Cliven Bundy: Blacks “Better off as Slaves”

Union Cemetery
These men were killed or maimed fighting the idea that there were people who were “better off as slaves.”

While I’ve had quite a bit of sympathy to the idea of standing up to an overreaching federal government, my instinct on the Bundy situation was to keep him at arm’s length. To be frank, the dude set of my alarm bells. Now I notice a direct quote of Bundy in the New York Times that would seem to suggest that I was right be wary:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

I get the greater point he’s trying to make, that life on the dole is degrading and dehumanizing, but really? Blacks were better off as slaves picking cotton? As if slavery, slavery is not a degrading and dehumanizing institution? I might agree that welfare doesn’t help the poor in the long term, but slavery was evil.

Sorry, this isn’t someone I’d want to take a bullet for, and it’s hard to fathom why anyone else would too, now that this much is clear. While I certainly don’t support Fed snipers or SWAT teams turning this situation into a bloody conflict any more now, than I did when I wrote this, I don’t stand with racists who think slavery was a better institution for Blacks than welfare.

64 thoughts on “Cliven Bundy: Blacks “Better off as Slaves””

  1. I read his comment differently, the people are still enslaved, just different masters. But you are correct, slavery is evil no matter who the master is.

  2. I think what Bundy is implying is that social programs are modern day slavery and worse than slavery 180 years ago. His words are crude but he makes a good point in a way.

    1. I just don’t think social programs are a moral equivalent to slavery. Slavery wasn’t always a cruel institution, but it often was, especially for field hands. I don’t like that these programs breed dependence and sloth, but at best they are poor policy. Slavery was evil.

  3. “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton”

    Lol. Anyone who doesn’t see the problems, or somehow tries to justify that statement really needs to get a reality check.

  4. I haven’t taken a stand on Bundy because I didn’t want spend the time to investigate and be confident of the facts and all the issues involved. I still take no side in this and am still mostly ignorant. Ironically I was in Las Vegas a day or so before this came to a head and made no effort to investigate.

    However, I don’t trust the New York Times to present the facts in an honest manner. It might be that “they never learned how to pick cotton” was a metaphor for “learned how to work”. It could be that he thinks slavery is/was evil, needed to be abolished, but that government subsidies are more evil and the NYT cherry-picked the quotes to present him in the most vile manner possible.

  5. Why does everyone always connect blacks to slavery as the enslaved?
    The first legal slave OWNER was a Black Man, and he owned both Black AND White slaves.

    Why does nobody seem to remember this?

    And I agree, welfare is a modern version of slavery, As the Democrat president said when welfare was created, Truman I think (?), “We’ll have these niggers voting for us for the next 200 years”, and sadly he seems to be right.

  6. You have really good instincts… I wish the same could be said of the Republicans.

  7. We need to question the New York Times and their integrity with this “quote”. Remember, NYT censored out the mass genocide called the Holodomor committed by Stalin and the Soviets that wiped out 10 million Ukrainians in 1 YEAR! We also have to look at the facts that blacks in this country are 12.9% of the U.S. population but 1/9 black men is in jail, they make up more than half of all violent crime statistics, and are almost 40% of all the people on welfare in this country. Something smells even more fishy about this “quote” that the NYT has published. The standoff is heating up, you have the entire communist democrat party declaring war on rural people, and now the gun control issue is being heated into the situation with Oklahoma militia preparing for a potential standoff on the TX/OK border. How convenient to throw the race card with blacks and the dead beat slavery issue. I’m very sure that our Stalinist dictator will call a press conference to have to “tone down the rhetoric”, Reid and Pelosi will label all 100,000,000 + gun owners and ranchers as racist,and Eric Holder will give out the orders to kill all of the Bundy supporters like how they torched those people at Waco. Sebastian, I am very disappointed in you not having the instinct to fathom the situation and realize that the communist media in this country is looking for every excuse to give cover to this Stalinist in the White House every possible excuse to get away with and justify a Waco style atrocity. It is very convenient for the race issue to be this graphic and pronounced, and I guarantee that Barack O’Stalin will bring this to vivid national attention to make it seem, it the most vulgar way, that all gun owners and rural people (in Joe Biden’s words to Blacks), “Put y’all back in chains”.

