The modern world is filled with leaders who came from nowhere. What powers may or should be entrusted to leaders, and what the rules, regulations, conventions and understandings should be in a Democratic society is a problem for which a high level of sophistication and discrimination is required. The European solution seen in Naziism and Fascism is not an answer at all, but an avoidance or postponement of the answer. Despotism is no advance over the centuries of ancient tyranny.
On the other hand, peoples, democratic or otherwise, who cannot adjust their institutions and choices to the needs of emergency decision are likewise doomed-for the opposite reason. If they cannot trust themselves to use the powers of their community for the common good-nay, the common life-they will not survive. Fear, distrust, suspicion-these are not the bases of vital power, States are not strong in proportion as their government is weak. Liberty is not secure in proportion as government has no power. Protection at home and abroad is the life of liberty. Protection against special groups at home and against warlike powers abroad.
Should Trust Leaders
Wars cannot be conducted without wide-ranging authority in the hands of the leader; and important social changes cannot be made without wide powers of policy and administration in the hands of the leaders. Not to trust any leaders is not to trust yourself, the formula for weakness and dissolution. Graveyards are full of timid men and timid nations, who died because they trusted no one.
Demagogues and despots are alike the foes of the common weal. But between them is the possibility of democratic leaders democratically chosen and democratically responsible to the community they serve.
The agenda of democracy calls for a sounder understanding of the relations between the executive and the legislative authority. Otherwise the ship of state may be wrecked upon this rock. I have already discussed the role of the legislative authority and repeat the main four points here, as follows: 1) fiscal allocations, 2) general policies or directives, 3) general supervision of administration, and 4) organization of controversy about national issues.
What is involved is broader discussion in broader terms of national policy, less of detail and more of broad consideration. Executive authority belongs with the executive, while powers of appropriation, of general policy determination, of overall inspection and supervision are within the hands of the legislative. They might be more effectively exercised to provide more effective position of the legislative in the commonwealth.
Broader Legislative Powers
These words, I realize, can readily be twisted into a charge that an attempt is being made to restrict, restrain, crib cabin and confine the legislative body in the interest of the executive. I pause therefore to say with all possible emphasis that this is a suggestion for broadening and strengthening the powers of the legislative body, and making it an even more important factor in national organization. Legislative bodies are not strong in detail but in general principle; they are most competent not in the minutiae of government but in the determination of the general directives of government action. The very greatest quality of the Constitution in the opinion of many notable commentators is the broad sweep of its language, its success in enunciating general principles of political action. As state constitutions grew longer and longer, they became weaker, and as state and congressional statutes became longer and longer, they lost some of their original values.
Public administration at this critical moment is of greater importance than over before. With startling and incredible rapidity, volcanic changes have swept over the world, smashing at the ways of life and thrusting at us urgent problems of the most fundamental type. Many of these problems depend for their solution upon skill in administrative management.
The democratic national state finds itself ringed around by hostile forces vowing the extermination of democracy and the reduction to practical slavery of its peoples, ruthlessly and pitilessly. This aggression contemplates the destruction of all that stands in the way of a military imperialism which has equipped itself with weapons of modern technology, from chemical explosives to propaganda and mass psychology.
This challenge to America and to the democratic national states summons the use of every energy at our command, in the most effective manner possible. Both external affairs and internal relations will be subjected to the very severest strain, and will test to the limit our capacity for readjustment to the realities of the modern struggle for life. Among the ways and means of survival in this fateful hour, administrative management will loom large-if not the largest single factor in the death grapple we now face. What we encounter is not just another "interesting, problem" but a bloody clash with grim reality. What we are swiftly approaching-are now actually in-is a now era in national and world affairs. This is a revolutionary period-almost a preview of Armageddon.
Axis Influences Administration