For 20 years, Cliven Bundy was in violation of federal law and regulations for grazing his cattle on federal land. The Bureau of Land Management fined him one million dollars for unpaid fees for his refusal to abide by the law. Justifying his actions, Bundy said, “I believe this is a sovereign state of Nevada and I abide by all Nevada state laws. But I don’t recognize the United States government as even existing.” When the Bureau attempted to enforce federal law by seizing Bundy’s cattle, anti-government and conservative supporters of Bundy arrived April 12th to 13th with firearms to prevent the Bureau from collecting Bundy’s cattle. The Bureau, fearing the stand-off could become violent and deadly, decided to fight another day and stopped their efforts to confiscate the cows. 
Supporters of Bundy cast themselves as patriots standing up against a government violating property rights. Bundy himself seems to answer only to the legal authority of Nevada alone. Ron Paul, a libertarian-aligned U.S. Senator, said about the incident, “As much as I’d like to see this as a victory for the people, I’m afraid the government has more guns, more power and more determination to express their authoritarianism.” [Ibid] In doing so, Paul, like other Bundy supporters, cast the government as authoritarian and tyrannous.
As part of their efforts to protest “government overreach”, some Bundy supporters illegally rode ATVs through a section of federal land bearing archeological ruins of past ancient Pueblo Indian cultures. ATVs had been banned in that region in 2007 due to the discovery of an illegal ATV trail in the sensitive area. Jerry Spangler, director of the Colorado Archaeological Alliance, said, “Damage to archaeological sites is permanent and the information about our collective past is then lost forever. It is sad that irreplaceable treasures of importance to all Americans would be sacrificed on the altar of anti-government fervor. It is worse that protesters would be so blinded to their own insensitivity as to what others consider to be sacred treasures of their past.” 
Bundy and his supporters argue the government has gone too far by preventing Bundy from doing what he thinks is best for his business interests by using public land for his cattle grazing. What Bundy and his supporters do not seem to realize is the impact their cattle grazing has on their fellow ranchers, the land, their fellow citizens, and the government. The rules of the Bureau are intended to give land time to rest and regrow as constant cattle grazing would exhaust the land and make it useless to everybody. Likewise, by illegally grazing, Bundy robs other law-abiding ranchers from using the land or encourages them to forgo the rules. That could become reminiscent of the range wars of the Old West when cattle and sheep ranchers fought one another for grazing land. This, then, is the reason why the BLM has rules to give ranchers equal access to public land for grazing. Likewise, refusals to pay the fines and fees attendant to illegal or legal access to the land harms the financial funding that allows for the maintenance of government caretaking of the lands.
Given how some conservatives and right wing libertarians feel about welfare “moochers”, one would think this “moo-cher” would be condemned rather than supported. Bundy himself seems to have strong opinions on welfare users, singling out African Americans in particular in a continuation of longstanding racist conjectures of who is on welfare and why, stating, “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.”  Yet, he sees no problem with his illegal use of Federal public land!
Bundy’s racist remarks cost him some of his support. However, it was the government’s decision not to let Bundy become a martyr for the modern day anti-federalists that allowed Bundy to lose his spotlight and face eventual punishment for his wrongdoing. In the end, by forcing Bundy to pay his fair share or suffer the consequences, the Federal government serves the people’s interest by insuring public land remains for, by, and of the people.