The situation in Nevada between Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management is, at least for the moment, at a lull. On that issue, regardless of Bundy’s own general views on politics*, I’m inclined to side with him based on my view that commonly held property and “government property” are not the same thing, the latter being a myth. If the complaint towards him comes from the feds and not the other ranchers in the area — that is, the claimed violation is of authority and not shared access — it is bunk.
There is additional background already out there about the land itself, though at the moment that’s not what brought me to talk about this. In the process of other responses to this case being posted, a larger issue has been touched by those siding against Bundy in a way I find highly contradictory. Over at Salon.com, prog columnist Elias Isquith, who accepts the government’s case against Bundy, nonetheless takes the pivoting tactic of suggesting of the rancher’s general politics He’s Got A Point. First noting a video that drew attention, he muses about the tactic used to guard against government agents on the scene:
What drew these fine gentlemen to Bundy’s cause? The video of a federal official using a stun-gun on one of the rancher’s adult children surely didn’t help. But police brutality and abuse of power is a normal occurrence in America today, and you don’t see a dozen armed and stone-faced guys show up to the rescue every time someone in the Bronx makes a “furtive movement” and suddenly finds themselves slammed against a brick wall with a police baton jammed into the small of their back. So that’s not it, not really.
Considering the most likely targets of such abuse in NYC are also the most heavily scrutinized in enforcement of “gun control”, as well as the response to past similar attempts at armed resistance to police abuse in urban areas, the rarity of this scenario didn’t exactly emerge from a vacuum. We do however nowadays have the likes of CopBlock, albeit armed with cameras instead of shotguns. Response by the police to this development has been predictable: people attempting to film cops have been threatened, robbed & assaulted even when the letter of the law states people have a right to do so. So much for The Law…
So, if the animating principle behind those that went to that ranch in Nevada and made federal agents back away isn’t reaction to police abuse, what is? I don’t profess to know, but Elias expresses it as simple ideology signifying, that they take up similar worldview as Bundy (which Elias describes as “anti-government libertarian populism”) and say so with their presence. Citing a Gallup poll about distrust of the government in the U.S., he goes into a bit of a tailspin:
[...] one of the reasons this intensifying mistrust is so worrisome is that it’s so obviously justified. Indeed, anyone who’s lived through the past 15 years of American politics — with the secret spying, the secret incarcerations, the secret torture, the secret drone strikes, and the secret indifference to the economic fortunes of the 99 percent — and still trusts their government wouldn’t just be naïve. They’d be a fool.
Only the past fifteen years? Seriously? The only real difference is we find out about things faster today, largely because of technology. As for the dominance of concentrated wealth and immobility of the elite — they’re called “the ruling class” for a reason after all — a time when this was not the case is somewhere with Sasquatch and the Easter Bunny. A few people of means hold control because a few people of means held control before. It’s what they did, it’s what they do.
Following that part is mention of the much talked about Princeton study concluding that the U.S. is an oligarchy, and an anecdote from Elizabeth Warren, the Great Prog Hope. On the first, frankly I find it depressing that such is considered so oddball of a view that it’s thought to need scholarly confirmation for safe airing. Just a sign of how deeply propaganda penetrates when you start young, formalities mistaken for meaning with no regard for what is in front of your eyes. The latter… let’s just cut the crap, she is an insider because she got inside, the fact that she’s in the U.S. Senate and not off in an activist group having her phone tapped & computer bugged marks just how unafraid the elite are of her.
These sentiments sum up to a stance, describable as Angry Progressivism, that doesn’t add up in my mind at all. Consider the depth of the problem as Elias himself admits it: Representative government is a myth, the poor mean squat, the authorities run rampant, the common people are under the foot of oligarchy and a pervasive surveillance state, and empire falsely claimed as our will screams along with no breaks… does this sound like something that can be solved in a voting booth to you?
If the fear with embracing a systemic critique and no longer assuming legitimacy is There Will Be Chaos, I say look around you. The order is chaos.