.

      2. Because Reid’s son doesn’t have time to sit on his investment until Bundy dies.

    2. I have little doubt that Bundy is in the wrong here, but I still find it encouraging that so much of the public is at the end of its rope with federal thuggery.

      I also find it encouraging that the judge is impartial and unbiased on this. It lends credibility to our cause.

      1. This is true. I’m no fan of Bundy using land that it isn’t “his” (as in deed in hand) without paying the actual landholder (the Fed, ugh), but the reason this shit looked to turn into another Waco and Reid went fucking psycho over it is because his son (and likely himself) are looking to make some big bucks off a solar plant.

        There is no good side in this, but when the side for the government is doing this for corrupt gain, I side with the little guy who committed the “crime” of grazing his cattle on otherwise disused land.

        If it were anything other than corruption, the Feds would have placed a lien against Bundy’s ranch and waited. That’s how they nearly always do things in these situations. They went Waco retard because Bundy needed to be displaced so a Senator’s son could make some money.

        1. That sounds like a pretty solid theory.

        2. The longer I look at this, the moremit looks to me like a case of “they’re all swine, so I’ll back the swine who isn’t likely to screw with me and mine.

          Which would be the rancher.

        3. It’s actually a great story about the crony capitalism involved in all the Obama-backed “green energy” projects.

          Here you have the little guy, some crusty old rancher whose family has been grazing this land for generations vs. the connected “green energy” project that needs a favor from the BLM. Because they live in a fucking hellish regulatory environment, and they can’t just repeal the regs, because hey these are the Democrats. So how do they solve the problem? They find some peon who they can squash to make room for the powerful.

          1. I think the guy running the BLM got put there by none other than Senator Reid. Sounds like Harry was cashing in his chips with the BLM on this one.

      2. This is pretty gray for me too. By default, I think Bundy should have to pay, even if he’s paying the government. Damn welfare ranchers. But there’s two problems: 1) the government is kicking him off for a fucking tortoise which does not have any rights and 2) the government owns what over 75% of Nevada!?!?! Having the government kick a guy out for not paying makes sense only in a situation where the feds have not seized the bulk of a state and refuse to loosen their grip, even in exchange for money. The Judge does great justice to his credibility on this issue however.

        1. More like 86%, see my link downthread. Bundy claims his grazing rights pre-date federal control of the land, btw. Which wouldn’t be that terribly surprising, although probably impossible to prove, and irrelevant in the current legal context anyway – no property rights from before the acquisition of the territory at the end of the Mexican-American war have ever been recognized.

        2. It’s not really that gray. As I posted elsewhere a few days ago, you may question Bundy’s claims to the land but no one has a less legitimate claim of “ownership” than the federal government. An entity that creates exactly zero value and only obtains something through means acquired through force or threat of force can have no rightful claim to anything. At least Bundy is selling something people are willing to buy.

          Nevermind that so-called ownership is officially defined and determined by that very same government. The rigged nature of that system invalidates it in my mind. Anyone who claims sole authority to make the rules, change the rules, enforce the rules, interpret the rules and then expect others to operate alongside them and play by those rules when there are competing interests is invalid. We would never accept living under that system in any other aspect of our lives.

    3. The Judge may be putting more weight on the institutional interest of the courts here than I might.

      I think the facts, as I understand them, give Bundy something more than a farcical claim to the land.

      Leaving aside the issue of exactly where in the Constitution the feds get the authority to own all the land they own, his claim is based on constant use pre-dating the feds claim, and there are some real questions about whether the feds actually got good title. Even if they did, there’s also the issue of whether his (family’s) use of the land gave them some sort of legal claim that shouldn’t be extinguished without compensation.

      Maybe he got a full and fair hearing on all this, and we would all nod along in agreement with the opinions (which I haven’t read). But he’s not just your run of the mill trespasser/lessee.

      1. there are some real questions about whether the feds actually got good title

        Look, they killed a lot of Mexicans, and are ready to kill anyone else who objects to them controlling the land. If that isn’t “good title” based on the historical meaning of how all land on the earth at some point passed into the hands of the government that controls it, then what is?

      2. Adverse possession is the doctrine.

        If the Bundy family was using this land for decades without the federal government saying anything about it, or attempting to displace them, then the adverse possession doctrine would give them legal title to the land.

        Like Doherty, I have not researched the legal facts enough to say whether that is the case.

