Does Cliven Bundy 'Matter'?

Many Americans are watching the Cliven Bundy story unfold with sadness and consternation.

Is it just human nature, or Pavlovian training, that makes people confuse personalities with principle? "How can you back a man like Bundy who expresses such backward thinking?" they ask, no doubt at least for some, with great sincerity.

But this is not about whether we "like" Bundy as a person or share his general world view. No more that fighting for freedom of speech is about "liking" a speaker or agreeing with what he or she has to say. 

To love liberty is to support every person's right to free speech and free thinking because such is, and must remain, universal -- "inalienable." ( I.e., a right according to natural law, a right that cannot be taken away, denied, or transferred) -- if liberty is to exist at all.

It is fundamental in a society based on liberty and human rights that those who have power be held to higher standards than even the general populous. Thus we expect the police to use force in only the most measured way -- unlike an assailant who might use it freely and for his own ends. Too, we rightfully expect greater restraint from a judge speaking from the bench then we do from a person standing before that bench.

It increasingly seems to many onlookers, including this writer, that these fundamental principles are being forgotten and ignored by our society. People are being allowed to transgress freely, or not at all, depending on their likability, popularity and whether or not we agree with them on issues that may be important to us personally, but that are not germane to the subject at hand.

These are the qualities of clannish societies. Of so-called "banana republics," not of free, liberty-loving, people.

Shouting "hurrray for our side!" is both fun and acceptable on the football field. But it has no place in the administration of public policy or justice. Support for Cliven Bundy remaining free, both as regards his livelihood and his standing before the law unthreatened by those with power, too, is fundamental to the liberty of all. What Mr. Bundy personally thinks and feels about this or that has no relevance at all.

Don Sucher has enjoyed a long career as an imager and writer for a wide range of web and print publications. His personal blog can be found at Don's TnT Blog