Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the armed crazy folks are still armed and crazy.
Just because Cliven Bundy lost media favor after playing his hand as a racial bigot, and just because the Second Amendment-loving paramilitary dudes surrounding him were denied their revolutionary confrontation with federal officials, that doesn't mean the wahoo business is out of business in Bunkerville, Nevada.
Bundy, the Mormon father of 14 who fought for the right to graze his cattle on taxpayer land without paying his fees, has become a straight-up George Washington for gun-toting liberty lovers and freepers nationwide, and now he's using his bully pulpit to offer them history lessons on America.
You won't find the recorded lessons on his YouTube page; you need a special link to access each one, which Bundy provides if you sign up for his corporate-style email list. Fortunately, the videos are still pretty easy to find online if you do some basic poking; I've embedded them, with transcribed highlights, below.
What's the basis of these history lessons? A lot of hilariously incorrect bullshit. To wit, Bundy explains the following:
- How America started with some pilgrims in a sailboat who thought the world—or "the ocean," in Bundy's parlance—was flat and had edges you could fall off.
- How the 13 colonies waged the American Revolution against "Europe," which had the largest army ever.
- How the Constitution is divinely inspired and useless without the Ten Commandments.
- How fans of vigorous federalism like Washington, Madison and Hamilton "didn't want a big central government, we didn't want a big state government, we was even leery about having even a local government."
- How the founding fathers set up the three branches of U.S. government, including the "adjudical" or "judical."
"I'm not no prophet, I'm just a rancher farmer," Bundy says in the videos. But that doesn't mean he can't teach you a few things. Join him, will you? Class is just starting.
"Why Is the Constitution an 'Inspired' Document?"
...I'm free to tell the world what I think and I will. When we get to spiritual things, I have people ask me, "Well, how do you know the Constitution's an inspired document?"
How I know that is I know that those men that were on that committee that created the Constitution, they were God-fearing men and God-loving men and they did bow their head and get on their knees in the morning before they went to these sessions, and they did gain some inspiration. And when they went and created this document, that inspiration was included in these documents. That's how come it's an inspired document.
"Can You Describe Our Current Situation?"
So where we are here today at this time is we're finding out that our government is become a central government. One similar to the one that our founding fathers fought at the revolutionary war. They're very similar.
We have a central government with unlimited power. A central government that wants to dictate to us and wants to start telling us what to think and how to live. What religion. And you know what religion we can't.
They become, our government is become just sort of the opposite what our founding fathers wanted they created three branches of government. Our executive… uh... uh, our legislature, and... our... adjudical. And they warned and warned that they didn't to be able want these three governments to be able to make these kinds of rules and regulations.
And when we get down to talking, like, with the BLM and the Forest Service and the Park Service and all of the bureaus that we seem to have to deal with, whether it's FBI or Homeland Security, I mean there's all kinds of 'em, and you find out that what they're doing is they're making they're own laws administrating their own laws and policing their own laws and judging their own laws and they have their own jails.
That's an absolutely not constitutional, any of those things, and that's what happening across America right now. And that's why someone like me sorta says no and not only says no, I say hell no, I'm not gonna live under that kind of government.
"Describe the Proper Form of Government. (Part I)"
We go back over 400 years ago and our forefathers were pilgrims and they had come from other countries. And why would they risk their life, and you know, back then, transportation was in a sailboat. They figured wasn't very far out there, the ocean was flat out and would fall off, that was how much education, how much we knew about the ocean…
They did not have the free agency to exercise their conscience...
They had a central government which was Europe, with the strongest army in the world, and they ruled with unlimited power...
The individual is the power here. We didn't have the state government, we didn't have the national government, those things didn't exist, they had the thirteen colonies, but we the people formed a constitution. And so one thing we didn't want was a central government. We didn't want a big central government, we didn't want a big state government, we was even leery about having even a local government. So one thing we didn't create is a big central government. And that's sorta what we have now is a big central government. And we the people didn't create that.
"Describe the Proper Form of Government. (Part II)"
There is nothing here that makes sense in transcription. A printed chart comes out. Bundy at one point mentions the "judical" branch of government, then confusingly tries to explain Article IV, Section III of the Constitution, which gives Congress right to regulate its territories and recognize new states. To the extent that he's coherent, Bundy seems to suggest that this constitutional clause deprives residents of territories of their constitutional rights.
"Describe the Proper Form of Government. (Part III)"
Things are starting to get really confusing here. Bundy cites the seventeenth paragraph in Article I, Section VIII of the Constitution, which deals with the construction of a national capital at Washington, D.C., to argue that the U.S. has no right to regulate any other non-state territory—including, presumably, his squat in Nevada:
That's the land that the Constitution gives the United States, after they buy it and after they're limited to what they can use it for. If you can find anything else in the Constitution that gives the United States any land, I'd welcome that. But nobody seems to ever come forth with any other constitutional reason.
"Can Our Current Government Problems Be Solved?"
All of our government problems can be solved by just following the Constitution of the United States. It's that great a document.
And not only that, all of the problems of this world, other countries, and their domestic and their religious and their government problems and their battles between each other and all of that, can be really solved by following our Constitution.
Our Constitution is based on ten things, and it's based on the Ten Commandments, most everything that was done in the Constitution follows that law, which would be our founding fathers' law, the Ten Commandments. And when we vary from that, then our Constitution becomes sort of worthless. And we as a nation have varied a long ways in our moral standards as far as upholding and sustaining not only the Ten Commandments but upholding and sustaining our Constitution.
Judging from his particular historical errors, Bundy appears to be channeling a favorite dead "historian" of Glenn Beck: W. Cleon Skousen, an unreconstructed racist and right-winger who believed the U.S. is a divine utopia that God established as the high-water mark of human civilization. (In the now-iconic pic of cowman Bundy leaning easily against a fencepost on his ranch, you can see a copy of the Constitution poking out of his pocket; it's no ordinary copy, but one printed by Skousen's National Center for Constitution Studies, which offers its own courses in alt-history wing-nuttery.)
If you need a charcoal-based brain-scrub after all that old-geezer claptrap, check out Sean Wilentz's thorough 2010 debunking of this superstitious poor-man's history in the New Yorker.
Meanwhile, Bundy's wife Carol is holding down the fort with a blog, and she wants you to know this thing is not over:
We desperately need protestors at the Protest site on Bunkerville road every day. We are far from done with this effort. We need to keep the media focused and they will leave if there are not enough protestors. So come out and see us.
Oh, Carol. We don't come for the crowds. We come for the armed crazy. And that, it seems, will never go away. Which reminds us of another line in that blog post:
The terror of armed men occupying our land will never be forgotten.
We know exactly how you feel. Exactly how you feel, with a hot liquid sidecar of irony.