It’s an interesting exercise to consider what the Founding Fathers would think of the Bundy ranch/Bureau of Land Management standoff. After all, the Founders are long gone. But we do have their writings and their recorded quotations from which to glean their wisdom.
Among the grievances cited in the Declaration of Independence were: “He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out our substance. He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our Legislatures.” What better description is there of the BLM and its enforcers — not to mention the myriad other unConstitutional alphabet soup agencies that now have their own military enforcement arm?
The Declaration also cites: “…imposing taxes on us without our consent,” and “…depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury.” This perfectly describes Cliven Bundy’s grievance with the BLM.
The Founders believed government’s job was to protect the rights of the people. The Constitution they drafted was designed to place limits on government, not the people.
John Adams wrote that “[A] republic . . . [is] a government, in which the property of the public, or people, and of every one of them was secure and protected by law . . . implies liberty; because property cannot be secured unless the man be at liberty to acquire, use or part with it, at his discretion, and unless he have his personal liberty of life and limb, motion and rest, for that purpose.”
James Wilson wrote: “By exclusive property, the productions of the earth and the means of subsistence are secured and preserved, as well as multiplied. What belongs to no one is wasted by every one. What belongs to one man in particular is the object of his economy and care.”
And James Madison wrote: “[Property] embraces everything to which a man may attach a value and have a right.”
I have written repeatedly of the Founders’ fear of both a powerful “national” government and of standing armies. Because of this fear, they limited Federal powers to own land to that necessary for the “erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful buildings.” It stretches imagination to believe “needful buildings” would include tortoise habitat or solar farms or oil fields.
In Article I, Section 1, the Framers limited law-making to Congress. They did not give law-making authority to alphabet soup agencies.
Finally, consider the 9th and 10th Amendments, which give authority to the people and the States to anything not specified to the Federal government in the Constitution.
I believe the evidence is clear: The Founders, almost to a man, would side with Bundy against the government. That’s why we should as well.