When Glenn Beck is Now the Voice of Reason…

When Glenn Beck is Now the Voice of Reason… April 23, 2014

…you are officially crazy:

Amazing to hear Catholics who should know better running around with their hair on fire and talking as though this scofflaw is somehow justified in threatening to kill people if he doesn’t get what two courts have denied him. Actually had a prolifer say, “Violating the fifth commandment? Is that all you’ve got?” Used to be that violating the fifth commandment was kind of important to prolifers. But when some guy in a cowboy hat wraps himself in a flag, the conservative anti-charism of discernment kicks in and people suddenly imagine that we are on the brink of the Holocaust (One guy seriously wrote “First they came for the rancher and I said nothing”) and they are Minutemen and Sons of Liberty. Nope. You’re suckers who have gotten all your civics and moral formation from Talk Radio and Right Wing websites instead of from the Church. I never thought I’d hear myself saying it, but put down the bong and listen to Glenn Beck. There are all sorts of problems with our overweening state. Choosing to back *this* scofflaw is the exact worst way to address every single one of them.

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  • JM1001

    Actually, my favorite part of the video is the joke about Cartesian skepticism. Did not see that coming. As a lover of philosophy, now that made me laugh.

  • Dave G.

    I think one can disagree with what this fellow did and still focus on the federal government overreaching. Though in fairness, I don’t know enough details to really judge either way. But it’s sort of like Boston last year. Nobody said the Boston bombers were no big deal (well, actually yes, some did). But most didn’t. Still many concluded that law enforcement had overstepped its bounds. Same here. Just because some conservatives go overboard, or the rancher was also wrong, that doesn’t mean we should just walk away and lose focus on the same drum we’ve been beating over any one of a hundred other cases of government overreach the last few years. Nor is that what either Beck or Carlson seem to be saying. Which might actually be the best lesson to take from this.

  • Dan C

    “Put down the bong and listen to Glenn Beck.” I challenge anyone to find that combination of words.

    • chezami

      It was a fun sentence to write.

  • Eve Fisher

    It’s always amazing what’s seen as governmental overreach in certain circles: this guy’s a hero for freedom because he doesn’t want to pay the government – despite signing a legally binding contract – for renting the land to feed his cattle. Aaarrghhhh! But it was just fine for the Governor of Nebraska to pass a law giving Keystone Pipeline (a foreign corporation) eminent domain over ranchers’ and farmers’ lands because jobs! energy! (neither of which Keystone will provide). Lancaster County Judge Stacy overturned the law as unconstitutional, and I am sure that she is still being vilified for it in some circles.

  • Dan C

    “Wrapped himself in a flag.” But at the same time he rejects the existence of the entity signifed by that flag.

    Which is a common problem.

  • Jonk

    I take it the fact that his family has owned the property for generations, in agreement with government stating that whatever land was required to support a herd with their water rights was theirs, so long as they kept it well and improved it, doesn’t matter.

    CST doesn’t have anything to say about property rights and families or anything.

    • Andy

      His family has been grazing their cattle on the land, but it belongs to the federal government and Mr. Bundy signed a contract agreeing to pay for the grazing rights. He stopped payment many years ago and recently the BLM decided to do something about it.
      This is not about family property rights – it has to do with contracts and meeting one’s obligations. It could also be about how much land the federal government controls in the west, but an armed confrontation is hardly the way to pursue that issue.

      • Jonk

        The way the process worked back in the day was based on the homesteading principle: You have X water rights for your uses, include raising a herd. Whatever land and groundcover you need to feed and shelter that herd is also yours, so long as you continue to use the water/land/grass, care for it, and improve it as necessary. The end.

        Later, the feds came along, and took a small fee for access roads and such. Then they started shrinking the allowable herds, because abandoned land is way better than grass-fed beef. Finally, they stopped improving the land, kept taking the “fees,” and considered it rent.

        Basically, the feds took what land had been given to the ranchers a century before. Most ranchers give up. Some fight it. It’s happening all over, and there have been court cases to that effect. If ranchers can prove continual use of the land, in most cases the courts say it’s theirs. (Well, in practice, the feds have already taken everything, and the courts say the feds have to pay for the takings.)

        It’s only the land of the feds because they altered the deal, and continue to alter it further. And because they have the Stormtroopers, it sticks.

