Pointing Fingers in the #BundyRanch affair

A fellow over at the New York Times has penned the ultimate elite-progressive reaction to the Cliven Bundy story.

Imagine a vendor on the National Mall, selling burgers and dogs, who hasn’t paid his rent in 20 years. He refuses to recognize his landlord, the National Park Service, as a legitimate authority. Every court has ruled against him, and fines have piled up. What’s more, the effluents from his food cart are having a detrimental effect on the spring grass in the capital.

Would an armed posse come to his defense, aiming their guns at the park police? Would the lawbreaker get prime airtime on Fox News, breathless updates in the Drudge Report, a sympathetic ear from Tea Party Republicans? No, of course not.

So what’s the difference between the fictional loser and Cliven Bundy, the rancher in Nevada who owes the government about $1 million and has been grazing his cattle on public land for more than 20 years? Near as I can tell, one wears a cowboy hat.

And he’s right that it is expected behavior for citizens to hand over their government’s requests for taxes. That’s been true since collective effort was invented.

But there are some significant differences in the fictional loser and the Bundy family.

I have written about how federal government land mismanagement has caused the Bundy Ranch seizure, even before we started hearing about the Bundys on Fox.

Bundy stopped paying his extra BLM fees after he was ordered to cripple his business to protect the Desert Tortoise. The Desert Tortoise is getting thin because the federal government started protecting its primary predator in 1971. That animal, the raven, was never endangered. But with the extra protection of Uncle Sam, populations skyrocketed. Of course, so did raven predation on the tortoise. I feel the Bundys’ frustration.

The BLM took the matter to BLM court, which found the BLM acted in accordance with congressional instructions. Bundy appealed, and the appeals court ruled with the BLM. So Bundy owes the money.  The BLM should put a lien on his bank account, just like the IRS does. The shock troop assemblage is because the new BLM director seems to be a political operative.

And so, you have a completely legal process resulting in an outcome that just doesn’t make any sense. It does not make sense for the Bundys to have to cripple their operation to boost Desert Tortoise populations when the sensible (and natural) course has been interrupted by politicians, creating the problem Bundy has to change to accommodate.

So, the “fictional loser” is told he can only sell apples, even to people who had been buying a burger or dog every day from his cart since his grandfather started it. And, in dispute, he stopped paying his rent. That would be a difference, cast in the same allegory as the elite-progressives created. It doesn’t excuse running cattle without paying your grazing fees, but it seems a pretty important fact.

And the hat.

Oh, by the way, the snipe at the end of the first paragraph:

What’s more, the effluents from his food cart are having a detrimental effect on the spring grass in the capital.

Not sure what he’s exactly alluding to here. But I do not believe cattle gas is tipping the balance in the Sun’s long journey to supernova. Buffalo probably had gas too.

There’s a group that wants to remove cattle from the range so as to return the range to its “natural” state.  I am not compelled by that argument, as its’ immediately prior state had it grazed by large herds of wild buffalo, elk, deer and other grazing herbivores that would be hard to find today. Not to mention a large indigenous human population lost to disease and, in the end, conquest. For that matter, recently enough to leave evidence, previous “natural” states have included glacial cover in some areas, and deserts teeming with dinosaurs in others. Which previous state will be selected?

There’s another group passing around photos of overgrazed land, who think cattle should be eliminated because of them. I believe ranchers who overgraze their herds go out of business quickly, and that competent ranchers do not overgraze land. Further, it makes sense to me that grazing can reduce wildfires, which have grown quite expensive recently.

Some say humans should not eat meat. I see this as a matter of personal choice, and do not support compulsory vegetarianism.

Maybe this one is concerned about cow poop getting into the water supply?

Leave a Reply