Monday, April 14, 2014

The Fringe Loves Squatters, Hates The Constitution

It was apparently a good weekend to get your fringe on. First, the birthers were back. Trump promised to build a giant placebo to keep out all the Mexicans. And Jay Carney used photoshop to make it look like he owns more books than he does AND he collects Soviet propaganda. See! See people! If only the MSM would tell the TROOTH about these things! Then the public would be with us openly instead of secretly! And those aren’t even the BIG story! The BIG story was how fascist Obamaholderreid wants to strip reel ‘merikan Al Bundy of his property rights. But we faced 'em down!

//sarc off

Most of the land in the West belongs to the federal government. At one point, the feds were giving it away to anyone who would take it in the hopes that people would move from the East to the West. Later, when the West was more established, the feds stopped giving away public land, but they agreed to allow people like ranchers to graze their cattle on public land for a small grazing fee. Ditto miners and oil drillers and others. Indeed, this land is administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which is charged with maintaining and administering public lands for the benefit of the public. This includes allowing private use of the land when that fits the BLM’s mission.

This is where the Bundy family comes into the picture. Somewhere in the late 1800s, the Bundy’s moved to Nevada and built a ranch. They took advantage of the fed’s policy of opening public lands and let their cattle graze on public lands near their ranch.

To hear the fringe tell it, the Bundy family was given the right to use this land forever until the evil BLM decided to save some turtle. At that point, the BLM ruthlessly tried to throw the Bundy's off the land they've been using since before Jesus was a child and have a forever right to use. When the saintly Bundy's resisted, the BLM appeared out of the blue with shock troops, tasered Bundy's helpless son, and would have made the whole family disappear into black helicopters if not for a couple of reel patriots like the nut jobs at InfoWars exposing the TROOTH.

Um... no... not even close.

Somewhere along the way, the BLM was told by the EPA that some rare turtle in Nevada needs protection. At that point in the 1990s, the BLM had no legal choice but to do what they could to protect that turtle. The BLM responded by limiting grazing rights for everyone in those areas to 150 head of cattle per permit. This included the Bundy’s. The Bundy’s, however, ignored this change by BLM in the grazing policy. Moreover, they stopped paying the renewal fee for the grazing permits.

Now, let me be clear because this is where the lunatics stop listening. The Bundy’s have NO right to graze on public land - no matter how long they've been doing it. They are entitled to do so only so long as the BLM has that land open for grazing. Moreover, they need to follow any terms and conditions or limits BLM places on that grazing; the Bundy’s can’t claim more rights than BLM is willing to grant. Nor can the Bundy’s claim what is called adverse possession because (1) you can’t do that to the government, (2) they don’t otherwise meet the requirements either, i.e. their possession was not adverse and they didn’t hold themselves out as owners. So the Bundy’s can’t claim the land is theirs, they can’t claim some sort of right to graze, they can’t claim more rights to graze than BLM grants them by permit, and they didn’t even pay the permit to get those. They are essentially grass thieves... or squatters.

The Bundy’s kept right on grazing, however, so the BLM went to court. On issue after issue, injunction after injunction, appeal after appeal, the Bundy’s lost. They lost every single legal battle for more than 20 years. Eventually, Bundy gave up on the court’s giving him what he wanted and he tried a different approach: he claimed that he does not recognize the existence of the Federal Government: “I don’t recognize the United States Government as even existing.” He then claimed to be armed and threatened anyone who tried to interfere with his cattle grazing.

BLM went to court and got another order to have the Bundy cattle removed. Bundy appealed and lost again. Bundy then removed his cattle. Only, they didn't stay away. For the next eleven years, Bundy snuck his cattle onto the land, sometimes mixing them with others and even leaving them unbranded in an attempt to keep investigators from knowing whose cattle they were. The BLM investigated however, and by June 2011, the BLM issued another cease and desist order.

Bundy then told BLM he would round up their cattle as ordered. He lied. Rather than round up his cattle, he began to build improvements on the land to make it easier to feed and water his cattle – something that has never been allowed. BLM contacted the Clark County Sheriff, who tried to broker a deal. At that point, Bundy threatened a “range war” if anyone tried to remove his cattle. BLM went back to court and got an order allowing them to remove the cattle.

That is where we are now, only with a couple hundred yahoos out there trying to menace the BLM agents as well. As an aside, these fringers are claiming Harry Reid's son is behind this because he wants to claim the land for a CHINESE!!! solar company. They heard this from pathological liar Alex Jones. The trouble is that it's false. The land Reid wants to use is miles away and this issue arose 10 years before Reid got into politics.

