Here comes Cliven Bundy, who looked like a 21st-century Paul Revere as he ran about his Nevada ranch shouting the feds are coming, the feds are coming, successfully arousing others who joined him in standing up to a mighty force that backed down in some of its overkill. Is he a hero, then? No, but stay tuned.
He’s not a hero because, as others note, he is disobeying the law by not paying federal fees for use of land he says does not belong to the federal government. It does belong to the federal government. What’s more, armed militia members were part of a protest on Bundy’s behalf, and that disgusts me. I abhor the whole militia idea. Please keep those guys away.
It can also be said, however, that Bundy has pointed a finger at real wrongs, including the government’s own refusal to obey the law. I would even say his situation bears some slight resemblance to issues the colonists confronted when the British Empire said, look, the French and Indian War cost a lot of money, you Americans need to pay more and we’re not waiting for Paul Revere or anyone else to volunteer his cash.
Remember that the British encouraged development in the colonies and afforded settlers a sometimes spotty but relatively high degree of self-government. Then, in the late 18th century as its coffers were beginning to look embarrassingly bare, the Brits started throwing some heavy taxes at colonists who had no parliamentary representatives. When they protested too vehemently, the British officials clamped down on their liberties. It was like first saying you are mostly free, then that you are a lot less free and finally that you haven’t seen anything yet, all of which led to the Declaration of Independence.