        1. “If the Bundy family was using this land for decades without the federal government saying anything about it, or attempting to displace them, then the adverse possession doctrine would give them legal title to the land”

          they have been saying something… for 20 years now. you think that because a private interest has been using something publicly owned this would entitle them to ownership?!? i want lawyers who believe like you do the next time we storm the Winter Palace.

  8. But alas, that’s what it all has to come down to, when dealing with a man who thinks he’s in the right, and has friends who agree with him.

    But if you watched sitcoms you would understand that men are always wrong

  9. Dude that guy has no idea man.

    http://www.GotsDatAnon.tk

  10. one need not believe in Bundy’s eccentric political science vision of where legitimate American authority lies?to him, counties and states, not the federal government?to feel he’s been ill-treated by the feds.

    An attitude that may possibly become more understandable in the context of a state in which “Approximately 86% of the state’s land is owned by various jurisdictions of the U.S. federal government, both civilian and military.”

    A couple of years ago Utah passed a law trying to reclaim 20 million acres of federal lands for the same reason. The electoral convenience of their statehood to the great emancipator notwithstanding, calling Utah and Nevada states rather than federal territories is mostly ceremonial.

    1. eccentric political science vision of where legitimate American authority lies

      Nothing says “eccentric” these days like taking the Constitution at its word:

      The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

      1. The Nevada state constitution affirms and guarantees federal ownership of the land. It was a condition of statehood..

        1. It was a condition of statehood.

          In roughly the same sense that paying protection money to mobsters in same places is a condition of your business not mysteriously burning down or your kneecaps mysteriously suffering trauma.

        2. USG Constitution

        3. The Nevada state constitution affirms and guarantees federal ownership of the land. It was a condition of statehood..

          Which is why calling Utah and Nevada states rather than federal territories is mostly ceremonial.

          However, it’s not a trivial fact that there are also vast differences in how the land is managed by the federal government today vs 1861 when NV was granted statehood. I doubt very much that anyone foresaw at the time a federal apparatus to include the BLM turning most of the state into protected ecological and wildlife preserves, nuclear test sites, military installations, and parks.

        4. The Nevada state constitution affirms and guarantees federal ownership of the land. It was a condition of statehood.

          Nevada can’t give the feds authority they don’t have from the enumerated powers of the Constitution.

          Here’s what the deal apparently is:

          Nevada’s Constitution further reflects the enabling act: “That the people inhabiting said territory do agree and declare, that they forever disclaim all right and title to the unappropriated public lands lying within said territory, and that the same shall be and remain at the sole and entire disposition of the United States.”

          Land already appropriated, or earlier granted from Mexico before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, remained in private ownership.

          http://www.rgj.com/story/news/…..s/7794823/

          That first paragraph strikes me as dubious, as it essentially says that all private claims are eliminated regardless of the consent of the individual. Sounds like a taking to me, only without compensation.

  11. I was coming in to say the same thing, HazelMeade. Very nicely done.

    1. Got dam threading. Bad job, reason squirrels. Bad job!

  12. “Be thankful we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.”

    — Will Rogers

  13. From the ThinkProgress link:

    Nevertheless, there is an obvious danger to allowing Bundy to get away with two decades of illegal action merely because he was able to muster armed supporters to his cause. If Bundy escapes from this incident without consequence, that sends a pretty clear message that federal law is optional so long as you have enough people with guns backing you up.

    All laws everywhere are based on the government issuing them backing them up with superior firepower, and are thus optional. This is, according to some liberal statists, inexplicably, a bad thing.

  14. I found the comments section at ThinkProgress interesting. There are an awful lot of progressives who are calling for him to be deported (since he hates America so much). Go ahead and wrap your mind around that one.

    And they say us libertarians are the nutty ones for claiming there is no difference between team red and team blue.

    1. Ugh. Keep paying taxes folks, we’re all in this together!

    2. Dont think he hates America. But where the hell would you deport an American citizen to? LOL

      1. Probably Gitmo, if it was left up to Harry Reid and his ilk.

  15. Maybe the feds should have brought the military and snipers to stop Rosa Parks when she sat in the front of the bus? Harry Reid says you must obey the law and anyone ignoring the law and carrying guns is a domestic terrorist. Anyone exercising 2nd Amendment rights is a terrorist. Harry Reid has money invested in solar farms and needs Bundy to move. That’s real terrorism. Harry is terrified of not getting a good financial return on bankrupt solar farms. Harry is terrorized, as he can’t survive on just his Senate paycheck. Harry says the Tea Party and Republicans are anarchists. Bundy and people with guns are terrorists. If Bundy lived in 1776, he would have strongly supported the British and blamed George Washington for terrorism and anarchy.

