Tuesday, January 5, 2016



Ammon Bundy has created a country & western version of the Occupy movement: he has assembled an angry but inarticulate group of people, with government replacing Wall Street and gun rights have taken the place of marijuana legalization. 

The group's grievances are far too micro to be driven by principle. They have taken over a wildlife refuge in response to the prison sentences handed out to Dwight and Steven Hammond, two ranchers who lit fires which spread to federal land. There are apparently other references to the "unwinding" of federal ownership of lands, but nothing specific enough to suspect principled motives.

The biggest problem, however, is that Bundy's group is outwardly fighting for the same things that any pro-liberty individual would seek to promote: fighting government corruption, abuse of power, and monopoly of force. What is the problem? While their motives may appear to be liberty-oriented, the group Bundy has assembled is very much not pro-liberty. Liberty is peaceful, and Bundy is looking for a fight. Unlike his father, Cliven Bundy, who was defended against federal agents by armed activists who came to his aid, the younger Bundy has assembled an armed group and is asking federal agents to come to him.

Liberty is not hard to understand; the principles of those who seek to promote liberty are understood by toddlers around the world: treat others as you want to be treated. Second to this is the non- or zero-aggression principle, which simply states that it is wrong to initiate force or steal something that doesn't belong to you.

Ammon Bundy is leading a group which has clearly initiated force. The government may have a monopoly on legal use of force, but that doesn't make Bundy's actions right--two wrongs don't do that. And Bundy has taken over an area that clearly does not belong to him--Woody Guthrie may have told us that "this land is my land, this land is your land," but the armed guards who locked down federal lands during the last government shutdown should tell you all you need to know about who believes they own those lands. All of this adds up to an extremely ill-conceived plan to fight federal corruption and overreach. The only thing that Ammon Bundy and his group of armed misfits will do is force the hand of those who seek to promote liberty rather than forcing the hand of a corrupt government--which is the exact opposite of what should be happening.

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