Cliven Bundy is the Nevada rancher who doesn't want to pay range fees for grazing his cattle on federal land.
A New York Times reporter happened to be nearby when he made his latest anti-government argument, that being how government subsidies are hurting the black people he's seen living in public housing.
"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?" Bundy asked.
His supporters said the comments were twisted, taken out of context. So talk host Peter Schiff - who's been a sympathizer of Bundy's - invited him on to clarify, which he did. Pointing out he was careful to preface his remarks by saying "I'm wondering."
"Now I'm wondering, are they happier under this government subsidy system than they were when they were slaves and they were able to have their family structures together, and the chickens and a garden and so, in my mind, I'm wondering, are they better off being slaves in that sense or better off being slaves to the U.S. government in the sense of the subsidy."
He was simply wondering.
This is a free country. You are free to wonder whether slavery was preferable.
But what I wonder is if the people who wonder whether slavery was preferable forget that it was about claiming ownership of human beings and not paying for their labor?
A little like Bundy himself, who claims ownership of the public land, and grazes his cattle without paying for it.
A lot of us were wondering what kind of person thinks this way.
Now we know.
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