Perspectives: Does government see us as the enemy?

© Park Image / Author: Lisa Suender / Flickr user: suendercafe / CC-BY-SA-2.0

OPINION – The mask of benevolent bureaucracy slipped earlier this week in the simmering range war near Bunkerville, Nev. It’s getting tougher to pretend that the federal government is our servant in any real sense.

The real face of government was revealed when government sharpshooters trained their rifles on unarmed families who were peaceably videotaping and taking photos outside of a designated free speech zone. Government agents then threatened, intimidated, and arrested a man for refusing their orders to leave.

As ugly as it was, this may actually have been a good thing.

The ongoing seizure of rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle by Bureau of Land Management agents and hired contractors has been immensely polarizing. It has led the opposing sides to portray one another in distorted caricatures that paint Bundy and the BLM in the most exaggerated terms possible.

This polarization has kept our attention focused primarily on Bundy’s popularity or the legality of what the feds are doing. It has distracted us from the larger issue of whether the federal government now exists to protect and guarantee our natural rights or to forcefully serve its own interests.

This is a question that goes far beyond the Bundy’s land use situation.

Are we morally bound to obey a government that is no longer abiding by its foundational principles and limits?

Our government increasingly cloaks its actions in secrecy and grants itself immunity from having to take responsibility for any harm it causes. From the food we eat to how our toilets flush, every aspect of our lives is becoming subject to its increasing regulations. And its enforcement of those regulations is becoming noticeably more aggressive.

Would government acting in its proper role fine a family $90,000 for raising rabbits? Would it arrest and imprison a man for paying his employees in gold and silver? Would a government that protects freedom send a SWAT team to raid an Amish farmer over the selling of raw milk?

Since 9/11, we’ve seen our federal government intensify its focus on national security to the point where it is actively eliminating our freedoms.

It spies on us in violation of the Fourth Amendment. This  done in spite of the fact that each of us has an inherent natural right to privacy and a right to be left alone unless probable cause exists that we are party to a criminal act.

Whether boarding a plane or purchasing a firearm, the federal government views every citizen as a potential criminal or terrorist until they have submitted to its screening. Its agencies are arming themselves at an unprecedented rate.

These types of over-reactive atrocities can only occur when government ceases to be accountable to its citizens. When government becomes abusive or unresponsive to the concerns of the governed, it loses its legitimacy. There comes a point where obedience is no longer a virtue.

John Locke in his Second Treatise on Civil Government described the circumstances under which we have no moral obligation to obey:

[T]herefore whenever legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they (the officials of the government) put themselves in a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience and are left to the common refuge which God hath provided for all men against force and violence.

The rationale for separating from an oppressive government outlined in our Declaration of Independence was simply summarizing the philosophy of Locke.

Just because a law has been duly enacted or an official pronouncement has been handed down from a federal bench does not mean it is proper or beneficial. If it takes away or destroys our property, it is wrong. Likewise, when agencies are allowed to exercise arbitrary power without accountability to the voters, we are reduced to a type of regulatory slavery.

At this point, government is no longer our protector and a guarantor of our rights. Instead, it becomes our adversary and sees itself in conflict with the people it is supposed to be serving.

After seeing the lengths of intimidation and force to which the feds are willing to go to take a rancher’s cattle for refusing to obey their rules, we should have a better feel of how our government views us.

No matter how a person may feel about Cliven Bundy, his cattle, or land use issues, he is not the one pointing guns at innocent people and treating them as an enemy.

 

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives talk show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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42 Comments

  • Kenneth Carlton April 10, 2014 at 10:31 am

    As a former Federal Special Agent….I can tell you, I have never seen a greater divide between Federal LE and Citizens. The BLM Agents and Ranger were wearing military (camouflage) clothing with military weapons. A hard decision to make on what level of force was needed for the “Bundy Operation”. Unfortunately, must often rely on the common sense of our Law Enforcement Officers, which IS NOT taught at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC).

    • peter wilson April 10, 2014 at 11:10 am

      Based on the public comments in the article below – it’s easy to understand why they went in ready to encounter resistance.
      http://www.redflagnews.com/headlines/armed-feds-prepare-for-showdown-with-nevada-cattle-rancher

      • kem April 12, 2014 at 8:12 am

        Yeah a bunch of free speaking citizens making comments would be a reason to be ready to encounter resistance against an old man. Thats sarcasm just in case you couldn’t recognize it.
        The government is willing to kill this man all for what? something he has been doing for decades, him trying to keep his cattle from DIEING.
        And you say “it’s easy to understand why they went in ready to encounter resistance.” because of other peoples comments, that is pathetic. Its not only the government that see us as the enemy? some government but kissers do also

  • Just Saying April 10, 2014 at 11:01 am

    This is a great piece and couldn’t agree with you more Bryan. Keep up the great journalism.

