Bureaucratic authority in the modern world has, wherever it has developed in large-scale association such as nations or metropolises, led always to the weakening of the role of collegiality in effective control. Collegiality unavoidably obstructs the promptness of decision, the consistency of policy, the clear responsibility of the individual, and ruthlessness towards outsiders in combination with the maintenance of discipline within the group. Hence, for these and certain other economic and technical reasons, in all large states that are involved in world politics, where collegiality has been retained at all, it has been weakened in favor of the prominent position of the political leader, such as the prime minister.
Max Weber, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft (1913)
A SOCIETY THAT is being peacefully subverted, rather than conquered by violence, is disarmed because the new force is not composed of "bad men" nor is it a "conspiracy." Lacking the threats that excite resistance, it cannot be mobilized for defense. "Men born to freedom," wrote Justice Brandeis once, "are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning, but without understanding."
The presidency, we have said, is the spearhead of the Executive Force in society. The President is not ordinarily an unpleasant person; he certainly does not incarnate evil. Left to himself he would usually make a mark like that of the Speaker of the House. But he embodies the nation in the popular mind; and all those things that go to heighten that embodiment are anti-republican. In the second place, through the presidency and the executive branch of the government, he is compelled to front for the Executive Force. He supplies symmetry to the government, makes of a trunk a neat pyramid.
Through him it can be said that "the people rule," and every government today must have a way of "proving" that the people rule. So long as Congress is powerful and competes with the President along lines set forth in the constitution or along lines that may be newly developed in the future, the dangers of executive usurpation of the republic are controllable. Congress not only fights the President; it shores him up in a fundamental way. For, as Congress weakens, the President becomes less republican and more executive. He builds upon unrepublican elements; he derives his public, his councillors, his initiatives, his influence, his missions differently. He comes to get them from the executive branch, the career service, what would be conveniently called the bureaucracy but had better, since the word lacks objectivity in popular speech, be called the civil service.
"When social habits decay they must be met by new laws, nor is this an intentional departure from the Ancients, but in order to correct mistakes and arrest decline. Administration must adjust itself to society, and currency changes with the generation."
Sang Hung-Yang, Lord Grand Secretary
Huan K'uan, Discourses on Salt and Iron
(81 B.C.), trans. Esson M. Gale, 1931, p. 27
The civil service, as the great engine of the Executive Force, molds the President more than he shapes it. If the executive revolution is finally consummated, the President will be of the new image much more than in the old; he will resemble the Executive Force infinitely more than the force will resemble him as he is and has been. That is, his mode of address, associates, traits, functions, mode of work, will be derived from the executive branch. He will come into office not in the boots of Andy Jackson, but in the haberdashery of Harry Truman. He will be neither rural nor urban, but suburban, for that is where the executive suit is fashioned.
Ambassadors have been transformed in the name of all that is holy to the Executive Force-namely efficiency, control, expertness, integrity, and permanence, from politicians and businessmen into career civil servants. The cabinets of Presidents have been transformed in membership from politicians into business managers. The environment of the presidency has become more formal, carefully guarded, and rooted into the civil service. All of this has occurred however, with careful attention to the "personality" of President.
This cannot be left to accident. There is not only a political investment in his image. There is a governmental one. The government image is over time the more important by far, because it is the only exciting edge of the executive front. The Executive Force can accomplish everything except personification. For this it needs the President.
Cannot the Executive Force become supreme by way of and behind the banner of Congress? It could only do so if Congress could free itself from its present foundations. But this is almost impossible. Congress, as we have given reason to believe, is an institution deeply imbedded in federalism, the free enterprise system, and decentralization of society and politics. It represents basically these values.
It can only represent the Executive Force by means of the President and nationalized politics. In part it has come to do so and ultimately, of course, when the Executive Force does triumph, the President's party will win in Congress and the Republican Force in Congress will wither away and be replaced by a weak but "satisfactory" representation of the Executive Force.
But it should be made clear at this early stage of discussion that the Executive Force can conquer either without violence or with it; it needs the personality of the President but not any particular President; it is not a conspiracy; and it is never subject to approval (or disapproval) by a single vote of Congress or the people, though its many parts may be involved in hundreds of elections and votes.
In order for the Executive Force or any other force in a society to accomplish a revolution it must possess certain attributes. We have said that the Executive Force has such a possibility in America; therefore it must possess those attributes. These qualities include in the first place size; enough people, activities, money, and weight must be commanded by the new force to give it momentum. All of these the Executive Force has.
In the matter of numbers of persons involved, first of all, the Executive Force is ample enough to recast the society. At the present time, civil and military government employees on the municipal, state and federal levels constitute about eleven million persons. These form over one-seventh of all employed Americans. In addition, many millions of employed Americans are tied directly to the governmental occupation by contract and other forms of direct dependency.
Directly involved in the federal government are five million persons, half in the armed forces and half civilian. Governmental civilian employment is rising on all levels, both absolutely and relatively to non-governmental employment. It is risky to project rates of growth, but between 1940 and 1964, federal civilian employment grew by one and a half millions, by 150% over 1940; the same growth by 1984, twenty years from now, would more than double the present number and would then give over twelve millions. The projection for military related employment would give an even more fantastic total. Projection of governmental employment in the states and localities would produce somewhat the same effect.
We say that these are fantastic conclusions and under ordinary circumstances they are probably so. It should be noted, however, that governments, do not have to employ people in order to rule them. Rule can be accomplished by spending, by taxes, and by regulations. In this connection, the gross figures are not comforting to the anti-executive forces. As Roger Freeman has pointed out in The Conservative Papers, it took 160 years, from 1789 to 1948, for federal spending for civilian purposes to reach seven billions of dollars in the year. It required only another sixteen years-from 1948 to 1964 - to boost spending to $46 billion. "If this rate of progression were to continue for another twenty years, virtually all income and product in the United State would be channelled through and distributed by the government." ["Economic Priorities: Needs and Expediency" in The Conservative Papers (Garden City: Anchor Books, 1964) p. 129.] Again a fantastic conclusion. In Fiscal Year 1964, federal government payments to the public totalled about $122.5 billions.
