Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/482

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466
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

laws which failed so miserably, is administered in rooms so crowded and noisy that due care and thought on the part of officials are scarcely possible; and, further, that, as one part of the court sits in the City and another part in Lincoln's Inn, solicitors have often to he in both places at the same time. Do I need more illustrations? They come in abundance between the day on which the foregoing sentence was written and the day (November 20th) on which I revise it. Within this short time mismanagement has been shown in a treatment of the police that has created a mutiny among them; in a treatment of government copying-clerks that causes them publicly to complain of broken promises; in a treatment of postmen that calls from them disrespectful behavior toward their superiors: all at the same time that there is going on the controversy about Park-rules, which have been so issued as to evade constitutional principles, and so administered as to bring the law into contempt. Yet, as fast as there come proofs of mal-administration, there come demands that administration shall be extended. Just as, in societies made restive by despotism, we see that, for the evils and dangers brought about, the remedy is more despotism; just as we see that, along with the failing power of a decaying Papacy, there goes, as the only fit cure, a reassertion of Papal infallibility with emphatic obligato from a Council; so, to set right the misdoings of State-agency, the proposal is always more State-agency. When, after long continuance of coal-mine inspection, coal-mine explosions keep recurring, the cry is for more coal-mine inspection. When railway accidents multiply, notwithstanding the oversight of officials appointed by law to see that railways are safe, the unhesitating demand is for more such officials. Though, as Lord Salisbury lately remarked of governing bodies deputed by the State, "they begin by being enthusiastic and extravagant, and they are very apt to end in being wooden"—though, through the press and by private conversation, men are perpetually reminded that, when it has ceased to wield the new broom, each deputy governing power tends to become either a king-stork that does mischief, or a king-log that does nothing—yet more deputy governing powers are asked for with unwavering faith. While the unwisdom of officialism is daily illustrated, the argument for each proposed new department sets out with the postulate that officials will act wisely. After endless comments on the confusion and apathy and delay of Government offices, other Government offices are advocated. After ceaseless ridicule of red-tape, the petition is for more red-tape. Daily we castigate the political idol with a hundred pens, and daily pray to it with a thousand tongues.

The emotion which thus destroys the balance of judgment lies deep in the natures of men as they have been and still are. This root, out of which there grow hopes that are no sooner blighted than kindred hopes grow up in their places, is a root reaching down to the