The regulatory and administrative state, not contemplated in the Constitution, exercises vast and unaccountable power over the American people. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:
Crime doesn’t matter – but compliance does. The distinction is important because it conveys something important about the true nature of the government we endure.
Crime – actual harms caused to real people – goes largely unpunished because it does not threaten the government. Last summer’s “peaceful” protests are an obvious example but there are many others, including the recent decriminalization, in some areas, of theft up to a certain arbitrary value of goods taken; just walk on in and help yourself.
Compliance, on the other hand, is essential to maintaining the government’s auctoritas – as the Romans referred to the prestige of Authority. When that is affronted, the consequences are severe – as witness the manner in which the government responded to the far more peaceful rally in DC this past January. As witness the brutal persecution – including the jailing – of VW executives when it was discovered that software in the automaker’s diesel-powered cars had been programmed to snooker federal emissions certification testing. Not a single actually harmed person – a victim, which used to be the essential defining element of a crime – was ever produced but VW was given the full Hut! Hut! Hut! because it had the temerity to affront the auctoritas of the government’s regulatory apparat, the Environmental Protection Agency.
So it is no surprise to find out that the EPA – a federal regulatory agency and not a law enforcement agency – has been siccing armed Hut! Hut! Hutters! on garages and repair shops that affront its auctoritas by performing power tunes on cars, installing not-allowed parts such as aftermarket exhaust systems and so on.
These may or may not result in higher-than-allowed “emissions” of whatever the EPA regulations say is permissible, but the interesting thing is that regulations were once upon a time distinct from laws, the latter requiring passage by a legislative body at least somewhat theoretically accountable to the populace, via the election of legislators. The idea there being that if a legislator proposed an obnoxious law he could be replaced come election time with another legislator, who might get rid of the obnoxious law.