Слике страница

ment which most easily and economically and thoroughly performs those activities which are public in their nature, and which, as a rule, gradually increase as society becomes more thoroughly organized.

Simplicity, directness, responsibility to the whole of society -these are the fundamental elements. A people that has not attained simplicity, directness and responsibility in its government must surely seek them first, and thereafter look to the particular things that its government shall be required to do. For without these fundamental elements no government can even measurably well meet any of the requirements that the people may impose upon it.

American governments, for historical and accidental causes, have developed neither simplicity, directness nor any high degree of responsibility to their principals, the people they were created to serve. Rather has the development been in opposite directions. Consequently the foremost political problem of American states, Tennessee included, is to abolish their governmental balances of power and checks to efficient, direct movements and set up governments in which the several parts all cooperate, working toward common ends. That is to say, the machinery of government should be so patterned as to develop the highest efficiency.

Experience has proven that revolutionary changes are seldom successful even where possible. In political evolution piecemeal alteration must usually be resorted to. It would seem the part of wisdom, therefore, that a people should not try to realize its ideals of perfect government at a single stroke, but that it should formulate its ideal as definitely as may be and then gradually make the changes necessary for attaining that ideal. Necessarily in the process of development and change there will be many suggestions for improving upon the original plan.

323. An Efficient

Models worth striving for easily suggest themselves from many of the proposals described in previous pages. The gov- Government. ernment must both pass laws and administer them. Its organization should, therefore, provide machinery for determining the state policies, the desires of the people to be expressed in laws, and machinery for insuring that laws once made shall become effective. These two functions of government are coördinate,

not separate. Knowledge of administration is required in the law-maker; knowledge of the reasons underlying a policy is required in the administration. The same individual, therefore, may well be head of the administration and leader of the legislature.

The governor elected by and responsible to the voters of the entire state should be the recognized leader of the legislators and should supervise and control the administration. As legislative leader the governor should gather around him the more influential and capable legislators as advisers and the members of this cabinet should, if possible, be the heads of the administrative departments. If the governor feels, however, that he can secure more efficient department heads elsewhere, he should be allowed to do so and his appointees should be given seats in the legislature but not the right to vote. Their presence is needed for advice in law-making and in order that legislators may question them concerning the conduct of their departments. Of course, however, only the direct representatives of the people should vote upon laws.

The legislature should be organized for discussion of policies, not for the prevention of legislation. With this end in view it should sit as a single house and its members, not exceeding fifty in number, should be elected in groups of three or four from each district, under rules for proportional representation, in order that the various political opinions of the voters may be adequately reflected in the discussion and enactment of laws. No limit should be set upon legislative terms and each legislator should be paid a salary sufficient to enable him to give at least half of his time to his public duties of investigation and lawenactment. The other half of his time may well be spent as a private citizen doing private work; in this way he will be prevented from losing the point of view of the people at large.

So great a centralization of power calls for means for making official responsibility to the people equally great. Hence, the recall should be established, applicable to governor, legislators and heads of departments, and the initiative and referendum to prevent abuse in law-making. As a matter of correct administrative practice the chief of the administration must have power to remove his subordinates; this power may, how

ever, appropriately be accompanied by the requirement that he give dismissed officials written statements of his reasons for removing them. All minor officials and employes should, of course, be appointed after adequate competitive examination, but removal ought not to be made over-difficult.

The governor should be required to present annually to the legislature a budget, containing a report and recommendations in the form of bills. He should be allowed to veto at least those items in appropriation bills which have been increased over his estimates. When the government is organized so as to encourage thoughtful action and made so responsible that arbitrary action can be quickly revoked and punished, constitutional restrictions upon law-making may be largely eliminated. The legislature may safely be left free to adopt its own rules of procedure and to enact whatever laws the public may require. Constitutions need no longer contain lengthy articles on subjects that are not of vital and fundamental interest to the state. Probably a legislature such as that here advocated could even be trusted to enact legislation granting home rule to cities and counties and to possess sufficient self-control to refuse to enact private and special laws. But for its protection these matters ought to be attended to by constitutional provision, and the right of the legislature to delegate adequate powers should be secured. The legislature should be left thoroughly free to deal with the constantly changing need for various forms of social legislation.