So here is who this patriot of patriots is. He is:
1. A man with no legal right to use the land he claims as his property. He is a squatter who is claiming property rights he doesn't have.
2. A man who litigated for more than 20 years and lost every single time... all affirmed on appeal, and when he lost he suddenly started claiming that the Federal Government doesn’t exist.
3. A man who failed to pay the grazing fees that would have let him continue with fewer cattle.
4. A man who has lied and failed to keep “his word” on several instances.
5. A man who has used threats of violence to try to keep the government from legally evicting him, and who then whines about BLM showing up with armed agents.
This Bundy guy is the exact opposite of everything conservatives hold dear. We believe in property rights, yet this guy is a squatter claiming entitlement to property he does not own and has no rights over. We believe in rule of law, which means an equal application of the law to all. The BLM has more than bent over backwards to give that here. Not only have they spent almost 30 years in court trying to get this resolved (winning at every step), but they have patiently tried to resolve this when they could have legally evicted Bundy at any point. Heck, they've even offered to give him rights to which he's not entitled to settle this. Conservatives cannot claim to support rule of law and then argue that the law cannot apply in this instance. Conservatives also stand for law and order and Bundy is violating that. Bundy has refused repeated valid court orders, he's failed to pay to keep his permits, and he's threatened violence if anyone tries to implement the law. That flies in the face of conservatism. Bundy is also a liar and a sneak, which I would hope are not conservative traits. Finally, note that Bundy doesn't claim some right under the constitution, instead he claims the federal government isn't a legal organization. That's about as far away from conservatism as you can get.

There are times the Federal Government is abusive and needs to be stopped. But latching onto "heroes" like this only discredits our side. Yet, here the far right embraces this nutjob as a hero.

This is what I've been warning people about with the fringe. These people are not conservatives -- they are militia types, tax dodgers, racists, anarchists, and they have worked their way onto the conservative side at the moment because they see an opportunity to warp conservatism to their cause. They do not believe in rule of law or property rights or even limited government, they believe in the abolition of the federal government, separatism and anarchy. They only hide behind terms like "rule of law" and "property rights" to trick people like you into thinking their goals are legitimate. Don't fall for it.

** By the way, the Feds have backed off for the moment and the fringe is crowing about the feds being cowards, because that's how they think. The truth is that this is effective law enforcement. The smart play is to wait for the militia types to go home and then grab Bundy when you can do it without shooting a hundred people. That's also the exact opposite way a supposed totalitarian regime would handle things.


Tennessee Jed said...

cripes, Andrew ..... I had really avoided this one, what with it being Masters Week and all. Which Bundy was this--Al or Ted? The main thing I noticed this past week is that the "leader of the free world" in an effort to be the president of all the people, managed to bring us closer together by playing both the race card (voter i.d. law0 AND the "war on women" card (equal pay for women.) Or maybe (and correct me if I'm being naive here, he is just trying to stir up the base to limit the damage in November and save the senate.

Kit said...

Ironically, back in the supposedly "free" late-19th century America when Bundy's family first settled the place, his antics would've resulted in a real range war. Which he would've lost. Because the US government would've sent in the Army.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I tried to avoid it too, but I figured it was worth pointing this out now that several of the fringe blogs are screaming how they defeated the Federal government in the name of the constitution.

On Obama, this has definitely been that kind of week. I've noticed that too. He's pushing all the fringe buttons left and right. I think he's trying to change the narrative away from Obamacare.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, You didn't mess around with Uncle Sam back then because he had no patience.

As an aside, I should point out that the feds do the same thing with vagrant squatters who won't leave abandoned buildings. They've learned that rushing in only gets people killed. So they back off and wait and grab these people when they start to move around freely in public again.

Call it the lesson of Waco.

Kit said...


It'll be interesting to see how the Fringe reacts when he is grabbed.

"You didn't mess around with Uncle Sam back then because he had no patience."
Just ask the Indians. And the South.

Kit said...

And the Civil War Border States (especially Maryland). And the strikers...

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, It will be interesting. I get the sense from the blogs I peruse that they were hoping for blood so the revolution would finally start... the revolution that will NEVER happen.

Yeah, you ain't kidding. Don't forget to ask the Mexicans who lost half their country, the Japanese, Germans or Italians who got locked up during WWII, or any other group who stood in the way of what Uncle Sam wanted. It's taken a long time for our rule of law to truly become rule of law.

Kit said...

And the Civil War border states (especially Maryland). And the Draft Rioters. And the Strikers.

AndrewPrice said...

True. There is a strange sort of bias when people look at history and they assume that how things are now is how they've always been: "Of course they've always.....!" It rarely occurs to people that that just isn't true. The meanings of words change, attitudes change, the understanding of the world, of right and wrong, of what is possible change. Even within our own lifetimes we see this, so imagine how different things were 100 or 200 years ago.

And when you look at the historical record, you will see that many of the limitations on government we take as ancient today didn't exist even 75 years ago.

