“Magpul Deal Bad For Wyoming”

By Bradley Harrington

Published in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle on Feb. 28, 2014

Editor's note: This is the second of two columns marking the return of libertarian writer Bradley Harrington to the WTE's editorial pages.

“Everyone wants to live at the expense of the State. They forget that the State lives at the expense of everyone.” - Frederic Bastiat, “The Law,” 1850 -

So Magpul Industries of Erie, Colo., a company that manufactures firearms accessories, is relocating to Cheyenne, thanks to the dumb gun laws our Colorado comrades insist on passing.

On the face of it, good news. Who doesn’t want a company to move here and bring jobs and wealth with them?

And it should go without saying that I am a strong proponent of the right to keep and bear arms as well. I believe that passing laws limiting the amount of rounds a magazine can have, as Colorado has done, makes about as much sense as passing laws limiting the number of pages a book can have.

We would all recognize the abolition of our First Amendment rights in the latter case. But when it comes to our Second Amendment rights in the former, all such common sense considerations vanish. What we are left with is an intellectually disarmed population well on the way to become physically disarmed as well.

So I can certainly sympathize with Magpul’s desire to flee such intrusive legislation.

I’m afraid, however, that things aren’t quite that simple - for Magpul will receive a chunk of government largesse in order to subsidize that move:

“The Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board approved a $13 million grant ... to help a company that makes magazines and other gun accessories move to Cheyenne.” (“Grant clears way for firearms firm,” WTE, Feb. 7.)

Nor does the subsidy stop there, for the public-trough-feeding hits just keep on comin’:

“The state and local investment in the relocation effort will reach about $17 million over 20 years.”

Nor was this “grant” a move advocated solely by the Loan and Investment Board. It took place in the context of a huge round of hands-laying from the Wyoming Business Council, Laramie County Commission and Cheyenne LEADS as well.

None of them seem to be aware of the collectivistic, economy-destroying implications of their blessings and actions.

And let’s just forget about the fact that, economically speaking, an “investment” is the infusion of private capital into the marketplace and that applying that term to forcefully looted, taxpayer-funded corporate welfare schemes constitutes philosophical equivocation at best.

If that’s not bad enough for you, just consider some of these other jewels:

“Magpul brings a manufacturing component to the state that it does not have in abundance.” (Bob Jensen, Wyoming Business Council.)

Or: Magpul will “provide economic diversity for the state.” (Max Maxfield, secretary of state.)

And the biggest whopper of them all? “At the end of the day, this is what grows our economy.” (Matt Mead, governor.)

Really, Mr. Mead? “Growth” is the product of newly created wealth - not a coercive shift of wealth from the taxpayers who created it to the parasites lined up to plunder it.

Did it ever occur to you to ask what your taxpayers would have done with that wealth had it been left in their hands?

And doesn’t the loss of those investments at least equal, if not exceed, the (alleged) benefits you believe are derived from handing it to those who didn’t earn it instead?

This, ladies and gentlemen, is what passes for intellectual acumen, political “leadership” and “economic development” today. And it is precisely this idea that government can ever “create” anything in the marketplace that needs to be challenged.

It can’t, for government only has what it takes from others first.

Nor, ethically and politically, should such actions ever even be desirable, for government-mandated “economic development” qualifies as fascism (as opposed to socialism, where the properties in question are outright seized by the state).

No, if you want to talk “investment,” “returns” and “growth” - and what actually works in the real world - well, then you’re talking about capitalism. That is a social system which, historically, has produced more investments, returns and growth than all the rest of the collectivist systems combined.

And isn’t it revealing that Magpul seeks to escape the regulatory clutches of one state - while funding its escape through the regulatory clutches of another?

There’s a word for such an action: Hypocrisy. You people need to come on your own dime or don’t come at all.

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