One of the primary contentions that Conservatives like myself have with comprehensive immigration reform, i.e., amnesty, is that it violates the sacred principle of The Rule Of Law. Those on the Right who defend Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy and his supporters, are in danger of drinking from the well of hypocrisy, precisely because their actions violate that same rule of law. Do not underestimate my impassioned fidelity to the Constitution of the United States of America, or my undying support for the personal liberty that is the very cornerstone of that most sacred document. But with all due respect to my fellow Conservatives who believe that Mr. Bundy is a poster child for government tyranny crushing the little guy, there is little chance of making that dog hunt.
Cliven Bundy's family originally came to Nevada in the 1870s with the desire to ranch in the wide open spaces that were amenable to raising cattle. The federal government at the time wanted to encourage migration into the area, and the raising of cattle for both food and economic growth. To that end, the government allowed ranchers to graze their cattle on federal lands. As the Bureau of Land Management put more restrictions on the grazing rights of ranchers, instigated by the radical environmental Left, Mr. Bundy decided to stop paying his grazing fees. That was in 1993, and even though he refused to pay his fees, he continued to graze his cattle on federal lands.
The federal government engaged in many legal actions in the last 20 years, which culminated with the Bureau of Land Management attempting to physically remove Mr. Bundy's cattle from the federal lands this past weekend. The government agents were met with resistance in the form of armed men on horseback, who for some reason felt it was okay for Mr. Bundy not to pay his grazing fees and continue to use federal lands to feed his cattle.
The federal government throughout the years, and most definitely in recent years, have overstepped the bounds of conscientious constitutional constancy and proper respect for personal liberty and property rights, the Bundy situation does not qualify as one of those. In other words, the government would have every right to remove my personal property from federal lands if I were to park a trailer there and refuse to pay the proper fees for doing so, and refused to remove it.
Some of those on Right-Wing talk radio seem to have sympathy for the Bundy clan and their supporters, which I find extremely disheartening. It makes some on the Right look as though they are picking and choosing in which situations The Rule Of Law applies and which it does not. If Cliven Bundy, or anyone else for that matter, has a problem with a particular law, they have two choices. They can obey said law while attempting to change it through proper legal channels, or they can break the law and accept the consequences. Mr. Bundy seems to believe he is above these two options and can simply ignore the law. I am not particularly sanguine about buying license plates for my car, but I must obey the law or accept the consequences of driving with expired plates. And so it is with every law.
For those who are celebrating the temporary victory by the Bundy Bullies, just remember that civilized society is secured by The Rule Of Law. If that law is excused for politicians, illegal immigrants, or even ranchers, then the fabric of society begins to unravel and deteriorate into anarchy and mob rule. This is not a concept that is compatible with conservatism, and it certainly is not a concept that exemplifies the better nature of the founding documents upon which this great nation was built.