De-bullshitifying the libertopian Legend of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

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The title of this article just rolls off the tongue. That’s all i have to say, sorry.


As a native of the area, I have to agree that this article is essentially correct. There are certainly legitimate gripes in our region in some of our dealings with the Federal Government, but the militia occupying the Malheur NWR is not even comprised of locals, it is a trumped-up attention-grab. I don’t subscribe to any political-party dogma, but I’m a believer in State’s Rights, and Public Access to Federal Public Lands. It is nonetheless undeniable that this occupation is ridiculous. From what I hear locally, the residents of the area are largely embarrassed and disgusted by it. The Bundy clan is way out of line, and have been from the beginning. They give reasonable libertarians, conservatives and supporters of State’s Rights a bad reputation, and that is probably the biggest tragedy of the current situation. Hopefully that will remain the worst of it.


This history illustrates the problem with the one-sided perspective of libertarians that the government is bad but individuals can be trusted because the free market will regulate itself. A weak government with poor regulations means that the wealthy can use any means of corruption or coercion to get what they want. I’m not saying that the government is a great answer to this problem though. I’m saying it doesn’t matter where the power resides. Powerful people will be tyrants (and dicks) regardless of whether their power comes from federal authority, wealth, guns, religion, or whatever.


This kind of runs straight into the whole problem with all the glib prropertarian fairy tales, as it neatly demonstrates the self refuting nature of their claims.

If we take two propositions that they’d heartily support:

  • Theft is wrong

  • Stolen property never becomes owned by the thief

And add to that the uncomfortable fact that there is no “clean” history of land ownership (always, you can trace it back to some act of violent thuggery, usually in Europe to a medieval conquest)
And we reach the conclusion that there is no such thing as land ownership, and therefore no property derived from it.

This leaves us with two conclusions:

  1. If propertarians could actually think their own arguments through, they’d be communists.

  2. The foundation of land ownership in the Americas is genocide.


When you’re dealing with kooks deep fried in patriot movement nut oil and salted with Mormon-crackpot zealotry, historic fact tends to get ignored.

At this point I’m kind of hoping the militia guys will have some kind of internal dispute and start blowing each other away.


Already did, but it was fists, not guns. Somebody needs to egg them on.

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Which is what Libertarians actually want.


Which, given time to fester, would start to look incredibly like feudalism.


The Bundys believe that the state acts to further the interests of the state and tyranny. The author believes that the government acted to further the interest of large cattle barons.

My impression is the the Malheuer Refuge is fundamentally a good thing, and serves important ecological interests on a non-localized scale – the “pacific flyway argument”. How do you get from a history of oligarchy to a defense of the state as a producer of national scale public goods? How do we know that the US Fish and wildlife service is developing policies that serve the public interests instead of expanding the sovereignty of a state that cannot be justified as serving the interests of the nation as a whole?


Or, just blowing each other.


And I suspect that some Libertarians actually want that too, because they assume they’ll be the feudal lords.


Hm, great minds or something, something…


The idiots in Oregon are no more terrorist than the Indians of All Tribes at Alcatraz or Occupy Wall Street. Watering down the meaning of “terrorist,” and applying it willy-nilly is dangerous and will surely bite all well meaning liberals in the ass someday.

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I don’t remember Occupy Wall Street wielding guns or threatening violence if their movement was opposed by the government or law enforcement.


Link, please?


Terrorist, no. Seditious conspiracy, yes


You mean something like this?