For days, conservatives have been outraged that the Bureau Of Land Management actually attempted to to round up Clevin Bundy’s trespassing cattle from public land, exactly as the federal court had ordered be done. (The court has found numerous times that Clevin Bundy is a deadbeat rancher who is illegally using the public’s land to enrich his own private enterprise.)

This morning, Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic took note of conservative hypocrisy by highlighting a 2001 Associated Press study that described the systematic theft of land and property owned by black Americans.

In an 18-month investigation, The Associated Press documented a pattern in which black Americans were cheated out of their land or driven from it through intimidation, violence and even murder.

In some cases, government officials approved the land takings; in others, they took part in them. The earliest occurred before the Civil War; others are being litigated today. Some of the land taken from black families has become a country club in Virginia, oil fields in Mississippi, a major-league baseball spring training facility in Florida …

The AP—in an investigation that included interviews with more than 1,000 people and the examination of tens of thousands of public records in county courthouses and state and federal archives—documented 107 land takings in 13 Southern and border states.

In those cases alone, 406 black landowners lost more than 24,000 acres of farm and timber land plus 85 smaller properties, including stores and city lots. Today, virtually all of this property, valued at tens of millions of dollars, is owned by whites or by corporations.

As Coates says, “I’ve been laughing my way through the Cliven Bundy fiasco because, as Jamelle Bouie suggests, there may be no better example of racist privilege than the right to flout the government’s authority and then back its agents down at gunpoint. Bouie asks, hypothetically, how we’d respond if Bundy were black. Inasmuch as this is even a question, American history has already answered it.”

And yet, conservatives continue to portray themselves as the aggrieved party, not only in the Bundy case, but in American society as a whole.


The thing to do here, as Chris Hayes points out, is not to argue that Bundy should be subject to the kind of violence that black people who find themselves in dispute with the government’s agents often are. (There’s nothing for liberals to cheer about in a running gunfight over grazing fees.) The thing to do is to recognize the limits of our sympathies and try to extend them. “How about widening the aperture,” Hayes asks, “for the tyranny you see all around you?”


  1. Cluster says:

    And it is a good thing that ACA resolved the pre existing condition which probably accounts for 1% of the population by screwing up the system for about 80% of the population.

    Hmmm. So only 1% of the population had a problem with insurance companies denying coverage due to pre existing conditions while 80% of Americans have had their health care “screwed up” under the ACA? I love hyperbole in certain situations, but this is classic Cluster making shit up to buttress his warped worldview and lame arguments, and since he has removed himself any criticism and debate let’s add it to our tally:

    Rusty’s Tally Of Facts Pulled From Cluster’s Ass

    1.Does every state have some level of government administered health care? Yes. Are those programs usually more effective than the federally administered programs? YES.(emphasis not mine) 2/7/14
    2.And even more disturbing is that the second largest contributor, the public unions, are directly using tax payer money from negotiated contracts and pensions to support the Democrats. 2/19/14
    3.(Missing links) are (a problem) in terms of human evolution. That’s undeniable.3/8/14
    4.And it is a good thing that ACA resolved the pre existing condition which probably accounts for 1% of the population by screwing up the system for about 80% of the population. 4/22/14

    Another gem:
    Or how about the answer to my question why the leftist policies you support have resulted in 50% black youth unemployment.

    My. I did not know that the black youth unemployment rate was entirely dependent on liberal policies. It’s almost like Republicans have never held positions of high office and had a say in national policy over the last several decades. Cluster must have missed that conservative Republicans have been in control of the executive branch for 20 years since 1981. Did they have any influence, or were they just playing with their dicks the whole time?

  2. meursault1942 says:

    “And yet, conservatives continue to portray themselves as the aggrieved party, not only in the Bundy case, but in American society as a whole.”

    Well, a major part of contemporary conservatism is this feeling that because conservatives don’t control everything, they therefore have nothing. Hence the neverending efforts to portray themselves as the “real” victims. Jamelle Bouie nailed it in this column: “For these conservatives, any acknowledgment of race is racism, and anti-racist policies—like federal civil rights laws—are a zero-sum game, with whites as the losers.”

    That’s exactly it. Acknowledgement of race is racism–hell, acknowledgement of racism is racism to conservatives, though actual racism is not. And if racism is acknowledged, that makes them–white conservatives–the losers. This is a core, existential fear that drives so much of the conservative hatred and derangement we see.

    And by the way, I’m shocked–shocked!–that Cliven Bundy’s story is a pile of bullshit. It’s not as though conservatives rely heavily on that whole “a lie gets around the world before the truth has even put its pants on” dynamic or anything, right?

  3. meursault1942 says:

    Had a post expanding on Jamelle Bouie’s point get eaten last night. D’oh! But seeing as how Bouie’s been on fire of late, we may as well check out his newest post, which covers conservative tribalism, aka conservatives’ very blatant knee-jerk hatred of whatever Obama says, even if they had previously agreed with the stance Obama is espousing.

    Now, it’s all well and fine (and fun!) to mock the feral grunts that pass for political philosophy among conservatives these days, to mock their hypocrisy and idiocy and have fun watching them go out of their way to hoist themselves on their own petards. But sadly, an entire political movement dedicated to and fueled by nothing other than rank hatred and brainless opposition has dire consequences for the country. When you’re that deranged, you not only can’t do anything constructive, you prevent anybody else from doing anything constructive.

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