Monday, April 14, 2014

Anarchy is Not Freedom - for Anyone

Is this how we assert our rights?  Is this how we protect freedom?  There just has to be a better way.  In the Bundy Ranch conflict, everyone seems to see their own favorite cause represented.

What I saw depicted in the popular media was a confrontation provoked by acting out, anger, and threats of violence from both sides.  It would have been difficult to tell, judging by which side was doing more screaming and threats, which represents traditional values of justice and freedom and which was just a screaming mob.

Why must the proponents of "freedom" engage in a violent shouting and shoving match?  Some of the scenes bore uncanny resemblance to two playground bullies striving against each other to assert their dominance.  The frenzy of uncontrolled rage was the most obvious characteristic of the "militia", who in many photos and videos of the incident appeared to be bristling with fierce looking weapons, many with the substantial bulges of personal body armor.

In the scenes I witnessed, there were no black helicopters from embattled government forces hovering overhead.  No sharpshooting snipers appeared to be zeroing in on their assassination targets.  Many of the BLM guys appeared to be intimidated and unprepared to confront the screaming mob, their six-shooters holstered against the threat of facing many wielding semiautomatics and high-power hunting rifles.  I heard one member of the Bundy family promise that they had a shotgun, and knew how to use it.  It looks like the BLM "thugs" were outnumbered by the screaming protesters, and were most anxious to get the heck out of dodge.

Witnessing the prudent retreat, many of the protesters were apparently emboldened, screaming dire imprecations and making derisive and rude gestures at the government "thugs" as they sped away.

If that is the appearance of freedom vanquishing tyranny, I'm pretty sure I'm not favorably impressed.  I'm trying to grasp how all this reconciles with counsel from General LDS Church leaders.

Our whole society really rests on the capacity of its citizens to give 'obedience to the unenforceable.' (Elder Neal A. Maxwell)

Citizens are not free to choose which laws they consider themselves not subject to, and which they opt to obey.  This rationale to justify disobedience to the laws of the land is not far removed from justification for disobeying the laws of God.  (Elder Dallin H. Oaks)

I don't really care to argue further about "liberty" and "freedom".  Those who have appropriated this event as some sort of symbolic cause, fine for them.  Believe whatever you please.  But I think I am pretty clear on the relation between land and money.

Like most western cattle ranchers, I understand that the Bundy Ranch has title to holdings of just over 100 acres.  This is what traces back to family tradition.  All of the rest of the more than 7000 acres being claimed for grazing land has always been owned by the state.

Bundy has no title or deed of ownership for this extensive area.  But like many others, the Bundy Ranch happens to be a strategic location that controls most of the available water in the area.   With range cattle, this is the primary difference that controls whether the land can support the big herd of cattle, or is just more burning sands.

Snopes comments about the Chinese conspiracy theory and other such misinformation. Both sides of this controversy have tossed in so much irrelevant information now, it is impossible to separate.  It makes me uncomfortable to see so little difference in methods used by either side.  I think they're both losing.

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