Today we are going to explore the unusual thinking (to say the least) typically portrayed by so-called "documentaries" and "educational" TV shows and videos. The thinking portrayed by these documentaries is clearly based on arbitrary definitions of "good" and "evil" according to existing laws and socialist principles. The solutions they imply (but do not explicitly recommend nor suggest) are the old tried-and-true failures: more law and order.
Our series of articles was prompted by a neat (and short) series of videos we came across. The series is called Underworld Inc and was produced by or for the US "National Geographic Channel". This series typifies all that is wrong in current popular thinking, conveniently packaged in six instalments. If you have access to them, we encourage to view the series in order to fully understand the depth of the erroneous views they portrait. The first episode is called:
As you can imagine, this episode deals with arms traffickers and the aftermath of such trade.
First we are introduced to a "criminal" who clearly explains that all his riches come from the barrel of a gun. Then we observe an alleged transaction where one arms trafficker sells guns to yet another "criminal". The following act explains how the Philippines is the center of clone guns (or ghost guns) that are functionally and visually equivalent to real guns but totally untraceable. The Philippine gunsmiths explain that they manufacture such guns as a means to support their families. The next act introduces the viewer to the concept of "hot" guns which are guns linked to one or several crimes and how their prices drop as their risk increases. The show follows the trail of such cheap guns into Guatemala where they are purchased by drug lords and used mainly for protection and assassinations. These hits (or killings on contract) are often performed by children who are working for drug gangs and are kept in them by the threat of deadly reprisals against them and their families. The show goes as far as providing a few video shots related to an alleged assassination.
The "classic" solution
Throughout the documentary there are several shots of "law and order" officials providing statistics while describing such guns. The implied message is always the same: guns are bad and those who trade in them are even worse. Law and order must prevail.
THE LIBERTARIAN POINT OF VIEW
Go ahead, arm yourself!
Our point of view is simple. Guns are goods and as such there should be no restriction whatsoever put on their manufacturing and sale. Any person capable and willing to acquiring a gun through a voluntary agreement has the right to do so. Any such weapon may be carried (concealed or not) at the sole discretion of its owner, subject only to limitations and conditions stipulated in voluntary agreements.
Go ahead, defend yourself!
Freeing guns into the free market will obviously create a boom for gun manufacturers. This would make a few companies very rich. However, beyond that point in time the sales of weapons would level off. Weapons rarely break down, they don't have expiry dates and they are not in use all the time. Every free person has the right to do as they please with their guns because the guns are their property. As such and since Libertarianism is not a suicide pact, they are fully entitled to defend themselves with them.
The statistical information dealing with the concept of "more guns less crime" in US is inconclusive albeit tantalizing numbers seem to suggest that this concept may indeed be true.
Go ahead, kill yourself!
Another interesting statistic (also from US where purchasing and carrying of guns approximates the Libertarian view) also states that suicides by gun may have been increased. If this is the case, we would not be surprised at all. However, this statistic is deceptive. What this statistic does not analyze is the total number of suicides, which remains about the same once corrected for anomalies, cycles and other conditions. In other words, more people are using guns to commit suicide but this simply indicates a preferential method not an increased suicidal tendency. Even more. Suicide by shot in the mouth is quick and painless when compared with poison, hanging, drowning or cutting one's wrists. In a sense is a more "humane" way to die. This may seem strange but it is the living that must deal with the aftermath of a suicide by gun, not the dead. In this sense, this type of suicide is indeed merciful.
From our point of view your body is your property. If you wish to blow your brains out, that's entirely your decision. The fact that we believe that such acts are incredibly stupid is irrelevant. Our belief cannot be imposed onto you.
Go ahead, try to be a criminal!
In a Libertarian society it becomes immediately clear that if people can buy any available gun, so do "criminals". Wouldn't this increase criminality? The answer to this question has been provided decades ago. As the video shows, criminals have no problem whatsoever obtaining guns. It is regular people that have trouble obtaining such guns to defend themselves. Again, statistics in US seem to indicate that whenever people arm themselves the number of killings performed in self-defense goes up but the number of murders go down. This is a clear and present message to criminals. Right now people are "soft targets" because most of us do not carry guns. But when every single person is potentially a "hard" and armed target, things are very different because in ultimate analysis a criminal is a person taking risks for profit. If risks become too high it becomes immediately clear that chances are good there will be no profits and no life to enjoy them.
Furthermore, as we explained clearly in Justice In The Austro Libertarian System, the more violent a crime the more expensive its reparations. Assaults with weapons are clearly very violent and murders the epitome. As such any criminal using weapons to commit a crime will automatically become a very juicy target for reparation companies as their expenses (and other profits) will be added to the reparations that such criminals would be forced to pay.
Basically a free market in guns increases public safety and the risk of committing a crime, while making armed criminals highly desirable targets for persecution by reparation companies.
Go ahead, try to clone a gun!
In a Libertarian society standards of living can go in only one direction: up. As such Philippines gunsmiths would become wealthier in their normal jobs thus making their illegal gunsmithing profession unnecessary. Also, in a free market prices would always drop which would render these gun smiths incapable of competing. What this means is that weapons of good quality will be available in the market at reasonable prices while people involved in the shady work of gun cloning will either have normal jobs or will be working as gunsmiths in their own -now public- shops.
Go ahead, try to be a drug lord!
In a Libertarian society anybody (who is not under a voluntary contract) is free to take any drug she or he desires. As such many companies selling drugs would become available to the entire population and as with any other product, drug prices will drop like stones. This price drop will have as a consequence that mammoth profits that current drug dealers enjoy today will plummet to average, retail levels. What this means is that profits from drugs will be the same as profits from supermarkets or car dealerships or hardware stores. Drug money will become so scarce that there will be no incentive whatsoever to keep private armies or hire hit squads to "take out" the competition if anybody can just set-up a corner store and sell drugs. With this drastic decrease in profitability will also come a drastic decrease in the need for weapons; particularly military-grade or "hot" ones. And for those who are wondering, no, this will not spell-out the end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it through an insatiable orgy of drug usage. We addressed this issue in the article Drugs For Everybody.
Go ahead, try to be a hit man!
In a Libertarian society as drug profits dwindle down to very little, the necessity for hit squads or hit man or hit children will also dwindle down to nothing. The equation is simple; no money no hits. As such, all these horrific cases of children killing people under contract and threats will simply go away. Again, no money no incentives.
The video "Ghost Guns" represents nothing more than the politician's obsolete and failed point of view based on socialistic (i.e. communist-light) philosophies (i.e. good is defined as the "good of society"), incoherent laws and brainwashing outcomes. If you think it through it becomes immediately clear that truly free people operating in a truly free market provide far superior solutions to almost any problem than the obsolete and deprecated concepts of democracy, government and country can ever offer.
Let's be clear. We are not saying that the Libertarian solution is perfect; it is not. Not by a long shot. However, it is far, far superior to anything that we have today. It offers automated, self-balancing, distributed solutions based on selfishness which is based on a biological imperative. In other words, it provides solutions that "just happen" based on our greed which we cannot turn off. Libertarian solutions provide answers to issues based on who we are and how we work. It makes no unworkable assumptions as to good or evil by leaving those decisions to individual people. In a Libertarian society this problem of "Ghost Guns" would have never existed.
Many people believe that our current society can provide answers too. Many people believe that "law and order" can be as effective as any other thing. Many people are convinced that they control governments through votes and as such they control their destiny. For those people we have three questions: if this is so, how come that such "solutions" have been tried for the last 200+ years and failed miserably? How much longer do we have to wait to get them solved? Another 200+ years perhaps?
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.