The Path to Public Service at SEAS
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Each year our government finds itself faced with the problem of extending state control to new fields. Those conditions of individual freedom from restraint, which once seemed so easily possible, have given way before the tremendous increase in our population, and the growth of specialized vocations and modern industry.
Our governmental institutions were created at a time when the west was an unexplored field, when every man knew his neighbor and was fully able to manage his own affairs where he lived; or, if he felt cramped, to pick up all his worldly possessions. Now when the same man feels cramped there is nowhere for him to go, and he turns to the state to redress the grievances he could once settle himself. Under this added weight the governmental organization of our forefathers has been bent into new shapes. Although it has proved remarkably adaptable to conditions, it has been hampered by tradition from becoming a truly efficient organ for modern times.
We are ready to blame inefficiency on the administration, especially the Democratic administration, and to neglect he cumbersome machinery of checks and balances under which they work, and the failure of our civil service to develop experts. The question to be asked when a reform is brought before the people is not "Does it conflict with a tradition?" but rather "Is the tradition applicable to modern methods, and will the proposed reform give us better, more efficient government?" We have allowed vague references to Washington's Farewell Address to be urged as applicable to present international relations, and such absurd arguments have helped keep the country back from entering the League of Nations. Let us not let these arguments stand in the way of good government.
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