Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Land Un-Grab?

When I took up the Cliven Bundy story, just before Bundy spewed his racist farragoes, I concentrated not on him, but on the broader issue: too much federal government ownership of real property in “the tiny state of Nevada” and elsewhere.

Since then an expert has weighed in on my side: Terry Anderson of the Property and Environment Research Center.

Sorta.Barbed Wire Fences in Grazing Lands - a technological way to establish private property on the range

I supported privatization of grazing lands. But I mentioned that forest land should “at least be ‘state-ized,’” that is, transferred to the states. And that, it turns out, is what the current crop of Sagebrush rebels want for grazing land.

But there’s a downside to such a transfer. Grazing fees would likely go up.

Anderson titles his piece “Careful What You Ask For.”

And that cuts both ways. The environmentalists who want to centralize even more control in Washington, D.C., think that booting out privately owned ungulates would accrue benefits to the ecosystems. They are wrong, Anderson explains:

But “no moo” may mean fewer tweets, clucks, and bugles from wildlife. As private ranchers demonstrate, good land management can control noxious weeds, improve water quality, sequester more carbon, and generate more wildlife habitat.

Yes, “cattle grazing has improved the ecosystem.”

Anderson prefers privatization.

But that remains politically unlikely. The Cato Institute’s Randal O’Toole suggests a compromise: fiduciary trusts, where the feds retain land title. Centuries of common law bolster the idea, says O’Toole, who assures us, under this form of oversight, “trustees preserve and protect the value of the resources they manage, keep them productive, and disclose the full costs and benefits of their management.”

Both of these alternates are better than current government mismanagement and overkill.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Sandy says:

    Don’t jump on that racist bandwagon so quickly, Paul. Mr. Bundy’s discussion was widely mis-quoted and aided by the fact that he’s a simple rancher, bereft of eloquence. His point was that the welfare state and politicians has enslaved people of color more than the antebellum south did. Niger Innes, a southern Nevada politician and gentleman of color fully supports Mr. Bundy and considers him a friend.
    As for allowing the feds to keep the land, trying living in a county that is over 97% federally controlled.

  2. JFB says:

    Beware of the tragedy of the commons, and, as Mr. Bundy’s case has made clear, politically controlled land is subject to the will of those presently in power, subject to the whims and wishes of the day and therefore inherently unstable.

  3. Drik says:

    No authority in the Constitution for the federal government to have title to any land that they are not holding for the prospect of turning into a state or that they are planning to put a fort or government building on

  4. Drik says:

    No authority in the Constitution for the federal government to have title to any land that they are not holding for the prospect of turning into a state or that they are planning to put a fort or government building on.

  5. Lynn Atherton Bloxham says:

    not often I do not fully agree with Paul, but this is one of those times. Sandy: exactly correct and add to that numerous other (black) economists and writers have also noted the damage welfare has visited on the black family.
    JFB and Drik: Agree and are points well taken.
    As a personal note: Unbeknown to me I once was in an intense debate with a otherwise pleasant fellow about the perversion of the word “privatization” which, I argued, had changed from a selling off of govt. property to a “business government partnership” I am old enough to remember who pushed that idea. But little did I know the nice man with whom I was fiercely debating was Robert Poole. Oh well. Foot in mouth sort of but on the other hand I was glad I did not know he was The Poole. I still think the term is no longer a good term as it now connotes corporatism or mercantilism etc.

  6. Roy says:

    Apparently your source of determining who spewed “racist farragoes” must be the New York Times.

    I have, like many others, listened to the entire comments Mr Bundy gave at that time. I have yet to be offended at his pointing out the obvious—(per Ben Franklin) “I am for doing good to the poor, but…I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed…that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” .

    Please help this plebe find just where those “racist farragoes’ happen to be lingering. Just because Mr Bundy cannot express himself as well as Ben Franklin does not make his intent racist.

    I am quite tired of hearing “conservatives” spewing their judgmental Nevada cow chips regarding Mr Bundy.

  7. houyhnhnm says:

    I notice that none of you defending Bundy’s statements quoted the money shot, oft-quoted elsewhere. The one in which slavery gets a mention. Why’s that?

    “Farrago” isn’t a common word any more. Did any of you look it up? I just did. “A confused mixture.” Mishmash. Bundy, “bereft of eloquence,” said things that sound racist. He may not be racist, but arguing that slavery was better than the welfare state is no way to make a case against the welfare state. Confused. A mess. Maybe Mr. Jacob is wrong on the “racist” charge, but farrago seems spot on.

    HuffPo quotes Bundy:

    “And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked, referring to African-Americans. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

    To think there was a great and free tradition of family life under slavery is so idiotic — and the cotton-pick in’ comment about jail so confused and ugly — that it smacks of either gross ignorance or … Racism?

  8. Edward Agazarm says:

    Excuse me but … “”But there’s a downside to such a transfer. Grazing fees would likely go up.””

    They can’t go up anymore then being completely prohibited. And complete prohibition via regulation is where the BLM, and the EPA are shooting for.

  9. Mike Roberts says:

    Looks like it has already been stated, but I will add my vote. I think Bundy’s “racist” comment was anything but racist. It was certainly negative about our welfare system!

  10. Drik says:

    Under slavery, the family was the most important unit in black culture and freedom was what they saw as the ultimate goal.
    Under the welfare state, the government has become the father figure and the male, merely a sperms donor. Dependence on government handouts, casual sex, drinking and drugs, casual abortions, and violence as entertainment is now what has replaced this.
    Bundy was not eloquent.
    But he is right.

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