        • kenofken

          Unless they had clear title to that land, it was never theirs and therefore was not “taken away.” They may have been granted certain uses of it by custom or policy. You might allow your neighbor to park on part of your lawn every year for family reunions. That doesn’t grant him rights in perpetuity to do whatever he wants with your land and assert ownership rights over it.

          The use of allusions to “stormtroopers” shows how batshit delusional and melodramatic our civic environment has become. The Nazis didn’t back off from a fight with horse soldiers over concern for innocent lives, and they sure as hell didn’t give anyone 20 years of forbearance before enforcing their rule. The real SS would have killed Bundy and his entire clan, and the turnaround time would have been 20 minutes, not 20 years.

          • Jonk

            If you let your neighbor, even tacitly, use your driveway, eventually it becomes his, written agreement or not. In this case, it wasn’t so much a deed as a law directing folks to use the land and be fruitful, just as the government did with every other western state.

            Also, I think you meant “allusion,” though you seem to have missed the actual one: the mention of “altering the deal” lead to the allusion to white-suited stormtroopers who can’t shoot for anything.

        • Andy

          Mr. Bundy lost his court case dealing with this. Therein lies the problem.

          • kenofken

            Ah yes. But after taking advantage of the federal court process which might have produced victory for him, he remembered, just about the time he lost – that the federal government never was a legal authority anyway. Doesn’t even exist, in fact.

          • Jonk

            So did Dred Scott. You’ll forgive me for not bowing and scraping for them, especially whenever a federal court protects federal interests.

            • Andy

              Perhaps if Mr. Bundy was enslaved citing Dred Scott would make sense – Mr. Bundy is hardly a slave nor is he a representative of anything or anyone other than a spoiled person who wants his own way.
              So don’t bow to the federal courts, but don’t compare him to a slave

              • Jonk

                He’s a property owner having his property taken away by the state. If anyone was acting spoiled, I’d say it was the BLM folks who slaughtered cattle by the dozens, and tazed and sicced dogs on people in a “First Amendment Zone.”

                But it’s clear that property rights, personal safety, and freedom of speech aren’t very popular around these parts.

                • Andy

                  I find it interesting – moves from being like Dred Scott to a property owner – except the property he claimed he didn’t own – he leased it. Your logic and sources for your rhetoric display why it is hard to take libertarian claims seriously – when all else fails make it big, claim government thugs and thievery and forget facts. Enjoy the dream.

                  • Jonk

                    More like if the Court ruling that Dred Scott was a slave won’t convince people to view their black-robed high priests as anything but infallible, nothing will.

                    The history of western land distribution was based on homesteading and productive use. Then the Feds decided that they wanted it back. There is precedent invalidating government claims if continuous ownership is proven.

                    Hate to say it, but sometimes governments get greedy and take stuff.

            • chezami

              The Nuremburg Laws were legal, the Fugitive Slave Act was legal, Apartheid was legal, and my speeding ticket for doing 80 in a school zone is “legal”. By refusing to pay it and threatening to shoot anybody who tries to make me, I am assuming the mantle of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Because HITLER!!!!

              This sort of lunacy is why libertarian heretics can’t have nice things.

              • Jonk

                Heaven forbid that people actually view the law and the state skeptically. It’s not like they killed 260 million people in the last century or anything.

    • IRVCath

      Strictly speaking, the property was not his. He was a tenant by contract on Uncle Sam’s property. He failed to pay rent on it. Now, in the Western states, you do have a grace period in which they can’t kick you off the property for a while, but certainly not twenty years.

      CST would protect tenants, yes – but not to the extent of letting them stay there rent-free for twenty years without at least some penalty.

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    I can’t help thinking that a protest without guns might have made a better point.

  • Jane Jimenez

    In Arizona most of our land is federal, state or Indian land, and we are expected to honor the terms of our leases and pay our taxes. If you have a problem with the government, address it. Don’t solve one problem by creating another. I never thought I would laugh at a single comment of Jon Stewart…I couldn’t stop laughing at this. Thanks goodness for people who can meet the insanity of someone like Bundy with the insanity of comedy! Hate to think I might agree with Stewart again in 2014…but it might happen.

  • Dave G.

    Wow, having looked around to find out more about this, all I can say is thank goodness for the federal government that the rancher didn’t kill three innocent people and maim dozens of others. Then we’d have to ignore his crimes and focus on the overreaching of the government and law enforcement. But as it is, we can turn our attention entirely on the unspeakable crimes he’s committed, and all but dismiss concern about government overreach since, I guess, that’s now no longer a big concern? Boy I love following issues in the post-modern internet age.

