The Case of Cliven Bundy

By Beacon Staff
By Joe Carbonari

Apparently Cliven Bundy didn’t like the changes that time was bringing to his piece of Nevada, so he decided to resist some of those changes. Specifically, he objected to the federal government telling him what he could and couldn’t do as regards to running cattle on the public lands where his family was accustomed to grazing their herds and earning their living. He refused to pay for that privilege, or to observe the restrictions that those charged with the stewardship of “his” public lands, felt necessary and appropriate.

When taken to court over the issues involved, he lost, more than once. He did not, however, remove his cattle from the land, or pay the fees and fines as determined by the courts involved.

His full thought processes remain his own, though he is quoted as saying, “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.” This, along with his actions, suggests to me that his logic is at least suspect, and that his conclusions are definitely out of the mainstream. Nonetheless, the events that he has precipitated have, unfortunately, become a “cause celebre” in the minds of many activist libertarians and the more militia-inclined.

He has attracted many well-intentioned “defenders of liberty” to his cause. Hopefully, they will take care lest their enthusiasm outweigh their good sense.

By Tim Baldwin

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy refuses to pay federal money judgments, which were entered because he has not paid cattle grazing fees to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). His reason: He claims the Constitution does not give Congress the power to own public land within a state.

A long history of federal court rulings contradicts Bundy’s position. Still, Bundy stuck to his “guns” and refused to pay the judgment. So, instead of proceeding through civil collection, BLM raided his ranch and took and killed his cows. Actually, it looked more like a military invasion of a terrorist cell.

Hundreds of Americans learned of BLM’s actions and traveled to Bundy’s ranch in protest. The BLM, with their camo, guns and gear more than interfered with the protester’s First Amendment rights of association, speech and peaceful redress. The protester’s efforts worked, however, as BLM ceased its raid.

BLM had over 200 agents surround Bundy’s ranch, including snipers. Sean Hannity observed, “We don’t even secure our border anywhere near this way.” More than that, history proves, unelected bureaucracies with the power to enforce law through force is dangerous to liberty and contrary to a democratic-republic.

Congress must prevent the bureaucracies it creates from forming and using armies to enforce money judgments against American citizens, and Americans need to pay attention.

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