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Cliven Bundy – The Real Issue

April 21, 2014

I am beside myself. Where has America gone? What have we become? Where is the outrage over the siege of the Bundy Ranch the weekend of April 12, 2014? Why is no one concerned? Why is there no demand for an investigation into Harry and Rory Reid and their involvement with the situation? Why aren’t the Republican Senators and Representatives demanding an immediate investigation? Because it isn’t safe to throw stones in a glass house? Have we sunk so low? Have we descended to depths of apathy and cowardice yet unseen?

I am not going to recount the Cliven Bundy story here. Obviously there are two sides to every story and the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle. But again, the real issue is the nescience of the people of this country, the revisionist history that is being taught in our schools, and a country so ignorant, apathetic, and lazy that would continue to allow these atrocities to occur. The real issue is that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has no constitutional right to appropriate land for any reason. The BLM was formed in 1946 when the Grazing Service and the General Land Office combined. Those two divisions basically resulted from the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934. Before that, in 1891, the congress passed laws setting aside federal forest reserves ultimately creating the Forest Service in 1905. But before all of that, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17, known as the “Enclave Clause” was published in our Constitution.

The Enclave Clause basically gave the federal government the right to purchase, own, and control land in a state under very limited and restricted conditions, mainly for the erection of forts, arsenals, etc. It did not, and does not, allow the federal government unlimited and unrestrained authority to seize state and private land to save a tortoise, a minnow, or any other creature. That authority has always been reserved to each state. The fact that state representatives and legislatures have allowed the federal government to act in an unconstitutional manner does not mean that their actions are lawful. In fact, any law that is unconstitutional has no weight and no bearing. So before you jump to one side or the other, you really need to understand the intended limitations and restraints that were supposed to be imposed on the federal government, and then you need to understand how the federal government, with the blessing of the Supreme Court, has grossly exceeded those limitations and restraints.

Cliven Bundy never refused to pay a grazing fee. He only refused to pay the grazing fee to the BLM. He was more than happy to pay that same fee to the state of Nevada. His argument has always been that the BLM had no constitutional authority to take control of that land, and while I am no constitutional attorney, I believe he is right. Because he had the audacity to stand for his rights based upon constitutional principle, over 200 armed federal agents descended on the area to confiscate his property, which, by the way, he has a constitutional right to defend (that little snippet about life, liberty…, etc.), and if it were not for some patriotic citizens who came to his defense, the outcome would have been vastly different based on precedent set in the past with events such as Ruby Ridge and Waco.

What is happening today is no different than what occurred in the past that ultimately led to the Civil War. The Civil War was not about slavery – slavery was just the excuse. The Civil War was about the 10th Amendment and States rights versus Federal rights. Today we continue to struggle with that same issue. Some assume that since the north won the Civil War that the issue of States rights was settled. I guess that depends upon who you talk to. Our country was intended to be a Republic consisting of a federation of states. That federation of states would submit to a small central government of limited authority, and each state would be responsible for their own internal affairs. There was never any intention for unlimited federal authority or unlimited state authority, and at the end of the day the ultimate purpose was the protection of the rights of the individual. But the minute an individual stands up for his rights he is attacked by the federal government and left unprotected by his state.

I guess that’s OK with you?

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Thomas Lee Dahl is a working professional with a keen interest in financial and political issues. He can be reached at thmsdahl68@gmail.com.