Rick Perlstein (courtesy downwithtryanny.blogspot.com)

“Here is a truth so fundamental that it should be self-evident: When legitimately constituted state authority stands down in the face of armed threats, the very foundation of the republic is in danger. And yet that is exactly what happened at Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch this spring: An alleged criminal defeated the cops, because the forces of lawlessness came at them with guns — then Bureau of Land Management officials further surrendered by removing the government markings from their vehicles to prevent violence against them.” – Rick Perlstein, Gun nuts are terrorizing America: The watershed moment everyone missed [via salon.com]

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99 Responses to Quote of the Day: He Holds This “Truth” To Be Self-Evident Edition

  1. Hey, Rick. No one in America missed it. We were paying a LOT of attention.

    He must be so proud to have published on salon.com…don’t they kill more brain cells than beer in a Freshman dorm?

      • This is where the leftists reveal their statist underpinnings. For them, the state is everything and is always right. It’s lost on them the joy we feel at seeing the bloated, tyrannical, overreaching state backed down a step. Likewise they could never understand our joy when a government program is cut or a budget reduced. For them, growing state power is the goal, not a means but an end. It’s just outside their ability to conceive that there are others, us, who think the government having less power is good.

  2. Whether Bundy was in the right or not I think it’s pretty clear that people are just sick of govt agencies using strong arm tactics when they dont get what they want.

    • I suppose you could say an armed militia, of sorts, was able to stand down the gov’t…

      Odd, I recall antis scoffing at the very idea.

        • I also like how the fees that Bundy owed are now LOST FOREVER because of GUN NUTS. Because, you know, the authorities couldn’t have just ordered his bank to garnish a set percentage of his annual profits… or revoked his trading license on the open market. The drama queen RUINED FOREVER argument doesn’t hold water.

  3. These are words that would chill this nations founders. what happened at the bundy ranch was exactly how jefferson envisioned the 1st and 2nd amendments working.

    • And surprise, surprise, no one got shot or injured. Force vs Force doesn’t literally have to be a shoot out.

  4. Sorry to say, but for some people their definition of “security” is a large government with a monopoly of force.

    Sad thing is, there always will be folks like that. The key is getting them to view that perspective as the danger to freedom it is.

    • For people who adhere to the religion that holds as an article of faith that their “rights” (eg, right to housing, right to food, right to a free cell phone, etc) come from the government (but are in fact seized from other legitimate owners and “re-distributed” to people adherents such as the author deem “worthy”), any refusal to bow to the power of government are heretics.

      And as with all religious zealots, they think that heretics should be put to death.

  5. “When legitimately constituted state authority stands down in the face of armed threats, the very foundation of the republic is in danger.” — Rick Perlstein

    I believe what Rick meant to say is, “When unbounded state authority confines free speech to tiny areas of vast public land, the very foundation of the republic is in danger.”

    • Yeah, it looks like he’s yet another run of the mill pinko pseudo-intellectual utopianist. His CV in Wiki lays it all out pretty clearly. Mother Jones, The Village Voice, Salon, The Nation, etc. It never ceases to amaze me how ahistorical some “historians” can be.

    • Perlstein is the type of Jew that thinks it was good that his people rarely tried to fight back before and during the Holocaust, because “more of them might have been killed,” or some other preposterous justification.

  6. LAWDY LAWDY DEM MEEN MENZES WIT GUNS GUNNA TAKE OVUH AND KEEL UZ ALL!!!!1111!!!!11 gimme a friggin break! Right or wrong they sent a message the We the people are sick of government strong arming folks over the smallest things they can find.

  7. The “armed threat” where American citizens standing by one of their own who was being strong-armed by a government agency that was shockingly well-armed for a group that was responsible for “land management”.

    Funny how these guys weren’t so pro-government when their guy wasn’t in office.

    • Yep, because I remember being in agreement with most democrats in the Bush years against the wars, and one of the things that democrats liked to say when “patriotism” was a very trendy thing, was that it was “patriotic to disagree with your government.”

      Now that the democrats are the government by and large? If you disagree you’re a terrorist.

      A truly masterful job of hijacking the post-9/11 jingoism, in both cases.

      • ….. it was “patriotic to disagree with your government.”

        But now it’s raayceiiiist to disagree with your government.

