But the Bundy situation carries with it a number of additional ironies. First of all, there is the fact that Bundy is refusing to acknowledge the existence (not even just the authority, but the very existence!) of the Federal government while grazing his cattle on Federal land. Then there is the fact that Bundy and his allies rallied scores of armed right wing extremists to their cause by publicizing the use of non-lethal tasers by the Bureau of Land Management agents seeking to enforce a court order requiring Bundy to pay the $1 million he owes the government in fees (it’s worth noting, by the way, that he refuses to acknowledge the existence of the very government whose money he refuses to pay them; it’s not the legal tender of Nevada that he refuses to part with, but American dollars, backed by the full faith and credit of, not Nevada, but the United States of America).
But the greatest irony of all has been the way in which Bundy and his allies, armed to the teeth as they are, have invoked the legacy of the Indian independence movement and the American Civil Rights movement in their confrontation. They have repeatedly made appeals to the traditions of civil disobedience pioneered by Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, despite the fact that these movements were always, self-consciously and explicitly, nonviolent. Yet the rhetoric of Bundy and his followers have made quite clear that they have no interest in remaining nonviolent in the face of the possibility of arrest, or other attempts by the BLM to enforce their court order.