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The Wisdom, Foresight, and One Arm That Tamed the West

Posted 04-24-2014 at 08:09 PM by Grandma Bates
Updated 04-25-2014 at 05:14 AM by Grandma Bates (Fixed Cliven Bundy's name)

For some reason a small group cowboys in Nevada with nothing better to do but complain have been given a great deal of attention. Cliven Bundy has been integrated into the 24 hour news cycle, and his near constant exposure has made it possible to expose some of his more unpleasant views on humanity. We have now officially lost sight of Mr. Bundy's complaints about the onerous federales who will not let him graze his cows on the arid lands that his family claimed for the last millennium.

He is complaining that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is charging him to use public land. He says that many other ranchers went out of business because of the fees. The irony is that the BLM has badly managed public land by giving away too many grazing rights, and BLM lands are too poor to support much of anything these days. Of course this event has not sparked any discussion about BLM policies but has somehow become a proxy for the way President Obama is leading the country to ruin.

Mr. Bundy recently changed the subject himself when discussing a trip to Las Vegas. He saw people without work. What I find more interesting is what he did not see, water fountains. Las Vegas has water fountains and neighborhoods with artificial lakes. In the desert. Cattle, and people, need more than food. The most scarce resource of the American West is water.

That water is shared because of the federal government. John Wesley Powell set in motion the policies that made large settlements in the American West possible. He based his early insights from the LDS settlements that he observed while surveying the Western landscape. The resulting US federal mandates to share water have been a phenomenal success. That success was made possible by a one-armed veteran of the US Civil War who joined the Union Army partly for his opposition to slavery.

Now with Mr. Bundy's recent remarks about slavery we are talking about race. The topic of race in the US is fraught with emotion and passions. It is an easy topic for the news outlets since they merely have to say the word "race" to get tongues wagging.

In this whole fiasco, though, the news media refuses to ask basic questions that are just as important. We hear very little about the BLM and what it does. We do not hear about their long term mismanagement of public lands to placate short term interests of ranchers and miners. We also hear nothing about the great successes of the federal policies.

The large scale population of the West would be impossible without fundamental contributions from the US government. From the railroads to the policies that force people to share resources, especially water. The austere landscape is simply not hospitable to the kinds of settlements that can be found in the American West now.

It is not fashionable for the corporate media to point out such unpleasant realities. It is not possible for the media to pay attention to anything long enough to ask basic questions. The US population is lacking in fundamental knowledge ranging from history, science, the arts, and basic mathematics. Instead we jabber about one small mind, and his limited understanding of the world he inhabits.

This is the time we should be reading about a one armed man with the wisdom and drive to tame the West. That would require questioning basic assumptions that are patently false. Sadly such activities are currently a partisan topic beyond reproach.
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  1. Old Comment
    Bard Jameson's Avatar
    Quote:
    We do not hear about their long term mismanagement of public lands to placate short term interests of ranchers and miners. We also hear nothing about the great successes of the federal policies.
    Nor will we.

    Your point about water is well taken, as I am in northern California and "water war" is pretty much a constant in this state, with ups and downs in its urgency depending on the prevalent weather.

    Another example of this sort of idiocy in my locale is an long-time but recently popular movement to "secede" from California, and form the state of "Jefferson". These idiots think that declaring a new state will bring "freedom" and "democracy" to Pacific North-westerners, when what it will bring is chaos and provincialism.

    But children's stories seem to be de rigueur these days. We'll all pay in the end for this shortsightedness.
    permalink
    Posted 04-24-2014 at 10:47 PM by Bard Jameson Bard Jameson is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Brenda Archer's Avatar
    I fully agree with both of you.

    One of the comments on one of the local news station articles mentioned land claims due to "Deseret." If that's what's behind this, these guys in NV are even further out there than the mainstream press is saying (or understanding). I keep wondering if I just heard the dog whistle for polygs. Mainstream LDS normally go out of their way to appear Lawful Good and by now any of those probably would have gotten a stern talking-to from their priesthood superiors.
    permalink
    Posted 05-01-2014 at 01:16 AM by Brenda Archer Brenda Archer is offline
    Updated 05-01-2014 at 01:16 AM by Brenda Archer (grammir, I haz it)
  3. Old Comment
    Grandma Bates's Avatar
    I have to admit, and I know I am reducing myself to base stereotypes, but when I first heard the name "Cliven Bundy" I thought LDS. When I heard about the militia aspects, though, I thought otherwise, as it is out of character. The talk of Deseret, though, is troubling. Too bad most national reporters do not have to know any history of the place they are visiting.
    permalink
    Posted 05-01-2014 at 05:29 AM by Grandma Bates Grandma Bates is offline
 


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