It's stunning how much of the western states are "owned" by the federal government (noted in red in this graphic) and, as a consequence, how much more western citizens' lives are micromanaged by government agency bureaucrats.
In The Lesson of Nevada, C. J. Box writes @ ricochet.com:
In the west, the BLM is usually thought of as the least tyrannical federal land management agency. Unlike the National Park Service or the U.S. Forest Service or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, there aren’t a lot of stories of rogue BLM toughs oppressing taxpayers. I guess that’s changed now. Hovering over all our federal agencies is the EPA, which doesn’t need no stinking land (they control the air we breathe and the water we drink) in order to impose their will. They have armed agents of their own.Kevin Williamson @ NRO argues that harassing the country has become federal policy. In The Rule of the Lawless, he writes:
When the managers of federal lands turn into an army of occupation amidst the people who pay their salaries, bad things are going to happen.
Strangely, many of the same people who insist that Mr. Bundy must be made an example of for the sake of the rule of law protest at the same time that it is not only impossible but positively undesirable for the federal government to deploy federal resources to rectify the federal crime of jumping the federal border.Williamson offers a solution in a follow-up article, The Case for a Little Sedition:
The relevant facts are these: 1) Very powerful political interests in Washington insist upon the scrupulous enforcement of environmental laws, and if that diminishes the interests of private property owners, so much the better, in their view. 2) Very powerful political interests in Washington do not wish to see the scrupulous enforcement of immigration laws, and if that undercuts the bottom end of the labor market or boosts Democrats’ long-term chances in Texas, so much the better, in their view.
This isn’t the rule of law. This is the rule of narrow, parochial, self-interested political factions masquerading as the rule of law.
If the conservatives in official Washington want to do something other than stand by and look impotent, they might consider pressing for legislation that would oblige the federal government to divest itself of 1 percent of its land and other real estate each year for the foreseeable future through an open auction process. Even the Obama administration has identified a very large portfolio of office buildings and other federal holdings that are unused or under-used.His solution would solve two problems: bring desperately needed revenue into the debt-depleted federal treasury, and reduce the number of armed bureaucrats wielding selective rules of law on behalf of special interests.
By some estimates, superfluous federal holdings amount to trillions of dollars in value. Surely not every inch of that 87 percent of Nevada under the absentee-landlordship of the federal government is critical to the national interest.