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Opinion

Forget Govt’s Primary Obligation? … Pay a Dreadful Price …

In an 1815 letter to Massachusetts politician James Lloyd, Founding Father John Adams wrote: “National defence is one of the Cardinal Duties of a Statesman.” 

I’m tempted to respond with a sardonic, “No, duhhhhh …”.

I mean, if we reasonably apply our second president’s assertion to anyone serving in any form of government — federal, state or local — it ought to be accepted as indubitably self-evident, right? Common sense! A conspicuous truism on its face. After all, what’s the point of government that doesn’t prioritize protecting its citizens and its territories from external threats?

That’s a query that’s been punched home — excruciatingly — quite a bit lately. And it seems like around the world not every government representative is responding as Adams would insist they should.

Ann Coulteramong others, recently passed along the ghastly, heart-rending account of Ella Vitalis, a Brooklyn, NY one-year-old slain by her parents in September. She was originally removed from their “care” after evidence surfaced of ongoing abuse: authorities discovered her, at a mere three weeks of age, suffering from not one but “two broken ankles, a fractured skull and brain hemorrhage.” Mom and dad? They reportedly had no explanation.

Just a month later, Ella’s father was left alone with her during a child visitation and, in that short amount of time, managed to slice the little girl’s tongue with a “sharp object,” requiring her to be fed intravenously for six days. … [W]hen family court judge and de Blasio appointee Erik S. Pitchal was assigned Ella’s case this past August, he ordered [Ella and her brother] to be “reunited” with their parents. … The parents blew off all five follow-up appointments with child welfare specialists, so in September, case workers returned to court and again asked Judge Pitchal to remove the children. … He denied the request. …The next day, her parents delivered the fatal blow, striking Ella’s head with a blunt object, leaving her unresponsive. They explained to authorities that the welts all over her body resulted from her “drinking too much milk.” After five days on life support, she died.

There can be little denying Judge Pitchal — an official, recall, from that entity allegedly tasked with safeguarding society — bungled his most basic obligation toward tiny, vulnerable Ella; with literally murderous result. One could persuasively argue he, even more egregiously, actually facilitated the ghoulish ending of her life.

Government FAIL? Indeed.

I’d propose the past few years’ daffy “defund the police” experiment could be logged under the same category: Government FAIL for not shielding innocent people from bad ones; for not upholding its elementary “protect and defend” function. How many addle-pated mayors or community leaders fleetingly signed on to this fashionable anti-cop drivel, only to reverse themselves, red-faced, when remorseless criminal reality intensified in their police-starved municipalities?

Expanding to a broader canvas, one can see Washington, D.C.’s powers that be disgracefully fumbling the national security ball along the country’s southern border. Lamenting waves of unvetted, unidentified, unaccountable immigrants pouring lawlessly into America has become nearly an exercise in triteness; a futile cliché. But that doesn’t diminish the peril generated by the situation. Drug smuggling? Human (sex) trafficking? Festering terrorism activity? Yep. All that and more, daily proliferating within the Republic’s shores for years; thanks to its leaders’ malfeasance.

A “national defence” bungle? Ya think?

And, apparently, it’s not just Uncle Sam falling down on the job.  Anybody paying attention to the abominable, Jew-slaughtering rampage roiling the State of Israel since October 7 understands there’s been a gruesome FAIL over in that neighborhood as well. How did the sulfurous savages of Iran-sponsored Hamas manage to not only brazenly breach Israel’s security measures but hunt down its people with impunity, uninterrupted, for hours?  Someone, somewhere in that tiny, Middle Eastern democracy let his vigilance slip. Consequently, the butcher’s bill presently stands at 1400 dead Israelis … and counting.

All I can say is: הממשלה נכשלה. (That would be “Government FAIL” in Hebrew).

Apostles and New Testament writers Paul and Peter both addressed the topic of God’s design for state authority:

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. … [The authority] does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. (Romans 13: 3-4)

Note the ruler’s God-sanctioned access to “the sword”. That’s a killing implement, by the way; a tool of warfare. Scary, bladed weapons ain’t for slicing up bread or providing free haircuts. They’re intended for deadly purposes, both offensive and defensive.

Peter echoes his apostolic colleague’s reflections: “the king … or … governors [are] those who are sent by [the Lord] for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.” (1 Peter 2: 13-14)
Avenging those who “do good” against the wicked menacing them? Punishing “evildoers”? These are a central role of government per the writings of these two inspired men of God. Safe to say, physical threats targeting law-abiding folks would qualify as an “evil” needing redress. “Sword-bearing” government action would be one means for the King of the Universe to do so.

It’s not vigilante “justice” that is licensed, but God-ordained governmental retribution against malefactors. History has frightfully confirmed a deficiency of the latter will lead to ugly outbreaks of the former.

In this age, too many hijack state coercion for solving their personal problems or securing tax-payer funded goodies for themselves, or bullyingly advancing their pet social cause du jour. Far-sighted polities, on the other hand, would do well to remember what is supposed to be government’s chief business:

When predators emerge from abroad or domestically to jeopardize the guiltless, responsible leaders are called to neutralize the danger.

A land like the U.S. of A, circa 2023, which is unabashedly neglecting military readiness so it can develop a “woke” fighting force? So it can tend to values like “diversity, equity and inclusiveness”? So it can carve out a larger space for Pentagon-provided abortion services? So it can multiply transgender warriors in its six branches and ladies on the front lines of battle? That’s a land that has face-palmingly lost the plot.

Military brass needs be less solicitous about guns and gays in the ranks, and double down on their attention to that first part.

It remains to be seen whether Israel will bounce back satisfactorily from its most recent, sanguinary lapse and deal biblically with the animals who violated its safety and security. On the heels of this horror, a number of prominent figures have emphasized Israel not only has a right to take action against the Hamas devils … it has a duty to do so. Will that historic land step up to its charge?

Further to that, will America’s cities en masse continue getting their heads right about the indispensability of adequately equipped law enforcement? As an anxious U.S. populace awaits their nation’s solemn enactment of its “national defence” debt along the Texas/ Arizona/New Mexico/California border, will they face continued disappointment? How about Judge Pitchal? Will he be called to meaningful account for surrendering that infant to her beastly parents’ sadism? Time awaits.

Meanwhile, what’s needed immediately is a majority (or at least an active minority), a generation, of modern-era John Adamses demanding of government public servants: Ditch the distractions and do your job! Recommit to “national defence”! This is your primary duty … Good Government 101! 

Steve Pauwels

Steve Pauwels is pastor of Church of the King, Londonderry, NH and host of Striker Radio with Steve Pauwels on the Red State Talk Radio Network. He's also husband to the lovely Maureen and proud father of three fine sons: Mike, Sam and Jake.