In a phone interview with Gavin Seim, Ammon Bundy, the imprisoned protester, made a statement:
“What I am about to say will not set well with a lot of people. The enemy of liberty is the government employee. The government official, the bureaucrat. Not the elected official per se, but the employee for government agencies. They are takers, they are not producers.”
It was only a short time later that we received reports of extreme torture and abuse of Ammon Bundy wherein he was confined to a 3 foot by 3 foot shower stall, with door closed and his hands chained behind his back for over 13 hours. He was scheduled to be in that confined space for 72 hours but was released earlier because of the massive amount of attention brought by the public to the situation.
Whether his above statements were related to his subsequent torture and abuse is not known. But it is an interesting coincidence. Surely, the statements made by Ammon Bundy would not only offend the prison staff but other government employees as well. The desire to seek revenge against Ammon Bundy for making those statements would seem to comport with human nature.
Let us take a closer look at what Bundy is saying. His words go to the core of his message for the last several years and are not really new. The Bundy family has found themselves in the gun sights of a large government bureaucracy known as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). They have experienced first hand what it is like to have their liberty threatened by government employees. The Bundys view themselves as part of a company of producers, i.e., ranchers, miners, loggers, farmers and as belonging to a general group called the private sector which includes private business owners and employees who work for non-government organizations (NGO). They see many government employees as having no other purpose than to hinder, restrict and hamper their efforts to produce.
In his interview, Bundy acknowledged that a lot of government employees are good people with a sincere desire to help society. To a government employee, their value lies in protecting society from abuses caused by non-government entities from such things as threatening the desert tortoise, the spotted owl, dumping toxic waste into rivers, distributing harmful drugs and chemicals, carbon footprints, abuses based on gender, color or national origin and the list of government oversight areas of responsibility go on and on.
In 1927, the Milwaukee Journal made the following statement,
“Government, like fire, is a good servant, but a bad master. Let either once escape from the most rigorous control and its tendency is to spread in every direction and seize upon whatever it touches that can be converted into fuel to strengthen and extend it.” Quote Investigator
The history of the USA is based on a fear of government becoming a master and not a servant and the constitution with its supporting Bill of Rights was intended to restrain and rigorously control the power and authority of government in its relations with non-government people. This fear was well-founded, based on centuries of struggle in Europe between commoners and nobility and royalty. The struggle between the common people and people who considered themselves the elite, the governors over the governed..
As the above quote from the Milwaukee Journal correctly posits, government, like a fire, naturally seeks additional fuel to feed its ravishing appetite. Government seeks to not only preserve, but expand its existence and will desperately fight to accomplish its growth. The government employee is an unwitting participant in the fire that explosively expands and consumes.
We often refer to government employees as “public servants”. Government agencies have many different mottos and mission statements on their websites and in their offices that proudly focus on service and protection of the public. However, behind the thin veneer of these declarations as “public servants” is the reality of what Ammon Bundy is saying. Because, for a government employee to exist, someone’s liberty must be restricted. As Ammon points out, it takes three paychecks from someone else to support the paycheck of a government employee in the form of taxes. Taxes reduce my discretionary spending, taxes prevent me from fully enjoying the fruits of my labors. To make matters worse, the taxes are mandatory, based on force and coercion. Unlike my pastor or minister who depends on my voluntary donations for his income, the government worker has a guaranteed source of income through forced payment of taxes. We seldom ever hear about layoffs in the public sector due to a poor economy. The government, through the use of force and political allies, protects its source of funding through taxes.
Let us take, for example, the agency that most affects the Bundys and other ranchers, the BLM. With over 12,000 permanent employees and 30,000 volunteers, the BLM manages the hundreds of millions of acres of public land not in the jurisdiction of other government agencies such as the Forest Service. Bureau of Land Management
An agent of the BLM, to justify his existence and to comply with his job description, must find ways to restrict and inhibit people who use the public lands. These restrictions to liberty come in the form of road closures, grazing fees and cattle allotments. Allied with other government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, they must justify their existence by protecting certain biological species such as the desert tortoise, all with the intent to restrict liberties. While these restrictions are made out to be for the greater good of society, the restrictions serve to justify an ever expanding federal government laden with alphabet soup agencies who have to find something to do and the only thing they can do is restrict and control. The BLM, if it really was a public servant, would be working with the ranchers and producers on how they can be more successful in their businesses and how the land can be used to benefit the most people and their livelihoods.
Beyond the BLM, we have many government employees who want to intrude on the business of non-government employees. The government has been called “Big Brother” , “the nanny state” and “busy bodies” as government employees impose their will on the nation of over 320 million people. The proliferation of militarized government agencies, with their own law enforcement branches, has led to clashes with the populace as we saw in Bunkerville, Nevada. FISCAL YEARS 2006 – 2014: OVERSIGHT STUDY on THE MILITARIZATION OF AMERICA.
So, not only do we have government employees who are not helpful to the ranchers and other producers, but we see the bureaucracies doubling down, become more trenchant in forcing their will on the population through militarization and weaponization of the agencies, beyond the powers granted to them by the constitution.
Ammon Bundy, a student of history and the framing of our constitution, has seen first hand the fulfillment of the worst fears of the founders:
“It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it.” – James Madison, Federalist 48, 1787
Whether they like it or not, the government employee, by definition, limits liberty. Jefferson, Madison, Franklin and others would be horrified if they saw how Ammon Bundy is being treated today by government employees as they, like a fire, seek to dominate and conquer, becoming a fearful master and not a servant.