"An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation." ~ John Marshall
An Urgent Plea to Cliven Bundy
Column by Kevin M. Patten.
Exclusive to STR
You have given the country a rare opportunity, sir. Until very recently, the issue that drew both the ire of statists and the camaraderie of American patriots was your land dispute with the federal government. They were central questions that were asked at the dawn of our Republic, and needed a much deserved reminder: “How much power does the government have?” And: “What exactly constitutes a property-holder?” For 20 years, you have bravely answered this, defying the Bureau of Land Management and telling them that the land belongs to the People, specifically those who toil and live on it. As a note as to my own stance on the matter, I believe it to be indefectibly American anytime one single person can upset everybody on the political spectrum – from the predictably hysterical liberal Talking Heads on MSNBC and CNN, to Fox’s lineup of Neoconservatives, including Bill Kristol, Tucker Carlson, and Glenn Beck. You know as well as I that those on the “Establishment Right” care as much about your plight as the average Democrip (Jesse Ventura’s new terminology for our “elected” officials) operative. It’s a damn fine thing to witness them all shriek in unity. Well done!
Liberal Logic 101 says this: That “Welfare Kings” entail those who work the land without submitting to the theft of federal taxation, and are moochers simply because everyone else is federally taxed; therefore, it is not really argued, the land is the federal government’s – “theirs” – and therefore you have no right to be a greedy corporatist who doesn’t pay what everyone is supposed to. Even if this reasoning were granted, the statistics cannot bear themselves out, as only 50% of people in this country actually pay those federal taxes, none of whom have given an opinion about the matter. Those who don’t submit to federal theft are likely to be international corporations, or those who work and live here without documentation. So, whenever somebody says, “Well, everyone else pays federal taxes,” tell them: “That’s not true, but if they did, that’s their problem.” (I understand the issue is “grazing fees” and not taxation; but let us not split too many hairs here.) And personally, as a lifelong carnivore who has no doubt consumed the equivalent of at least a dozen of your cows, I cannot find a justification for others, with a meaty diet like mine, to expect more from you other than beef and iconoclasm, especially since many of us have never actually visited that region.
But this issue evolved, on April 19th, when you brought up a rather unpleasant comparison between the Welfare State and the dark history of institutionalized chattel slavery. I’m sorry to say that I depart ways with your analogy, and don’t think it a fair comparison whatsoever. A much more reliable set-up would be in the early 20th Century, when, economically speaking, Black America was almost on par with their white counterparts, in spite of the massive discrimination of the day. For a black middle class was rising rapidly in the '20s, '30s, '40s and '50s, with child illegitimacy at about 10 percent, compared to the 75 percent we witness now. No thanks to LBJ’s “Great Society” – in which he dubiously said he’ll have “those niggers voting Democratic for the next 200 years” – the black population has been stuck, as you pointed out crassly, in a perpetual state of dependency. It should be noted, however, that blacks are not the only beneficiaries of welfarism: this analysis says that 5.13% of whites are recipients, while 28.75% of blacks are – themselves being only 12% of the population. Nevertheless, we must all give sympathy to the liberal who suggests that you owe them more, while those who pay nothing, or those who take more than they pay in, are somehow free from the suggestion; for their mental faculties have been wounded from years of consuming, not cow, but their defecation.
Aside from the grave numbers, it upsets me to no end that these government boot-lickers have urged on the BLM goons, and have suggested the most evil, sadistic, un-American of remedies – up to and including using drone strikes on you and your family. This vitriol was seen prior to the commentary you gave about “the Negro” (an antiquated term that truly shows the time capsule you’ve been living in); the forum that allowed these demonic people to express their Statism could be found on Facebook, at the “BundyFest!” page. Fortunately, the creators and maintainers of the event, Sean Shealy and Gavin Hadaller, are not of that breed: they are two very friendly “progressive” activists who insist there is no right side here; that you are a resident in America who must pay like everyone else, but also infer that the BLM are violent enforcers of an illegitimate government. And while Shealy tells me he doesn’t believe the Federal Government to be as much, he does write about how the Constitution only allows gold and silver as legal tender, which of course has been ignored for more than a hundred years. What could be more illegitimate than an illegally created central bank that gives trillions out to foreign banks?
As you might have heard by now, the event has gone mainstream. Scheduled to kick off on September 5th, and run into October, Shealy promises that it’s going to be anarchic – “TOTAL FREEDOM,” as the headline of the page reads– with live music playing all day and night, lots of nudity, beer, weed, and perhaps even a few guns. As Mr. Hadaller told me, if it “takes something like ‘BundyFest!” to trick people into talking with each other and maybe within all that crap, threats, name-calling, etc., maybe there will be two people from different political views who find out that they have a few things in common.” He also makes an interesting point in saying that the land that you own is not the land in which you graze your cattle on. And yet, he would love to see the day that all property tax is abolished. Just like that, two people with vastly different perspectives can seemingly agree to disagree for yet another time and place. “The idea is to be inclusive, not exclusive,” as he says. Good. Yet I have my doubts that any of the tough guys on their thread will actually be there in person, and then would not be concerned for the safety of your family. After all, voting once or twice a year in your own neighborhood is much easier than actually having to travel somewhere in order to make a dispute directly; why steal from someone when you can vote for a politician who will do it for you?
This is where you and your supporters come in. You have given press conference after press conference, interview after interview, attempting to clarify your thoughts and to speak to the American people. You even went so far as to call this a “movement.” What terminology! Surely you have perked more ears than just mine with that remark. Shall we be more direct than this? Can you come to embrace a new Woodstock right in your backyard? Shealy has said that he will respect your property boundaries. Can we all, then, just get along? Maybe figure out this little bit about taxation and property rights and who constitutes an actual welfare moocher? Perhaps eat some steak, drink some beer, and fight the Feds together? It would be wonderful.
I hope you consider, and I hope to meet you come September.