  8. I read his comment differently, the people are still enslaved, just different masters. But you are correct, slavery is evil no matter who the master is.

    If you have a boot on your neck, it really doesn’t matter who the boot belongs to…or if it’s the Left(D) boot or the Right(R) one.
    Some bureaucrat decided to stick it to the ranchers 20-30 years ago. They have been systematically destroyed in the time since and someone is probably making a buck off it.
    Search Wayne Hage and Raymond Yowell and you’ll find these tactics are NOT new.
    I find Cliven’s words as repulsive as the .gov’s actions…but Cliven can’t form up a SWAT team and kill my family and call it “justifiable”.

    1. Bundy is not the philosopher Ghandi incarnate; he not the type for speaking euphemistically or in metaphor.

      Defending his ignorant words risks getting pulled down his rabbit hole.

      Search Wayne Hage and Raymond Yowell and you’ll find these tactics are NOT new.

      And he could have worked to end the bad USG practices by using his penchant for publicity to get legislators to move – they were actually looking to go that way. But nobody trusted the guy, and his recent drive through Las Vegas is a good reason why.

      Bundy probably ended any chance to fix the BLM issues in the West. Nobody will stand for someone who just said what he did. He made the whole point of view toxic.

  9. To be perfectly honest my first reaction is he is being deliberately misquoted. The NYtimes is not an ethical paper any longer. Before we throw Bundy to the wolves let’s be sure of what he actually said.

    1. Without defending the New York Times, I’d point out that papers who just make up quotes to make people look like racists open themselves up to libel suits. If NYT did make up the quote, it’ll be a hell of a lawsuit.

      1. Yeah, making up quotes is huge. The guy said this, and yes he is a racist. Negro? Come on. Why didn’t he say “because they didn’t learn to how to be engineers?”

  10. Cliven Bundy is an ignorant fool and a leech.

    He does not own that land. It does not matter if the BLM, the state or some guy down the road named, “Rancher Jim” owns the land. Bundy does not, and has no rights to the land.

    He runs his cattle over someone else’s land, and refuses to move them or to pay customary grazing fees. All other ranchers play by the rules and pay the fees – Bundy refuses to do so. But he will sell the cattle he grazes on property he does not own, and he will sell it at a profit. He is taking something that is not his, and he has no right to do it. To me, that is theft.

    That land belong to the taxpayers, even if we think it should belong to someone else. The fact is – it does not. I know his claims and not a single court buys them. The BLM is absurdly absurd in absurd ways*, but the fact is if you take from US Taxpayer owned property (grazing cattle eat that grass), then you either pay or you steal. Bundy seems to think he is entitled to US Taxpayer property for free. He is not, and nobody other than his clan think otherwise. Not even politicians who opposed BLM actions agree he is entitled to our taxpayer resources for free.

    Now Bundy drives through LV and calls his fellow recipients of welfare names, because they get their benefits via a check. He looks down on them…why? Because they don’t just steal it outright like he does?

    Argue welfare policy all you want, but welfare recipients are not stealing the check (EBT card, whatever) – it has their name on it. Bundy steals grazing land from taxpayers and cheats other ranchers who play the system the right way.

    Bundy is not the one to call others a mooch. He’s got his own brand of welfare entitlement, and somehow has taken a lot of good people for a bad ride.

    BLM and Bundy each display special forms of idiocy. If you support Bundy in his quest, you need to consider you are supporting a leech on taxpayer resources. Every other rancher plays the rules – Bundy feels entitled to his own form of redistribution and wants taxpayer resources to enrich himself. Why let him graze public lands but nobody else? Is he related to Harry Reid (another idiot)?

