Immediately after the October, 2017 shootings in Las Vegas, before the dead and injured had even been counted, politicians, pundits, and other members of the chattering class pointed blame for the horrific event at the “gun lobby,” a thinly-veiled reference to the National Rifle Association.
Hillary Clinton, for example, took to Twitter within a few hours of the shooting to write: “We can and must stand up to the NRA.” Chuck Schumer took to the floor of the United States Senate the next day with the same message.
For progressive advocates of increasing government power over the lives and property of American citizens, the “gun lobby” is among the lowest of the low, the worst of the worst. They help gun sellers sell guns. And for profit, no less. Guns and profits. Together. What could be worse?
MILITARIZING NON-MILITARY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES
While critics of the “gun lobby” are quick to lament the “gun culture” in the United States and denounce the buying and selling of firearms, rarely do they mention the one group other than the military that purchases far more guns than any other: Government.
To repeat, I’m not referring to the United States military, which one might expect in a discussion of who buys the most guns. I’m talking about non-military government agencies that spend billions of dollars buying guns, millions of rounds of ammunition, and military grade weapons and materials.
Why do the VA, the FDA, and civilian employees at the Smithsonian Institution, for example, need millions of dollars of body armor?
Why do bureaucrats at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Small Business Administration, and the Social Security Administration need high-powered rifles, and lots of them?
Why has the EPA, which does not know the difference between keeping a river clean versus polluting it, spent nearly a billion dollars on guns, ammunition, military night vision technology, and other military combat technologies?
Why are thousands of non-military government agencies using taxpayer dollars to make gun companies rich? Why don’t Mr. Schumer, Mrs. Clinton, and their progressive friends include that question when they discuss the “gun lobby,” the “gun culture,” and the NRA?
THE PERMANENT GOVERNMENT
The reason they don’t talk about the militarization of government in the United States—which includes bureaucratic federal regulatory agencies and organizations as well as state, county, and local government agencies—is that all those government bureaucracies form the “swamp” of the modern subsidy-regulatory state.
The modern subsidy-regulatory state has, to a great degree, replaced limited, constitutional government in the United States. And it is the source of power for progressive advocates of more government control over the lives and property of American citizens in large measure because the modern subsidy-regulatory state is independent from the consenting authority of the citizens it controls.
Earlier generations of political scientists described the subsidy-regulatory state, as they were helping to design it, as the “permanent government.” Those early political scientists knew that unelected bureaucrats with civil service tenure and the regulatory agencies where they’re employed are unaffected by elections. They keep going, and growing, regardless of who wins or who loses this or that election.
And, increasingly, those agencies are armed to the teeth. There are now more heavily armed, unelected federal bureaucrats than there are United States Marines. Let that sink in for a moment.
HISTORY AND STATISTICS
If some people find guns to be scary, how scary are millions of guns in the hands of millions of unelected bureaucrats who operate with the government’s monopoly on legalized force backing up their actions? What does that mean when we reflect upon the fact that throughout history, no human organization has been more effective at killing human beings and destroying private property than government?
- Within the 20th Century alone, around the Globe, some 87,500,000 people were killed by foreign governments, usually in war.
- 262,000,000 people were killed, directly or indirectly, by their own government, a murderous phenomenon social scientists call democide.
- In total, within the 20th Century alone, nearly 350,000,000 human beings have been killed by those in government.
In terms of statistical probability, therefore, the most dangerous place in the world for a gun to be is in the hand of a government employee. Yet, politicians are putting more and more guns into the hands of more and more government employees.
For those within the chattering political class who think there is a “gun problem” related to the “gun culture” and “gun lobby” in the United States, let them step up and provide an example. They can start by disarming the non-military government agencies, bureaus, commissions, offices, and departments that they created and fund with our tax dollars.