Saturday, January 9, 2016

Explaining the Bundys' ideology at National Geographic

The occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon by armed militants rightly surprised many Americans. Their aims and ideology, however, are part of a regional heritage that goes back to when it was first colonized by European-Americans.

I lay out the historical-cultural origins of the Bundy family's ideology over at National Geographic today. In the Far West, demands that the federal government relinquish ownership of public lands go back to the early 1890s, when Washington first started putting limits on the exploitation of resources found therein. National parks, monuments, and forests have all been the target of such demands, as indeed was the Malheur refuge itself, back in the 1920s and 1930s.

For more on the Far West, its history and dominant political ethos, consider reading American Nations, my book on North American regionalism.

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