    Take Bundy’s entitlement theory and consider the opportunities to be had by enterprising people: offshore drilling for fun and profit, with zero regulation or payback to US taxpayers; diverting water or damning a river to build a private waterpark in the desert; depletion fishing of federal waters; leveling a mountain because it might contain gold…and if it does, you don’t need to pay any revenue back to the taxpayers who own it!


    This whole pile of idiocy (all of them) is going to rot a lot of roots and burn a lot of people who stepped up early and often.

    * The BLM should never have done what they did. There are far simpler ways of handling that scenario and getting back their money, from liens to asset forfeiture proceedings of bank accounts and property title. They are also idiots and got a well-deserved smackdown for playing hardass when a decent lawyer could have settled this in a courthouse. They wanted the show of force, and got their asses rightly handed to them. If someone (anyone) had gotten hurt or killed, it would have been their fault. But their sins don’t wash Bundy’s actions clean. Everyone here looks dirty to me.

    1. Well said, I agree. I certainly don’t excuse the BLM coming in as heavy handed as they did, and I certainly don’t paint the people who went to stop them as fellow racists. No one deserves to be needlessly murdered by their government. But I’d also be reluctant to go to the wall with this guy no matter what. I won’t blame anyone for trying to stop the government from killing him and his family, but I sure as hell wouldn’t start a war to prevent the government from trying to secure monies owed for grazing on public land.

    2. If its public land, than he has every right to use it honestly- especially if he takes care of it. And really, it shouldn’t be federal land anyway- it should be Nevadian land.

      1. “Honestly” is the key word. He is not being honest; he is not paying the standard grazing fees and he is not respecting the taxpayers.

        You cannot drill for oil in US waters without paying the USA. You cannot pull gold, silver or oil from US land without paying royalties to the US people. You cannot go into a US Wilderness area and just start cutting firewood or timber without a permit and royalties.

        So then why the hell are so-called “conservatives” standing up for some jackass that expects to get free things from the government that no person is entitled to have? Why should he get special treatment? Why is it OK for him to demand this free stuff (welfare) from taxpayers?

        These are not rhetorical questions. I am waiting for some apologist to actually tell me why he gets free stuff from the taxpayers when every other rancher is expected to play by the rules. Seriously…inform and educate me. Stop avoiding the questions.

        Again, the BLM was wrong to do what they did, the way they did it. But that doesn’t make Bundy right.

        I work hard for my shit and have watched so many others use special doors – or outright cheating the system – to get ahead. That is not competition – it is corruption of the values I teach my children. I am so sick of seeing people like Bundy take from everyone else and get away with it. Conservatives should not be defending this guy – they should be demanding he work honestly like the rest of us.

  11. Well there you go

    The NYT, unofficial mouthpiece for the statists, says Bundy is a racist

    Now they can go and finish him off now and if anyone has an issue with that we’ll they’re a racist too

    1. If they made up his quotes then they should pay dearly.

      But these are not five words taken from context. He painted his picture, and it stinks.

  12. Being called a racist has come to mean that you’ve won an argument against a liberal.

  13. You agree with his main point. Be careful about crushing him because he did not make it well.

    He in no way said slavery wasn’t evil. He in no way said “slavery is not a degrading and dehumanizing institution”. He just compared two great evils, and wondered if one might – contrary to Leftist rhetoric – be worse than the other.

    He stood up and said that the chronic welfare lifestyle IS evil, gravely evil, in the face of the Left compelling us to facilitate it and say it’s good. The Left, of course, must spin this in their favor and destroy him for it. That they can use it on someone having the gall to stand up to their beloved government is a bonus to them.

    Your words, too, may be used against you in the court of public opinion.

  14. I hate to even bring this up, but Mormonism doesn’t exactly have the best track record with black people to begin with. I agree that the men on the ground there need to make sure this is about the BLM, not about Bundy. They should also convince him to put a sock in it – they didn’t go there to set up a soapbox for him and his general opinions, they came to stop creeping statism. Bundy needs to remember that as much as the men on the ground.

