Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 69.djvu/194

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190
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

PSM V69 D194 Beebe lake and triphammer falls on the edge of cornell campus.png

Beebe Lake and Triphammer Falls on the Edge of the Cornell Campus.

 

LEGISLATION AND SCIENCE

Government is becoming' more and more an application of science. Politics are still largely a game and a trade; the kind of science at hand is crude and is applied by the rule of thumb. But if the proceedings of successive parliaments or congresses are reviewed, there is an evident tendency for legislation to rest increasingly on expert knowledge and to require continually greater scientific skill in its execution. When the constitution of the United States was written, the threefold division of the functions of the government—legislative, executive and judicial—was adequate. Now, however, it may be urged that the scientific or expert functions are coordinate with the others. Laws may be made by the congress, interpreted by the courts and executed by the president, but they should be based on scientific investigations and carried out by scientific experts.

We are told that municipal government should be divorced from politics, and this is doubtless true. A municipality is primarily a business or engineering corporation. Its main concern