        • well obviously. I mean people don’t have any legitimate grievances other than that the president is a black man. /sarcasm

        • There are definitely plenty of legitimate reasons to not care for his policies. It’s silly, however, to pretend that there aren’t also people who also dislike him due to ethnicity.

        • oh I’m sure there are, but it also happens to be one of the default retorts of those who support his policies; it’s a magical Jedi mind trick that is used to immediately dismiss any arguments against Obama’s policies: “you just don’t like him because he’s black.”

          I voted for the guy the first time around (oops), and I STILL get this treatment from people.

        • @Jeff

          True. That’s definitely a tactic; we’ll also see a lot of people being branded as misogynist for not wanting Hillary in office.

  8. Gun owners/NRA members in Northeast Ohio:

    Look at this comment posted today by a “writer” from the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

    Christopher Evans, Northeast Ohio Media Group

    “Easy access to firearms — enabled by a complacent state legislature, governor and Ohio Supreme — allows felons to gun up. Don’t blame the criminal element. Blame the gun lobby fronted by the NRA.”

    Let’s tell them what we think of this nonsense:

    http://www.cleveland.com/contactus/

    Christopher Evans’ contact info:

    (216) 316-6791

    @cevanscleveland

    • No worries, he’s getting hammered in the comments section. He really put his foot in his mouth when he said, “Don’t blame the criminal element, blame the NRA”

      • I see this “writer” tweeted last night with “@Everytown” and “#NotOneMore” and referred to the NRA as “gun pimps”.

        • This is the part of the column that got my attention: “Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson fired back on Tuesday with a volley of common-sense public safety initiatives that included a purchase limit of one firearm per person every 90 days.”

        • @Bob

          That’s something that really irks me: how the antis have apparent ownership of the phrase “common sense”. By pre-pending that to anything they say, there’s an inherent implication that they automatically have a consensus among the populace.

          We need to contrast their measures with real common sense, that it makes sense to be able to protect your family and yourself from robbers/attackers, that you can’t wish away lowlfes with slogans, hashtags, and magic pixie dust.

  9. Citizens with mere rifles cannot stop the almighty gov’t, huh?

    There some 2nd A fun for the anti-folks to choke on.

  10. This is just one more step in “teaching” the public that American Citizen “gun owners” are “domestic terrorists” to facilitate the left’s collaboration with the U.N. ‘s gun control/confiscation agenda. It will be grimly vindicating when Islamic Jihadist terrorists infiltrate our shores and start massacring our children, families and friends at will. I expect this Rick Perlstein person has some twisted, propaganda to spin that with, too.

  11. Crony capitalists and their political puppets felt the same way in 1794 when they passed an excise tax but excused themselves and businesses from paying taxes at all. The Whiskey Rebellion eventually failed, but the excise tax was repealed anyway.

    • Crony capitalists, with their private gains and socialized losses, are definitely a huge part of the problem.

  12. It’s amazing what you can learn from Salon.com… I learned that there is a Molon Labe thong available!

      • Please don’t give money to salon.com no matter what cool/trendy/edgy/hip/popular/liberty-lovin phrase they try to co-opt.

        Your girl has principles, right?

        • “Please don’t give money to salon.com no matter what cool/trendy/edgy/hip/popular/liberty-lovin phrase they try to co-opt.”

          this++. Someone realized that they can make money off of gun owners with gun-themed merchandise and people think that buy buying it, “they’ll show ’em”. Often, the same people won’t donate to the NRA or NRA-ILA to actually effect change.

  13. I’m sorry gentlemen, but I believe that there is a fair amount of truth in this quote. Don’t forget that this is not a second amendment issue. Mr. Bundy was illegally using YOUR land. He did not own this land, his family did not own it since the 1800s. He lost several court battles, and ignored the judgements. Of course at some point armed officers of the state came to enforce these judgements.I believe that those that conflated his cause with the second amendment did harm to the rkba. If you went to your local city park, put up a fence, and put a few cows in there, you would deserve being arrested. I sometimes have differences with my government, ( the Iraq war for example), and I believe that law enforcement is often over militarized and aggressive, but in the main, I believe in our government. I of course believe we need to work to keep our second amendment rights, but what does that have to do with mr. Bundy.

