Center for American Progress Action
Many of the same conservative leaders who condemned Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy's racist comments continue to stand by his radical anti-government views.
Who Agrees With Cliven Bundy’s Radical Anti-Government Views Of Federal Public Lands?
Remember Cliven Bundy?
Before the Nevada cattle rancher became politically toxic by wondering aloud whether “Negros” were “better off as slaves, picking cotton,” conservative politicians, commentators, and even armed militiamen championed him as an anti-government hero for refusing to pay over $1 million in grazing fees owed to the Bureau of Land Management.
And many of these same conservative leaders, despite condemning his racist comments, continue to stand by his radical anti-government views regarding the authority of the federal government to own and manage America’s national parks, forests, and public lands. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), for example, may have denounced Bundy as “offensive.” But the Senator agrees with the rancher in disputing federal authority over federal lands, and also supports the sell-off or state seizure of public lands.
Today, we are launching a new series in collaboration with the Denver-based Center for Western Priorities that will examine this growing fringe of right-wing politicians and organizations who share Bundy’s belief that the U.S. government has no legitimate authority over federal lands and that those lands should be either seized by the states or sold off to the highest bidder.
Check out the website — BundysBuddies.org — and take a look at a few of these right-wing allies:
One of Bundy’s buddies, San Juan County, Utah county commissioner Phil Lyman, is leading the charge in what could be the next showdown. Mother Jones reports:
This Saturday, angry residents of San Juan County, Utah, plan to illegally ride their ATVs through Utah’s Recapture Canyon—an 11 mile-long stretch of federal land that is home to Native American archeological sites—because they don’t think that the federal Bureau of Land Management should have designated that land off-limits to motor vehicles. The protest was meant to be a local affair. But on Thursday, Bundy, the rancher who wouldn’t pay the feds grazing fees and sparked a gun-drenched showdown in Nevada, called on his supporters to join the anti-government off-roading event.
Destroying the heritage and ruining the natural beauty of a public place because…freedom.
There’s a reason why federal public lands belong to all Americans. They are not only stipulated in the Property Clause of the Constitution, they are for our mutual benefit. By seizing public lands, special interests are infringing upon a uniquely American idea: that there are places held in trust for all Americans – present and future – to hike, fish, camp, hunt, and enjoy.
BOTTOM LINE: Conservatives may have taken a step or two away from Cliven Bundy after his racist remarks, but many are still in lockstep with his radical views that the U.S. government should have no control over public lands. Public lands are a place for all Americans. Defying federal authority there is the same as breaking the law any place else.
The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.