When writing about the operation of the federal government, I typically find myself bemoaning the extra-constitutional actions of elected officials and unelected bureaucrats. In point of fact, it has been a long time since the federal government restricted it actions to those prescribed for it in the Constitution. As a result the federal government has become an intrusive, usurping behemoth that bullies its way into every aspect of American live. But in this column, I complain not that the federal government is doing too much, but that it is doing too little—at least in one critical area of responsibility.  The area of neglect I refer to is providing for the safety and security of the American people.

The most fundamental function of the federal government is to protect the American people. Above all else the federal government is responsible for protecting our safety, security, and constitutional freedoms, a responsibility it is failing to fulfill. This failure has two aspects: 1) Policies, procedures, actions, and lack of action that make us vulnerable to our enemies; and 2) Creation of an environment in which the worship of tolerance makes it difficult for individual Americans to protect themselves.

Most readers of my columns can enumerate the policy failures of the federal government that are making us vulnerable to our enemies. Domestic policies and actions that weaken the economy make us more vulnerable. The list of these harmful policies and actions is a long one that is still growing. There are the lies and hidden costs of Obamacare that are undermining the quality and availability of healthcare; the rapid growth of welfare that is putting an additional strain on the economy; distortions in presenting the real unemployment numbers; bailouts that did not work; irresponsible investments in alternative energy sources that can provide minimal benefits at best; encouragement of the entitlement mentality; no leadership on immigration so that our borders are open to ISIS and other terrorist groups; a burgeoning list of costly regulations; the mishandling of homosexuality in the military such that it is damaging the morale of our troops; poor handling of the pullout from Iraq and the drawdown in Afghanistan; a lack of leadership in dealing with Iran’s nuclear threat; the projection of weakness in Benghazi, Crimea, Ukraine, and Syria; the haphazard, too-little-too-late approach to ISIS in Iraq; meekly referring to terrorist attacks against American soldiers as workplace violence instead of calling it what it is—terrorism; swapping terrorist leaders for an American deserter; and the list goes on and on.

As bad as the domestic and foreign policy blunders of the current administration have been in making Americans more vulnerable to outside enemies, an anti-gun, politically-correct environment that ties the hands of private citizens is making us just as vulnerable to attacks of Americans against Americans. It is the federal government that has created and is perpetuating this dangerous environment in which private citizens are discouraged from protecting themselves against the criminal element of society. The federal government provides more protection to domestic criminals than to its own citizens.

Because of liberal policies that advocate—make that demand—tolerance, we are tolerating things that undermine our safety and security. At the same time, the government is trying to tie our hands through anti-gun legislation and other misguided initiatives in ways that prevent us from protecting ourselves. Hence, not only is the federal government not doing enough to protect American citizens, it has become a major contributor to our vulnerability.

Those of you who have to endure TSA groping when you fly are probably thinking I have lost my mind. If so, bear with me for a few more lines. Yes, the federal government is prone to overdo it at airports, but in point of fact all of TSA’s intrusive ministrations are more for the sake of appearance than security. Taking nail clippers away from harassed passengers and strip-searching little old ladies does little to protect the flying public from what TSA should be looking for: terrorists. If you want to know how the government can protect the flying public from terrorists, study how the government of Israel handles this obligation. Government officials in Israel don’t just use profiling in screening passengers, they take the concept to the highest possible level, and they are not concerned about hurting anyone’s feelings or being politically correct. In Israel, political correctness can be fatal. Consequently, Israeli officials laugh at the groping ministrations of TSA.

Public schools have long since eliminated corporal punishment, or any kind of effective punishment for that matter. Not only can teachers and administrators no longer discipline young miscreants, they can’t even protect themselves from them. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics and the federal Bureau of Justice, during the 2011-12 school year almost 210,000 teachers were attacked by students. In fact, 1,175 teachers are attacked by students everyday during the school year. Yet, let teachers physically defend themselves and they risk losing their jobs or worse.

Writing about this subject, columnist Walter Williams made the point that, “Starting in the 1950s, following Dr. Benjamin Spock’s advice, what worked for centuries was exchanged for what sounded good.” Williams is right on target, as usual, which means that the beatings teachers are taking from students are, in a manner of speaking, self-inflicted. Teachers are now reaping what they have sewn by adopting ridiculously soft policies that fail to acknowledge the nature of human beings.

On the other hand, teachers are not wholly to blame for what is happening in their profession. Let teachers take prudent and necessary steps to defend themselves from students who are better suited for a prison cell than a classroom and they will face a firestorm from anti-gun, mollycoddling government bureaucrats who are more interested in political correctness than in protecting teachers. In many states, private citizens are not even allowed to protect themselves in their own homes, on their own property, or in their own vehicles.

The criminal element is not influenced by the fact that laws make it illegal to do the things they do on a regular basis, and criminals—no matter how young—know what they can get away with. As a result, criminals both young and old, are beginning to control American society while law-abiding citizens as well as the police have their hands tied behind their backs by government policies that favor those who engage in destructive, violent behavior. The federal government with its anti-gun obsession and dedication to political correctness has created an environment in which Americans are afraid to defend themselves and protect their property. We have become a vulnerable society, and the fault lies with the federal government, the very government that is supposed to protect us.