  • peter wilson April 10, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Mr Hyde – it seems that because the government no longer supports your ideals, that you therefore claim it overly oppressive and therefore defunct. The government, as inadequate as most of its members are, still serves and protects general population interests for the most part. This includes a quality of life suitable to the 21st century, land that is protected for an exponentially growing population and future generations, and guns and cars are (generally) not operated by those that are inept to do so. This whole BLM-Bundy incident is taking the land from a couple of people that benefits very few others to save it and preserve it for millions of people. The government has an interest in serving as many people as possible – this recent incident is a good example. Whether the government is serving or destroying it’s inhabitants depends on the perspective, but in the 21st century and multiple persons, personalities, beliefs, cultures, affiliations, etc, someone needs to help protect and serve and ensure that everyone benefits. If you don’t agree with those in government that makes those necessary decisions, please vote them out.

    • Jacer April 11, 2014 at 7:40 am

      Mr. Wilson, some of the general public don’t agree with Mr. Buddy’s tactics of standing up to the government and yes his reasons were of his own personal interests, but so what!!! If you really think that the land is being saved for future use for all man kind, you my friend, are ignorant. This is for government personal interests and government dominance plain and simple. Local government I feel, for the most part, serve their citizens. Federal Government has not had an interest in the rights of its citizens for quite some time. I am just as entitled to that land as Mr Bundy is. The difference is, he is taking action. I commend him for that. Just think, in this scenario it’s a rancher’s right to graze cattle. In another, it would be a race care drivers right to race on the Salt Flats. In another, a hunter’s right to hunt wildlife to feed his family. And finally, everyone’s right to outdoor recreation. If you think the buck stops at cattle ranching and Mr Bundy. You are living in lala land. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    • Modean April 12, 2014 at 7:24 am

      Mr Wilson, when the time comes that the government decides that YOU need to be dealt with in the interest of serving the common good, please remember the comments you made here.

  • ShockedInKansas April 10, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Great Article. I get it that on the surface Bundy looks wrong for not paying his fees but knowing the predator practices of the BLM I believe Mr. Bundy is right once you peel the onion back a few layers. The Nevada Governor and Clark County sheriff had better get control of this quick before this gets out of hand. What use is it to belong to a union (State) when its executive and chief law official in the country will do nothing to stop the actions of one land owner over another? Think of it. BLM has no jurisdiction for police powers. They have right and title to land but not jurisdiction. Conflating their right to their constitutional duties to thinking they have police powers over land they hold title to inside the USA was unthinkable in my grandparents generation. No wounder the founders made it unconstitutional for the federal government to own land other than for court houses and post offices. Can you believe that Nevada is just allowing one land owner to hire their own cops without jurisdiction and declare martial law over a small town? Scary.

  • Chris April 10, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    If Cliven Bundy had not shot his mouth off about using violence against the BLM, no one would be pointing weapons at anyone there in Bunkerville. He provoked this show of force by his own threats, threats that we now see were empty. A lot of people are gathered there to “protest,” but no one is really doing anything to stop the cattle roundup. Sort of like Bryan Hyde, they are big on talk and short on action.

    • ShockedInKansas April 10, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      Not so my friend. See 50 mile mt. See San Jaun raid. Ignorance is bliss.

      • Chris April 10, 2014 at 2:10 pm

        No action there either, just a bunch of posturing. You and your cohorts are cowards.

        • ShockedInKansas April 10, 2014 at 11:51 pm

          I think you are the talker Sir. The 50 was all about action in the face of an overbearing and threatening federal government that had a full scale misinformation media campaign going. A hand full of normal Joes risked a lot to help Mary retrieve her cows after the BLM stole them. This go around the BLM is having a harder time bullying people, media types and local government officials. Have you seen the letter sent (action) to the BLM from Iron and Beaver Counties? A lot more than talk. The law giving them the strength to do what they are doing is a lot more than talk. Thanks to brave Utah legislators the state and its counties can require the BLM to live up to some of its obligations. (Reduce wild horse when they will not – Action) The tide is turning despite many not realizing how bad the federal government agency’s repress freedom while helping the privileged that are friend of those in power. Are you one of those privileged or do you work for the federal government?

        • ShockedInKansas April 13, 2014 at 12:17 am

          Chris, How about that action? Did the BLM stop paying you to misrepresent the facts or are you still there?

    • kem April 12, 2014 at 9:21 am

      I have search all over and I can’t find not one comment from Bundy saying he was going to use violence against the BLM. but I did find this …
      “Some militia members have threatened to take action against the BLM, including the use of weapons and violence.” Bundy did not threaten violence, but he compared the situation to the atrocities that happened at Waco and Ruby Ridge — where federal agencies besieged and killed Americans in their homes.”

