"Efficient government"—-desire of all good citizens, fervent promise of all politicians—suggests the factory where the efficiency of men and machines is tested by their qualifications for the goal of maximum output. Most functions of present-day government can be subjected to this test, but some of the oldest and most important functions of government cannot be. Governments not only produce goods, e.g., Navy yard warships, and services, e.g., weather forecasts; they also produce a reflection of the national will, the national sense of justice and policy.

Up to 75 years ago, jobholders were picked with policy mainly in mind. The electorate...

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