Rising Democrat star, Senator Kamala Harris of California, recently provoked the ire of constitutional scholars and conservative Americans when she opined that:
“A government has three functions: public health, public safety, and public education. The GOP doesn’t prioritize any of them.”
The reaction was predictably harsh given that anyone who has read either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States knows Harris’s perspective is at odds with the foundational underpinnings of American government. According to America’s founding fathers, the legitimate object of government is to secure the liberty of the people.
More broadly understood, every government is reasonably charged with:
- Maintaining social order (police)
- Ensuring national security (military)
- Providing some public services (roads)
It’s not so much embarrassing that Harris didn’t seem to grasp that; it’s more illuminating as to the reasons our politics is so divided these days. It’s not just that we disagree on what laws are best, it’s that we don’t even agree on the basic premise of what government should do.
The failure of leftist progressive/socialist types (like Kamala Harris) to grasp that, leads to their coarse and absurd suggestions that conservatives don’t seem to care about public health, or safety, or education.
Maybe there’s a conservative out there wanting people to be sicker, society to be more dangerous, and the electorate to be dumber, but I haven’t met any. What I have met are a number of conservatives who believe that health is improved by innovation and ingenuity in the healthcare fields unencumbered by increased government management and manipulation.
I have met a number of conservatives who think public safety is enhanced not by disarming peaceful citizens and empowering a militarized police state.
I have met a number of conservatives who think that education is improved not by perpetuating and exacerbating an over-administrated, fatally flawed model of learning-by-government-compulsion, but by innovative, unique experiments with individualized learning and private investment.
Oddly, I would agree with Harris that for the most part, the GOP doesn’t do a good enough job prioritizing those things that it believes about health, safety, and education. But the truth is Harris doesn’t want them to.
What she really objects to is that the GOP doesn’t prioritize her views on those issues. Views that can be encapsulated with two words: more government.