Skip to comments.Cliven Bundy got one thing right: His claim is absurd, but challenging property law is not
Posted on 04/21/2014 12:06:35 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
He may be a clown, but his actions raise a question: Who is the state to determine who gets to use what resources?
Clive Bundys property rights dispute with the federal government appears now to be over. For those unaware, basically this rancher wanted to graze cattle on federally owned land without paying the grazing fee, due to some strange legal theory that the land was really his. The spectacle generated an obscene amount of commentary to which I am guiltily adding here. I wouldnt be adding any commentary to it except that all of the analysis I read on it seems to have missed the mark.
More than anything else to have gotten this much attention in a long time, what the Bundy saga shows us is that property ownership is a purely governmental construct. The allocation of resources in this country is done by government-imposed institutions, most especially through the biggest government programs in history: property and contract law. At its root, the Bundy dispute is not about who owns the land. We already know who owns it because the law is pretty clear. It is about who gets to decide the question in the first place.
In essence, Bundys actions challenge everyone to ask themselves: Who is the state to determine who gets to use what resources? Or, alternatively, why should we think that the way the state has currently determined that question is the correct one?
Bundy is a clown whose particular pleas are totally unsympathetic, though his identity presentation triggers the right tribal signals, causing political blocs to churn in predictable ways. But the basic idea of challenging property laws in this way is not a new one and the question of how to create our scarcity allocation institutions is a perpetual one.
Before Bundy, for instance, we had the civil rights movement and its famed sit-ins. Among other things, those sit-ins were straightforwardly challenging the states construction of property law in such a way that empowers certain people to exclude others from places based upon their racist whims (whims that the state enforces with its police, as the sit-in participants experienced quite directly). More recently, efforts to prohibit anti-gay discrimination in public accommodations present a similar protest, arguing that our statist property law institutions should not operate so as to keep people out of certain places because of their sexual orientation.
These kinds of property law challenges even pop up in very mundane places. The New York Times reported in January of this year about a property law dispute between a McDonalds in Queens and a group of elderly people. The elderly people believed that they should be allowed to sit in the McDonalds for as long as they want, while the McDonalds proprietor thought they should be limited. The violent state made the property law decision that the elderly must go and have started to kick them out for staying too long. But, like Cliven Bundy, they are reported to be bucking the states property law institutions as best they can by leaving when the police force them to, circling the block, and then buying something else and sitting back down.
From Bundy, to sit-ins, to anti-discrimination battles, to elderly patrons who really want to hang out in McDonalds, these are all the same kind of dispute. The state creates laws that determine who can use what, when, where and how. And sometimes people disagree with those statist property laws and think they should be reconfigured along other lines.
The biggest mistake we can make when talking about these kinds of things is to act like the question of how to construct our scarcity allocation institutions is one of fact. Its not. Its not truly the case that Bundy is in the right or that the federal government is in the right, as if there is some kind of objective determination to be made on the matter. Who gets to use that land is totally made up and we can make it up however we want. The same is true over who gets to use any other piece of the world that resides within the borders of this nation.
Ultimately, I find Bundys claim wrong, not because it is against the law, but because Id much rather he pay rent on the land (which, by the way, nobody makes) than have him capture the unearned windfall of land rents at the expense of everyone else. But I applaud the basic idea that we should be rethinking our economic institutions and whether they are actually serving us the way they ought to. When 75 percent of the things in this country are controlled by 10 percent of the people, Id say they arent serving us well. And like Bundy, Id be up for some civil disobedience against the statist property institutions that create and enforce that disparity as well.
My take on the Bundy deal is that I don’t care if he was right or wrong,
the fedgov reaction was absolutely wrong, so he and the Patriots were right to stand up to them.
Well, this guy started out smart - he really did - then he swerved into a ditch. This is not at all like the issue of discrimminating against blacks or gays on one’s own property. Nope, sorry, that ain’t gonna fly.
But it is about the question of just WTF is the Fed doing owning and ruling one eighth of the country, and allowing Harry Reid to cut deals on that land, in the first place.
Mr. Bundy asked the government why he had to pay to graze his cattle if the drug traffickers and human traffickers can use the same federal property with immunity and at no charge. Good question!
This was posted elsewhere on FR, it is a good summation of why Bundy is not the clown liberals try to make him out to be. This was posted in the comments section of the link below.