  15. The line is where the fight is. Miranda was a thug but his case pushed the State back a little. Maybe it’s better that we fight for Cliven Bundy’s rights than for our own.

  16. What a bunch of cowards you people are. First off, his views on anything have nothing to do with the Feds trying to run him off the land for a freaking turtle. Was it a dumb thing to say, of course but last I checked the gov isn’t allowed to run roughshod over someone because he has unpopular opinions.

    1. I thought this was about more than just a turtle? If this is the line on which a revolution starts, I’d rather not stand along side someone who believes blacks were freer as slaves. I want to live in an America that has a much much smaller federal .gov too, but I’d also rather live in an America where racism is a thing of the past too.

    2. Stop talking about a turtle. It’s the ultimate straw man for conservatives who cannot read more than Rush or who think Alex Jones is a credible source for…anything. Bundy isn’t being run off because of a turtle. He is being run off because he doesn’t have right to use the fracking land in the first place.

      I’ll make this simple: He. Is. Stealing.

      I raise hogs and make a small side-living doing so. But I’d make a hell of a lot more money at it if I could just use the land of the farmer next door (10x my land) for free. Hell, if I could just ‘claim’ that land is mine to use, I would be able to run up enough free-range pasture-raised Berkshire to pay my kid’s tuition to college.

      My neighbor had better hope he has some kind of rare tortoise or bald eagle or something to protect his land, because apparently conservatives won’t defend his property rights as long as I yell, “Molon Labia” or some such while I take his property for myself.

      If Bundy has a claim to that land, he should have won it in court. If not there, then take it to the Congress. BLM sucks ass (I have many friends out west who tell me first hand). But under no circumstances is this about a turtle. It’s about a man who is taking something that nobody – not even politicians who pimped his quest for their own use – agrees he has.

      I get that a lot of “us” want to draw some lines in the sand. But this is not the place to do it.

      You want to fight a good fight when the government has held someone down and taken him to the mat, for doing nothing wrong?

      Check this out. Really. This one has pissed me off for years and I’d love to get this man some justice:

        1. I keep hearing that, but every argument I’ve seen comes down to that it is about that, at root. There’s a whole side issue about Harry Reid, and I agree that’s pretty awful, but it’s pretty run of the mill.

        2. It’s about some guy not paying for the things other people pay for, and expecting to use taxpayer property without compensating them.

          He went to court and lost. Multiple times.

          The larger policy questions are being used by him to hide the fact he is taking from taxpayers the things others pay for. Please correct me if I am wrong. Please tell me he is willing to pay full freight the way others have. Please tell me the reason he went to court was because of a misunderstanding where his check to the taxpayers got lost in the mail.

          The substance of your retort to me was to call me a name. Nothing else.

          Her’s your chance to do better: answer this question: should Bundy be getting free access to taxpayer resources, when everyone else is expected to pay?

          Because that is exactly what he is doing, and he has suckered a ton of conservatives into supporting his scheme.

          1. Pardon, but he refused to pay the fees -to the BLM-. He made repeated attempts to pay said fees to both the state, and the county he lived in. He refused to pay the BLM directly, because if he paid them directly, he would be accepting the ‘terms and conditions’ of the BLM regarding how the land was used. The phrase ‘set up to fail’ comes to mind.

            Here’s a detailed explanation of why Bundy couldn’t pay the BLM without getting screwed.


  17. First of all nobody picks cotton by hand anymore. There are people that run the cotton picking machines. Slavery ended in 1865. The gov’t wants to make all of us defacto slaves.
    Someone should have told Bundy not to talk to the news media. They will take what you say out of context and twist it. He needs to go into damage control and get someone to help him issue a written clarification. Bundy just shot himself in the foot.

      1. I think there are lots of contexts that quote could be put in which its not racist- and a bunch have been said on this page.