In order that the people may not burden themselves with elections and that they may give their best attention to those they have, they should keep the number of elective officials at a minimum. The most acute question of election or appointment arises in regard to the selection of the judges of the higher courts. The function of the courts is to assist in the administration of law, but the judges are distinctly different from other administrative officers. They do not help to transact the business of the state, and no administrative need can possibly be urged in favor of their appointment by the governor. They stand between the state and the individuals who compose it, to prevent either injuring the other, and their most important function is to settle private disputes. The lega! knowledge re

quired makes it necessary that judges shall be experts and usually a single individual can form a more accurate judgment as to the qualifications of an expert than can the voters at large. Hence, not only from the point of view of reducing elective officers to a minimum, but to secure the most able judges, the weight of the argument is in favor of appointment. Confirmation by the legislature should be required. Judges ought on request to give advisory opinions to the legislature and to administrative officials in advance of action. There is no reason for allowing them to sit inactive while things of doubtful validity are being done.

These are the recommendations of this book looking toward the attainment of efficient state government. In a word, the proposed government would consist of a representative of the people of the entire state who should be head of the administration and leader of the legislature, and a legislative body representing not geographical divisions, but groups of people of similar political views.

The next constitutional convention of Tennessee may well make a beginning toward the attainment of this sort of gov ernment by providing (1) that the governor shall appoint the chief officers of administration and with them have seats in both branches of the legislature; (2) that the governor shall submit to each session of the legislature a complete budget of revenue and ordinary expenditures and that the legislature may reduce but not increase the appropriations asked for, and (3) that state employes shall be appointed under civil service rules.

The desirability of thorough-going good government is not a matter of academic sentimentality. Good government affects immediately the daily life of men and women everywhere. It not only guarantees that the taxpayers' money shall not be wasted, but it also gives promise that far-reaching desires of the people may some day be gratified. A single illustration will indicate the truth of the statement.

In Tennessee there are vast unused sources of water power, the development of which would make electricity so cheap as to revolutionize not only industrial but domestic life. Electric cooking, electric heating, electric power for operating farm machinery and manufacturing establishments, as well as transpor

tation agencies, is a realizable dream. Water power development is, however, too expensive to be undertaken by private parties without the guarantee of special privileges. Such special privileges deprive the people at large of the full benefit of what would seem their natural heritage. But unless they have a government that is efficient and trustworthy they cannot develop this water power themselves and must at great cost permit private parties to do it for them. Without such a government the people cannot even control adequately the private companies to whom they may lease state-owned power sites. This is but one of the problems that will be solved when the people learn how to have efficient governments. With efficient governments left free by the constitution to work out particular reforms, there will be hope that all desirable changes in public affairs shall be accomplished in order of their necessity and that new governmental functions shall be undertaken when they seem worth while.

The great problem of democracies is to secure efficient government. It is, however, a problem not only of governmental organization but of popular participation. There is need not only for an efficient engine but an intelligent engineer, not only for a capable agent but a principal that knows how to be well served. Democracy is less a form of government than a popular condition.

The fundamental political problem which we the people must solve is not only how to possess a government through which we can express ourselves, but how to express ourselves wisely through that government.

An Efficient

We must teach ourselves how to use our governments to at- 324. tain the things we most desire. We must learn to judge wisely People. amongst policies and to choose men who can and will put the chosen policies into operation. We cannot do this in a day or a generation, but if we earnestly recognize our needs and honestly strive to supply the remedies, we can eventually acquire some degree of perfection in governing and so make of ourselves a proper sovereign.

Universal education will not guarantee political intelligence, but without universal education no people can become intelligent. If, therefore, it is our desire, as Tennesseans, to deal in

« ПретходнаНастави »