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Balancing Wildlands with Liberty

Balancing Wildlands with Liberty

Balancing Wildlands with Liberty

AwN | I have advocated liberty on this blog before, and I also commonly reference the government failing to protect the wild environment while being charged with the duty to do so. If you have similar proclivity you might think there is a contradiction. For sure, on its surface there is a problem reconciling the belief that people have basic rights to their land, and that they are also a danger to their land via ownership. 

The problem is that when these groups like Ammon Bundy's and the American Lands Council want control of Federal Land all they really want is the right to exploit that land. When they demand the right to land, what they really want is to remove public protection of the land for their private interest and profit. The problem here is both human nature, which has a certain element of greed, and the capitalist imperative to earn large sums of money by any means necessary. Even when it is not 'large sums of money' but merely a living, you will still find that it is the capitalist structure driving them to the exploitation of the land (along with the aforementioned greed). I doubt you would find too many subsistence farmers among the lot of 'liberty activists' toting guns to federal lands for a standoff. That day is not here, nor is America overpopulated enough to justify destroying forest for 'subsistence farming'.

The government has implemented protections (however inadequate they may be) through the efforts of people who care about the state of the planet. Simply handing over federal lands to private citizens can easily be misinterpreted as 'liberty' but in reality is just a yearning for the right to do whatever you want, for your own purposes, whoever or whatever it harms. As I have talked about, justice, (somewhat akin to liberty) is a personal right, not a public right, by which I mean that justice and liberty grant you the right to be safe in your person and personal possessions. Liberty does not grant anyone the right to destroy the public commons. That is a selfish desire that has an effect on other people, let alone the planet. 

This of course is a balancing act that the government is forced to play constatnly (however far they deviate from true justice (leaps and bounds)). And the people must remain vigilante so that the government does not abuse this power, let alone the much more common, not understand this power. For those of you who have never heard of the UN's 'wildlands project' it is an interesting topic for another day. For now I suffice it to say that federally protected land is not an infringement of liberty, not when that land was put into protection by the will of citizens. 

The Larger, but Quieter Than Bundy, Push to Takeover Federal Land

NYT | The idea, which would radically reshape the West, is one that resonates with the armed group of ranchers and antigovernment activists who seized control of a wildlife refuge in Oregon more than a week ago. Ammon Bundy, the crew’s leader and the scion of a Nevada ranching family steeped in disputes with the federal government, said he and his sympathizers had gone to Oregon to give the refuge back to local ranchers.

Many conservatives — Mr. Ivory among them — criticized Mr. Bundy’s gun-toting tactics, but their grievances and goals are nearly identical. And the outcry has grown amid a dust storm of rural anger at President Obama’s efforts to tighten regulations on fracking, air quality, small streams and other environmental issues that put struggling Western counties at odds with conservation advocates.

In the past few years, lawmakers across the West have offered up dozens of bills and resolutions seeking to take over the federal lands inside their borders or to study how to do so. Some of the legislation has been aimed at Congress, to urge it to radically revise the laws that have shaped 550,000 square miles of national forests and terrain run by the federal Bureau of Land Management, stretching from the Great Plains to the Pacific.

The effort — derided by critics as a pipe dream that would put priceless landscapes on the auction block — has achieved little so far.

Read More at the NYTimes

Image: Duane Ehmer riding his horse, Hellboy, last week at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore., where an armed group of antigovernment activists had seized control. Credit Rob Kerr/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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