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A friend called from Nevada the other day. This friend has been a lifelong rancher on and near the Toiyabe National Forest. The Toiyabe has been what some would call "in the middle of nowhere" in south central Nevada.

This normally good-natured exemplar of all that is good about Western hospitality, character and self-reliant virtue could hardly speak above a whisper. His mood was that of one on the verge of personal and emotional defeat. The contrast with what he had been was as between day and night."There used to be 33 grazing allotments on the Toiyabe, and now there are only six" he said. "The government has filed 1,000 claims for water rights on the forest" he said. "My summer allotment has been reduced from around 1,000 head to under 50. They are not saving forage. They are introducing elk." With a sad and weary sigh, he summed it up. "There aren't as many neighbors as there used to be."

But let's not bemoan the extirpation of the lonely rancher. Rejoice. It is not you and it is not me - it is just being done in our name. It is just happening to them, not us. It is not our concern. The praetorians are extirpating these "historic anachronisms" in the name of environmental sensitivity, biodiversity, sustainable economics and all the other politically correct concepts that today form the pretense for government to take private property, destroy communities and rend families.

Recreational interests demand unfettered "rights" to solitude and the pursuit of spiritual renewal on THEIR public lands. Their cathedral shall be purified of the beastly, the obsolete, the common, the plebeian.

The conquering of the West continues. All we need do is look the other way until the wailing stops - unless some day the wailing should be our own.

Paul L. Young

St. George