Even among some Tea Party types, there are voices who are saying Cliven Bundy is just a free-loading, renegade rancher who should have been paying the fees to the feds for these last couple of decades, for his herds’ foraging around on “federal lands.” They say Bundy is flat-out wrong in the showdown with the Bureau of Land Management. Such commenters miss an all-important point when arguing about who really owns the Nevada territory in question, who has jurisdiction over it, the right to use it, to demand payment for use, and so on.
In the paragraphs which follow, I will lay out the case that although might does not necessarily make “right,” the prevalence of stealth and superior physical force in acquiring, administering, and defending territory is and has always been the way of the world since time immemorial. To think that preceding tribal prerogatives, treaties, or modern legal arguments can or will ever change this fact is quite naive.
The most strident Bundy-bashers insist that the federal government has a clear-cut case against Bundy, and they point to the fact that multiple courts have already ruled against him–just who does he think he is, anyway, to think he can just skip out on paying twenty years’ worth of grazing fees to a *cough* “legitimate” government administration? Where does the Bundy family get off, rallying these heavily-armed militia types from all over the country to help them defy the feds when the heat comes down?
Well, I ask, in reply–just who did the Sons of Liberty think they were, when in 1773 they conducted a blatantly illegal midnight raid in Boston harbor, boarding ships disguised as Indians and dumping loads and loads of a shipment of tea overboard, in their now-legendary political protest against what they saw as a tyrannical government; a daring act of violence against property which helped spark the American Revolution?
Americans have traditionally seen that episode in our nation’s history, the Boston Tea Party, along with other famous protests and the bloody war which ensued, as an heroic struggle of defiance against corrupt authority, ushering in an unprecedented age of human experience: The birth of a new country and a new society in which government power–with its tendency to grow, encroach, and abuse–is held in check by citizens (instead of the other way around), and based on carefully written documents spelling out the paramount rights of individuals and the specific, strictly limited role and powers of government.
However, before our early leaders could finally, formally codify all of the ideas and principles upon which America was founded into systematized law and courts and agencies–they first had to sneak around, plotting and conspiring against the royal British colonial government, and then they had to openly confront and kill as many of the king’s warriors on the battlefield as necessary to obtain Cornwallis’ surrender, to be able to ultimately say, with triumphant confidence, that the territory “belonged” to the United States of America–not to the crown.
Oh yes, and before that, European explorers and pioneers and settlers and armies had to first cross the ocean and “steal” the land, as conquerors, from the Indians, or Native Americans, aboriginals, redskins or whatever we are to call them. I mean the tribes of once-migratory nations who had also “stolen” this land from whichever tribes held it or used it before them, those wandering tribes having defeated prior tribes, and down through the ages.
By the way, paleface and non-paleface readers, did you know that there’s fairly recent, good archaeological evidence (Google “Solutrean hypothesis”) that white people populated this continent centuries before the so-called “Indians” did, but that those old honkies were eventually genocided out of existence here by later invading tribes of non-whites? Kind of like what’s happening now, with La Reconquista, AZTLAN…”history repeats,” as they say…
I wonder if any of those who say Bundy is wrong for not paying to use property they say doesn’t belong to him, would also look back throughout history and declare all of our civilization’s explorers, pioneers, conquerors, rebel armies, and founding fathers as more or less equally wrong? What about the Israelis, who founded and won their Zionist homeland through incredible feats of agricultural reclamation and all-out battle against foes who insisted (and still insist) that the territory was/is really theirs?
What about the Falkland Islands? What about Ukraine? Cyprus? Taiwan? East Germany, The Balkans, Kurdistan, Armenia, Tibet, Kashmir, Northern Ireland, Kuwait? Grenada? Those examples are just some of the more modern ones; never mind the centuries and centuries of Thermopylaes and Bunkervilles and Stalingrads and Viennas which came before, throughout the globe.
To the victor go the spoils.
There’s no real difference between the supporters of Cliven Bundy and the original Sons of Liberty of America’s founding at the Boston Tea Party (or at the Boston Massacre, or at Lexington Green)–none, that is, except in this case it’s the government, not the rebels, who are violently destroying property–killing Bundy’s cattle and dumping them in mass graves, whereas the Tea Partiers only dumped chests of tea into the harbor. And the feds have held their fire at Bunkerville. So far.
In common, the Sons of Liberty and Bundy’s supporters share an identical Declaration of Independence; specifically, the desire to live productively, free from oppressive micro-management by the dictates of distant, unelected bureaucrats and usurpers.
At the time of our Constitution’s ratification, the federal government was created by the several states to serve the individual states’ united interests–not the other way around. After the Civil War, which was yet another case of sheer, brutal and ruthless armed violent force determining the outcome of all-out conflict over territorial jurisdiction, the federal government obtained massive and heavy new powers over the states, under which the states have been chafing ever since.
My position is that if (and that’s a Mojave-sized if) Bundy and his supporters can successfully hold off the feds indefinitely, then what we are witnessing is the beginning of a bona-fide secession movement, not in theory but in actuality; secession from what even many of Bundy’s detractors acknowledge is in many respects an out-of-control, overreaching, and corrupt federal Leviathan.
If secession takes hold and spreads, we will see an outright revolution. I’m not saying I think it will happen, since the feds could squash it with enough ruthlessness, but who knows? Perhaps there simply aren’t enough willing corrupt-ocrats at the controls to put down the revolt, and ultimately, maybe the ranks of Obama’s minions contain enough “Oathkeeper” types to make revolution possible, given that such conscientious people find the movement sufficiently about more than mere turf to come along.
I wonder of what, who, and where, exactly, a new country on this continent would consist.