Bundy’s Racial Rhetoric


We can survive cranks, but not a criminal government.

For NROKevin D. Williamson writes: Cliven Bundy’s racial rhetoric is indefensible, and it has inspired a lot of half-bright commentary from the left today directed at your favorite correspondent, mostly variations on this theme: Don’t you feel stupid for having compared him to Mohandas Gandhi?

Short version: No. There is a time to break the law, and the fact that the law is against you does not mean that justice is against you. The law was against Washington and Martin Luther King Jr., too. That does not mean that what is transpiring in Nevada is the American Revolution or the civil-rights movement; it means that there is a time to break the law. As I wrote, “Cliven Bundy may very well be a nut job, but one thing is for sure: The federal government wouldn’t treat a tortoise the way it has treated him.”

Critics on the left, being an ignorant bunch, may be unaware of the fact, but the example of Mohandas Gandhi is here particularly apt, given that the great man had some pretty creepy ideas about everything from race to homosexuality, for example writing that blacks aspired to nothing more than passing their time in “indolence and nakedness,” objecting to blacks’ being housed in Indian neighborhoods, etc. Americans, many of whom seem to believe that Mr. Gandhi’s first name was “Mahatma,” generally confuse the Indian historical figure, a man whose biography contains some complexity, with the relatively straightforward character from the Richard Attenborough movie. We remember Gandhi and admire him because he was right about the thing most closely associated with him. In the same way, there is more to the life of Thomas Jefferson than his having been a slave owner. The question of standing in opposition to a domineering federal government that acts as the absentee landlord for nine-tenths of the state of Nevada is only incidentally related to Cliven Bundy’s having backward views about race. Mr. Bundy’s remarks reflect poorly on the man, not on the issue with which the man is associated.

As I told Talking Points Memo this morning, I am sure that the men who died at the Alamo by and large did not share my own views on the social status of blacks, homosexuals, or women. Martin Luther King Jr. had some pretty backward ideas about social organization and the treatment of women. Franklin Roosevelt’s record on race was not very good at all. Yes, that was all long ago. But the Democratic party maintained a Klansman in the U.S. Senate until four years ago. The same people who will spend the next couple of days explaining that Nevada is and has always been about racism were studying their navels with great interest when Robert Byrd was engaged in loose talk about “white n—–s” not at some point in ancient history but just a few years ago.

Those who are scandalized by the presence of firearms among the rebels in Nevada would do well to reconsider the career of Henry David Thoreau(read more)

National Review Online

One Comment on “Bundy’s Racial Rhetoric”

  1. […] Pundit from another Planet We can survive cranks, but not a criminal government. For NRO, Kevin D. Williamson writes: Cliven […]

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