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63


THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 63, January 15, 2000
World Doesn't End!

Peasants Keep Out

by Vin Suprynowicz
vin@lvrj.com

Special to TLE

           The nation's press used to be seen as a watchdog against politicians plotting to seize excess power or meddle in matters which are none of their affair.
           Let Abe Lincoln try to institute an unconstitutional income tax, or arrest anti-war newspaper editors for "sedition," and the snarling and barking of the cartoonists and editorial writers could be heard across the land and down through the centuries.
           Today, much of the press instead settles for parroting back the carefully focus-tested euphemisms of the government PR machine.
           As Bill Clinton journeyed back to the Grand Canyon this week (lovely photo ops -- "sunrise over the multicolored plateaus") to sign executive decrees expanding the number and size of the West's "national monuments," how many reports declared: "Stretching an old law intended to merely save the occasional historic building -- cynically bypassing an uncooperative Congress while it was out of session -- Bill Clinton has again demonstrated his Napoleonic zeal to rule millions of acres off limits to the very citizens in whose name his government claims to control them"?
           One seeks in vain. Instead, one report after another adopted the more sympathetic interpretation that the president was merely acting to "safeguard our picturesque open spaces."
           Safeguarding. Who could possibly object to "safeguarding"?
           Well, OK, down in Arizona Gov. Jane Hull and the state's seven Republican congressfolk did write last week to urge Clinton not to do this. So? Who cares if a few local yokels apparently fail to see the grandeur of the Clinton-Babbitt plan to block hunting and four-wheel-drive use of another 1,500 square miles of the Canyon's north rim (right up to the Nevada border.) Other expanses of desolate rubble were obligingly described by The Associated Press as "71,000 acres encompassing two mesas filled with Indian ruins, petroglyphs and other prehistoric treasures north of Phoenix; and hundreds of rocks and small islands along the California coast."
           "They'll declare this monument, they'll go home, and we'll be left to take care of it,'' observes Joy Jordan, mayor of the village of Fredonia, on the sparsely populated Arizona-Utah border. Local folks "resent federal mandates and are worried about effects on the ranching and timber industries," Ms. Jordan warned The Associated Press.
           Local storekeeps hoped to continue doing business with the ranchers and miners and lumbermen, did they? Oh well. It's not as though they can vote in a New York Senate race. Why don't they just accept a corporate directorship or an endowed chair at a second-rate law school or something?
           Authority for his sweeping new executive decrees? Mr. Clinton claimed to find that under the Antiquities Act, passed by Congress in 1906 to protect "objects of historic and scientific interest."
           Of course, that's the same act under which the president in 1996 declared thousands of acres in Utah off limits to coal mining -- providing a hardly coincidental benefit to his campaign's illegal foreign backers, Indonesia's Lippo Group, owners of the world's only other comparable deposit of low-sulfur coal.
           A federal judge gave Mr. Clinton a tongue lashing for exceeding his authority and thumbing his nose at the Constitution in that case, which is still pending. But when has that ever discouraged this administration from "finding a way around the law"?
           So -- as though it were the site of Marconi's first radio tower or George Washington's Virginia homestead -- 1,500 square miles of the north rim of the Grand Canyon lying outside the already vast boundaries of the actual Grand Canyon National Park can now constitute an "object of historic and scientific interest." How special. And if families that have struggled for generations to eke their living from these lands are thus thrown out of work, well, what's that compared to winning the votes of urban "environmentalists" who will never come closer than the window of a 757 at 30,000 feet?
           A wise nation is one which encourages its people to use its resources to feed themselves and enrich their lives. Since collectivism condemns the energetic to feed the lazy (try looking up "Prosperity: Soviet"), only a system of private property ownership can accomplish this. "Government Preservation" is the opposite of "use," and in this context stands as a pretty euphemism for the way the Sheriff of Nottingham allocated the resources of Sherwood Forest -- everything for the ruling elite; let the peasants eat dirt.
           "This whole area of our national life has been very, very important to me," Mr. Clinton explained in a typical display of philosophical onanism. "I talked about this when I ran for president and it's been a big part of our administration. ... If there is one thing that unites our fractious, argumentative country, it is the love we have for our land. The only thing we can add to it is our protection."
           Whether they like it or not.


Vin Suprynowicz is assistant editorial page editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. His new book, Send in the Waco Killers: Essays on the Freedom Movement, 1993-1998, is available at $24.95 postpaid from Mountain Media, P.O. Box 271122, Las Vegas, Nev. 89127; by dialing 1-800-244-2224; or via web site http://www.thespiritof76.com/wacokillers.html.


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