      Bundy stated “Years ago, I used to have 52 neighboring ranchers,” he said. “I’m the last man standing. How come? Because BLM regulated these people off the land and out of business.”He said he won’t let the feds do that to him.

      Sounds like the government wants his land for a reason, This is WHY
      http://www.dcclothesline.com/2014/04/11/nevada-standoff-government-lies-turtles-fracking/

      They are pointing weapons at him for What reason again?

  • carylee April 10, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    I called the balm about why they would play cowboys out there easter weekend when so many families go out there to camp etc. Now it is desert tortoise mating season and if this was about the tortoise they would not round up the cows while the tortoise is active moving around a lot. They did it now so we can’t use the public land for recreation

  • lynnhowlyn April 10, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    No matter which side of this situation you may agree with, it is a VERY SAD commentary on what’s happening in this country – and especially about what is so SO OFTEN becoming the relationship between the government and the People – that SO MANY Federal agencies seem to have (and so very often use) SWAT team’s, sniper rifles and similar “resources” when dealing with ordinary people, ordinary citizens …. and tax payers. 🙁

  • Mitch April 10, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    This issue hits home for my family and I, however on a much smaller scale. We have a neighbor who seems to believe that he had the right as a citizen of Washington County, USA to defy residential property laws. This neighbor started out with six chickens, which is the limit for St.George. When he discovered that his neighbors were fine with it he decided to increase the amount of chickens to 50. At that amount the chickens became a very noisy, and foul smelling situation for the neighbors. As a result, Animal Control went over and resolved the issue.
    This same neighbor tried to keep several Emus in his backyard, prompting Animal Control to make another visit. In America ,we all have rights and freedoms ,but if one individual’s rights take away the rights of the greater good then we rely and expect our government to intervene and make things more equal and balanced for all individuals. I want my government intervening in these cases, but they MUST do it with good conscience and fairness.

  • JAR April 10, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    Mr. Hyde, You must have eaten a balanced breakfast today. Bravo on your article.
    You should eat a balance meal everyday Brian. On occasion however, , some articles you penned in the past had all the markings of you consuming way too much road apples cobbler.

  • Where's the Beef April 10, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Oh give me a home where the cows never roam
    But the tortoise and wild horses play
    Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
    ‘Cuz the free speech is taken away.

    Drones, Drones on the range
    There’s one rancher who will not be phased
    We have guns we have gear, our attack dogs are near
    Drop that iphone or you will be tased!

    • Joanna April 10, 2014 at 4:40 pm

      Hehe!

    • Jacer April 11, 2014 at 7:46 am

      Awesome and entertaining!

    • Nadie April 11, 2014 at 11:54 am

      This is great, Hey Brian I think you should sing this on air! Come on I dare you!

  • Sgnative April 10, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Where’s the beef’s poetry says it all. Bravo for summing it up so beautifully.

  • zacii April 10, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Spot on, Bryan.

    This is not the beginning, nor the end, but a milestone towards a tipping point.

    Someday the pendulum has to swing back to the liberties that our forefathers fought so hard for.

  • Combat Vet and Democrat April 10, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    I do believe that Bundy is completely in the wrong but, at the same time I keep thinking about a afternoon this winter when, seeing a BLM Ranger’s truck in the parking lot at a local trail head, I walked up to ask a question and was baffled by all the weapons he had in the vehicle. I also remember seeing some local police in the Subway in Hurricane and wondering why they needed to be all dressed in camo and combat boots like they were going to invade Cedar City after lunch. Dressing like Rambo does what for them or for us?

    • McMurphy April 11, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Camo and combat boots. What it does for the cops is make them look cool and macho and act to intimidate the citizenry. I don’t know whether Andy Taylor in Mayberry ever existed but there were places where it was close. Long gone now. SWAT teams and surplus armored vehicles.

  • Bub April 10, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Most all the right-wingers were pretty silent when Bush II was eroding freedom of speech and hoards of other rights under the guise of “fighting terror”. Get the black guy in office and they all come out of the woodwork. Obama’s security state policies have just been a continuation and expansion of Bush policies.

    • ShockedInKansas April 10, 2014 at 11:57 pm

      So, Your point is Obama is as bad as Bush? Yes, and then some. Good point!

      • Bub April 11, 2014 at 9:36 am

        In some ways yes. But remember the right-wingers voted in Bush II twice. So I figured they loved him… no?

        • ShockedInKansas April 11, 2014 at 10:10 pm

          Seam’s the right and left are both slow to figure out the team sport they are playing is not in the people’s best interest.

    • Craig April 11, 2014 at 6:29 am

      WTG Bub.
      When all else fails, play the race card.