AndrewPrice said...

In fact, Kit, let me point out some things that took a LONG time to develop in this country which people tend to think were always the law:

1. Voting rights for women, blacks and non-property holding white males (1870s-1920s).

2. Women's legal rights in property ownership and marriage (1960s).

3. The end of Sedition Laws and free speech protections. (1820's and again in 1870's)

4. Protection from wrongful imprisonment in wartime. (1950's)

5. Compensation needing to be paid for the confiscation of private property (post-Civil War). (1870's)

6. Review rights for death penalty. (1960's)

7. A lot of criminal reforms that we take for granted today as "rights" (1960's-2000's).

8. Police needing probably cause to stop you and arrest you. (1960's)

9. Requiring actual review when someone is entitled to have "procedural rights." (1940's)

10. Application of Bill of Rights.... (1870's through 1970's)

11. Protection against graft and force politicking in federal contracting. (1930's).

12. Can't use the military to police the public. (1878)

So you see, it took us a long time to create the rule of law we look to as a given today.

Kit said...


One of the good things about the NSA thing is that the federal government does not have the reach and power it did when Woodrow Wilson was President.

Heck, under the 1940 Smith Act criminalized advocacy for the overthrow of the government. In other words, what Alex Jones does everyday.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Same thing with the Alien and Sedition Act of 1798, which became a way to imprison political opponents. Or the Espionage Act of 1917, which criminalized any sort of anti-government speech.

Jones would have been one of the 1500 prosecutions under that one.

Anthony said...

I don't think the Democrats or Republicans have unifying philosophies.

America is a vast and diverse (in terms of interests, outlook, religion, and pretty much every other criteria) country but we only have two political parties.

Each party is an amalgamation of interests whose stance on issues in partly influenced by the passions of their bases, partly by opportunism (if Putin and Obama were the best of friends, Putin wouldn't be a darling in some conservative circles).

To be clear, both parties aren't the same (IMHO the Republicans are the better party for the country due to their free market, small government leanings) but they are both coalitions of people whose interests and philosophies are sometimes at odds.

Joel Farnham said...

"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again."

Replace Humpty with Rule of Law. That is what you saw broken over the weekend. When the Rule of Law represented by BLM is made to accept a lawbreaker by Rule of Man represented by "The Fringers" a dangerous precedent has been set. Or has it? How about the rule that civil servants are our servants and not our civil masters? Has that one been enforced?

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, If I'm reading you correctly, then I disagree. These people are not Republicans. They are whackos who move back and forth to whichever side seems like the better opportunity for them and they try to trick that side into adopting their ideas. In the 1970s and early 1980s, they were on the left. In the 1990s, they were separate again. Now they've drifted to the right. I would bet that by 2020, they will be on the left again.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, There's no dangerous precedent set because the fringe is all talk and has no support among the public. And if you think the feds won't crush these people if they pose a real threat, then you don't understand our government.

In terms of the last statement, "the rule that civil servants are our servants and not our civil masters" is just completely wrong. Let us assume the Bundy's won, then the lesson is "you can terrorize the government into letting you steal whatever you want." That's not something a real conservative would be proud of.

tryanmax said...

They are whackos who move back and forth to whichever side seems like the better opportunity for them and they try to trick that side into adopting their ideas.

Absolutely. Improbable as it seems now, remember when Algore's wife, Tipper, led the charge to get "Parental Advisory" stickers on music? (Not that I think it's a bad thing.) It's a different faction, but the morally-outraged drift back-and-forth, as well.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That true too, but I'm talking about a group of people who are essentially "one-issue" people (e.g. racism, anarchism, anti-fed nuts), who move back and forth to whichever side is down and trying to build themselves back up. They use those moments of weakness to infiltrate the party and then try to push their views.

To give you an example, racists flocked to the Democratic Party for generations. Then the Democrats embraced Civil Rights, so the racists moved to the Republican Party under Nixon. In the 1980s, the Republicans purged them, so they went back to the Democrats under Clinton. But when they elected Obama, they left the Democrats and moved into the Republicans while waving Tea Party flags.

If you question these people, you will find that they have no real views except a few platitudes about freedom and moochers (though they are typically on government benefits themselves) and the only issue that motivates them is racism. In particular, they are typically upset about the government giving benefits to blacks.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, the anti-Fed nuts used to be Democrats too. They hated the Republicans for taking us off the gold standard. I'm not sure when they came over, but it was sometime around Clinton I think.

EricP said...

Thanks for the reasoned (as always) breakdown, AP! Too many usually reasoned conservatives, notably Dana Loesch, got caught up in the anti-fed narrative, and hope they can take a step back to get a better angle on what Bundy truly represents ... and it's not conservatism. Temper-Tantrum politics from the left or right not what We the People need.

Anonymous said...