Anyone confused about the reason the Bundy family and friends are taking the stand they are, below is a letter from Bundy’s neighbor. This should shed light on the CRAP the liberal marxist media is spewing out.
“There have been a lot of people criticizing Clive Bundy because he did not pay his grazing fees for 20 years. The public is also probably wondering why so many other cowboys are supporting Mr. Bundy even though they paid their fees and Clive did not. What you people probably do not realize is that on every ranchers grazing permit it says the following: You are authorized to make grazing use of the lands, under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management and covered by this grazing permit, upon your acceptance of the terms and conditions of this grazing permit and payment of grazing fees when due. The mandatory terms and conditions go on to list the allotment, the number and kind of livestock to be grazed, when the permit begins and ends, the number of active or suspended AUMs (animal units per month), etc.
The terms and conditions also list specific requirements such as where salt or mineral supplements can be located, maximum allowable use of forage levels (40% of annual growth), etc., and include a lot more stringent policies that must be adhered to. Every rancher must sign this contract agreeing to abide by the TERMS AND CONDITIONS before he or she can make payment. In the early 90s, the BLM went on a frenzy and drastically cut almost every ranchers permit because of this desert tortoise issue, even though all of us ranchers knew that cow and desert tortoise had co-existed for a hundred+ years. As an example, a family friend had his permit cut by 90%. For those of you who are non-ranchers, that would be equated to getting your paycheck cut 90%. In 1976 there were approximately 52 ranching permittees in this area of Nevada. Presently, there are 3.
Most of these people lost their livelihoods because of the actions of the BLM. Clive Bundy was one of these people who received extremely unfair and unreasonable TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Keep in mind that Mr. Bundy was required to sign this contract before he was allowed to pay. Had Clive signed on the dotted line, he would have, in essence, signed his very livelihood away. And so Mr. Bundy took a stand, not only for himself, but for all of us. He refused to be destroyed by a tyrannical federal entity and to have his American liberties and freedoms taken away.
Also keep in mind that all ranchers financially paid dearly for the forage rights those permits allow not rights to the land, but rights to use the forage that grows on that land. Many of these AUMS are water based, meaning that the rancher also has a vested right (state owned, not federal) to the waters that adjoin the lands and allow the livestock to drink. These water rights were also purchased at a great price. If a rancher cannot show beneficial use of the water (he must have the appropriate number of livestock that drinks and uses that water), then he loses that water right. Usually water rights and forage rights go hand in hand.
Contrary to what the BLM is telling you, they NEVER compensate a rancher for the AUMs they take away. Most times, they tell ranchers that their AUMS are suspended, but not removed. Unfortunately, my family has thousands of suspended AUMs that will probably never be returned. And so, even though these ranchers throughout the course of a hundred years invested thousands(and perhaps millions) of dollars and sacrificed along the way to obtain these rights through purchase from others, at a whim the government can take everything away with the stroke of a pen. This is the very thing that Clive Bundy single handedly took a stand against. Thank you, Clive, from a rancher who considers you a hero”.
You took the words right out of my mouth, Clown Clown??!!!! Does this amuse this jack off matt??? Missing the big picture jerk wad. It all comes down to more taxes and when do we say enough!!! Clown. This guy is a clown in an asshole suit.
Wow ... that looks like a mush-faced metro-boy ... I doubt he could lift a 40lb bag of salt.
World through militia eyes: Domestic terrorists? Heroes? Who’re the armed men who invaded Nevada?http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3146716/posts
Idiot author assuming an obtuse intellect, to promulgate what?
Moronic and meandering thinking.
Pot holes have more depth....
I’ll loan you in of my patented “Clue by Four”.
Wack him good...
that’s what this is all about!
There's nothing complicated about it. The federal gov is out of control, and now that it might be too late to turn things around, people are finally fed up.
In college, the author was a member of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). That should explain a lot.
The arrogance is strong with this one.
Makes it hard to turn the other cheek...
If you can, please post this on Salon. I don’t know if you have to create an account or want to. But on the heels of Salon “trying” to be objective or libertarian, it would be good for their audience to see. (Some of them anyway).
what’s good for the goose is good for the gander...so lets also supend this person right to use public things..like the internet, roads, water, air.