Barr fights for traditional values, conservative viewpoints in Wyoming
Casper – Constitutional attorney Ben Barr serves with the Wyoming Liberty Group, classifying himself as a “professional trouble maker” in his career focused on fighting for what he describes as “traditional Constitutional values.”
“From my perspective, we’re tired of being pushed around in Wyoming. We’re tired of having the grizzly bear shoved down our throats, tired of dealing with wolves, of being told what kind of medical care we can receive and tired of being denied the choice of which standard by which our grandchildren will be taught. We’re tired of the business scams and political leaks revealing what new political scam the government has involved itself in,” states Barr of heavy the heavy federal intervention he feels weighs citizens down.
“Slowly, step-by-step, ranchers are made out to be villains and nuisances by the federal government, and as a nation we have somehow allowed ourselves to be pulled or tricked into being taken advantage of. It’s been a systematic inversion of values,” says Barr.
He adds this attack is working, and the values found in the Code of the West are what he’s fighting for. He calls the Code of the West a “homegrown example developed by free people with values and common beliefs formed to support their way of life, their families and their communities.”
To describe the conservative perspective, Barr borrows a quote from David Horowitz: “In my experience, conservatives are usually too decent and too civilized to match up adequately with their radical adversaries – at least in the early stages of battle. They’re too prone to give them the benefit of the doubt, to believe there is goodness and good sense in them, which will outweigh their determination to change the world and their radical talks of justice and democracy and equality. They can’t really want to destroy a society that is more democratic, liberal and equal than others and that has brought wealth and prosperity to so many people? Oh yes, they can. There is no goodness that trumps the dream of heaven on earth, and because America is a real-world society, managed by real and problematic people, it will never be equal, liberal or democratic enough to satisfy those radical fantasies or to compensate them for the longing of the perfect world.”
When considering conservative and governmental viewpoints, Barr chooses to use parts from the Code of the West as a basis for comparison.
“For example, take the code to live each day with courage. I think the federal code would be to live each day in fear until the government solves your problems. I think that’s the solution of choice to just about every problem.
“The second code is taking pride in your work. The federal code might be: ‘Leave the hard work to us. Settle for mediocrity, it takes a lot less time and most people won’t notice until it’s too late.’
“The third code says to always finish what you start. I suppose the federal code might say: ‘Please, don’t even start.’
“No cowboy ever quit while his work was hardest and his duties most exacting. Life is hard, and that’s part of the vitality of the Code of the West. There’s an inter-resiliency and work ethic and just plain gumption. That try that makes for sovereign individuals, and that spirit which is under attack,” states Barr.
He suggests a three-pronged approach to combating federalist idealism. The first is to preserve and protect.
“I’ve read hundreds of years of Supreme Court history, and it shows a trend of states reigning supreme in the areas of education and health care. But you have to say no to federal money and yes to Wyoming and the belief that Wyoming is competent enough to run its own health and education markets without President Obama telling you how to do it. If you don’t preserve these key areas now, and if you don’t refuse federal funding, in 10, 20 or 30 years when we’re up against the Supreme Court they are going to ask where the state’s sovereignty was when you accepted that money,” explains Barr.
The second prong on which Barr focuses is common law. He says that with respect to wildlife and public land management, the courts stand against Wyoming. “But we can put that aside for a moment and say to the federal government that we accept their claims, but expect them to hold to standards of acceptable conduct just like any other landowner in the state. We can tell them we expect them to be a good neighbor, and we can start focusing our attention and gathering evidence on all the grievances caused by federal intervention and we might be able to build a case. If the drug dealers and terrorists can do it successfully, we should be able to as well.”
Third on Barr’s list is defending the claim to higher ground and doing what has to be done.
He uses a quote from the movie “Open Range” to make his point. When Charlie asks boss if he reckons if the cattle are worth getting killed over, the boss replies, “The cattle are one thing. But one man telling another where he can go in this world is another.”
Barr encourages producers to continue as innovative preservers of the Wyoming way of life. “If you don’t preserve this way of life, it will surely be taken path by path, tree by tree and child by child. I say we move forward and take the higher ground and initiative in the areas of sovereignty and the tenth amendment,” he states.
For more information on the Wyoming Liberty Group call 307-632-7020. Ben Barr spoke at the Wyoming Stock Growers Association summer convention in early June. Heather Hamilton is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.