    1. If Bundy lived in 1776, he would have strongly supported the British and blamed George Washington for terrorism and anarchy.

      Bundy? Or Harry?

  16. I find myself not giving a shit if Bundy must pay the government vig, his cattle are returned or the fucking turtle lives or dies.
    I’m simply grateful for the amusement witnessing the Stasi pucker strings twitch after stealing glances at the cowboy snipers in place on that overpass. The value of the Bundy standoff is the confidence shown by the protesters that proved snapping dogs and Taser wires can be overcome by the oppressed, if even for a short while.
    Now, if this attitude sparks a national interest in sniper rifles, RPG’s and knowledge of IEDs we may turn a corner and induce a bit of government caution.

    1. Yes, there is a simple value in having even kooky armed groups…they keep the feds in check.

      The feds think twice before doing something naked.

  17. if you go to the wikipedia pages, the BLM page has less content than the Bundy Ranch Standoff page. Gee, I wonder why?

  18. Sorry, Brian. Someone who was a true outdoorsman once summed up the Bundy’s of world perfectly:

    “Western cattlemen are nothing more than welfare parasites. They’ve been getting a free ride on the public lands for over a century, and I think it’s time we phased it out. I’m in favor or putting the public lands livestock grazers out of business.”

    -Edward Abbey

    Parasite…the perfect word for Bundy.

    1. OK, then sell the land.

      See who comes to buy it.

      Maybe it will be condo developers, or solar plants, or the greens, or maybe ranchers.

      Also, seriously, they just drive cattle these empty tracks to eat the grass.

      They aren’t like Rangel living in rent-controlled apartments.

      1. So your outrage over welfare is just selective. A rent controlled apartment is a rent controlled apartment. Anyone who took advantage of them didn’t create the law.

        Using someone else’s land for your own purposes is theft, and in this case it was land owned by all of us. You want to use it? Pay the fee like other cattlemen do.

        Who says you have to sell it? Does every piece of land have to be used for profit? There goes Estes National Park.

        1. LOL “there goes Estes Park”. 62% of Alaska is federally owned, as is 47% of the 11 coterminous western states. By contrast, the federal government owns
          only 4% of lands in the other states. The federal government owns fully 28% of the land mass of the entire US. Estes Park indeed. Cut out your meager Estes Parks and cede ownership of the rest to the individual states for whatever use they determine you statist fuck.

        2. Using someone else’s land for your own purposes is theft, and in this case it was land owned by all of us. You want to use it? Pay the fee like other cattlemen do.

          If the land is owned by all of us, then he wasn’t using someone else’s land but using his own. Why should he have to pay others to use his own land? Why is it everyone is considered to be part of the public or society except when it’s some poor schmuck everyone else wants to fuck over?

    2. The Anarchist Park Ranger?

  19. I can’t but think of the scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader menacingly proclaims “I have altered the agreement, pray that I do not alter it more”.

  20. So after these politicians go home, we’ll be able to homestead and acquire land through voluntary agreements (sales) and so on. Right now individuals do not own their land through allodial title, but rather rent it from the government. Someone who “owns” land and loses their job will find armed individuals ready to take it from them when they are no longer able to pay the state extortion rates.

    Oh but ROADZ!!! And FAARE SERVISSSS and Da POLEESE!!!!!!

    Keep em, I’d rather free individuals in a market capable of economizing provide those services and be held accountable immediately.

  21. The BLM has done nothing but try to put the man out of business, as it did with the other ranchers in the same area – an area no one on the fucking planet except for Bundy wants to be, and certainly not the blue suits in Washington DC. For the pleasure of being put out of business, the BLM demanded he pay them fees. Why would he want to pay them for that? While the BLM is technically correct on the law, the problem is the law as well as the heavy handed and arbitrary manner in which the federal government chooses to enforce it.

    Bundy may not the most righteous of characters, but he is certainly helping shine some light on the underbelly of federal government action. Hopefully, as a result, there will be some change for the better.

    Also, to paraphrase what Glenn Reynolds wrote the other day, it’s probably better to be wrong with Cliven Bundy, than right with Harry Reid.

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