I can't disagree with your main point. But isn't it funny that everything was fine until the EPA did some study and noticed that some damned subspecies of turtle was endangered?

AndrewPrice said...

You're welcome, Eric! :)

Yeah, sadly, it is easy to fall into this narrative because it quickly gets sold as "Obama seizes land from rancher to save turtle and sends in arms troops to get his way." But that's not what this is. Bundy isn't defending property rights. He's not innocent in this. He threatened violence. The government has been extremely reasonable. And most importantly, Bundy isn't even claiming some violation of the constitution, he's claiming a right to overrule the federal government and take their land because he wants it. That's not conservatism.

AndrewPrice said...

GypsyTyger, That's what started it in this instance, but keep in mind that this same thing repeats itself all the time. It happens when they try to tear down housing projects, when they try to revoke permits to do things like graze or mine, when they issue permits to do things like drilling for oil or cut down trees, when they try to build highways, etc.

In this case, the EPA issue doesn't bother me because this is public land. And the feds can do whatever stupid things they want with public lands. It does bother me when they place limits on private land because of that. And in that regard, the EPA needs to be reformed to stop them from doing the kind of harm they have been doing.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, that's the comparison I'm making, the single-issue groups are inherently disloyal. It's a mistake to embrace any of them.

Anthony said...


Sorry I was less than clear. I'm not saying the fringers you are describing are lifelong Republicans. I'm pointing out that parties make alliances opportunistically which means that the fringers will always find a home (though not a warm welcome) somewhere. If Party A takes a stance which makes a meaningful chunk of people unhappy, Party B will twist itself into a knot/lie to put itself on the other side of the issue, even if that conflicts with what its done in the past or what it will do when it regains power.

The Democrats gave a lot of airtime to their pacifists/isolationists (i.e. Code Pink) back when Bush was in power, but they are no longer useful since the Democrats are now in office and in terms of foreign policy are doing largely the same things the Republicans did.

Similarly, the Republicans are giving the Ron/Rand Paul wing of their party more airtime nowadays, but that will only last up until the Republicans have the presidency again.

Of course, as time passes and events occur, majority opinion radically shifts and what was once fringe can become mainstream (and vice versa) or it can become even more fringe.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, True. They simply aren't worth the trouble they bring either.

AndrewPrice said...

Anthony, That's true. Parties flirt with various groups when they are useful and vice versa and then they move on. In this instance though, this has been a group that neither party has ever really wanted but who have tried at times to push their way in. They are basically the John Birchers/Lyndon Larouche people who have been hanging around the left and right fringes for decades.

Rustbelt said...

Andrew, I think this story is a perfect example of perception versus facts. It's a problem most politicians face- particularly our own- but more on that in a second.

The fact is, Mr. Bundy (who may eventually claim insanity because, as a teenager, he learned that his older sister was actaully his mother and he swore revenge against all authority), is allowing cattle to graze on land he has no right to. He doesn't own the land and can't let cattle graze there any more than he could let them graze on a neighbor's property without permission. End of sentence.

But then comes the perception...Bundy's says he's fighting the Man, who, in this case, happens to be one of the most corrupt senators in American history. The order that eventually limited the grazing stemmed from the EPA- possibly one of the most abusive organizations since the KKK. And, finally, Bundy runs his own business; i.e., the American Dream.
Although logic and the facts are clearly on the side of the government in this case, the perception (because of those involved), makes it hard to get those facts out. I'd probably tell people this guy wants, "equal rights be damned; special privileges for me." "MY property rights outweigh YOURS." And "how can this man be a reel 'Murikan, when he condemns the existence of America itself?"
Granted, these definitely aren't the best ways to counter the argument. But, for the truth and facts to get out, I believe the argument would have to be moved in this direction and keep it away from those with sordid histories (Reid, EPA), who are involved. Unfortunately, those on the conservative side who could do that simply refuse. The emotional reaction of taking on the Man are just too much to ignore.

BTW, this whole thing reminds me a lot of 2012 and the "war on women." The facts are that, historically, libs and Dems have been outright sleezes when it comes to treating women. Yet, they managed to turn a woman's right to be utterly irresponsible into a reason to vote for them. Never mind how they later headlined their convention with a video tribute to a late senator who killed his mistress, a woman who encouraged (and still encourages) women to see themselves as victims, a former president accused of rape by multiple women, and a sitting president who, in his alleged autobiography, mentioned how he enjoyed hitting girls in grade school.
The conservatives had the chance to run with this, but didn't. Instead, they called women like Fluke sluts instead of asking "why should you have to pay for someone else to avoid the consequences of stupid decisions?" or something like that. Heck, they could've run an ad with what I just typed out! But they didn't. As with Bundy, they went with the emotional righteousness and shot themselves in the foot when the facts would've served their case better.

