Friday, at 8:10 AM Pacific Time, I will be chatting to Bill Meyer, Program Director for News Talk FM106.7/AM-1440 KMED, in Medford, Oregon, about the WND column, “Ranchers Hammnod & Bundy: The Best Of America.” An excerpt:
America, as one wag put it, is a “post-constitutional” country. Even worse, a plurality of Americans has now turned, en masse, against the First Principles of its founding. The organizing principle that currently informs American thinking is statism. It’s the state über alles: its laws, and the foot soldiers that enforce hundreds of thousands of arbitrary rules.
This sorry state-of-affairs is abundantly clear from the standoff between farmers and Fédérales, brewing in Burns, Oregon.
To look at rancher Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son, Steven, 46, is to see the salt of the earth; the best of America. Any decent American ought to be able to see that these family ranchers, so different from politically connected agribusiness, are better and braver than all of us city slickers put together.
We slickers consume the rancher’s grass-fed, organic, “local” beef, while we cheer his oppression. Fellini, the Italian film maker who excelled at portraying corruption of the soul, as expressed in the decay of the flesh, could not have set the scene better. The idiom of Greek Tragedy works, too:
Our protagonists are the two ranchers aforementioned—sentenced to five years in jail, due to a double-jeopardy like maneuver by the federal government.
The Antagonists are the federal government, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service, The Courts, who’ve come down upon citizens with limited resources, citizens whom this Federal juggernaut is supposed to serve, not screw.
Other Antagonists in this morality play are the chorus of trash-talking radio, TV mouths and assorted bobbing heads (Republicans and Democrats), who say they care for The Folks but don’t know good folks when they see them.
Cliven Bundy’s son, Ammon, has come to stand in solidarity with Dwight and Steven Hammond. The case of the Bundys of Bunkerville, Nevada, is instructive in understating the First Principles involved in the Oregon standoff.
In 2014, the BLM had come to steal Cliven Bundy’s cattle, in lieu of back taxes the BLM claims the rancher has owed it since 1993, when Bundy stopped paying grazing fees. The Bundys had homesteaded the disputed land, southwest of Mesquite, in 1877. Bundy’s forefathers had lived off the land well before the Bureau of Land Grabs came into being. The Feds subsequently passed laws usurping Bundy’s natural right to graze his cattle. The elderly rancher offered the following rejoinder: “I have raised cattle on that land, which is public land for the people of Clark County, all my life. … I can raise cattle there because I have preemptive rights,’ among them the right to forage.”
Also edifying, via The Conservative Tree House, is that “the Hammonds were forced to grant the BLM first right of refusal.” In other words, were “the Hammonds ever to sell their ranch, they would have to sell it to the BLM.” The BLM may get its way, for how are the Hammond women to pay the shakedown fines levied by the Fédérales? These amount to hundreds and thousands of dollars. How will the wives continue the Sisyphean struggle against the federal occupier, and, simultaneously, run the ranches sans the men?
Here we arrive at the “Catastrophe,” also an element in Greek tragedy. …