Cliven Bundy, FDR, and ‘continued dependence upon relief’ *UPDATE*

It is being breathlessly reported today that Cliven Bundy wonders if black Americans would be “better off as slaves.” The manner in which Bundy’s politically incorrect comments grate on Americans nerves is clear, based on the wide condemnation of his statement.

Cliven Bundy may be (okay, IS) an imperfect messenger, but his poorly delivered comments on the “Negro” are being distorted. Bundy did not say that black Americans should be slaves.

Here is what he said, as reported at the New York Times:

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro … and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do…

He continued,

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? 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 and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

In a much more articulate way, didn’t Franklin Delano Roosevelt say the very same thing? In 1935, FDR addressed the nation, saying in part:

“The lessons of history, confirmed by the evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fibre. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is in violation of the traditions of America. Work must be found for able-bodied but destitute workers…The Federal Government must and shall quit this business of relief.” [Emphasis added]

Cliven Bundy should have paid the damn grazing fees. It is endlessly frustrating, however, that this transgression is being highlighted ad nauseam, but nobody is calling out those who have relentlessly sought to ban grazing from public lands for decades. Nobody is calling out those who cherry pick science to justify putting certain species on the endangered list — for the purposes of getting rid of the ranching industry. Nobody is calling out the fact that the Bureau of Land Management used hundreds of armed agents to collect a fee, and in the process shot a bull between his eyes and tazed Cliven Bundy’s son.

No. let’s talk about grazing fees, instead (which were frozen by President Reagan through an Executive Order, much to the angst of Harry Reid and the radical environmentalists, who fought to raise the grazing fees, which existed 80 years before Reagan was president — that story is being distorted, as well).

While Bundy should never have singled out black Americans, and slavery did NOT keep families together, it is clear that his message is being deliberately twisted to fit into a neat little progressive narrative.

Speaking of FDR and Harry Reid, they are not exactly squeaky clean themselves. Quite the opposite, in fact.

But party trumps race.

UPDATE: From the horse’s mouth. Earlier today Cliven Bundy was interviewed by Peter Schiff regarding his remarks published by the New York Times. Here is an audio of his remarks (h/t the Right Scoop). The transcript follows:

That’s exactly what I said. I said I’m wondering if they’re better off under government subsidy, and their young women are having the abortions and their young men are in jail, and their older women and their children are standing, sitting out on the cement porch without nothing to do, you know, I’m wondering: Are they happier now under this government subsidy system than they were when they were slaves, and they was able to have their family structure together, and the chickens and garden, and the people had something to do? And so, in my mind I’m wondering, are they better off being slaves, in that sense, or better off being slaves to the United States government, in the sense of the subsidies. I’m wondering. That’s what. And the statement was right. I am wondering

Renee Nal

Renee Nal

Renee Nal is a co-founder of, a news and political commentary site founded by former Glenn Beck interns. She is also the National Conservative Examiner. Renee is an associate producer for Trevor Loudon's political documentary, 'The Enemies Within.'


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