Taxes, it could be said, followed the same pattern but in 1964 income taxes and in 1965 exercise taxes were actually reduced. However, these reductions of taxes were in the face of irregularly but generally occurring deficits in the federal budget, generally increasing state taxes, and generally increasing state, local and federal debt. No matter how this combination of events is explained, it cannot spell out a diminution of governmental activity. On the contrary, the prevailing attitude of the elements composing the Executive Force at this time, including the President and the departments of government and the presidential party in Congress was that not enough was being spent by governments on the civil infrastructure of the economy and it was being "starved" in the midst of private affluence.
Actually the number of federal activities has been increasing. If the localities and states were not enlarging the qualitative scope of the specific activities they were undertaking, it was because they have already many years before, and unknown to most citizens, become involved in just about every known kind of occupation, skill and industry, including slaughterhouses and electric plants; now they were deepening their penetration. The federal government is meanwhile actively enlarging its scope. No old activities are dropped; new ones are undertaken.
For example, only a close examination of the 1963 Budget as submitted to Congress could reveal the presence of expanded and new activities.
Projects start little, which must grow big. For example:
"Appropriations of $16 million are requested for 1964 to enable the Corps of Engineers to initiate construction of 32 projects with an estimated total Federal [note other governments implicated] cost of $348 million." (Budget 1963, p.82)
"Appropriations of $8 million are included for the bureau of Reclamation to start eight new projects estimated to cost $285 million in total ."
New programs slip in, often as research projects:
The Department of Commerce is to initiate a program "to encourage more extensive and imaginative use of technological developments to increase productivity," (p. 88) and will also begin a new comprehensive transportation research program (pp. 89-90). Studies are progressing on feasibility of developing supersonic air transport (p. 90).
These programs appear as requests for New Obligational Authority, funds sought for activities previously approved by Congress. There are dozens of new activities born annually under such NOA.
In addition, the Budget for Fiscal '63 contained the not unusually large number of 29 proposals for legislation authorizing new activities (pp. 69-110). Examples of the new legislation sought would show, in the field of international affairs, requests for National Academy of Foreign Affairs, office and housing construction, and removal of the ceiling on Arms Control and Disarmament Agency spending. These were, of course, only a small portion of all new proposed activities; strictly speaking (that is, by the theory of budgeting usually espoused by the Executive Force), they should be separately submitted as bills, and their funding provided for separately or in a supplementary budget.
The arguments employed in achieving new activities or in obtaining budget increases for the old are similar in form:
1. A New need has been discovered, felt, defined. Public opinion exerts pressures, it is said; statistical indices are brought forward in a typically muddled and ambiguous form; and White House Conferences and other stimulating devices are organized to form the very attitudes they are alleged to measure.
2. Rising costs are claimed in regard to existing activities. The rising costs are usually attributable to other governmental activities and to economic and wage policies of the government.
3. The example of other agencies, other governments, and non-governmental groups are brought forward to show that "everyone is doing it" and the petitioner should not be made to be shamefully exceptional.
4. The agency or activity has not had a raise in budget in years, it is pointed out.
5. The materials, construction, or system employed for doing the job are "old," "outmoded," "inefficient."
6. The agency was not given enough funds to do the job in the first place; it has done the best with what it was given, though. A variation of this theme is that the activity was proven successful in a pilot project but needs more funds if it is to accomplish what was originally expected of it.
Thus goes the routine argument of expanding activities and budgets in the executive establishment of government. Once the premise underlying each argument is accepted, surrender to the requests becomes fairly inevitable. The process sweeps up not only the Executive Force elements, but many congressmen as well, the latter seeing to it that a rough proportion of all spending is maintained on projects strengthening their local preserves and their administrative and political allies-the famous "pork barrel" projects. It is unfortunate that a scientist has not produced a Political Logic and Accounting System Analysis of total government effort to go along with the conventional Fiscal Accounting analysis which is philosophically blind and politically helpless.
It should be emphasized that actual expansion of activities, with and without much new spending, and greater spending, do not alone promote the movement toward the executive state. The merging of activities of all levels of government in the guise of cooperation and the operational presence of federal agencies in the activities and livelihoods of many millions of Americans through the contracting process are trends of great importance too. The aircraft industry is almost totally dependent on federal contracts (for instance 95% of all complete aircraft); 39% of all shipbuilding and repair, 38% of all scientific instrument deliveries, 30% of all rice mill products and 27% of all radio and TV equipment are paid for by the federal government.
A survey by Charles A. Reich establishes the great weight of the "new property" in American society. ["The New Property," Yale Law Journal, v. 73 (1964), pp.733-787.] The new property consists of the various forms and amounts of wealth created by government.
Income and benefits are placed at $58 billions as of 1961 on the national, state, and local levels. Such would be social security benefits, unemployment compensation, aid to dependent children, veteran's benefits, and state and local welfare.
Jobs are a second form of a New Property. Nine million persons (we say 11) work for government, and three to four millions labor in defense industries. To them must be added their families. All have a kind of property interest in government, say Mr. Reich.
More plausibly-and impressively-are listed occupational licenses (ranging from longshoremen to medical practitioners), franchises (as in taxicab medallions), contracts ($50 billions in defense alone), subsidies, the right to use public resources (as with television licenses, oil land, grazing lands, river facilities, buildings, dock, etc.), and services (postal, insurance, technical information, education, and others). The fact that government expenditures amounted to $165 billions in 1961 while personal income exceeded $416 billions would perhaps give pause-the proportion is rising-but the governments of the country give, under conditions that are extremely varied, a vast intangible wealth in the new property that must by now total many billions of dollars. There can be no doubt that practically all Americans - whether possessed of the oldest, the recent, or the new forms of property - are closely associated with the governments in their use and disposition of property.
