Recent efforts by the Bureau of Land Management to use overwhelming force to take the cattle of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy had generated some legitimate discussion about how much force the government should use to enforce payment of grazing fees on federal land. But Bundy blew away any sympathy he might have had this week with shocking racist remarks to supporters on his ranch that had nothing to do with his case.
Some of his remarks quoted from a New York Times article below. According to a New York Times reporter, Bundy said this to a group of supporters on his ranch:
“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do."
“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”
Reasonable people of decency cannot deny that Bundy's racist views are extreme. The BLM could still be guilty of bad judgment in using so much force to round up Bundy's cattle, but Bundy's racist comments are so extreme that it is no longer possible to have a rational discussion of the possible excessive use of federal power against his cattle.
If Bundy is so crazy as to believe his own rhetoric on race he is much too likely to be crazy and not truthful about other matters. Lawful property rights are important but the cause is much too important to be left in the hands of a crazy racist as a self-appointed spokesperson.