COMMENTARY | Powerline lays out the case that even though Cliven Bundy is in the wrong where the strict letter of the law is concerned in his 20 plus year dispute with the Bureau of Land Management, he nevertheless deserves our support.
At issue is a creative use of the Endangered Species Act that involves an allegedly endangered tortoise and a process that is driving ranchers and other traditional businesses like Bundy’s to the ash heap of history. In the meantime, the law is being enforced differently where businesses the government favors are concerned, namely wind and solar energy.
This is not a recitation of the current conspiracy theory that 200 heavily armed men were sent to face down Bundy on behalf of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his cronies. However the BLM does have a different policy in regards to alternative energy projects. The tortoises are moved to a safer location to make way for solar farms and wind mills. Ranchers like Bundy do not get that kind of forbearance.
That is the reason why Bundy, his family, neighbors and supporters faced down the federal government in a classic example of civil disobedience. America has had the tradition that unjust laws can be confronted in such a matter dating back to before there was a United States of America. There is a common thread running through Lexington/Concorde, the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, the tea party movement, and finally Cliven Bundy. In the words of that great entrepreneur and freedom fighter Captain Mal Reynolds, he aimed to misbehave.
The ultimate solution to Bundy’s dispute with the federal government is likely a rewriting of the laws that are being manipulated to destroy him and his. No law, especially one as so overreaching as the Endangered Species Act, should be enforced selectively. It needs to be the same for all, no matter what kind of business is involved.
Ultimately the federal government owns far too much land in the West, Of course it is going to use that fact to abuse people like Bundy. It needs to start divesting that land, to the states and to individuals who are willing to pay.