Dr. Murray Weidenbaum of the Stanford Research Institute has pointed out that in 1960 in seven states-Kansas, California, Washington, New Mexico, Connecticut, Arizona, and Utah-defense work accounted for 20 to 30 percent of the total manufacturing employment. [Murray Weidenbaum, "Federal Budgeting: the Choice of Government programs in Congress and the Federal Budget (Washington: American Enterprise Institute, 1965), p.86.] Considering the huge federal landholdings in the Western States and Alaska, and their dependence upon irrigation in many areas, as well as the presence in their midst of federal and other governmental activities, it would be too much to expect strong opposition to rising budgets and ever new activities in these areas.
Furthermore, it matters what quality of activity is affected by the government. The educational system, the press, the police, the arts and sciences-these are areas whose mark upon the culture is much heavier than their economic weight and numbers of personnel would indicate. Also the quality of activity affected has to do not only with those types of activities that are directly covered by new rules, but also with activities that are altered and often discouraged by the competition of government, such as private schools, religious groups, welfare associations, some insurance schemes, foreign trade concerns, publishing houses and others.
Besides, government advantages cause disproportionate growth in certain sectors of the culture as in certain kinds of sciences and arts, or in non-profit and tax exempt (and therefore regulated and regulable) organizations such as foundations. The Executive Force moves into these areas. The dollar-trends of budgets and the number-trends of personnel do not accurately reflect these major cultural trends produced by one kind of government-that of the Executive Force-moving against another kind-that of the Republican Force.
An even more qualitatively critical intervention is the proposed Federal data bank. It envisions that the Budget Bureau will be in charge of computers holding 100 million punch cards and 30,000 computer tapes, containing information about persons and companies that is now dispersed among twenty Federal agencies. [See the New York Times, January 7, 1968, p. 1.]
Therefore, considering indirect impacts as well as conscious, direct forces, there can be said to exist an aggregate of similarly positioned and active manpower sufficient to define the shape and form of American society and culture. Computing out from a nucleus in the Presidency and career service of many thousands of well-placed officials into a mass of several million dependent employees and retainers, and from there into many millions of related and sympathetic quasi-dependents, and finally into many millions of a favorable constituent public, we arrive at a figure of perhaps one-third to one - half of the population. To all of these people, federal help means something; it is more than a word which might evoke simple mental images. It is an interest.
Shake yourself free from the manikin you create out of a false impression of what you do and what you feel, and you'll at once see that the manikin you make yourself is nothing at all like what you really are or what you can really be.
Luigi Pirandello, Each in His Own Way
Again, to repeat, this interest which moves the Executive Force is not a conspiracy. Its members wear no uniform. Most of them would be completely innocent of participating in anything beyond everyday Americanism. This becomes quite clear when we survey their background. It would be hard to distinguish them from other Americans of similar status except that the largest body of them work for the federal government. Professors W. Lyold Warner, Paul P. Van Riper, Norman H. Martin and Oruis F. Collins have questioned thirteen thousand of them at length to learn what kinds of people they are. [The American Federal Executive (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1963).] Completed, lengthy questionaires were received from about 7600 career civil servants, 1300 foreign service officers, and 1900 political appointees-from the moderately high level of GS 14 up to Cabinet level-and 2100 officers of the armed forces, on every level from Colonel and Naval Captain upwards.
Higher civil servants and military officers come from all over the country, are more educated than the American people generally and come more from families of the higher occupations. True, the same general pattern characterizes most persons who belong to occupations of higher skill and higher pay ranks of the society. If one wishes to discover whether bureaucrats and officers are different in ways that might affect their participation in, and the product expectable from, the Executive Force, he would have to make finer comparisons. He would especially have to compare them with the leadership of the other elements of the general elite such as business leaders and educational leaders, and with the republican elite-congressmen, state legislators, party officials.
To a certain extent Warner and his associates have made such comparisons. They show that federal civilian executives come from large cities in a ratio of 1.8 to 1 over expectancy, that is, over the way the population of the country was distributed in their infancy. Fewer came from small towns than would be expected (the ratio was .64 to 1). Women were few in the group as in the civil service as a whole: there were 459 high level woman executive out of 476, 448 woman in the great, General Class of civil service.
The group was highly educated, 95% having at least some college education and one in ten carrying the Ph.D. degree. Their fathers were often professional men (19%) or businessmen (17%), sometimes owners of businesses with gross annual earnings under $50,000 (14%). Some 14% of the fathers were farm tenants or owners, another 21% skilled or unskilled laborers.
The federal executives tended to come a little more from New England, the West North Central States and the Mountain States than could be expected by the population of those areas where they were born; and the number from the East South Central and West South Central States was less than the population of those areas would warrant (but this would be a deceptive figure, since the Negro population, largely concentrated here in 1930, was not active, meaning that the whites were "over proportionate" in top executive posts in the federal civil service). The executives entered the service at an average of 27 years of age and stayed. Most of them were working in a region of the United State differing from the region of their birth, or abroad.
It would appear from a study of backgrounds that the higher civil servant has more of a head start in life, achieves a better education, and moves a good deal farther from his birthplace than the average American. In these characteristics, he is only typical of every other element of the American elite, business leaders, congressmen, educators, military leaders, and even labor leaders.
A few more significant differences appear in a comparison with the other segments of the elite, however. In comparison with leaders of big business, the executive leaders of big government have much more formal education and are more professional in their education, with many more higher degrees. They have moved around a great deal more. If moving abroad or to another region of the country is termed being "nationalized," 77% of federal civilian executives are nationalized in comparison with 45% of the big business leaders surveyed in a similar study. But they have stayed with the same business (the federal government) much longer. They come somewhat oftener from the Plains States and the South. We see, therefore, a few hints of cleavage of background, but these are surprisingly small.
