Update: According to a Fox News story, the government not only ordered licensed gun dealers to proceed with illegal gun sales, government agents actually made illegal purchases with taxpayer money, all in order to drive guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. Government agents bought the guns, sold them to known criminals, and watched them disappear into Mexico. This was all organized by high-level government officials in the Justice Department. The purpose of committing these crimes was so the government could blame our lax gun laws for Mexico’s drug problem, and undermine our Second Amendment rights. In short, the government committed the crimes so it could blame them on law-abiding Americans, then demand more money and power to fight the crimes it had committed.
As I said in The Truth About Liberty, “governments are by far the greatest threat to liberty in our experience.” And yes, sadly, it’s true of our own government as well.
This has been an update. The original article appears below.
One of the most controversial claims in The Truth About Liberty is that the government promotes crime for profit. This becomes very clear when you understand government for what it is — a group of people with the privilege of taking money from others to pay for their salaries, travel, pensions, and healthcare. They survive by looting producers, and the services provided by government workers are just the excuse to tax. Therefore, the way to grow the business of government is simply to increase demand for their services.
When the government provides protection from crime, that puts us in a very dangerous position. For government workers in the judicial administration and law enforcement sectors, the way to increase demand for their services is to increase criminality in society:
The more crime you have, the more you need courts, administrators, clerks, support personnel, guards, offices, prisons, warehouses, computers, vehicles, judicial conventions, sentencing commissions, advisory boards… the list is endless. The more crime you have, the more fines the government collects and the more property it can seize. In order to keep the gravy train running, the government would have every incentive to increase criminality in the general population, either by increasing criminal activity or by defining ever new crimes from conduct that was previously non-criminal.
The Truth About Liberty, p. 58.
To pure-hearted citizens, this concept is so radical it’s hard to believe, but “Operation Fast and Furious” is a perfect illustration of the fact that the government actually commits crimes and blames them on the private sector in order to justify greater regulation and raise more money for its operations.
The purpose of the whole scam was to get more power and money for ATF agents. For years the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, in cahoots with the Justice Department, have been demanding that we ban the sale of guns to law-abiding Americans because thousands of these guns are used by Mexican narco-terrorists to murder Mexican citizens. They paraded horrible statistics showing how they had tracked all these so-called “straw sales” into the hands of the drug cartels, and they blamed gun manufacturers and gun dealers.
The problem is, none of it was true, and they got busted. Their statistics were proven to be manufactured. So when lying about the problem didn’t work, they simply decided to cause the problem so they could capitalize on it.
Existing laws were already effectively preventing the sale of guns to the drug cartels. When someone tried to buy guns in a “straw purchase,” pretending to buy the gun for himself when he actually intended to smuggle it to Mexico, conscientious sellers were reporting their suspicions to the ATF, which then simply denied authorization for the sale, or else stopped the gun from crossing the border.
Guns were not illegally crossing the border… so the AFT and the Justice Department cooked up a sordid criminal conspiracy to make sure they did. Now when licensed gun dealers reported these attempted purchases to the ATF, they were told to go ahead with the sales. These guns were used to commit murders and move narcotics back into the US. Then the criminals at the ATF and Justice Department could point to “lax gun laws” in the US, and demand stricter gun control and more money to fight gun and drug crime.
The only reason we found out about this is that in December 2010, US Border Patrol agent Brian Terry was killed with one of these guns and a few frustrated, conscientious objectors within the ATF blew the whistle on the conspiracy. Since then, the government has continued its perverse activity:
- The government has instituted a full-blown coverup. A central figure in Operation Fast and Furious, William Newell, has been promoted to assist the Justice Department in an internal investigation… of himself.
- Newell’s supervisor, William McMahon, has been elevated to the ATF’s Office of Professional Responsibility and Security Operations. This criminal is now the agency’s ethics watchdog, where he can ferret out and persecute the whistleblowers who ruined the operation.
- The third principal in “Fast and Furious,” David Voth, had threatened agents who objected to the criminal operation. He told them “if you don’t think this is fun, you’re in the wrong line of work–period.” Now he has been assigned to a cushy job heading up the ATF’s tobacco operations.
Finally, perhaps the most insulting of the government’s sick and twisted perversions of justice: Slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s family made a routine request to be qualified as a crime victim so they could testify at the murderer’s sentencing hearing. US Attorney Dennis Burke — who himself oversaw the gun-walking conspiracy — denied the request, asserting that they were not “directly or proximately harmed” by the murder of Terry, but that the victim of the crime Burke himself participated in is not any particular person, but society in general.
A conservative view of government says that it should enforce the laws and not commit them. A libertarian view of government says that judges, and not legislatures, should define crimes; and that victims (as directed by the courts), not states, should enforce them.
Government schools and other statists perpetuate a myth that you can’t have justice unless the government provides it. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Operation Fast and Furious should leave no doubt that we can’t trust the government with monopoly control of judicial administration.