    • I don’t think that people thought that this is a RKBA issue. The issue was federal vs state rights. That was just an example where the RKBA was used to stand up to the federal encroachment on the state rights. If you think that it is ok for the feds to own 85% of your state’s land then you may see the issue differently.

      • Umm, except for the fact that the feds got it from Mexico before Nevada ever became a state. And since no one ever bought it from the feds, and the feds did not cede it to the newly formed state, it is still federal land. Says so right in the Nevada State constitution.

    • I agree with you on this one. I just think Perlstein has failed to see the forest for the trees here. Yes, the state was in the right here, and they stood down to avoid violence, and that’s definitely not good for the rule of law. But what I find more disturbing is the number of times when peacefulness, innocence, or even compliance have failed to induce the state to avoid violence.

      • No-knock raids, anyone? I read about one last night. No knock raid at 0 dark hundred, cop tried to break in through a window, shot and killed by the occupant (who, not unreasonably, assumed someone was trying to break in to rob him), two other cops shot at, one slightly wounded. Now the shooter is in jail with a 5 million dollar bail charged with one count of homicide of a police officer, and two counts of attempted homicide. Drug raid of course–they found a glass pipe and nothing more.

    • The issue is more complicated than you make it out to be. Let me nutshell it for you though. Using changes in Federal Law, the government has successfully run out or put out of business every other rancher in that territory except Cliven. When the government makes the rules and can change them at a whim, it is very easy to end up on the “illegal” side of the fence.

      All that land did not used to be “public”.

      • The federal court ruled that that land has ALWAYS (at least since it was ceded by Mexico to the United States) been “public” land, i.e., land owned by the United States. The Bundys did not settle it–they didn’t even live there until Clive moved in.

    • Nice try with your analogy, but a city park is a drop in the bucket compared to hundreds of thousands of acres of “public” land – which the government across the board has been progressively closing off to all forms of public use over the years, except for the case of those that it can extort for the right to use it.

      Many people throughout the western states are fed up with the government gating off and denying access to public land for all sorts of things, in most cases based on completely arbitrary reasons – the huge groundswell of support was spurned on not just by the Bundy case, but by pre-existing opinions held by a lot of the public land users in this part of the country.

    • Three points:

      1) This particular case is full of complicated legal twists and turns and nobody is telling 100% of the truth on either side. But this whole episode is a problem with public lands in general. You say he was using my land illegally. But what if I (and a couple other million.. or 10’s of millions of my fellow citizens) don’t care he was using that particular parcel of public land? This is more a problem with public use lands and regulatory agencies/law than with this particular case.

      2) If someone was on a parcel of land that I actually owned that I once had a lease agreement with, I (as a private citizen) can’t get 50 of my closest friends and go point guns at the guy and his family and steal his shit (as much as I may want to) once he stops paying the lease. Even if I won a court case for backed payment, I would have to file a lien against his assets if he didn’t pay. The BLM thought they were above this legal avenue.

      3) Any and all sympathy I may have had for the Government’s position in this particular case ceased with their establishment of “free speech zones” on the so-called public land.

      The BLM decided to use force and they were called out on that decision. What the Bundy Ranch group did at the end of the confrontation (after the BLM agreed to vacate) was a dumb move on their part (both tactically and perceptually). I really think the only reason why this didn’t end up being a government agency supplied shootout (al la Ruby Ridge and Waco) is because of YouTube and similar technologies available to the average person with a cell phone. It wasn’t “just guns” and a militia that caused the BLM to back off, it was the thought of videos being beamed everywhere of militarized cops mowing down men on horses and women in “hello kitty” t-shirts. That being said, there is some truth to what this guy Perlstein is saying; mainly that a government regulatory agency got punched in the face on the national stage and perceptually limped away. To think that is the end to this particular feud is beyond naive.

      • 1) the government, as trusted for the people, has a duty to use its lands for their highest and best use, in conformity with law. Therefore it has the right and duty to keep people from sealing assets that belong to the government and the People.
        2). If you own land that you lease to someone, and that someone quits paying the lease, no you can’t use self help, but you can go to court and get a judgment for lease payments owed and an order of eviction. The government did so–twice. Once the Court has issued its judgment, both the government and private citizens may use the police power of the State to evict a recalcitrant former tenant and forcibly evict. Sheriffs and Marshalls do this every day of the week. Which is what the BLM attempted to do. The BLM has LEOs in its employ who are empowered to execute on judgments. The BLM had the legal right to roundup Bundy’s cattle as strays, and to sell them at auction. It had the legal right to tear down any fences or other improvements on its own land. Make no mistake about that. The BLM was not acting arbitrarily, but according to a lawful and affirmed federal court judgment. Bundy had his day in court, he was heard. His arguments were found to lack legal or factual justification.