Not long after the Warner-Van Riper study, a comprehensive survey was made of the traits of 1,041 executives who had been appointed to the top-levels of the federal government between 1933 and 1965. [David T. Stanley, Dean E. Mann and Jameson W. Doig, Men Who Govern (Washington: The Brookings Institution, 1967), P. 78.] This group included the secretaries and assistant secretaries, the administrators and deputy administrators, the commissioners and board members, and many others of similar rank and status.
In the vast majority of the cases, these men (very few were Negroes or women) went to a few of the best colleges, were of Protestant background, came out of business or legal leadership circles, and returned to the same environment after their government service.
A majority of two-thirds had done graduate school work. Over ten percent came out of Eastern preparatory schools. Their median on-the-job tenure was between two to three years.
The authors of the Survey concluded that ". . . it is astonishing how much alike the men are. But this is not so astonishing when the major requirements of the jobs are considered-incisiveness, ability to negotiate, public presence, ability to analyze and synthesize, and all the rest."
The authors do not really know that these traits are characteristic of the members of the group studied. But they assume that they are, and, why not? They might also assume that the same group was trained by liberal, executive and centralist-minded teachers, that the group is thus centralist and executive-oriented in its outlook. What would be astonishing is if the group showed a true understanding of congressional life and the grass-roots problems of a republic.
The military leadership closely resembles the civil servants and does not differ remarkably from the business leaders. Educators present another case. The top educators are, of course, the most educated. They are loaded with degrees. They are also the most mobile, and come on the average from the highest echelons of society. In these respects, they deviate from the rest of the elite.
Congressmen also deviate in these respects, the other extreme. They are educated well above the norm for the population but not to the level of civil servants, the big business leaders, or the educators. If all the special schools and institutes that the military conduct are counted, they are less educated formally than the military too.
Furthermore, congressmen are less mobile. They rest where they began, in most cases, except that they know Washington, D. C., well. They have the highest occupational mobility, that is, have experienced more different kinds of jobs. Their social antecedents, though again of the more skilled, educated, and well-to-do grouping in the general population, are more mixed and proportioned to the population profile than any other elite element here discussed.
One would have to introduce the small businessman, the farm owner, the high school teacher, the small professional man, the real estate agent and the foreman in order to get the background and social bearings of the congressman. And of course the budding image-the "Junior Congressman" in the political machinery of the country-the state legislator, the country judge, the country clerk and town mayor, the state committeeman and city boss.
Then comes the realization. The Congressman relates to a different America than the higher civil servant, the military man and the big business leader. And especially is he at poles from the educator.
Better than statistics on birthplace and education would be reports of personality studies of those who constitute the elite. There are remarkably few of these, or at least few that can be construed to sample validly the diversity of types bound to exist in large groupings of men. Warner and his associates administered prolonged personality interviews to 257 civilian federal executives and the results were of interest to our thesis about the Executive Force. Stating that on the whole the personality profiles discovered were similar, the researchers went on to declare:
In general, the career civil service executive possesses psychological characteristics that may be described thus: he possesses lofty aspirations, the majority of which stem from external influences from heroic figures or models, and from demands made upon him by the system and by his role as a career man.
Achievement orientation is strong. For the most part he achieves in a good way by direct action and mobilization of inner resources, . . . Yet the career civil service executive frequently experiences feelings of inadequacy and lack of insight into the means to be used to realize his lofty ambitions. . . .
Intimately part of a large and complex system of affiliation and connection, he is entangled in the dilemma of striving for independence and severing ties of affiliation and dependency, yet retaining such ties and support. [ Ibid., pp. 195-196.]
It is obviously not easy to portray a collective character. There is some ground for asserting, as do the authors, that the civil servant becomes "too tied" to the need for guidance from the organization and tends to initiate only rarely and then as a group member.
The upper civil service thinks of itself as an elite, a socially superior and select group, according to the Warner survey. But "in spite of this conception of themselves as an 'elite' they feel that perhaps others in society do not share this belief and instead hold to the popular stereotype of the civil servant as a bureaucrat. . . . These 'people outside' are materialistic, less educated, and less intelligent; they sell their souls. Because of this, their views count for little."
The researchers move ever closer to the thesis of the Executive Force in describing the psychological world of the civilian executive:
To most federal executives, the external world looms strong, formidable, rigidly structured, and relatively intractable. There is little room for free play of the imagination, of independent and unilateral action, for going it alone without fear of consequence. To these people a world closely bounded by rule and regulation, by situational demands, and by structural imperatives is a real world which must be coped with at all times and in all ways. . . . [ Ibid., pp. 246-247.]
The civil servants are not aware often that they labor under restrictive conditions:
(Still) a significant group of executive simply would not understand our delineation of the tight controls existing in federal world. It is not that these men would not agree; they would not understand. To them the organizational interconnections are not restrictions but represent a vast expansion of possibilities and opportunities. Such men move through the intricate interlockings of bureaucracy easily and skillfully, pursuing their own ends and fulfilling their own purposes. [Ibid., p. 247.]
Passivity and dependence are common traits among the federal executives:
Even when the system is formidable and threatening, to the executive it appears the source of help and nurture. He is dependent upon it, and this dependency tends to pervade his thinking. . . . For many of these executives the dependency has become symbolic and represents unresolved dependency problems experienced in earlier years and carried over to the federal executive situation. In fact, there is evidence from the material that movement in these positions is in part determined by a need for escape from the more vulnerable situations in the 'free' professions. . . .
One tends to approach problems with care not to upset the state of affairs, nor to call too much attention to oneself, not to push issues to the crisis stage. To do so may cause a retraction of the supportive and nurturing aspects of the system and a frightening pushing forward of its domineering side. In the coping mechanisms of most of these men there is a strong element of system-deference. . . .
In general, the sort of person who finds innovation in itself rewarding and stimulating cannot well fit the role. It is for this reason that federal executives in their interviews and TAT protocols appear by comparison reacting rather than activating. . . .
They are, in vast majority, idealists. . . . (But) this overweening idealism does not contradict the dependency leanings and the subservience to authority. [Ibid., pp. 247-248,249.]
