Gov. Jerry Brown, never one to shy from a philosophical argument, publicly engaged in one this morning with Associated Press reporter Juliet Williams. It came as Brown was fielding questions following an event at a Sacramento high school promoting Proposition 30, the tax initiative on the November ballot that Brown is sponsoring.
Williams wanted to know whether the revelation that the state Parks Department had $54 million in hidden funds at a time when state parks were scheduled to be shuttered might feed voters' distrust in government and make them more likely to vote against the initiative.
Brown was obviously eager for the question. He asked Williams (rhetorically, it seemed) what was the alternative if Californians decided against taxes because they didn't trust government to handle everything without error.
"If government can't be trusted, what do we do?" Brown asked. "Do we close the schools, shut down the Highway Patrol, open the prisons?"
The real choice, he said, is either government or anarchy. He acknowledged that he, the Legislature, and those who work in government have foibles and human imperfections.
"If someone has some virtuous group of saints who can come in here, hallelujah," he said.
He asked whether, perhaps, "all the money should go into some fund operated by angels. You're representing an idea that we should somehow escape from representative government."