        • 1) the government, as trusted for the people, has a duty to use its lands for their highest and best use, in conformity with law. Therefore it has the right and duty to keep people from sealing assets that belong to the government and the People.

          Regulatory agencies, enforcing regulatory (administrative) law that they write, with little to no oversight is the problem. You didn’t really respond to any of my points but instead deflected to “rights” that were never granted to the federal government, but claimed by them.

          2). If you own land that you lease to someone, and that someone quits paying the lease, no you can’t use self help, but you can go to court and get a judgment for lease payments owed and an order of eviction. The government did so–twice. Once the Court has issued its judgment, both the government and private citizens may use the police power of the State to evict a recalcitrant former tenant and forcibly evict. Sheriffs and Marshalls do this every day of the week. Which is what the BLM attempted to do. The BLM has LEOs in its employ who are empowered to execute on judgments. The BLM had the legal right to roundup Bundy’s cattle as strays, and to sell them at auction. It had the legal right to tear down any fences or other improvements on its own land. Make no mistake about that. The BLM was not acting arbitrarily, but according to a lawful and affirmed federal court judgment. Bundy had his day in court, he was heard. His arguments were found to lack legal or factual justification.

          Again, we’re having different conversations. I completely agree that, by current jurisprudence, the BLM has been granted authority (not “rights”) to manage the lands and enforce the administrative laws that they write. One point in which we disagree is where the use of force by the State is authorized. The main point in which we disagree, as I stated before, is the regulatory law that allows grazing for decades, then shuts down (or severely limits) grazing the next day with a stroke of a pen, with no recourse for those that are affected. You can retort with court orders all you want, it still doesn’t address the overall problem with Administrative law. The simple fact is that a citizen has limited Constitutional rights under Administrative law (which is why most formerly free facets of American life have been categorized and claimed by various regulatory agencies). That to me is a big problem. Federal police Internal military forces, many run by these various regulatory agencies, are another big problem.

          Lastly, I notice you didn’t address all of my points. So do you agree that the BLM was in the wrong for imposing “free speech zones” or was that their “right” as well? As I said, both sides have made multiple poor decisions. You however seem firmly planted on one side of the issue. How does Bundy having his cattle graze on this federally-managed land and not paying around $100k in fees over 20 years affect you? At what point, when all appropriate legal avenues have been exhausted, do you finally admit that these government regulators are part of the problem?

  14. “…legitimately constituted state authority…” is factually incorrect Mr Perlstein. I would refer you to the 10th Amendment and Article 1, Sect 8 para 17 to help you understand your error.

  15. This guy fails completely to understand that the basic purpose of government is to protect LIBERTY. And in partnership with that failure, he doesn’t understand that initiating aggression against another person when that person is harming no one IS a violation of LIBERTY.

  16. I got the NRA-ILA email yesterday about Hillary’s nonsense and donated $25.

    We all need to take all of this seriously. Donating, contacting “officials”, and getting the word out will do a lot more than venting on TTAG (which is fun, don’t get me wrong).

  17. So may I presume correctly that Mr Perlstein’s home,and all things/people inside therein, are defenseless against threats and attack? Eventually, criminals will just map out where to strike by going online. Nice work dude.

    • I’m quite sure he’s packing, just like Feinstein, Mark Kelly, Shannon’s bodyguards, and the rest of our betters.

      • Feinstein does not pack. She is not a peace officer, and D.C. does not issue–in fact does not even have a law allowing issuance–of CCWs to any citizen, nor does it recognize a CCW from any other jurisdiction. Firearms are prohibited in all federal buildings, except when in the possession and control of a law enforcement officer on official business; Senators are not allowed to pack in the Capitol building (which is actually a law or policy of long standing because of too many duels in the cloak room). San Francisco P.D. and the San Francisco Sheriff have each issued two CCWs, two to reserve police officers, and two to civilian employees of the P.D./Sheriff’s Department; public records therefore establish that she does not have a California CCW, which in any event would not be valid in D.C. Undoubtedly she has armed guards, but she does not carry.

