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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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The Fear Racket


Ever since the conversion of the U.S. government to a national security state after World War II, the coin of the realm has been crisis and fear. Seize on crises — and sometimes even instigate them — and then when fear strikes the hearts and minds of the citizenry, that’s when it’s time for the national security establishment, specifically the military, the CIA, and the NSA, to seize more power and more money, in the name, of course, of keeping people “safe.”

None of this is new. It’s one of the biggest big-government rackets in history. And U.S. officials are not the only ones to employ it. So do other governments that are also national-security states, such as China, Cuba, and North Korea. Every government that is a national security state understands the importance of crises and keeping people agitated and afraid as a way of maintaining and expanding power.

According to an editorial in the Los Angeles Times today entitled “Fearmongering at Homeland Security,” Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a former U.S. Marine general, is now, not surprisingly, engaging in this racket. He told an audience at George Washington University, “Make no mistake. We are in fact a nation under attack.”

He was apparently referring to “the terrorists,” (and maybe the Muslims), the illegal immigrants, and the drug dealers.

What he didn’t say, needless to say, is that the reason that “the terrorists” wish to do the United States harm is because of what the U.S. national-security establishment is doing — and has been doing for more than 25 years: killing, maiming, destroying, torturing, abusing, humiliating, and terrorizing people in the Middle East.

All that mayhem produces what the noted writer Chalmers Johnson called “blowback.” When a powerful foreign power unleashes death and destruction on poor, Third World countries, there is a big possibility of retaliation in the form of terrorist attacks. U.S. foreign interventionism is why America is under an ongoing, never-ending threat of terrorism. I call it the greatest terrorist producing racket in history.

There is a way to end anti-American terrorism: Bring the troops home today. Don’t count on Kelly to point that out. That could jeopardize the jobs of many of his friends, buddies, and cohorts in the military-industrial complex.

It’s no different with illegal immigration. Immigration controls are a form of socialist central planning and economic interventionism, which, needless to say, produce crises. That’s why America has had an ongoing, never-ending immigration crisis.

Nothing that Kelly or anyone else will do will end the crisis. That’s because no one can make socialism and interventionism work without crises.

But of course, the last thing that U.S. officials want is to end a perpetual crisis. If they do that, that defeats the purpose. They need the crises to keep people agitated and afraid. That then enables them to get more power and more money, in order to keep people “safe.”

There is only one way to end the perpetual immigration crisis: free markets, which means open borders. The free market works. It produces peace and harmony.

Finally, despite decades of failure, death, destruction, corruption, and mayhem, Kelly wants to continue and even expand the war on drugs. And why not? It produces jobs for the federal bureaucracy. And, of course, more power and more money, to keep people “safe” from drugs and drug dealers.

Who cares that the program is doomed to fail? Who cares that it destroys lives, freedom, and privacy? Who cares that the program is racist to the core?

All that matters is that it is accomplishing its mission: more power and more money to federal bureaucrats as a result of the ongoing crisis and fear that the drug war produces.

There is but one solution to the drug war: end it. Legalize drugs, all of them.

That, needless to say, would mean no more need for the Drug Enforcement Administration and the army of federal judges, prosecutors, clerks, and law enforcement personnel who have come to depend on drug-war largess. It would also mean no more drug cartels, drug lords, and all the violence and corruption that comes with them, given that it is drug illegality that brings these things into existence.

Therefore, don’t count on Kelly to call for an end to the war on drugs. Don’t count on him to call for an end to the war on immigrants. Don’t count on him to call for an end to foreign intervention.

If we are to restore a peaceful, harmonious, and moral society to our land, that will have to come from the American people, who finally say, “Enough is enough,” demand a restoration of American liberty, and make it clear to politicians and bureaucrats that they will accept nothing less.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.