Letters to the Editor

The No. 1 function of government

Robert McCarty states at the close of his Jan. 30 letter to the editor that the No. 1 function of our government is to protect its people. Protecting the people is important, but it is not the government’s No. 1 function. The No. 1 responsibility of the government, as stated in the presidential oath of office, is to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” which means protecting the government and its institutions.

America is the home of the brave. The idea that we would make our personal protection the No. 1 function of the government is completely at odds with the frontier spirit, self-reliance and individualism that are at the core of our national ethos. I don’t fault McCarty for this mistake. I’ve heard many others make this same claim, including just this week the new White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

Our founders envisioned a small government that would promote the common welfare and impartially enforce the laws. Within that framework we the people are free, bearing our own risk in our pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. If we are now to make our individual personal protection the No. 1 function of the government, this will require a far larger and more intrusive government than most Americans want.

Paul M. Hallacher, State College