The Pathos of Politics – Social Services

Social Services

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America. ~ United States Constitution

The American constitution’s expression of public services were facilities that serve the state, foremost being the police and military: “insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence.” Like securing “the blessings of liberty,” the preamble’s mention to “promote the general welfare” was merely a pleasantry in passing; it came with no enforcement article attached.

I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents. ~ James Madison in 1794

Madison’s statement illustrates the mind-set of the founding fathers, in that the American people would have to individually find their own way or die trying. Social services were not a governmental responsibility. Citizens were to be sources of revenue, not “objects of benevolence.” This attitude was typical, and not only of the time.

Though the people support the government, the government should not support the people. ~ American President Grover Cleveland in 1887

Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives. ~ Ronald Reagan in 1981, in an artful turn of phrase for advocating a police state without welfare