  • Michaelus

    Right – except that in 1993 the BLM stopped issuing permits for the land. Bundy should have shut up, slaughtered his herd and applied for some farm aid.

  • Nathaniel

    The right loves its welfare queens, so long as those queens are rural and white. Cowboy hat being a special bonus.

  • kirthigdon

    Jonk gives some good historical background. In a way this reminds me of the various enclosure of the commons laws, used in England to drive poor rural Catholics off the land for the benefit of Protestant merchants and industrialists. That said, anyone who shows up armed for a confrontation with American LE or military is a fool. The US regime is the most powerful in the history of the world and increasingly violence prone. A more powerful weapon for dissidents is to bring camera phones and upload as many videos to youtube as you can.

    Kirt Higdon

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Because Americans have the attention spans of gnats, you get the kind of drivel found in these comment boxes. Because Americans think anything they can take by force is legitimately theirs, you get a small army herding cattle for execution. Because Americans just love swindling foreigners of their wealth you get senators colluding with Chinese business interests to dispossess food producers.

    And because Americans are cowards with a few powerful toys you get a Russian Ukraine.

    Makes me wish we had a few hundred more Indians. We could probably drive the lot of the bastards back into the Atlantic before Glee sees its finale.

    • kenofken

      I was mulling over that very point. If previous use of land is justification for asserting control over it by force of arms, Bundy’s claim rests on about 60 years of documented use. Indians trump that by what? Two zeroes and some multiple of that number. I wonder if this redneck freedom army would have been on board with “sovereignty” then?

      • PalaceGuard

        And we could always dispossess the Athabaskan Navajo and Apache peoples who invaded the lands of the ancestors of the Pueblo peoples and the Tohono O’odham peoples a scant few centuries before the Spanish. OTOH, if the Solutreans did actually make it across the Atlantic to the eastern seaboard first, then the continent DOES belong to us European usurping upstarts in the first place. And so on, ad infinitum.

    • Dave G.

      Wow, we haven’t had that spirit here since 1169. Maybe we’ll have a crusade soon to see it through. Nice to see Mark’s blog has become such a welcoming atmosphere for this attitude.

    • Rebecca Fuentes

      Team up with the Hispanics–these same people probably think illegal immigration is the ultimate downfall of the US anyway.

    • Michael Lynch

      “Makes me wish we had a few hundred more Indians. We could probably drive the lot of the bastards back into the Atlantic before Glee sees its finale.”

      It didn’t work in 1622; it’s probably not going to work now.

  • kenofken

    Cliven Bundy and his supporters, at least those who came in arms, are straight-up thugs, and people who make heroes out of thugs will get exactly the society they deserve when their value system takes hold. It won’t look look like some idyllic vision of Free America. It will look and work like tribal Pakistan, most of Africa and the former Soviet republics. Pure warlordism, mafia captalism and a government that rules exclusively by force and doesn’t even make a pretense of the rule of law or accountability to citizens. If you think the average man can’t get a fair shake from the 1 percenters here and now, go spend a year in one of these places and see how most people live out their lives (all 50 years, on the long side).

    The message Bundy’s actions, and those of thug regimes everywhere, is that only chumps and those without the capacity or stomach to kill have to play by the rules. He isn’t some man of principle who stood his ground when no other recourse was available. He acknowledged the legitimacy of the law by following it for years, pursued his claims in courts of law which afforded him due process, and when that didn’t work, made his appeal to violence. This is the bedrock principle of the militia/libertarian/Tea Party movement. Any government which does not agree unconditionally to their demands is illegitimate on its face, and can be overruled by the gun at any time.

    Bundy’s legal theory is “I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.” He recognized it when it suited his ends. If the federal government dissolved itself or withdrew to the confines of D.C. tomorrow, does anyone seriously believe guys like Bundy would lay their threats and weapons down? I’d bet the dollar value of his herd that the state or local governments would find themselves “illegitimate” the first time they enforced some law he didn’t like.

  • Pete the Greek

    This guy has an interesting view on it.

    Realized that lots of people would probably be seeing this at work, and perhaps like my main job, they don’t allow youtube access.

    Long and short of it: Bundy himself is acting like a welfare queen. He’s trying to make money without paying his dues. However, the way the feds handled the response was totally wrong.