April 15, 2014 5 Comments
I’m referencing two articles today, on two seemingly different subjects. But are they? If you read these two outstanding articles, I’ll think you will agree they are two facets of the same subject. That subject is the integrity of a man (or woman). These are both heroes for our time.
Cliven Bundy managed to stare down the Bureau of Land Management, for now. The best summary of this I’ve seen is from John Hinderaker of Powerline, here’s bit of it:
Why You Should Be Sympathetic Toward Cliven Bundy
On Saturday, I wrote about the standoff at Bundy Ranch. That post drew a remarkable amount of traffic, even though, as I wrote then, I had not quite decided what to make of the story. Since then, I have continued to study the facts and have drawn some conclusions. Here they are.
First, it must be admitted that legally, Bundy doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The Bureau of Land Management has been charging him grazing fees since the early 1990s, which he has refused to pay. Further, BLM has issued orders limiting the area on which Bundy’s cows can graze and the number that can graze, and Bundy has ignored those directives. As a result, BLM has sued Bundy twice in federal court, and won both cases. In the second, more recent action, Bundy’s defense is that the federal government doesn’t own the land in question and therefore has no authority to regulate grazing. That simply isn’t right; the land, like most of Nevada, is federally owned. Bundy is representing himself, of necessity: no lawyer could make that argument.
That being the case, why does Bundy deserve our sympathy? To begin with, his family has been ranching on the acres at issue since the late 19th century. They and other settlers were induced to come to Nevada in part by the federal government’s promise that they would be able to graze their cattle on adjacent government-owned land. For many years they did so, with no limitations or fees. The Bundy family was ranching in southern Nevada long before the BLM came into existence.
As near as I can tell Mr. Hinderaker has it about right. There is no way that Bundy is going to win in court, it’s going to cost him at least money and likely his way of life, and could cost him his freedom as well. I do sympathize with him, not least because I’m rather the same sort of hard-boiled, do the right thing sort of guy myself. Good Luck to him, and I’m afraid he’ll need it.
But there is also this, long ago, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, said this:
There are just laws and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all… One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly…I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.
Then there is the case of Brendan Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla, who was forced to step down because he would not recant his opposition to same-sex marriage. Mollie Hemingway wrote an outstanding article the other day in The Federalist on this story. And here is a piece of that article as well.
The Rise Of The Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents
At the end of the day, they’re all wrong. Or at least not even close to understanding the problem with Eich’s firing. Political differences with CEOs, even deep political differences, are something adults handle all the time. Most of us know that what happened held much more significance than anodyne market forces having their way. And Eich shouldn’t be protected on the grounds that one has the right to be wrong. See, Eich wasn’t hounded out of corporate life because he was wrong. He was hounded out of corporate life because he was right. His message strikes at the root of a popular but deeply flawed ideology that can not tolerate dissent.What we have in Eich is the powerful story of a dissident.
And what we have in Eich is the powerful story of a dissident — one that forces those of us who are still capable of it to pause and think deeply on changing marriage laws and a free society.
Are you starting to see the parallels here? These are both men of conviction, doing what they think is right. And they are willing to pay the price that goes with standing up to be counted as men of conviction and integrity. We shouldn’t be hounding these men, Like Dr. King, these men should be heroes for out time, spoken of with, if not awe, with respect.
St. Augustine also said this: