What Exactly Did Cliven Bundy Say That A) Was Wrong; B) Paul Ryan Didn’t Already Say?
Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who has been at the center of one of those periodic heartland standoffs that totally baffle and enrage the American elite, is now also the center of an all-too-typical American elite Politically Correct hysteria about, you guessed it, “racism.”
Bundy, in Robert E. Lee’s wonderful phrase, is not a professional soldier but a citizen who has taken up arms for his country, and he may yet be mau maued into performing the usual pointless ritual grovel, but as pointed out here by Paul Kersey at the time of the Paula Deen hysteria, this stuff is wearing very thin. (Kersey was proved right by the subsequent Duck Dynasty hysteria, when alpha duck Phil Robertson simply faced down the Cultural Marxist mob).
More importantly, as I said at greater length last fall, unless the extraordinary power of this “racism” smear is faced and discredited, American immigration patriots cannot begin to reclaim their country.
Needless to say, the putative professionals who have been supporting, or at least profiting, from Bundy are now running for the hills. [See A List of Cliven Bundy`s Supporters, Now That We Know He`s a Pro-Slavery Racist, by Arit John, Abby Olsheiser, TheWire.com, April 24, 2014]. This emphatically includes Senator Rand Paul, who is quoted continuing his ignominious slide into self-defeating left-libertarianism by intoning piously that “His remarks on race are offensive and I wholeheartedly disagree with him.”
(One remarkable exception: Arizona state Sen. Kelli Ward wrote in an e-mail to The Washington Post:
Apparently he has some thoughts that aren`t shared by many Americans. He is free to think and speak as he chooses (even if it may offend) and we are free to listen (or not) and form our own opinions. I am thankful for our amazing Constitution and the 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech — if I don`t agree, I don`t seek to silence or shame the speaker or to paint his associates with the broad brush of collective condemnation.
Rand Paul and other Republican leaders back away from Bundy, By Jaime Fuller, Washington Post, April 24, 2014.
(Ward did add that she “disagrees with Bundy’s statements to the [New York Times]” But she pioneered here an impregnable line of defense that all the Republican Party’s high-priced consultants apparently couldn’t come up with.)
There are only two points to be made about this ridiculous witch hunt:
- Cliven Bundy’s other views are utterly irrelevant to his dispute with the Federal Bureau of Land Management.
VDARE.com has not previously commented on the Bundy vs. BLM story because of our single-minded focus on immigration and the National Question. For what it’s worth, my own cursory reading suggests Bundy may well be legally in the wrong, arguably on technicalities, but the federal reaction was extraordinary and further evidence of the disturbing brutalization of U.S. law enforcement, which combines paradoxically with its abject collapse in other areas i.e. border security. After Ruby Ridge and Waco, nothing can be ruled out.
Nevertheless, Bundy’s comments about blacks are completely irrelevant to the legal and moral issues raised by his dispute with the federal government. There is absolutely no reason why the people who supported him before should not go on supporting him now—except, of course, cowardice and stupidity.
To give an historical parallel: during World War I, the campaign to save the Irish nationalist Sir Roger Casement from execution for conspiring to have Germany arm what ultimately became the Easter Rising was derailed by leaked evidence that he was a promiscuous pederast. Strictly speaking, of course, Casement’s sexuality was irrelevant to the question of whether or not he should be hanged for treason. But at that time, it was decisive.
- What EXACTLY is wrong with what Cliven Bundy said anyway?
Here is his entire statement, as lovingly recorded by the New York Times’ Adam Nagourney [A Defiant Rancher Savors the Audience That Rallied to His Side, April 23, 2014]:
“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.”
Rich Lowry [Send him mail] Editor of the post-purge National Review, eager to burnish his credentials as a house-broken MSM Token Conservative, says “This is so stupid and noxious it isn’t really worth rebutting.”
But, of course it’s not, as the links helpfully added by VDARE.com show—if you actually think, as oppose to emoting (and, in Lowry’s case, truckling). It makes a series of factual points that can be rationally defended. (Even I’d forgotten that Bundy persecutor Nevada Senator Harry Reid himself got in trouble for using the word “Negro”—which was in fact the approved PC term in his and Bundy’s youth.)
Does anybody not think the plight of black America 150 years after Emancipation is unfortunately problematic? Why else these huge transfer payment programs (such as “government housing”) and Affirmative Action?
Specifically, note that Bundy did not say that blacks are on average genetically more prone to violent crime, have lower average IQs etc.—although these too are rationally defensible, if controversial, statements. Nor, contrary to reports e.g. Cliven Bundy Stands By Pro-Slavery Comments In Rambling Press Conference , by Amanda Terkel, Huffington Post, April 24, 2014, did Bundy say that he approved of slavery (a historical event which apparently is in the process of being sacramentalized i.e. removed from rational discussion into the realm of religious dogma).
Instead, Bundy’s comparison to slavery—posed, it should be noted, as a hypothetical—was clearly meant to cast a sympathetic light on the unfortunate plight of American blacks, which he attributed (in these comments at least) solely to a culture of welfare dependency. This is a truism that could appear in any race-whipped Conservatism Inc. mouthpiece like National Review.
And in fact it has—e.g. Jesuits Rebuke Ryan| Georgetown Catholics, seeking to help the poor, promote welfare dependency, by Michael Novak, National Review, June 11 2012:
By contrast, the federal government’s “welfare plantation” has blocked advancement for millions of the poor. It has done so by entrapping them with the honeypot of government subsidies, no demands made.
Even more absurdly, Bundy’s point is exactly the same as that just made by the appalling immigration enthusiast Rep. Paul Ryan—which Lowry, a notorious presidential candidate groupie, defended [Paul Ryan’s White Hood, National Review, March 21, 2014].
This is hypocrisy on a level with allowing neocon-anointed holy man Victor Davis Hanson to publish an article saying the exact same thing about black criminal propensities that Lowry had earlier fired John Derbyshire for saying.
Lowry will go far.
See where that’s gotten him.
This Just In—Bundy is not groveling yet!
On Thursday during an outdoor news conference near his ranch 80 miles from Las Vegas, he echoed the same sentiment: “Are they slaves to charities and government subsidized homes? And are they slaves when their daughters are having abortions and their sons are in the prisons? This thought goes back a long time.”
Nevada rancher defends remarks, loses supporters, By Michelle Rindels, Washington Times, April 25, 2014.