To put the case brought by these scholarly authorities simply, then, the major cluster of psychological traits discoverable in the Executive Force is as follows: a dependency upon a great organization to supply his motives and needs and happiness; a strong respect for authority; a small need for innovation; a large idealism and serving of a cause in work; an insulted and restricted environment which yet seems free to those in it; a caution and a persistence and honesty in work.
To perhaps a somewhat lesser extent or perhaps only differing in shadings, the other major executive elements of the military and the foreign service are similar. Considering that the United States civil service, in its large-scale form, is only a generation old, we may expect a hardening of these traits as time goes on and recruitment becomes increasingly selective. Even as experienced now, they are hardly the traits one would choose to emphasize in a system aimed at promoting republicanism.
The cluster of traits typifying the Republican Force is markedly different. The grouping itself is spread out over far more elements of the population. This makes it even more difficult to speak of it as having a cluster of traits. We depend on a variety of studies less focussed in this regard than the Warner associates study of the bureaucracy. Some indications of what the Congressman's character is like can be found in a set of conferences and interviews which were reported by Charles Clapp. Donald Matthews and Charles J. Hyneman have analyzed the background of legislators. A work on the Legislative System by Professors John C. Wahlke, Heinz, Eulau, James Buchanan, and Leroy Ferguson goes into the motivation of four sets of state legislators. A study by Lewis Dexter captures congressmen at work puzzling through a set of issues. Johns McConaughy studied South Carolina lawmakers and T. V. Smith wrote of Illinois legislators and congressmen. ["See Charles L. Clapp, The Congressman (Washington: The Brookingo Institution, 1963); Donald R. Matthews, U.S. Senators and their World (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1960); Charles S. Hyneman, Bureaucracy in a Democracy (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1950); John C. Wahlke et al; Legislative Behavior ( New York: the Free Press of Slencde, 1959); Lewis 9. Defter, "The Representative and His District," Human Organization (Spring, 1957); p.2; John B. McConaughy. "Certain Personality factors of State Legislators in South Carolina, "American Political Science Review" (December, 1958), pp. 1026-1029; and T. V. Smith, The Legislative Way of life (1940).] And so on; the materials are not full or systematic.
Yet there is little doubt of the direction that the differences take. Congressmen are strikingly different from the upper civil servants. They diverge early in life. They have different characters. They serve different interests. And they lead different modes of life. Even if only one of these four conditions were present, the two groups would contrast in character and behavior.
They like politics earlier and believe in it as a way of life. The need for immediate response from others is more felt among politicians. They sense that they must please people here and now. Many more congressmen are lawyers, raised and educated to controversy. They often visualize the party system and all of politics as a kind of litigation where the presence of two parties to the contest is more important than whether there is a one right side. By contrast, the bureaucrat sees in the administrative process a means of finding the one and single truth and views interventions from the outside as interferences with the achievement of the true way, the "Scientific" way.
The congressmen come from more turbulent and changing environments. They are influenced by a great many interests that can never intrude into the administrative establishment. A Nevada Senator cannot be ignorant of gambling, a New York Senator of Puerto Rican affairs, or a Texas Representative of cotton farming. Their knowledge of these affairs comes as a part of a whole experience with their constituency. Administrators of the federal government must also concern themselves with these fields, but as specialists devoted to them alone, as Internal Revenue officers, as social welfare professionals or as soil conservation officials. Not until the top of the federal government hierarchy is reached does one get the complete "holistic" representation of the social forces that the congressman has to build into his personality in the primary geographical constituency, district or state. For this and other reasons, their personalities are more varied, their motives more complex. A civil servant, it can be appreciated, is not well-equipped to judge a congressman.
Much of the difference between the legislators and the executives is summed up in the fact that the legislators have many roles to play, the executives essentially one. The executive may have to face many situations; but even then he is permitted to use the same face. The congressman has to identify much more deeply in his numerous roles and his character shows the effects.
Of course we're all supposed to belong to the Castle, there's supposed to be no gulf between us, and nothing to be bridged over, and that may be true enough on ordinary occasions, but we've had grim evidence that it's not true when anything really important crops up.
F. Kafka, The Castle
From the differences of character and conduct come naturally differences of ideology, and the interaction of the ideologies adds to the differences. The ideology of the executive branch of government accepts the myth of the President, because, as we have indicated, it needs it for new increments of power and for personified defense. It shares the myths of responsibility, coordination and integration with the President, and adds depth and power to them. It presents the notion of a representative bureaucracy to compete with the idea that Congress is the main representative body of the people. And it surrounds its work with the pall of sovereignty that moves from one activity to another. Ultimately in the exuberance of authority, a mother who does not diaper her baby properly becomes in a sense of the same stripe as the soldier who deserts in time of war. All these beliefs form the ideology of administration. Every day of the year, they look out upon the hulking and the contrasting way of life of the republican.
Let us look first to the meaning of administration to the bureaucracy. We have already shown how the notions of responsibility and integration help accrue power for the presidency without necessarily bringing what would universally be termed benefits to society. The administration of course participates in the accrual of presidential power. The thrust of the struggle for integration carried forward principally by the executive branch is aimed at getting congress out of the business of administration.
"Let Congress play politics. Let executives administer!" So goes the slogan of officialdom and the text writers. Actually, the notion that there is something substantial belonging to administration and only to administration is not tenable. Administration in reality is the tasks that a person who determines his own work-load wishes to assign to others. He keeps to himself "policies." There is no objective standard for telling him otherwise. The Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome burned. A mad thing for the Chief Executive to do in a moment of grave crisis! But Nero loved the arts, and left the "details" of governing to others. Most executives cannot play the violin and the paths of their definitions are devious. Would counting the hams in the White House kitchen, as President Coolidge used to do, or reading ten thousand lines of fine print in the Federal Budget be the tasks of the Chief Executive?
A type of "objectivity" is lent to this process when people objectify their own preferences, call these preferences policies," describe all other activity as "administration," and try to keep the "policies" in their own hands while entrusting "administration" to others. Manuals accepting and describing the last process are textbooks of administration.
