Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Government's Job is To Protect

It goes without saying that the job of government is to protect us. But from what? Obviously from enemies foreign and domestic. But then what?

Should the government protect us from shooters like the young man that shot and killed young people at Umqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, last week.

Well, yes, of course. But what should the college actually do? Should it establish a secure perimeter and search everyone that comes through the perimeter? Should it have an armed corps of first responders ready to respond to a shooting incident? Should the government just take away everybody's guns?

You can see that, as soon as you dig down from pure generality to specifics that things get complicated. Because the simple fact is that government cannot "keep us safe." It cannot be everywhere all the time preparing for a one in a million chance that a perp will start shooting people.

And then there is the catchphrase that, when seconds count, the government is minutes away.

Government's job, to protect us from enemies foreign and domestic, is also government's game. If you are in politics almost every issue that you use to get elected comes down to protection. Here is a climate change activist from "Know Tomorrow" playing this game.
To face climate change it’s going to take all of us — a movement in which each and every one of us takes action to motivate our political and business leaders to protect our planet and our society. [my bold]
 And really, every liberal protest movement is an attempt to establish and enforce, by collective "action," some new danger from which political leaders should "protect" us.

We want government to protect us, with the minimum wage, from employers that don't pay their workers enough. We want government to protect us from greedy bankers and short-term corporate CEOs. We want government to protect us from racists, sexists, and homophobes. And we want government to protect the environment.

The thing about protection is that it easily turns into a protection racket, as in "nice little business you got here, pity if something should happen to it." It's not just criminal gangs that make that offer of protection. Governments do it all the time. So much so that St. Augustine asked, 1,500 years ago what was the difference between a government and a gang of robbers. His answer? The "addition of impunity."

And the thing that governments do, most thoroughly, is say that unless you pay the government, you don't work and you can't run a business and you can't hire people and you can't sell goods and services.

It's the old, old game. Who will protect us from the protectors? Quis custodiet ipsos

You tell me.


  1. I think Govt jobs provide for all sectors to protect citizens and safe life of people.