  18. Viscerally I agree with the nature of most of the comments so far. I think it would be a mistake to assume that Perlstein isn’t echoing government sentiment. If you think so too than you’ll agree that the nature of the next little getogether with the BLM is going to be even more eventfull. If there is anything tyrannical governments hate it’s egg on their face.

  19. The derp (doofus) is right about the watershed event. But not in the manner he stated. This may be a preview of what’s to come( I hope not ). Too bad it was Bundy but it’s OBVIOUS the ( various ) federal agencies will bend & fold if they come against any real resistance. And there are millions of good guys. And hey I’m not some wild eyed young buck… I’m over 60. Land of the free-home of the brave.

  20. It depends on what the definition of “is” is. Once you can parse it that fine and drink it with your cool-aid (D)’s then you can call yourself “govmt” all you would like, just pack your _ _ _ _ and go home and do it from your basement, tards.

  21. Except Mr. Bundy was not a criminal. He owed the government fees and civil fines which they had a right to collect. Since the government already had his cattle and the means to recoop the money owed to the government there was no need for armed federal agents to show up at his door to intimidate him.

    • Except they were going to confiscate more of his property under laws you appear to be at partially concede as valid and had been warned in advance that they’d face armed opposition. Why would you expect them to show up unarmed?

  22. They wanted/still want another Waco. The fact that the Bundy family isn’t smoldering in ashes right now INFURIATES them.

    • I don’t believe for a second that if the occupy wall street movement had been armed, many conservative pundits and people commenting on this article wouldn’t have been clamoring or at least privately wishing for a bloodbath. Politics is the mind killer.

  23. “When legitimately constituted state authority stands down in the face of armed threats, the very foundation of the republic is in danger.”

    I am certain words similar to this were spoken in the British Parliament in 1776.

  24. Little Ricky is a fine propagandist. He has such a clever way of manipulating and distorting facts, making things up and slandering anyone who supports the RKBA. I bet little Ricky would like very much to have some of the Bill Paying Billionaire’s money. But, poor little Ricky is getting stomped in the comments section. Propagandists for the civilian disarmament complex have such a hard job when people are allowed to respond with the truth.

  25. Closing government grazing lands, brought to you by the same government who closed national monuments when the government was shut down. The fact that armed civilians stood together warms the cockles of my heart.

  26. SCHADENFREUDE! “In other words, there is virtually no countervailing power to the now-hegemonic acceptance that there’s nothing much to do about the proliferation of guns in America.”

    And did you notice how he slipped in an “assault weapon” ban and universal registration (aka, “background checks and closing the gun show loophole”) as part of “an honest, open national conversation about firearms”? Sure , that’s a compromise from their preferred position: immediate confiscation of all privately-owned firearms in America.

  27. “forces of lawlessness came at them with guns”

    I didn’t quite see it that way. But I bet old Joey Goebels would have see it just as Mr Perlstein did.

  28. The guy is absolutely correct in his assessment. Government backed down because to continue, invited a gunfight. I suspect they got a few data points (solar panels, turtles, Mr. Reid) surveyed the dirt and decided to live another day.

    As for the gunslingers, no William Wallace moment (came to pick a fight). So in effect the presence of long guns means nothing when G men pack up and go home for the day. So much for liberty, constitution, and freedom. Next time say home and vote cause milita boys trigger pulling is on the range.

  29. “What’s the difference between a room full of parrots and a room full of liberals?”
    No one having advanced beyond the initial stages of arrested development typical of your average liberal ever expects a parrot to actually understand anything it’s saying.”
    Gw

    Do No Harm / Successfully Defend

  30. He’s absolutely right. What he’s missing is that it isn’t within the goverment’s purvue to determine what is and what is not a legitimate action of government.

  31. What an imbecile. Makes a big deal out of the fact that no one was talking about controlling “machine guns” in 1980, and completely misses the fact that no one needed to talk about it because “machine guns” were already under tight control since the 1930s. That remark about “ahistorical leftist historians” was right on the mark.

  32. Hey, L’il Ricky: We *want* the government to fear the people, because the government *should* fear the people, not the other way around. Got it?

