As any reasonably well-informed attorney knows, if a police officer follows a driver long enough he will witness a violation that supposedly justifies a traffic stop. Once this happens, the officer will “build the stop” by seeking a pretext to search the vehicle for evidence of violations that can lead to an arrest of the driver, or seizure of the vehicle and its contents.
Cliven Bundy, among others, can testify that Regime-oriented journalism operates in a very similar fashion: Have a reporter from the New York Times shadow a 67-year-old Mormon rancher from southeastern Nevada long enough, and eventually the subject will say something that offends current sensibilities about race. To be specific, Bundy used retrograde racial terminology in musing aloud about the damage done to the black family by the Welfare State—which he suggested might be as evil, in some ways, as the odious institution of chattel slavery.
Mr. Bundy is unusually media-savvy for a rancher, but he doesn’t speak in sound-bites. He wasn’t lamenting the fact that black Americans are no longer required to pick cotton for other people who supposedly “own” them, but that the modern welfare state has cultivated dependency, undermined the family, and helped to bring about both the a stratospherically high incarceration rate for black men and a shockingly high abortion rate for black unborn children (a development he wouldn’t lament if he genuinely hated black people).
That perspective could have been tidily packaged for media consumption in the following phrase: “The welfare state has done to black Americans what slavery could not have done, the harshest Jim Crow laws and racism could not have done, namely break up the black family.”
Those sentences were not uttered by a white rancher from Nevada, but by a black academic from Virginia – Dr. Walter Williams, to be specific. It takes a remarkable gift for dishonesty to accuse Dr. Williams of indulging in racism, but Ed Shultz – who serves as MSNBC’s left-wing analogue to Sean Hannity – was equal to that challenge. Shultz apparently doesn’t consider it to be an act of paternalistic racism for a white Progressive to tutor a black academic about matters of racial etiquette.
On April 11, the day before the “Battle of Bunkerville,” President Obama found time in a schedule cluttered with drone strikes against brown people overseas to address Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention. Sharpton is man of many parts, nearly all of them loathsome. He is a shake-down artist, a racial incendiary, and – as we were recently reminded – an asset of the secret police.
The least objectionable facet of Sharpton’s record is his tax “evasion,” given that protecting one’s assets from theft is not a crime. That being said, I find it fascinating that on April 11 Mr. Obama was embracing as a role model a public figure said to owe millions of dollars in taxes, and on the next day his administration was prepared to kill a Nevada rancher described as a “deadbeat” because he refuses to pay grazing fees to a branch of government that is not constitutionally permitted to collect them.
This disparate treatment could easily be explained as a question of identity politics. J.D. Tuccille points out, the Obama-era Progressive movement insists that all anti-government activism is reductively racist. This could be seen as part of a cynical, murderous political deal struck early in Obama’s reign.
Several months into his first term, Barack Obama signed into law a “hate crimes” measurethat enriched the federal government’s power to investigate and punish improper thinking. That measure likewise diverted plundered funds to fill the troughs of left-wing pressure groups that gather intelligence on “thought criminals” on behalf of the Feds.
In order to ensure passage of the Hate Crimes measure (which we should call the Thoughcrime Enforcement Act), the Obama administration attached it to a $680 billion military appropriation measure that included at least $120 billion to fund the the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The irreplaceable Chris Hedges, a relentlessly candid opponent of the Warfare State, describedhow this arrangement managed to unite advocates of tyrannical “tolerance” on the home front with those who promote the mass murder of harmless foreigners abroad:
“It was a clever piece of marketing. It blunted debate about new funding for war. And behind the closed doors of the caucus rooms, the Democratic leadership told Blue Dog Democrats, who are squeamish about defending gays or lesbians from hate crimes, that they could justify the vote as support for the war. They told liberal Democrats, who are squeamish about unlimited funding for war, that they could defend the vote as a step forward in the battle for civil rights. Gender equality groups, by selfishly narrowing their concern to themselves, participated in the dirty game.”
The same “Tolerance Industry” that treats every uncouth utterance by an aging “right-wing extremist” as matter of transcendent outrage was willing to abet the murder of innocent people abroad in order to expand the power of the Regime to punish their enemies at home. From their perspective, cops and drones may break people’s bones, but only “hateful” words can really hurt us.
Cliven Bundy is a robustly imperfect individual, something I suspect he would eagerly concede, even if he didn’t consider his racial views to be among those shortcomings. Unlike the rampaging federal regulatory agencies arrayed against him, Bundy is not in the business of picking pockets or breaking legs. As the photograph above demonstrates, he is not a reflexive bigot. Indeed, his first reflex upon spying a little brown boy – one who strikingly resembles the children being slaughtered by the Regime overseas — was to drop to a knee and offer him his cowboy hat.
Most importantly, it should be remembered that the same BLM that has targeted Cliven Bundy and other white ranchers in Nevada did not spare the Dann family, impoverished Shoshone Indians whose livestock was seized by the agency in order to clear “public” land for exploitation by a politically connected corporation.
Obama-aligned Progressives are too busy gleefully dilating on the wickedness of Cliven Bundy to condemn the BLM’s persecution of Carrie, Clifford, and the late Mary Dann. But then again, why should this be surprising? The Danns, after all, are just a few more brown people whose rights must be sacrificed in the cause of building the Almighty State.
And while we’re on the subject…
… guess what other Nevada Mormon of a certain age has used racially insensitive language?