Bundy Ranch

Seems to me that in the early 80’s there was a bunch of movies about the trials and tribulations of rural bumpkins trying to hold onto their farms.  Topically, this was elicited by the farm crisis, and these films had a habit of starring Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, and Jessica Lange in gritty farm woman roles.  I saw none of those films, as I was 13 or so, and thoroughly a suburban boy.  Red Dawn was the type of thing that making a big impression on me.

Anyway, cinematically I get the gist.  There is a spirit of agrarian populism in that 80’s farm film genre, and some combination of banks and the government are the antagonists.  In my mind’s eye, I see bankers and sheriffs and dept of agriculture busybodies being barred from foreclosure auctions by a line of farmers on their tractors.  Or maybe angry farmer drives tractor through the front window of bank.  Whatever, I’m just spitballing here.

In that spirit, this Bundy Ranch melodrama has the makings of a based on true events farm crisis movie.  Seems to be an organic, grass roots conflict with a proper set of protagonists and antagonists.  And also, a seeming climactic victory in which bureaucracy backs down:


But Bundy Ranch is not getting any coverage in the big media, not breaking out into the broader culture. This could be for several reasons.  I suspect it’s because;  A:  it’s not a huge story yet, and may not become one in our modern culture. Not enough superficial glitz.  B:  today’s news bureau journalists are so sycophantically inclined that that there ain’t a one that can work up the doggedness to seriously critique the Obama Administration or one of its agencies. C:  these days, elite culture inverts presumed antagonists and protagonists.   IE, the government is the good guys, the farmers and bumpkins are old, white racists who impede progress.

My biases are speaking there, but in any event, I’d like to know more about this Bundy Ranch.  It’s the bureau media and then the left wing media that are dropping the ball.  Their insight would be useful here.

In that agrarian protest vein, I was moved to try and remember what it was that thing was where farmers where tipping over electrical towers here in Minnesota in the 70’s.  I was even younger then, and never did develop a factual grasp of that.  But it was this, no doubt:


There was a dramatized movie of the week that was inspired by this.  I think we watched in civics class at Pony High School.


9 thoughts on “Bundy Ranch

  1. pm1956

    First, I have seen stories in the local press and the NYT on this topic, as well as the incessant coverage on Faux News.

    Part of the reason for the right wingers to cover this (as opposed to the farm crisis of the 1980’s) is because of what the “aggrieved” parties are claiming, and whose paradigm that fits. Back in the 1980’s, the farmers in question were blaming big banks for repossessing their land, and big agribusiness for driving the prices down so they couldn’t make a living. In this iteration, the Bundy’s are going all crazy right the government isn’t legitimate and nothing above the level of county sherrif counts as legitimate government and who were those commies who took us off of the gold standard.

    Seriously, these claims of course make no legal sense–but if you don’t think that the government is legitimate then you don’t care about laws and judges, etc. this is David Koresh batshit crazy stuff (and the fact that this loon is a Mormon probably isn’t accidental–or maybe it is. If you are an incompetent farmer/businessman, and are watching your business/farm/family go farther and farther into debt and about to lose it all, you might well grasp at any straw you can)

    In any event, I think that the gummint deserves kudos for backing off–at least temporarily. I expect (and hope) that this guy is forced to pay for his use of public lands, as well as being forced to pay the $$ he owes to the government. And that probably means that he will eventually lose his farm, just as those who were protesting in the 1980’s eventually did.

    So really, what is the story here?

    1. Erik Petersen Post author

      See, that’s where I’d be lacking. Quite literally, I’ve watched about 15 minutes of evening Fox news in the last 10 years.

      I’ve never watched Greta, Sean, Bill, or Megyn.

      1. pm1956

        Lucky you. I find it generally of low quality, and rarely either fair or balanced–generally more propaganda. But the wife is addicted.

    2. Erik Petersen Post author

      Well yeah, I know why right wingers cover it.

      I hear ya, and I’m fully prepared to acknowledge the nuttery that rides along as a fellow traveler in these circles. But I‘d like to be able to discern whether there’s a decent argument in there aside from that.

      As I say… I need something more than The Blaze and Fox news myself. It would be great if a smart left would explain the grazing fee dispute better, without the scoffing and chortling.

    1. Erik Petersen Post author

      I reject the premise. Chait is different from both Silver and Klein.

      This guy objects because Chait deviated from group think, and the liberal racial narrative.


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