There’s always more to say when our freedoms are being forfeited.
Were the events at the Bundy Ranch newsworthy? Will whatever happens when the Feds return en masse be newsworthy? Is anything newsworthy that casts overreach by the Obama Government in a bright but foul light? Government by Executive Decree? President Obama’s history and His associates? Benghazi? IRS targeting of conservatives? Ho hum. How about some real news instead: Hillary Clinton’s daughter’s pregnancy? Mrs. Obama’s vegetable garden? Well of course that’s, like, I mean, totally newsworthy.
Two new articles expand on the subject of my Sunday afternoon essay titled The United States of Obama increasingly rejects freedom, domestically and internationally. First, there’s an article by John W. Whitehead of The Rutherford Institute titled The Bundy Paradigm: Will You Be a Rebel, Revolutionary or a Slave? This quote from John F. Kennedy appears at the top of the article:
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible
will make violent revolution inevitable.
Here’s an excerpt from the article.
Those tempted to write off the standoff at the Bundy Ranch as little more than a show of force by militia-minded citizens would do well to reconsider their easy dismissal of this brewing rebellion. This goes far beyond concerns about grazing rights or the tension between the state and the federal government.
. . . .
What we’re really faced with, and what we’ll see more of before long, is a growing dissatisfaction with the government and its heavy-handed tactics by people who are tired of being used and abused and are ready to say “enough is enough.” And it won’t matter what the issue is — whether it’s a rancher standing his ground over grazing rights, a minister jailed for holding a Bible study in his own home, or a community outraged over police shootings of unarmed citizens — these are the building blocks of a political powder keg. Now all that remains is a spark, and it need not be a very big one, to set the whole powder keg aflame. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
When law enforcement officials — not just the police, but every agent of the government entrusted with enforcing laws, from the president on down — are allowed to discard the law when convenient, and the only ones having to obey the law are the citizenry and not the enforcers, then the law becomes only a tool to punish us, rather than binding and controlling the government, as it was intended. [Emphasis added.]
This phenomenon is what philosopher Abraham Kaplan referred to as the law of the instrument, which essentially says that to a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In the scenario that has been playing out in recent years, we the citizenry have become the nails to be hammered by the government’s henchmen, a.k.a. its guns for hire, a.k.a. its standing army, a.k.a. the nation’s law enforcement agencies.
Indeed, there can no longer be any doubt that militarized police officers, the end product of the government — federal, local and state — and law enforcement agencies having merged, have become a “standing” or permanent army, composed of full-time professional soldiers who do not disband. Yet these permanent armies are exactly what those who drafted the U.S. Constitution feared as tools used by despotic governments to wage war against its citizens.
That is exactly what we are witnessing today: a war against the American citizenry. Is it any wonder then that Americans are starting to resist? [Emphasis added.]
More and more, Americans are tired, frustrated, anxious, and worried about the state of their country. They are afraid of an increasingly violent and oppressive federal government, and they are worried about the economic insecurity which still grips the nation. And they’re growing increasingly sick of being treated like suspects and criminals. As former law professor John Baker, who has studied the growing problem of overcriminalization, noted, “There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime. That is not an exaggeration.” [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
Unfortunately, the intrepid, revolutionary American spirit that stood up to the British, blazed paths to the western territories, and prevailed despite a civil war, multiple world wars, and various economic depressions has taken quite a beating in recent years. Nevertheless, the time is coming when each American will have to decide: will you be a slave, rebel or revolutionary? [Emphasis added.]
Mr. Whitehead also observes,
[I]n 2009, the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama issued its infamous reports on Rightwing and Leftwing “Extremism.” According to these reports, an extremist is defined as anyone who subscribes to a particular political viewpoint. Rightwing extremists, for example, are broadly defined in the report as individuals and groups “that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.”
Despite “no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence,” the DHS listed a number of scenarios that could arise as a result of so-called rightwing extremists playing on the public’s fears and discontent over various issues, including the economic downturn, real estate foreclosures and unemployment.