        1. Rule number one of dealing with fhe media, THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CONTEXT. You own your words

  18. He said rather poorly, that’s for sure. He explains himself here:

    Take a look at who got that quote. Think the NYTimes and the WaPo are favorable to our cause? Think they might have an incentive to portray him in the worst light possible? Research has shown that it was not the history of slavery that destroyed the black household (who used to marry in greater proportion than whites), but rather the creation of the welfare state. That’s the point he inarticulately tried to get across.(

    1. That’s called “the back-peddle” and we all call it out when the other side does it.

      We should not be drawing lines around this guy.

  19. Maybe he was misquoted, maybe he was trying to make a point, maybe he’s an out and out racist. Honestly it doesn’t matter. He isn’t fighting to put blacks back in slavery. He’s fighting an overarching federal government. That’s still worth sticking to him.

    We still fight to let the KKK protest. We still fight to let Nazi’s speak about Jews however they want. Why? Because its freedom.

    Remember the quote “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist…”

    Whether Bundy deserves our support should ONLY be on whether he is right in his fight (whether that’s because he is right, or because who he is fighting), not because he has unpopular opinions.

    Personally, based on his quote, I think he meant that slavery is evil, whoever the master. The North didn’t fight to free the slaves, they fought to enslave us all. I think he honestly feels bad for these people who do nothing with their lives, because they are slaves to welfare. And he feels bad they don’t even realize that for all the civil rights they fought for, they are wasting it away with their lives.

    1. That we ought to put freedom ahead of Bundy’s views is the best argument I’ve seen in these comments. But what freedom? The freedom to graze on public land without paying fees?

      There are people along the Red River getting their private lands seized by BLM. I’d be a lot more inclined to suggest that issue is bigger than those individuals, but every time I try to understand why this issue is bigger than Cliven Bundy I’m coming up empty.

      1. Except I think he does want to pay the fees, but the BLM refused. Its just like the Hughes amendment.

        In my opinion, there shouldn’t be federal “public” lands. If there is, then he should be able to us it, because he pays taxes, and he’s a member of the public.

        I like the Red River people have a better case, but honestly if its between a citizen and the Feds, and there is decent arguments on both sides, I side with the citizen.

        1. The fees are set in a schedule, which he does not agree. BLM needs to work with him on the final bill (and they have apparently not been good about that), but in the end he needs to stop ‘claiming’ shit that ain’t his.

          I hate what BLM does in many places, and even more I hate what the Army Corps does to puddles of water in back yards (my father got nailed with that one, years ago). There is a damn good fight to be made, but Bundy is not the fight to have.

        2. Except I think he does want to pay the fees, but the BLM refused.

          My understanding (which, considering the bad reporting and the apparent complexity involved may be wrong, and I’m prepared to change if given appropriate evidence) is that he did pay, and the BLM turned around and said “what you paid for grazing rights for X cattle is now only good for .1X cattle. You have to pay more to graze X cattle. Oh, and we’re not going to let you pay for more than .1X cattle. Oh, and since the water rights you paid for were qualified for on a per-head basis, you now only qualify for .1X of what you paid for. And we won’t give you your money back for the lost water rights, either. We’re justifying this because we need to protect an endangered species of turtle, even though we’re killing that same species in this other place.”

          Then the courts went and sided with the BLM, which then turned around and fined Bundy $1M+ for continuing to graze the X cattle he had paid for* while the courts were deciding how they would side with the rest of the .gov on the issue.

          At this point, Bundy declared that the BLM was perpetrating a fraud, and that the courts were supporting them as another arm of the FedGov, so he was going to continue to exercise the grazing and water rights he had paid for. That’s when the BLM decided to SWAT him down – pour encourager les autres – and things almost got bloody (with BLM mishandling the cattle they “confiscated”, killing a good part of his herd in the process, BTW).

          Complicated, and I’m not entirely sure he was in the right, but the BLM was definitely in the wrong for the heavy-handed way they went after him. Frankly, whether Bundy was right or wrong, and whether he’s racist or not, the BLM’s “enforcement” actions were bad enough that I can’t quite say it would have been wrong for someone on Bundy’s side to start shooting if things had gone much further.