    • Jacer April 11, 2014 at 8:04 am

      Well, while we are playing the race card, let’s just go all out. When homosexual activists are standing at the courthouse protesting, I don’t see tasers and snipers and attack dogs. And do you know why? Because, they aren’t a threat. The GOVERNMENT will decide if they will ALLOW the wants and needs of those protesters. In the Bundy case, the government is fighting against the Constitution and the people are trying to protect it. So whether it was Bush or Obama, white or black, greed (Bush) or just because he’s an idiot(Obama), is irrelevant. So race has nothing to do with this. (And just FYI, People feel the way they do about Obama, not because he’s black. It’s because if his integrity and character.)

      • Bub April 11, 2014 at 9:35 am

        When a corrupt republican is in office I never hear right-wingers whining about the constitution.

        • Brian April 11, 2014 at 2:19 pm

          Then you should pay more attention. Many conservatives lambasted Bush (rightly so) on the patriot act, the bailouts, getting rid of Posse Comitatus, and many other things. Its hard to find a liberal anywhere that will say anything bad about this administration.

  • sam.whittemore April 10, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Regardless of when they kill this family, the Federal government no longer represents We the People, unless we are liberal democrats, Wall St. Bankers, illegal immigrants or tax feeders. If you work hard, study hard and raise a family you are a sucker. Try to complain about a legitimate grievance outside a free speech zone or for more than 2 minutes and watch what happens. The government the bureaucrats and law enforcement hold the people in contempt. We are only here to be ticketed, controlled, taxed, tazed and, or killed. And if they go overboard in doing so, oh well, nothing happens to them. I think the Tree of Liberty is about to be fertilized w the blood of Patriots and Tyrants as Jefferson predicted. I hope you are ready. Its going to get ugly were really soon.

  • McMurphy April 11, 2014 at 11:26 am

    Excellent column. I don’t know that We The People are viewed so much as enemies as bumps in the road which, if you roll over them enough, will eventually go away.
    There have been lots of calls for civil disobedience to the BLM actions. I wonder how many of those folks are willing to suffer the consequences of such disobedience ? Gandhi spent years in jail. King’s superb Letter From The Birmingham Jail was, after all, written in jail. There has also been rather heated rhetoric and apparently some militia types are on their way to help Bundy, presumably in their own camo and SWAT gear. I hope they are not foolish enough to actually physically challenge the BLM. While God may provide refuge for all men against force and violence, it has also been said that God is on the side of the big battalions.

  • Joe Bob April 11, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Mormons tend to have a very high anti-government mentality. It’s their persecution complex. Regardless if someone (mormon) is right or wrong, mormons stand against government except the governments run by mormons. You never hear them questioning or resisting their state officials, not even Swallow.

    • ShockedInKansas April 11, 2014 at 10:24 pm

      JoeBob,

      What are you talking about? Many Mormons go at each other.

      Jared

  • CARMEL MOUNTAIN TECH. April 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    Bryan,thanks very much for your insight and your very thoughtful comments,I agree,nice to no some people still know their history,

  • Patriot1 April 14, 2014 at 9:38 am

    The federal sharpshooters probably didn’t realize that they had crosshairs trained on their hats as well.

  • wyoming Bullrider April 14, 2014 at 9:52 am

    I think this prayer will be quite fitting at this moment and time and for always until our freedoms are restored and until this un-necessary violence against people all over the world be relinquished forever.

    Dear Heavenly Father.
    I pray that you watch over your universe of all the powerful people who hold offices in all countries.
    I pray that peace will be restored throughout your world, your lands, and your people.
    I pray those who do not believe in you and those who want to go against your will be punished by your hand.
    I pray to you Dear Lord that those who are trying to take our freedoms, our Christianity, our liberties etc. also fail and be punished.
    I pray Dear Lord that you protect your people from the violence and the greediness that flows through through out all nations and lands
    I pray that you restore peace throughout the Earth and this nation of ours.
    I pray for all of the ranchers. Farmers, Christians. In addition, all who you entrusted in caring taking your lands so that we will always be able to help you feed your people.
    I pray Lord my Heavenly Father that you and you alone restore our nation back to the way she used to be, strong, loyal, loving, and hardworking people.
    I also pray my dear Lord that you please get these nasty people out of office so that America and other countries can start rebuilding your lands, life, liberty, and our financial needs as you wanted it to before you descend down up on the Earth. To make your earth the perfect world that you wanted out of all of us.
    Last but not least Dear Heavenly father. Please stop any and all future wars, all future tyranny all future people from ever bothering people, killing people and to let all these plans to all nasty people who work or go against your will fail and fail greatly.
    We know that we must also help ourselves as to your liking but we also need your help in all of the prayers I’ve listed above.
    Through you, you give us food, rain, animals, homes, and our lives that we live to the best of your liking.
    We love you Lord God Almighty with whole heart, Mind, and soul.

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