If there is no "objective" distinction between politics and administration, the setting of the distinction must itself be a political question. And of course it is. But here has occurred a paradox-all the more strange if it were happening now for the first time in history: Deprived of the power to make the distinction because Congress was first to make it and empowered to continue its definitions over time, the administrators turned their badge of shame into a shield of virtue. With the help of professors and political reformers, they could claim that there was an objective science of administration, that this was a glorious science, that it was directed straight toward truth, efficiency, and the public interest except for the intrusion of politics. But once politics were removed from the scene, all would be well-administered. Administration was given an expanding definition. Wherever a public activity might be criticized, there was politics: the universal remedy-objective, efficient administration. Lowly housekeeping became a great mysterious science; from the leavings of the political tables was fashioned a great cuisine.
There is a dictum of Roman Law, actually of all legal systems, that "for every case, a law can be found." Administrative theorists are quite as unabashed. "For every decision, there is a principle of administration." Under the circumstances, then, any power over bureaucracy that Congress may have can, depending upon the circumstances of the moment, be denounced as an intrusion upon what is the natural province of administration, and in extreme cases, of the chief Executive. Congress could adjourn forever and never be missed.
The everlasting bureaucracy is the military. Revolutions, whether English, American, French, Italian, German, Russian, Indian, Indonesian, or Chinese, may destroy the civil administration but it will be born again from the military engines of revolt. Always ready to give examples stands the military, and always ready to heed example are young regimes and old.
The most skilful and courageous men of history have been those who dared to tell a people that it might live without armies or free of military control. And of all constitutions the American must be numbered among the boldest for the distance it went in subjecting government of the military to the legislature, letting militias be controlled by the states, and allowing arms to the citizenry.
While the military has continually presented problems for American democracy, at the same time it has been the means of preserving the republic from external enemies, and from disruptive domestic influences; it has been a training ground in some respects for democratic government, providing discipline for an otherwise too undisciplined population. These considerations must be borne in mind when criticizing the role of armed forces in a democracy. The military presents problems fundamentally of hierarchical authority, of psychological aggressiveness in the human mind and soul, and of secrecy. These traits of military affairs tend to be emulated by civil administration in other sectors of society. They also create a frame of mind in the population as a whole that is anti-republican.
Thus "unity of command," the "one right way," "decisiveness," and other slogans of the old military machine are conveyed into civil organizations and ordinary affairs. The personality types favored in the military schools of old lend models to civil recruitment and official behavior. The object of military "administration" is an enemy, yet the aggressiveness that must be taught, maintained, and exercised with regard to enemies becomes often a part of the learning of civil administration and is maintained and practiced upon one's fellow-citizens. Further, the administered population-no matter how independent in education and spirit-will contain a great many people who will read into the presence of any governmental agent the authority and force of the soldier.
Three methods of resolving this problem, and three alone, have ever worked. One is impossible in the near future: that is to abolish the armed forces and disarm the police. A second is to civilize the military. The third is to reduce to a minimum the participation of government in activities that extend domination to other fields of life. To the credit of Congress, but even more to the credit of the armed forces themselves, the American military is the most civilized in the world of large powers. Its officers are democratically and now-ideologically recruited, and its men are representative of the country. The indoctrination experienced within the forces as to the nature of leadership, the limits of discipline, respect for civil authorities, care for other human beings, and cooperative work relations-far from being an abrupt unfortunate departure from civil standards-is on the whole superior to the training given in civilian society.
Still, when it comes to the question of bureaucracy versus legislature, the military bureaucracy is said by all authoritative students of the subject to have the upper hand. New weapon systems, new forms of organization, increases in the budget, and foreign areas operations result more from the will of the military oligarchy than of the congressional committees on the armed forces and appropriations. Nor are the military administrators stopped short of their reasoned demands by the presidency, except on rare occasions. The most important recent instance of a curb upon military power, Section 412b of the Military Construction Authorization Act for Fiscal 1960, which in effect made military procurement annually reviewable by congressional committees, was the work of the House oligarchy, not the President. Professor Raymond H. Dawson analyzed the case and emphasized its importance as an example of maintaining civilian control over the military. ["Congressional Innovation and Intervention in Defense Policy: Legislative Authorization of Weapons Systems," American Political Science Review, LVI (March, 1962), pp.42-57.]
There is room for much more innovation in contol of the military, extending to basic theories concerning the nature of military activity in modern society. "What is military and what is not?" is a simple question that has not been posed since the eighteenth century, though it is generally admitted that the conditions of military operations have drastically altered in this century. One opinion, widely held among political scientists, has maintained that a continuous crisis in world and domestic affairs gives birth to a "garrison state," the antithesis of legislative supremacy. In every single advanced country of the world-in Western-Europe, the Soviet Union, Japan, and the United States-this analysis has not been borne out. Permanent crisis has not brought the military to the fore.
It must be concluded that other factors-self-confident civil leadership, general prosperity, skill in handling the psychological problems of military relations, and the intimidating atomic bomb-have kept militarism at bay. The underdeveloped countries, on the other hand, have been going through a period of aggravated militarism, quite in line with their general determination to commit all the historical errors of the West in catching up.
The bad example provided by the military of the West then is no longer an immediate threat but an indirect and long-range one. The military is and has been, despite the best recruitment and governing policies, a socialistic influence over society. In the second place, the military sets a bad example on spending. A continuous justification of civil government activity is heavy military activity. It is almost impossible to persuade congressmen, officials, and citizens to restrain their demands for new programs and increased spending so long as they see how much is voted for defense items. To take one case of many, how can scientists be expected to stand on principle in rejecting federal research aid of many kinds, when billions of dollars go annually into military research? Especially is this true when what they wish is only a small fraction of the sum of military research. A similar logic prevails throughout the fields of welfare, business regulation, agriculture, and urban affairs. There may be only two general solutions to subject military activities to ordinary civilian standards, so far as possible; and to stimulate, by means short of nationalized administration, the growth of civilian activity, such as research and development. Congress is not organized well for these purposes. It could be, and proposals to that end are to be made later on.
