Lands of the Free

I don’t know all the history and details of the Bundy cattle ranch controversy, but I do know one thing for certain: It’s high time the federal government relinquished its control over so-called “federal” lands.

Absolutely contrary to the Founder’s idea of federalism, the federal government has become a monolithic power whose tentacles invade and pervade everything, everywhere. Over the years states have willingly and unwillingly relinquished rights and powers to the federal government, including control of land within their own borders.

Probably many states have ceded control to the feds to ostensibly save money. Sure, they think, let the federal government bear the cost of overseeing the land. What foolish shortsightedness. Not only do the feds rob state citizens of resources via ever-increasing federal taxation, but federal oversight of state land robs state citizens of the control and use of natural resources that should rightfully benefit state citizens.

This concentration of control at the highest levels, furthest from the people, is consequently the least principled, and inevitably results in the most abuse.

When the federal powers-that-be get mired in a debt ceiling showdown, what do despotic dictators in Washington do? They shut off citizen access to already-funded federal parks and properties.

When a small faction of radical environmentalists attain power within the politically-motivated and unconstitutional EPA, what do the radical bureaucratic pencil-pushers do? They unilaterally and without Congressional authority limit or deny access to federal lands and the valuable resources they contain.

We have learned by sad experience, again, and again, and again, that big government does a woefully bad job managing almost all enterprises. Waste, corruption and abuse of power are the frequent “fruits” of federal fiefdoms. Indeed, Big Brother does not know best.

You can study history to understand this. You can read the daily national news to realize it’s true. You can look at China, the USSR, North Korea or other highly centralized governments and economies to know that high degrees of centralized control are highly detrimental both to people and to the environment.

That’s not to say that state control would be free of all such problems. However, when decisions and decision-makers are closer to the people, there is a much higher degree of accountability, and positive outcomes and good stewardship are much more likely.

Above all, dispossessing the federal government of federal lands will spread and dilute the immense power that is currently concentrated in a small, distant group of politicians and bureaucrats in Washington D.C. — distant despots who think they should send out a small army of heavily armed thugs to intimidate, vandalize and forcibly drive a rancher off of state land that his family has run cattle on for generations.

It’s high time that the land of the free live up to its founding vision and return control of so-called federal lands to the States.

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