Our Wonderland of Bureaucracy: A Study of the Growth of Bureaucracy in the Federal Government, and Its Destructive Effect upon the Constitution

By James M. Beck | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVIII
BUREAUCRACY AND THE CONSTITUTION

"Governments, like clocks, go from the motion men give them; and, as governments are made and moved by men, so by men they are ruined, too. Therefore governments rather depend upon men, than men upon governments."--WILLIAM PENN.

EMPHASIS has been repeatedly placed, in the preceding chapters, upon the lack of correspondence between the functions of many governmental bureaus and any discernible grant of power under the Constitution of the United States. This thought cannot be too constantly emphasized, and yet it suggests an aspect of the problem of bureaucracy, for which there is seemingly no remedy.

To use the homely analogy of William Penn, the American people have so recklessly played with the machinery of their clock that it no longer strikes time to the great traditions of the English-speaking race. The Constitution could not survive the decay of the spirit of constitutional morality in the American people.

As has been shown, the unlimited power of the Federal Government over the purse of the nation--and it is as the purse of Fortunatus--has impaired and almost destroyed our form of government, except in name. It is easy to take a clock to pieces, but it is not so easy to put it together again. Only an expert clock-maker could do this. The Framers of the Constitution were great clock-makers in the science of statecraft and they did, with admirable ingenuity, put together an intricate machine, which promised to run indefinitely, and tell the time of the centuries.

Unfortunately, that fair hope has been belied by succeeding generations, who cared more for the practical advantages of the living day, than the preservation of fundamental principles of government sanctioned by the collective wisdom of the ages.

The second chapter of this book attempted to show that, even from the beginning, the ancient timepiece of

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