The financial aspect of the military example is paralleled by its secrecy side. A critical element in the core of military operations is the maintenance of security against potential enemy intelligence. The grotesque ramifications of this militarily essential task in times both remote and recent are well known. The germ of secrecy is in all militarized and thence bureaucratized groups. Just as agencies will fall into free spending, if not continuously controlled, they will also resort to secrecy in their operations.
At the end of February, 1964, President Johnson announced to a pleased nation, specially called to order by the massive apparatus of presidential publicity, that a new military aircraft, the A II, had been developed, with a speed of 2000 miles an hour. This plane would now be converted into a civilian transport. The New York Times carried the story on the front page. On March 2, the Times, now delving into the background, stated that the secret of the plane had been leaked through aviation industry channels, and the presidency had then decided to take over the public announcement in a dramatic fashion.
A few days later, a brief dispatch, buried in an inner page dominated by advertising, reported that Senator Allot, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which is supposed to pass on details of the defense program, knew nothing of the costly aircraft project. The Senator asserted he had followed all available details for four years and "not one word was said about" the new plane that may have cost a hundred million dollars or more.
On July 2, the newspaper carried a report that economic and technical problems would perhaps delay the introduction of a supersonic airliner until 1980.
Who gained by this sequence of stories, that occurs times and time again? First the President, who was glorified; second the military, who were credited with a creative triumph. Who lost? First the Congress, which was ignored, and possibly duped; second the public, which was flattered and fooled. The press worked in its usual way, to worsen the problems being discussed.
Only Congress can be the hero of the dramatic unending struggle against secrecy. Rarely in American history has the presidency worked well on problems of free information. The same is true of the executive establishment throughout, including the military. This is not to say that conditions have always been bad or that republican policies have not been pursued by a great many appointive officials. More precisely, it states that the descryable tendency of bureaucracy and executive leadership in the United States and everywhere else in time and space is to increase the scope and number of its actions that are hidden from the world outside the agency.
The reasons why the output of information in the American bureaucracy is restricted are several. A certain item of information might benefit a potential enemy. An item of information, say about a plan to sell government gold on the open market, might jeopardize a public policy. An item might alert criminals to modes of detection or an impending police action. Another might be damaging to a person's privacy or reputation, as could be the exposure of his income or his background. Still another might, if released, implicate the agency's or another agency's personnel in illegal, improper, or embarrassing behavior. Information may be withheld simply because an agency's personnel is secretive by character, or possessive, or arbitrary, lazy, or stupid. It may be withheld because nobody has ever queried it, or because no means of releasing it have been devised. Information may be concealed too in the campaign for new programs, more funds, and more personnel as part of the tactics of promoting such things. Secrecy, finally, is often practiced as a ritual, to keep everyone in an agency in line and to give them stronger morale.
Whatever the reasons during a particular episode, the effects of secrecy on the conduct of a republic are deleterious. Secrecy in a free state is a powerful weapon against the state. In a closed state, the danger is less, for secrecy is the weapon of all against all. No matter how difficult, arrangements must be devised whereby Congress or its agents may peruse at any time all information in the hands of the executive branch. No file should be locked against the legislature. In turn, sanctions against the mishandling of such information, whether the injured party is society, a group, or an individual, should be arranged and the victims "made whole." Congress itself should construct and house the protective machinery against abuse, perhaps in the form of a special officer or committee to whom agencies or citizens might appeal. It should be remembered that the Senate, not the executive, was the final disciplinarian of Senator Joseph McCarthy.
In the past generation, the rise of a serious competitor to the military and functional bureaucracy has come about as a result of the growth of science in government. A sizable portion of the hundred billions of annual federal expenditures is under the direct control of persons holding advanced academic degrees, speaking the jargon of a specialized science-be it social welfare or astrophysics-and receiving their moral and civic training principally in conventional administrative theory and the mental habits of a small narrow discipline. The scientific establishment is to the intelligentsia as the military is to the manual working class: It is the source of models, inspiration, folklore, and jobs. (There are as a many college professors in America as there are coal miners.)
The basis of ancient administration was the will of the monarch. That sufficed to let bureaucracy dominate a realm. The modern age-set up in revolutionary revulsion against traditional monarchies-has been partly overcome by bureaucracy in a new rational guise, preaching efficiency, integration, and responsibility. Now science, itself trained in the latter-day doctrines and bureaucratic par excellence in its habits, comes upon the political scene and allies itself with, as it is welcomed by, the administrative establishment. At all salient points where the Executive Force threatens organizational theory, spending policies, secrecy, recruitment, education and training, attitudes toward republican habits and practices-the scientific establishment reinforces the trend.
United with ordinary bureaucrats, they are a formidable adversary to congressmen. United with military men, their position is practically dictatorial. The defense against them cannot be the traditional lawyer's palaver or the politician's guile. Neither patriotism, nor experience, nor humaneness. Nor an ever-commanding majority in the precincts. Only counter-intelligence can be a viable defense: the employment of the best of scientists in the country in the service of the legislative branch.
The armament of the Executive Force is not completely described until recent developments in the concept of responsibility are reported. To bolster itself against charges that, whatever else it may be, it is not responsive to the people, the administrative establishment has been moving toward the idea of "representative bureaucracy." By representative bureaucracy is meant an administrative establishment whose leaders express and behave in accordance with the people's desires.
Conventional theory of political science has argued that the people elect congressmen and the President to represent them; the President and Congress enforce popular desires upon the administration; and the bureaucracy behaves responsibly, that is, representatively. How little this theory accords with the facts is apparent to all, and has been described already in this book. Representation is a complicated set of relations among many groupings of constituents and a great many officers. Every person can be said to be represented to a different degree in different areas of interest with regards to different officers; he has an elective relation directly with some of the officers; with others he has indirect, even highly remote relation, as for instance a voter of Chicago with a Committee Chairman from Florida; or a 1/100,000th relation to a congressman in Nevada and a 1/200,000,000th relation to the President.