Equally disconcerting, the reports use the words “terrorist” and “extremist” interchangeably. In other words, voicing what the government would consider to be extremist viewpoints is tantamount to being a terrorist. Under such a definition, I could very well be considered a terrorist. So too could John Lennon, Martin Luther King Jr., Roger Baldwin (founder of the ACLU), Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams—all of these men protested and passionately spoke out against government practices with which they disagreed and would be prime targets under this document. [Emphasis added.]
Vast right-wing conspiracy nonsense?
Or is it a candid recognition that “our” Government has grown far too powerful and perniciously active in opposing non-establishment views? In the prevailing Government view, only the Government — acting through its unelected (and probably unelectable) bureaucrats — can violate with impunity the laws it imposes on us. We lesser folk must sit down, shut up, and stop doing whatever we are told to stop, whenever we are told to do so, regardless of the legality and/or morality of what we say and do.
If we rejected leftist dissent and sought to have it punished criminally, wouldn’t we also be rejecting our own dissent and enabling the Government to punish it criminally as well? When those on the left reject our dissent and seek to have it punished criminally, aren’t they doing that? I disagree with much claimed and demanded by the left. Does that mean that I should try to have them silenced and sent to jail? No, and that rarely happens these days. Those on the right are “targeted.”
Martin Luther King, Jr., a criminal because he opposed and violated segregation laws, is now revered as an icon of the civil rights movement. Rosa Parks, also a criminal because she opposed and violated segregation laws, is also an icon of the civil rights movement now.
On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake‘s order that she give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps, including Irene Morgan in 1946, Sarah Louise Keys in 1955, and the members of the Browder v. Gayle lawsuit (Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith) were arrested months before Parks. NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws though eventually her case became bogged down in the state courts.
Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery Bus Boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement.
President Obama pretending to be Rosa Parks.
Perhaps some fine day Mr. Bundy and his “accomplices” will be similarly feted. At my age I am unlikely to see it, but some day it may happen. If and when it does, it will be due to a “radical transformation” of the United States entirely unlike the transformation about which President Obama brags.
The other pertinent article that I noticed today is by Victor Davis Hanson, writing at PJ Media in an article titled Cliven Bundy and the Rural Way. He takes a similar but different approach and appears to arrive at a more pessimistic conclusion than does Mr. Whitehead.
In a practical sense, I . . . know that if I were to burn brush on a no-burn day, or toss an empty pesticide container in the garbage bin, or shoot a coyote too near the road, I would incur the wrath of the government in a way someone does not who dumps a stripped stolen auto (two weeks ago) in my vineyard, or solvents, oil, and glass (a few months ago), or rips out copper wire from the pump for the third time (last year). Living in a Winnebago with a porta-potty and exposed Romex in violation of zoning statutes for many is not quite breaking the law where I live; having a mailbox five inches too high for some others certainly is. [Emphasis added.]
So Mr. Bundy must realize that in about 1990 we decided to focus on the misdemeanor of the law-abiding citizen and to ignore the felony of the lawbreaker. The former gave law enforcement respect; the latter ignored their authority. The first made or at least did not cost enforcers money; arresting the second began a money-losing odyssey of incarceration, trials, lawyers, appeals, and all the rest. [Emphasis added.]
Mr. Bundy knows that the bullies of the BLM would much rather send a SWAT team after him than after 50 illegal aliens being smuggled by a gun-toting cartel across the southwestern desert. How strange, then, at this late postmodern date, for someone like Bundy on his horse still to be playing the law-breaking maverick Jack Burns (Kirk Douglas) in (the David Miller, Dalton Trumbo, Edward Abbey effort) Lonely Are the Brave. [Emphasis added.]
But the interest in Mr. Bundy’s case is not about legal strategies in revolving fiscal disagreements with the federal government.
. . . .
