Bundy isn’t upholding state sovereignty—he’s upholding his own personal conception of state sovereignty.
The story reminded me of John Dickinson, a lesser-known Founding Father who opposed going to war with Great Britain. He feared the colonists had no chance and would foolishly expose themselves to slaughter. But when the Declaration of Independence was signed, writes Wilfred M. McClay, Dickinson accepted the decision and immediately joined the Continental Army, “making him one of the few among the Founders to do so. His devotion to the Patriot cause was total, and it proved stronger than his personal pride.”
The problem with Bundy’s stance is that he has no higher end in this fight than his own interests. Though it’s true that the federal government’s takeover of Nevada land is decidedly frustrating to many, there are other methods of protest—less flashy and attention grabbing, perhaps, but methods which appeal to both parties and grasp the importance of compromise and persuasion. But Bundy is not interested in such methods. Rather than using the avenues and pathways presented to him, Bundy has staunchly declared his own law and allegiances.