          * I also understand (though I’m a little fuzzier on this) that, since part of his court case was his claim that the state, not the BLM, was the proper party for him to be paying, he continued to pay the fees to the state while the case was ongoing.

      1. When a bunch of people who would normally be pre-disposed to supporting the guy see the full ‘context’ and pretty much agree with the NY Times, it is not only a cold day in hell, but also pretty much the case that Bundy screwed up.

  20. The caption on your picture of the graves of Civil War soldiers is simply wrong. Those people were killed and maimed in a war dedicated to the idea that States which had freely joined the Union could not choose to freely leave.

    Slavery is evil. But slavery is not what the Civil War was about. Slavery was used both during and after the war to justify the actions of the victors, however it was never the real issue.

    1. The civil war was about slavery, largely. Kansas wasn’t bleeding over states rights. The Missouri Compromise wasn’t about states rights. John Brown didn’t raid Harpers Ferry over union. The idea that the civil war wasn’t largely over slavery is revisionism. It wasn’t only slavery, but it was largely. The southern states didn’t secede because of Lincoln’s position on tariffs.

      1. Actually they did. Slavery was a part of it- but Lincoln said he would guarantee slavery in the Republic. He wanted a constitutional amendment. In reality, slavery was better protected in the Union that out of it.

        You need to read Thomas DiLorenzo’s books. He does a great job of showing that.

        1. Lincoln was a moderate Republican. We’d call him a RINO today. But the Republicans were the home to hard core abolitionists. The Southern States could see the writing on the wall. The South Carolina secession declaration mentions slavery six times. Mississippi only four, but look here:

          Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery – the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product, which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

          That’s the second paragraph. It goes on and on. Georgia’s resolution mentions it 26 times. Texas only three, but what a three:

          She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery – the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits – a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slaveholding States of the confederacy.

          What I’m saying is that the revisionist notion that the Civil War had nothing to do with slavery is not based on any fact. I would agree slavery wasn’t the only grievance with the North, but this was the prime mover in the cause of the civil war.

        2. I’d also add that radical abolitionism wasn’t a popular position even in the North. Lincoln probably could not have one if he was one. But the Republican Party largely formed because the Whigs couldn’t successfully address the issue of Slavery.

      2. Sebastian,

        it seems to me you are overlooking the core argument of the states involved. They had decided to leave the Union, which they had joined voluntarily, since the other states had decided that their economy should be heavily damaged or destroyed, just to assuage the feelings of the citizens of those Northern states. (kind of sounds like Liberals of today) There was no part of the Constitution that said that states could not leave. So, the Liberals, er, Northerners, decided to use force to keep them at home. What’s wrong with this picture?

        When the current crop of do-gooders eventually get around to mandating where you live, work, and travel, who you associate with, what kind of schooling you get, work you do, money you are allowed to earn and keep, and on and on, at what point will you decide that maybe you don’t want to live in the US anymore? Starting to sound familiar?

        A slave economy is not very efficient. It would not have been too much longer before the slave situation would have died due to financial pressures brought about from technology, according to researchers. I would much rather the slave situation have faded away over a generation, than fight a war over it. Much less death, destruction, and misery resulting for all concerned.

        Because of that idiot in the white house, near half our Nation was literally destroyed, and it can be argued that we are still paying a price for that damage. It was stupid and wasteful. Take a look at any other country in history and see the result of a civil war. There has never been an improvement resulting from one, unless you consider our Revolutionary War to be a civil war, which some do. And a whole lot of people have spent a long time trying to throw it all away.

  21. Mr Bundy NEVER made the statement that negroes were better off under on institution or the other. He said that he “Often wondered if……”. There is a huge difference. Given todays Cradle to grave desire for dependance upon the government, you have to wonder the same thing, yourself.

  22. Yeah, just abandon him. He’s imperfect, after all.

    Wait for an angel to fight for.

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