Facts and perception. Bundy: 'Murikan hero or squatter? Dems: guardian angels or scum? You make the call and tell the people! (Just be sure to use your brains, unlike the fringe.)

AndrewPrice said...

Rustbelt, I would put it this way: the difference between perception and reality is the tool being used by the fringe here to make their issue seem like your issue. Basically, they've swapped perception for reality by removing all the parts of the story that point out the truth about Bundy and his demands and beliefs, and all the parts that show that the government has acted beyond rationally. Then they added conspiracy theory and false facts. Finally, they distill the whole thing to: "reel 'merikan being attacked by Harry Reid and black president!"

And in doing so, they are hoping that the GOP (or least its fringy elements) hop on board and commit to ideas like granting tax protesters sovereign status or preventing the government from monitoring or interfering with these (white) people who want to use federal land for whatever purpose.

If the GOP falls for that, then they have fundamentally abandoned conservatism and instead embraced separatism and all that implies -- polygamy, tax avoidance, drug trafficking, no right to stop benefit fraud, etc.

Also, I used race intentionally there a couple times because their view of the world is race specific. These people are usually the first to scream bloody murder whenever some Islamist demands separate courts or the recognition of Sharia law, when some illegal Mexican demands a right to stay here, or when some black "militant" group threatens federal officials. Those things are outrages allowed by a weak government. This one is an outrage and the government must be taught a lesson. The only difference is race. That speaks volumes.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, in a direct quote from one of these reel 'merikans, they were planning to send out their women to be shot so that the feds would have a PR nightmare on their hands. (LINK)

First, well duh, the Feds knew that, which is why they are trying Plan B.

Secondly, no one who plans to do that has any claim to being a real man. F**king cowards.

Kit said...


Beat me to the punch! Couldn't do it w/o throwing a bunch of f-bombs and other profanities.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, sounds like you got this all figured out. But how do you explain the U.S. Bureau of Pencils and Paperclips buying up zillions of rounds of ammunition and causing a bullet shortage? Why, just the other day, my buddy went to buy ammo and there was a waiting line for bullets in America! And then he was only able to buy 60 boxes. Meanwhile, Uncle Sam is hoarding enough lead to shoot every man, woman, and child in the USA 92 times. Why, I ask, would the government want to do that? Makes ya wonder.

Kit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kit said...


I assume you are joking. But you sound too close to someone who is serious. ;-)
"Poe's Law"

Koshcat said...

Personally I'm not sure if I want the government owning any land but that isn't the arguement. This is probably even more complex than you have laid out. Generally, when you graze cattle on public land, you are responsible for the upkeep including water tanks and fences. When you have something like that in the family for so long and have been doing the work, you do start to feel a sense of ownership. However, this guy seems nuts. I don't think the mainstream GOP will respond but it would surprise me if Cruz and Palin show up for a PR shot.

K said...

Phew, I've been gone a long time! Good to see that Andrew still sharing his copious store of wisdom and knowledge. From the look of this piece, I also see he has continued his drift into the heart of the Republican statist establishment. Here's the way someone would write the self same article, making the same exact points but without the smug incivility.


I've always been perplexed by why the new left hated the old establishment left far more than they did the conservatives. Hmmm.

SciFiTerry said...

Speaking of the fringe, K is back. You weren't missed.

Anthony said...

Welcome back K.

Given that according to the Big Government article you linked to in your prior article on the standoff Bundy has broken all previous agreements (including those his family had respected for generations), lied repeatedly and is inciting violence in order to try to get his way, why exactly do you think he is a sympathetic figure?

Also, do you not see the conflict between your claim that Bundy only wants to keep getting the unlimited free food for his cattle that the government has been giving his family for generations and your claim that they 'don't subsist by virtue of government subsidies'?

tryanmax said...

K, I will confess that I find the Powerline article compelling. Still, it doesn't change the fact that they are backing the wrong horse--or at least backing it too late. If the conservative media had jumped on the Bundy Bandwagon in the 90s, there might have been a case, opinions could have been swayed, government actions delayed or altered. Instead, they only discover this guy after he's spent the last 30 years thumbing his nose at the courts, turned to violence, and acted like an all-around stinker. Not exactly an inspiring figure.

This is a huge part of the right's rhetorical problem. They wait to take sides on an issue until after the good guys and the bad guys are established, and then they pick the bad guys. Maybe there was a principle the government violated in regards to Bundy. Maybe the rules should've been changed a few decades ago. But now Bundy has violated so many more principles, it hardly matters. He's the villain now.

In a way, the right is doing the same thing the left does when it defends a violent criminal who has a "troubled past." The public will listen if someone challenges the rules without breaking them. But they have little patience for those who demand exceptions to the rules after the fact.

SciFiTerry said...