Bearing such considerations in mind, what can be offered as a theory for comparing the quality of representation offered by the civil service with that offered by Congress? Of necessity, under any form of government, decision-making is diffused through vast reaches of officialdom and associated non-governmental agencies. Even under the most ingenious kind of representative arrangements, only a minor fraction of the multitude of persons will possess formal representative responsibility in the old sense, that is, with elections as the governor of their relations with their constituents.
In the great majority of cases, elective representation may exist but only through assumed authority, not by formal grant through the constitutional authority. (For example, the labor union leader or corporate president may be an elected official, but he is not chosen by a formal constituency under provisions of the United States Constitution.) In addition, a great many officials and agents who make important decisions governing other people's lives are appointed by functional associations, chosen by examinations, or named by other officials both elective and non-elective. It is clear that modern society is governed in every sense more by non-elective than by elective officials.
It would be therefore naive to expect no only that all of these might be subjected to election (which was once the solution actually posed by direct democrats and even now is a powerful fantasy-wish of the same type of person), but that a handful of properly-positioned elected representatives could ensure the representativeness of this multitude of decision-makers.
Can any device ensure their representativeness then? Probably so. Five suggestions can be advanced here:
1) Increasing the tactical skills and controls of those who are formally representative of the constitutionally approved interests of the country will have some effect. Strengthening legislatures and local councils everywhere is advisable.
2) Fostering imitation representative governments on a large scale in other areas and echelons of government can be recommended. This is of course what "representative bureaucracy" is.
3) Introduction, into the application and recruitment examinations of persons seeking offices that are vested with a public character, of questions designed to eliminate persons psychologically unsuited to the ideology of republican government.
4) Propaganda within the government offices to promote appropriate attitudes among minor officials.
5) Strengthening the prevalence of republican attitudes in the social system as a whole.
Representation, it has to be emphasized, is not a neutral quality. It must be always representation of some interests more than others. But if what should be represented is authoritatively declared in the very beginning, then it can be communicated to those who are acting in representative capacities. For this purpose, that is, for establishing the basis of the five listed and desired conditions, a "Republican Consensus" can be made the condition of an official representative position in the government in any capacity except election to Congress or the presidency.
Unless this is done no one can dispute anyone else's claim to being representative of the people. The official can compare himself with the congressman and say: "I know my clientele, my constituents. I consult them; in fact, I engage one committee after another composed of representatives chosen by the interests that I deal with, and our agency never acts without awareness, responsibility, and representation. Our policies are as democratic as any coming from the Congress, and we furthermore act in the name of the popularly elected President."
We can applaud the ways in which the modern administrator seeks to understand and work with the public; we cannot go further than that because, first of all, the constitutional grounds, the rules we play by, do not recognize the priority of larger claims to representativeness. Secondly, the representation provided by congressmen is more extensive because the congressman is specialist in representation; he spends his life attuning himself to problems of representation; he lives by its definition and holds office tenuously because of changes in the constituency. The congressman is a full-time representative, the official is only on the job part-time.
Thirdly, merely on the question of representing samples of the American people, Congress emerges as a fairer mirror of the land and people. Few congressmen come from constituencies as narrow as the typical constituency of the official. Compare, for example, a Senator from Georgia with a bureau chief in the Department of State or a member of the Securities Exchange Commission. The Senator represents large cities and rural areas, clerks, workers, farm tenants, owners and professionals, teachers, soldiers and sailors, all religious groups, and a variety of political jurisdictions numbering into the hundreds. Even the most varied administrative constituency cannot stand comparison with such a representative base. Even if the official called in every interest and element of the public relevant to his task he would not have a constituency as varied as that of the State of Georgia, and Georgia is only average in complications.
Fourth, the branches of the politician's representation go on and on into the public, whereas those of the official come to dead ends of opinion. The nuclear constituency of a congressman, which we have described earlier, has strings that go out and down into the district and state. By contrast the department head and agency chiefs have a retinue that carries far down into the career service until it contains the anonymous clerks and workers with a job, not a constituency. (If they have constituencies-as rangers, extension agents, purchasing officers, revenue agents, and others do, they are of the narrow, specialized kind detailed in the example above, and therefore open to criticism as being segmental, non-national, and non-public.)
Some of these arguments appear to be supported by a recent study of Dr. John Corson, who, in an intensive survey of one-fourth of all top civil servants (8600) concluded that :
1) Only about one-third of the top executives are responsible for many-sided programs.
2) The top men are specialists on their subject-matter, not generalists, and their subordinates are specialists too.
3) Less than one-half spend much time formulating the plans and major policies of their agencies.
4) Two-thirds of the super-grade civil servants have spent their careers in one or two agencies. [ Men Near the Top (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1966).]
These facts along with much of the other material of this chapter should make the advocates of "representative bureaucracy" ponder their position. The combination of power with narrowness and of narrowness with policy passivity can stultify administrative activity and government reform.
In the final analysis, moreover, so rooted in the Congress and so much concocted out of well-wishing and meagre powers is the phenomenon of administrative representation, that should congress' power and representative character disappear, it also would quickly disappear. It is a moon made luminous by the sun. It has not gained the strength to exist and flourish by itself.
It could conceivably do so. It simply has not. If it did, it would grow over a long time or by revolution. Then there might be a real question for republican theory-that is, whether a better republic might be formed through a host of little legislatures connected functionally with the myriad agencies of government and culminating in a grand Congress or legislature, which would be quite different as to its constitution and procedures from the present Congress.
But that time is not now or immediately foreseeable. Should the present Congress decline and become a vestige, as did the Roman Senate, the French Estates General, and at times the English Parliament, the effective cause would be the Executive Force operating through the presidency. What would ensue might have a panoply of new representative devices, but almost nothing of the true processes and effects of republican government.