It’s not particularly surprising that an elderly rancher has some retrograde views on race.

But if the federal government has moved on, Mr. Bundy — a father of 14 and a registered Republican — has not.

He said he would continue holding a daily news conference; on Saturday, it drew one reporter and one photographer, so Mr. Bundy used the time to officiate at what was in effect a town meeting with supporters, discussing, in a long, loping discourse, the prevalence of abortion, the abuses of welfare and his views on race.

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do.

“And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked. “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.”

Bundy’s remarks are reprehensible and indefensible. Expect progs who read this post to ignore the previous sentence.

Bundy is also railing against government subsidizing dependence and fostering irresponsibility, which is an evil thing to do in a republic and that is worth railing against, but in their rush to celebrate a gotcha moment and use it to smear millions of good people, the progs aren’t noticing that. Or maybe they are, and hope to use the racism to discredit the rest. Ta-Nehisi Coates does a particularly despicable job of linking Bundy’s racial views to “rugged individualism” and resistance to increasing the food stamp rolls.

Wanting people to be free, independent and self-reliant, and hoping for a government that fosters those values, equals racism now? Today it does, tomorrow it won’t, as soon as some prog hero talks good about working their way up from nothing without even having to resort to fake claiming to be a minority to further their academic career, or falsifying a wartime military career.

Bundy’s remarks will have fewer real-world consequences than many uttered by Margaret Sanger, yet today she’s a progressive hero and Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi are both proud holders of the Margaret Sanger Award, which is named after someone who blithely hoped for government to conduct genocide in American cities. Progs don’t hate all racists or all monsters.

You’re not going to get intellectual consistency out of progressives. You’re only ever going to get childishness and opportunism out of them. So the same people who are today demanding that every single Republican answer for Cliven Bundy, whether we leaped to his defense or not, pretend that Jeremiah Wright doesn’t exist and that Barack Obama did not spend 20 years listening to the reverend’s racist rants. They support Al Sharpton, the racist hoaxer with the shady past who has blood on his hands. They kept a Grand Dragon in the Senate for about a fifth of the life of the republic. They abuse Clarence Thomas and Allen West because both have the audacity to think for themselves.