[A] few thousands unelected employees — in the BLM, EPA, Defense Department, and other alphabet soup agencies — can pretty much do what they want on the land they control. And note, this is not quite the case in Silicon Valley or Manhattan or Laguna Beach. The danger can be summed up by a scene I see about once a month on a Fresno freeway: a decrepit truck stopped by the California Highway Patrol for having inadequate tarps on a trailer of green clippings, just as a new city garbage truck speeds by, with wet garbage flying over the median. Who will police the police? [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
[T]his administration has a long record of not following the law — picking and choosing when and how to enforce immigration statutes, depending on the particular dynamics of the next election; picking and choosing which elements of Obamacare to enforce, again depending on perceived political advantage; and picking and choosing when to go after coal companies, or when not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, or when to reverse the order of the Chrysler creditors, or when to allow Lois Lerner to destroy the credibility of the IRS for partisan advantage. [Emphasis added.]
In other words, the Obama administration regularly breaks the law as it sees fit.
. . . .
Bundy, for all his contradictions, is a throwback to a different age.
. . . .
To understand Bundy’s fatalism is to appreciate the rural way and its polite contempt for the softer world of the city and the mush that now passes for making it. Losing nobly was preferable to winning badly . . . .
So we are not threatened by the likes of Cliven Bundy. Instead, the scary lawlessness extends to the bureaucracy itself, given that under Obama the government is becoming tainted and an ideological tool of social transformation. After just six years, we shrug that, of course, the IRS is biased. The Justice Department is politicized; ask Dinesh D’Souza or the AP reporters. No need to mention the NSA. The EPA makes laws up as ideologically required. No one believes the State Department that in the weeks before the election a video-caused “riot” led to expert jihadists zeroing in with their GPS-guided mortars on a CIA annex in Benghazi. And so on.
Bundy is just different from what is now America — he looks different, talks differently, and dresses differently. These are the superficial veneers to someone who lives mostly through different premises from those of Pajama Boy nation, the world of Jay Carney and his cute Stalinist posters, the cosmos of Anita Dunn and her Mao gushes, or the metrosexual networking that is the gospel of Silicon Valley or the DC beltway. Few of us rely on human muscle anymore to survive one more day. Fewer of those who do combine that with horse-power, and its world of leather and wood and rope. Bundy is self-employed, without an SEIU union, a PERS pension, or a GS-15 health plan.
Given all that, I suggest Cliven Bundy is far more endangered than is the desert tortoise, and that his kind will be gone shortly in a way the federally protected tarantula and Gila monster or delta smelt will not. He, not they, is in the federal crosshairs. So, yes, I can make some allowances for the nihilism of Cliven Bundy. We could not live in a modern, high-tech world only of Cliven Bundys, but perhaps we cannot live in a world without a few of them now and then to remind us of what we have become. [Emphasis added.]
. . . .
Mr. Bundy is no Rahm Emanuel, Al Gore, or Jay Carney. He is no Jay-Z or Sean Penn. He is a world away from the Kardashians and the BMW meets Mercedes crowd of the California coastal corridor or the psychodramas of brats at Dartmouth. Bundy does not have the white privilege that those who have it — mostly liberal, wealthy, and seeking an apartheid existence — damn in others. [Emphasis added.]
Money is not Bundy’s point. Pleasing Harry Reid or the federal bureaucracy is not either. Making a living from the scrub of a desert by providing people good food probably is.
Grant him that. He’s our past, Harry Reid and the bunch in Washington our future. To paraphrase the ancients, sometimes we’d rather be wrong with Cliven Bundy than right with Harry Reid — and the SWAT teams that will revisit Mr. Bundy and his clan very, very soon to enforce a dispute over grazing fees and insensitivity to a tortoise. [Emphasis added.]
Are Mr. Bundy and his ilk only relics of our past soon to be gone and forgotten, while “Harry Reid and the bunch in Washington” are our future? Not if we have enough to say, and to do, about it. We need the Bundys, and the remaining individuals like them, to remind us of what we are losing and have lost. And maybe, just maybe, to help us regain some of it.
These criminals were violent “terrorists” and “extremists,” behaving as they did realizing that they would face death. They tried to help Ireland get her freedom and many were hung or shot for their crimes.
They still hold a place of honor in Irish hearts. Mr. Bundy and his “accomplices” have not responded violently to governmental oppression but nevertheless faced the possibility of violent death. Will history remember them? How? It all depends on who writes the history. I hope it isn’t these people:
Maybe this gentleman will write some of our history. Can we — will we — try to arrange it?