Friday, February 3, 2023

#2613: Ammon Bundy

It’s hard to justify not giving a brief entry to this one, so here we go: Ammon Bundy is an anti-government militant wingnut most famous for being the spawn of Cliven Bundy (whom we also unfortunately have to cover) and for leading the 2016 occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Bundy is also the founder of the far-right People’s Rights network and a candidate for governor of Idaho, and was arrested numerous times during the COVID-19 pandemic for protests and disruptions against pandemic mitigation efforts by the Idaho government.


That last one is worth noting: Bundy’s organization, People’s Rights (a “neighborhood watch on steroids” – or a form of “neighborhood nationalism” in which the “righteous” stand against the “wicked” – with tens of thousands of members), was an on-demand group that anti-maskers and conspiracy theorists could contact to quickly stage local protests. And part of Bundy’s motivation is of course conspiracy theory: According to Bundy, COVID-19 is mostly harmless, and the COVID-19 death toll is massively exaggerated. And the group’s tactics are predictable: When police arrested anti-vaccine activist Sara Brady for trespassing during an anti-lockdown protest, Bundy publicized the address of the officer who arrested her, which led 40 crazy conspiracy theorists to protest outside the officer’s home. And of course Bundy has compared COVID-19 measures to the Holocaust.


But with regard to the wildlife refuge occupation: No, Bundy clearly doesn’t grasp the concept of public property, apparently thinking that something called ‘the federal government’ is illegitimately hoarding land for its (whose?) own personal benefit – here is an apt description). And yes: Bundy is appealing to a religious justification (after all, there is no potential injustice being addressed with his actions): According to Bundy, “We read in Genesis where God gives the earth to man, he did not give it to government, he gave it to man to care and to cultivate, and that means to take care of it and to use it,” and when the federal government is prohibiting economic development on the property he seized, the government was violating “scriptural” precepts. By seizing the land, then, his militia has used “shock and awe” to “remove the chains of tyranny and the chains of oppression so the people can regain a hope.” And yes, he has compared his actions to the civil rights movement, as well as to the women’s rights movement and the Founding Fathers. Apparently, they were also trying to prevent a war.


In June 19, 2021, Bundy announced a bid for the Republican nomination for governor of Idaho, on a platform of protecting Idaho from “Joe Biden and those in the Deep State that control him,” those who, according to Bundy, are trying to eliminate freedom of religion, gun rights, and parental rights. Bundy’s electoral bid was endorsed by Roger Stone. He later decided to run as an independent, partially because of the number of disgusting criminals in the Idaho Republican party (note that Bundy’s concrete allegations are accurate). He also tried to argue in court that his campaigning counted as community service, but the courts were not impressed.


That said, Bundy has also expressed support for the BLM movement, and been a vocal critic of the Trump government’s immigration policies. We grudgingly admit that despite being crazy, he’s got some integrity.


Diagnosis: No, we can’t be bothered. But note that the link from Bundy’s actions to January 6. is pretty direct.




  1. Support for BLM and being a critic of Trump? That's a definition of "integrity" Jimmy Wales would support!

    1. I think you are (wilfully) missing the point, BP8. Supporting BLM and criticizing Trump has nothing to do with integrity on its own. Consistency of principles does, however. And the point in this case is that if you have the views Ammon Bundy has on freedom and the jurisdiction of the government and the police, then there are some conclusions that are hard to avoid, if you are being consistent, regarding the rights of BLM protesters and on immigration policy. Bundy recognizes that and actually accepts those conclusions - hence, he has integrity insofar as he is willing to accept what follows from his other political commitments (regardless of how silly those are). Most of those agreeing with him on those premises certainly *don't* apply them with anything resembling a similar degree of consistency.

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  3. I think AL Bundy understands how government works better than this guy does.

  4. Not-so-fun fact: in 2022 alone, COVID killed 125,000 Americans. And this past month, all six of the residents of the group home where I work tested positive for the virus. If not for dickweeds like Bundy, we could have had COVID under control in a matter of weeks. We wouldn't still be dealing with it three goddamned years later!