It looks like even parts of our fringe agree that we should not be supporting Bundy. This is from Glenn Beck:


Glenn Beck is warning conservatives not to get too caught up in the controversy over Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who has been illegally grazing his cattle on federal land for more than 15 years. Yes, the federal government controls too much land out west — and yes, federal rangers went too far with their heavy-handed tactics — but Beck cautions that extremists are using this incident as an excuse to fan the flames of violence.

"We did some research online with PsyID today," Beck said on his show, "and found that there's about 10 or 15 percent of the people who are talking about this online that are truly frightening."

There are many "decent, small-government proponents from groups like the Tea Party" supporting Bundy, Beck continued, and they should be aware this controversy has drawn "violent, anti-government groups" who constitute "the right's version of Occupy Wall Street."

tryanmax said...

Terry, in other words, Glenn's gone soft and ought to be run out on a rail along with all the other criminals in Washington and the Alphabet Agencies.

I kid, of course. Glenn has always admonished against violence even if he doesn't always check his facts or cite his sources. Glad to see he's trying harder.

Kit said...

The are 3 ways of opposing a bad law. Note, the first assumes the right to free speech. The 2nd assumes at least something of a civilized government. I am also not including "Legal Challenge", which is where you try to get the unjust law overturned.

1.) Vocal Criticism: Protests, letters to the editorial, handing out pamphlets, etc. You believe the law is unjust but still believe the system is for the most part legitimate and can change and hope to use persuasion to get the law repealed.

2.) Civil Disobedience: Refusing to obey the law. However, when engaging civil disobedience you still recognize the government as the legitimate authority which means you accept the punishment for breaking said law. You do this in part as a recognition that the government is legitimate and not beyond repair and to show the unjustness of its law.

Now, I should note that the first two show some recognition of the validity of the government's authority and, at least in some instances, basic loyalty to it. The third however, is very different.

3.) Armed Revolt: This is where you grab guns and use violence against the government to achieve you ends. This means that you implicitly state that the government is no longer legitimate and must be overthrown or stopped through violence. This is only to be considered as a last resort. Even the Declaration of Independence states "all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed." Instead, the Declaration states that only "when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism" should armed revolt be considered.

Now, I ask you, in the recent stand-off, which of these did Cliven Bundy follow? He declared not only that the federal government had no legal right to force him to pay a fee, he also brought in armed men to support his claims against the federal government. He made a claim against the government and then used the point of a gun to attempt to force the government to acquiesce to his demands.

SciFiTerry said...

tryanmax, I would say Beck clearly wants to be loved by liberals on the cocktail circuit. ;-)

SciFiTerry said...


Don't forget all the steps before that. (1) Appeal to the government to change its mind. (2) bring suit if you are right under the constitution. (3) try to replace the government at the ballot box with someone willing to change the law to suit you. (4) civil disobedience in the hopes that the public will finally support you.

Armed resistance only comes up if you've tried all of that and you still can't get what you want and what you want is truly a matter of significant denial of justice. The problem is, when you gone through the steps above you've learned that you're on the wrong side -- neither the law nor the public supports you. So all you're fighting for at that point is to replace your desires with the desires of the public.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Andrew, I've pretty much avoided the issue also, but your account seems accurate from what little I have heard.  It seems like an excellent retelling of the facts.  I do, however, disagree with your attack (and maybe, by extension Eric's) on the "fringe."

If someone is in the wrong, no matter what side he or she is on, call him or her on it.  You've done that with this post.  But aside from that, resist the urge to lump people into generic categories for ostracism; "militia types, tax dodgers, racists, anarchists..."  I really don't care if my neighbor is an anarchist or a militia type as long as he's respecting my rights. And I really don't care what somebody in another state is doing.  And I really, really don't care what somebody in another country is doing.  (And, I'm all in favor of ostracism for non-repentant violators of others' rights.)

Our Constitution was designed to restrict federal government to 14 specific, enumerated powers.  And that's it.  (And, technically, the 2nd Amendment encourages membership in militias, but you can choose to call that "fringe"  if you want to.  That's your right.)

Think of it this way: I imagine an American who practices Zoroastrianism is in the "fringe."  I'm not sure where it fits in the rankings of religions practiced in this country, but it is assuredly way out on one of the asymptotes of the bell curve that is "religions practiced by Americans".  Should you care?  Do you care?  If he votes for your candidate in November is that alright with you, or should he be thrown out of the tent?  If he votes for your candidate and a month later breaks a law, or violates someone's rights, don't hesitate to speak out against him (as you have with Mr. Bundy).  Would you as quickly speak out against someone whose views are in the mainstream if he or she is wrong?  I bet you would.  So why is it any different for the "fringe."

(this is Rufus T. Firefly, from I'm signed into Word Press, but, for some reason when I try to publish this with that ID I get an error stating I do not own the ID."