  33. This comment section is utterly ridiculous and is one of the most potent factors painting gun owners as dangerous or crazy. Lets try a thought experiment. Lets say that the government was 100% completely in the wrong but decided to not back down and to proceed with the confiscation of more of Bundy’s property. In what sense would force against the federal agents be justified? People who had no claim or connection to the property were threatening force because their personal interpretation of the law conflicted with what the government was doing. Ask random people and see how many believe that people have the right to take up arms against LEOs who they happen to believe are violating their rights. If you ask here, you might find the answer is “a lot”, but I assure you that most Americans believe in the rule of law and are justifiably frightened by this behavior. Are government thugs executing people in the street? Are they sterilizing people for their political or religious beliefs? Yeah, maybe then those taking up arms against the federal government could be construed as within their rights under “what the founders intended.” Are they attempting to execute a federal statue upheld by the courts? Well, then, you’re going to have a hard time convincing most Americans that the founders intended armed opposition as opposed to working within the system that the founders appear to have intended by explicitly spelling out and delineating authority in the constitution. Heroes these kooks are not.

    • I’d call your conclusion a failing of the majority to understand the intent of the founders. Jefferson said that we’d need another revolution about every 20 years. If the War of 1812 could be counted as an ‘armed uprising’ more so than an organized government affair it satisfied the first 20 years with a revolution, the Whiskey Rebellion maybe counts as another. Certainly the Civil War counts but that only gets us as far as 1880. Perhaps the widespread lawlessness of the prohibition era satisfies the revolutionary necessity and if it does it get’s us to 1940. WWII certainly could be said to put a hold on things, since one doesn’t tend to revolt against ones own government in the face of a legitimate external threat. There was perhaps a sort of cultural revolution in the 1960s and if that counts we’re just about good to the 1990s. We still haven’t had a proper revolution since the 1770’s but allowing the above to count still suggests by Jefferson’s estimate that we are nearly 5 years past the need for a revolution of some sort.

      The victories that we, the people, have had legislatively and judicially don’t even begin to offset the outrageous usurpations of our rights and liberties by government. The list of on redressed grievances makes that in the Declaration of Independence look like a bit of whining rather than a reason to abolish the forms to which they were accustomed.

      There is a growing feeling, and rightly, finally so, that the level of government intrusion and restriction of liberty has gone too far. This isn’t limited to the POTG or to any group, but rather is a feeling held by many. If the cost in time and money spent complying with the myriad regulations we navigate each day could be tallied, the price would be deemed to high by any thinking person. The burdensome regulations and laws which we are forced to suffer under exact an even more terrible cost in terms of all the things that aren’t done because the doing of them is too expensive and complex to contemplate.
      Sickest of all is the creeping realization that we are not ‘free’ by any reasonable definition of the word.

      The issue that drives the next revolution won’t be RKBA, it will be the financial ruin we are daily experiencing due to the devastating cost and chilling effect of the laws, taxes and regulations we’re subjected to. For at least the next 6 months the government of the United States is the enemy of the people, the whole people, not just the POTG or conservatives but every single person in this country. With any luck, rather than violent revolution we’ll have a correction at the polls and remove the majority of the statists, progressives, and collectivists in the federal legislature and give it to those who don’t by policy destroy the economy and liberty of the people. If 2016 also proves fruitful for those who value financial security and liberty then a revolution might not come for a long time. However, to think that we’re not near the boiling point is to ignore the growing sentiment that any resistance to the power of government is a good thing regardless of the actual issues involved, for that is the sort of thought that leads to abolishing the forms to which we are accustomed.

  34. just in case nobody else caught it, thats a 33.00 bottle of water they are all sipping, on our dime no less. I don’t spend 33.00 in two days for three squares.

  35. The US constitution forbids the federal government from just unilaterally calling up a militia or standing army and sending them to a state without the state governor or legislature calling for federal forces when a local insurrection forces exceed the forces of the state government. Article 4,Section 2.
    The BLM armed swat team were essentially federal forces, but since they are not a militia or standing army, I guess they think they can skirt around the law.

    Or did the Nevada state government actually call in for federal assistance?

    Is this idea of the president, of using his “Civilian Defense Force” (FBI, DHS, BLM, etc.) and other militarized law enforcement a way of skirting around the constitution?

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