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The Cult of Incompetence   By: (1847-1916)

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First Page:

Transcriber's Note: All Greek words have been transliterated into English, and are contained within { } brackets.

THE CULT OF INCOMPETENCE

FIRST EDITION November, 1911. SECOND EDITION July, 1912.

THE CULT OF INCOMPETENCE

By EMILE FAGUET

Of the French Academy

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH BY BEATRICE BARSTOW

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY THOMAS MACKAY

NEW YORK: E. P. DUTTON & COMPANY 1912

CONTENTS.

PAGE

INTRODUCTION 1

CHAPTER

I. THE PRINCIPLES OF FORMS OF GOVERNMENT 12

II. CONFUSION OF FUNCTIONS 37

III. THE REFUGES OF EFFICIENCY 59

IV. THE COMPETENT LEGISLATOR 66

V. LAWS UNDER DEMOCRACY 82

VI. THE INCOMPETENCE OF GOVERNMENT 92

VII. JUDICIAL INCOMPETENCE 96

VIII. EXAMPLES OF INCOMPETENCE 123

IX. MANNERS 156

X. PROFESSIONAL CUSTOMS 162

XI. ATTEMPTED REMEDIES 172

XII. THE DREAM 216

INDEX 237

THE CULT OF INCOMPETENCE.

INTRODUCTION.

Though it may not have been possible in the following pages to reproduce the elegant and incisive style of a master of French prose, not even the inadequacies of a translation can obscure the force of his argument. The only introduction, therefore, that seems possible must take the form of a request to the reader to study M. Faguet's criticism of modern democracy with the daily paper in his hand. He will then see, taking chapter by chapter, how in some aspects the phenomena of English democracy are identical with those described in the text, and how in others our English worship of incompetence, moral and technical, differs considerably from that which prevails in France. It might have been possible, as a part of the scheme of this volume, to note on each page, by way of illustration, instances from contemporary English practice, but an adequate execution of this plan would have overloaded the text, or even required an additional volume. Such a volume, impartially worked out with instances drawn from the programme of all political parties, would be an interesting commentary on current political controversy, and it is to be hoped that M. Faguet's suggestive pages will inspire some competent hand to undertake the task.

If M. Faguet had chosen to refer to England, he might, perhaps, have cited the constitution of this country, as it existed some seventy years ago, as an example of a "demophil aristocracy," raised to power by an "aristocracy respecting democracy." It is not perhaps wise in political controversy to compromise our liberty of action in respect of the problems of the present time, by too deferential a reference to a golden age which probably, like Lycurgus in the text, p. 73, never existed at all, but it has been often stated, and undoubtedly with a certain amount of truth, that the years between 1832 and 1866 were the only period in English history during which philosophical principles were allowed an important, we cannot say a paramount, authority over English legislation... Continue reading book >>




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