AndrewPrice said...

Rufus, Thanks, but I respectfully disagree.

First, I agree that you should always call people out for their misconduct no matter what their views.

That said, there is a very specific reason to call these guys out for what they are, i.e. the fringe.

Consider this. It's always vital to know when someone around you has engaged in behaviors or stated views that you would consider well outside the social norms in ways that you would consider dangerous. If your neighbor was a member of NAMBLA, advocated animal sacrifice, or claimed a right to possess nerve gas, you would want to know... you wouldn't say "well, as long as he follows the law, it's none of my business."

And this gets even stronger when you're talking about them joining a group to which you belong. Suppose you belong to the Boy Scouts, you would want to know if someone advocated child sex -- in fact, most conservatives blew a gasket about the Boy Scouts admitting gays. No one said, "well hey, it's not my right to know." Similarly, if you are a law enforcement organization, you would want to know if the guy who just signed up in a drug dealer or a pot advocate. If you were in a Christian group, you would want to know if the new guy is secretly an atheist.

What these fringers are doing is going to various conservative blogs and pretending to be regular old genuine conservatives who are outraged at what the evil Obama has done to this poor man. Their goal is to get conservatives to buy into this and to pick up their cause and defend this guy and his views. If conservatives do that, then suddenly they are out there identifying a man (and his supports) as true conservatives who advocate the abolition of the constitution along with various other extreme and heinous ideas.

This isn’t like some group who like hockey joining a group who like football, this is a group who fundamentally oppose the very basis of conservatism and who advocate a political order that, if associated with conservatism, would destroy conservatism with the public. That is why Bill Buckley drove out the Birchers and why Reagan and others drove out the racists. These aren’t people with views that we can let become associated with conservatism or we might as well quit politics entirely. Unfortunately, because they are deceptive and a lot of the current conservative fringe are morons, they are embracing these guys as a knee jerk reaction.

Even Glenn Beck (see comment above) has become leery of these people.

So that’s why I identify them as fringe so no one goes away with the false belief that these are just regular conservatives who somehow failed to learn all the facts before picking a side. They are not. They are something else entirely.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, Rufus, you talk about the constitution, but they don't care about it. To them, it's an invalid document that does not apply to them, and they've never once made an argument that they are right under the constitution. That's a very key difference.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit and Terry, The armed rebellion these guys talk about is a jerk off fantasy for losers. Never going to happen. They fundamentally misunderstand how wrong their views of the world and the people in it are.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Andrew, I don’t mind you writing about folks you disagree with on any topic, but it sounds like you’re deciding who is allowed to vote for your candidate; and I don’t get that.

Do I care who I entrust my kids to? Damn right. That’s my job and I take it seriously. It’s not the government’s job, or the BSA’s job. I don’t send my kids to the public schools in my district because I don’t like a lot of what is taught there. Are the school district’s beliefs “fringe?” Are mine? What does it matter?

You seem to have little faith in people who claim to be Conservatives. If someone’s views can be easily swayed by an anarchistic they’re probably not a serious political thinker anyway. But all that matters to me vis a vis my relationship to that person in the eyes of the government is whether or not he respects and honors my rights and the rights of my neighbors. People who stockpile banned substances or force themselves on non-consenting adults or minors who cannot give consent (as in your examples) do not respect or honor the rights and freedoms of their neighbors.

Again, I like that you stated your opposition to Mr. Bundy and your reasons for opposing his case. But just because you think he’s wrong here shouldn’t mean he’s wrong in whom he pulls the lever for in November. How is your desire to ostracize “conservatives” who don’t fit your definition of “conservative” different from climate change enthusiasts wanting to disallow published articles that don’t support their view?

Call people out when you believe they are wrong? Yes, if that’s your desire. Label people with certain beliefs or ideas “fringe” and demand that no one associate with them? No.

AndrewPrice said...

Rufus, A few responses.

First, you know it matters. If it didn't matter, then places like Threedonia wouldn't have been incensed about the Boy Scouts admitting gays or every time Obama picked some commie for his cabinet. The idea that somehow it doesn't matter who our allies are is nonsense. Not to mention the obsession with purging the party that talk radio conservatives have had for the past couple years.

Secondly, you're mistaking "different" for "fringe." People hold all kinds of different views without being seen as fringe. Fringe has a specific meaning. It means a view that is far outside the mainstream PLUS is seen as noxious. It is not the same thing as being the guy who likes the obscure movie. It is about holding views that the public at large consider dangerous or vile. These guys are preaching sedition. And that's typically mixed with white supremacy and various other fringe causes like polygamy. Those are things conservatives should not embrace, right?

Third, as for saying who conservatives can associate with, let me put this into a bigger context. This keeps coming up and I have to laugh at this idea. The talk radio right has gone out and smeared conservative after conservative... telling us who we can associate with and who we must drive out of politics. Then, when the GOP fought back, the talkers started squealing about loyalty and whining that it was wrong that the GOP would attack them. "Boo hoo hoo! How can they do this to us? It's not loyal!" Ted Cruz whined about being "carpet bombed." Talk about hypocritical! In one of the comments above, someone criticized me for being uncivil to the fringe. I've seen similar comments at other sites where this is discussed ("why do you RINOs hate conservatives?!"), typically with lots of invective and accusations ("liar" "Obama plant") thrown at the people opposing the fringers. So they are anything but civil. Yet, I'm supposedly uncivil for pointing out views they have themselves expressed? How does that work? When did it become uncivil or wrong to point out a key detail of someone's belief which they are hiding from people they are trying to influence?

Finally, in terms of conservative not being smart enough. That's a distortion of what I've said. I run a blog here, where I state my opinion about events. That means I write articles to inform my readers of what is going on. That is what they want, and they are free to come and go as they wish. For me to leave out the things I see as part of that would be negligence on my part. And what would be the point? To help the deception these guys are trying on my conservative friends? Why would I ever go along with that?

There is every reason to out these guys as fringe. It is the same thing you would do if the Westboro Baptists tried to infiltrate your church. It is the same thing you would do if NAMBLA tried to open a Boy Scout Chapter. It's the same thing you would do it a group of dedicated socialists tried to pass themselves off as Tea Party candidates.

AndrewPrice said...

Rufus, Let me add, I will always side with Reagan and Buckley on what is right for conservatism and they both saw fit to drive these people away very publicly.

Kit said...

Bundy claims that according to the Constitution "the sheriff is the highest authority in the county" and, as such, has the power to disarm federal agents (it doesn't, they don't).

And he said this, "I only want to talk to one person in each county across the United States, and here’s what I want to say: County sheriffs, disarm U.S. bureaucracy. County sheriffs, disarm U.S. bureaucrats."

He said of his own county's sheriff: “My Clark County sheriff, Doug Gillespie, didn’t finish his job. What the mandate from we the people was, Saturday was to disarm the park service and BLM. And when he didn’t do that, and his time was up, then we the people took it into our hands and had to do the sheriff’s job and the governor of Nevada’s job.”

In other words, he was calling for insurrection against the government. He wants 1861 redux.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Pretty much.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

AndrewPrice, sorry I don't have time to give your reply the attention it warrants. I hope to get back to write more here later, but I'll offer a few, quick points.

I think we are in agreement. I already wrote that your version of the facts seems accurate from what I know of the matter, and lauded you for stating them so effectively and stated several times that it is good you called Mr. Bundy out for the wrongs he has done.

Where I disagree is with a need to label people; especially with a term like, "fringe." (And, what actually brought me here to read your article was Eric's referencing it at Threedonia with the battlecry, "F the fringe!"

I think it's a HUGE mistake to try to fit people into neat and tidy boxes (and label those who don't fit into a neat, tidy box as fringe) and say, "you belong here and you don't belong here." I'm no more likely to pull one of my kids from the BSA if his leader is gay than if his leader is hetero; makes no matter to me, but if his leader is spending meetings pushing his religion or politics on my kid (even if I share his views) I just may. And, another dad may want his kid led by a Scout Leader who turns meetings into a Bible study. No skin off my nose.

As a citizen here's what I care about: does the guy respect my rights and the rights of my family and neighbors. I don't care if his politics differ from mine (you say I do, but I honestly don't) as long as he's leaves me free to believe what I believe.

My kids have a lot of progressives for teachers. The only one I have ever had a problem with is the Spanish teacher who devotes her lessons to screeds against George Bush and Republicans and "rich" people. I don't care that's what she believes. I just care that she doesn't teach my kids how to speak Spanish. One of my kids has an openly gay teacher, and that teacher sometimes shares his views on gay marriage and what it's like being a citizen in a gay relationship who doesn't have certain government advantages straight couples do. He keeps the talks to a minimum, doesn't let it interfere with the lesson plan, and uses his personal experience to foster discussion about civics and government's role in society; which is also the subject he teaches. I think he's a great teacher! I disagree with his view on marriage. But, as you may know, I disagree with 99% of Americans' view on marriage; I don't think the government has any role in "marrying" people. As a matter of fact, my view is "fringe," so I guess I'm not a Conservative.

AndrewPrice said...

Rufus, I have to get back to you tomorrow. I'm still fighting off a nasty flu and I'm not thinking straight.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

AndrewPrice, I'm sorry you're not feeling well. I wrote quite a bit more, but it looks like my comment is gone. You may find this article by Kevin Williamson interesting,

I hope you are better soon!

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