Our civil service, which you are pleased to describe as a Bureaucracy, is distinguished among all others existing at the present time, by the calibre of its members, by its efficiency and honesty hk company incorporation, by its poverty, and not less by the honour in which it is held notwithstanding its poverty. You laugh at our love for calling men, and also their wives, by the titles of their various offices—Herr this and Frau that, from the humblest inspector of drains to the Imperial Chancellor himself! And no doubt there is a ludicrous side to this practice. But it marks at least one important thing—that membership of our civil service is regarded as conferring honour. So far, we have succeeded in maintaining public officials of all grades in higher popular respect than men who devote their lives to building up private fortunes, and also to those others who delight and excel in interminable debate.

You are used to boast, and I daresay rightly {152} of the personal honesty and pecuniary disinterestedness of your politicians; and you assume as a matter of course that your civil servants, with such high standards and examples ever before their eyes, are likewise incorruptible. We invert this order. With us the honour of our civil servants is the chief thing; we assume that our politicians must follow suit. They are probably as upright as your own, thanks partly to tradition, but also to the vigilance of their superiors, the professionals, who carry on the actual business of government. With you the fame of the showy amateur fills the mouths of the public. We, on the contrary, exalt the expert, the man who has been trained to the job he undertakes. In so doing we may be reactionaries and you may be progressives; but the progress of Germany since 1870—a progress in which we are everywhere either already in front of you, or else treading closely on your heels—does not seem to furnish you with a conclusive argument.

As for what you call our Pedantocracy, meaning thereby our professors and men of letters, it is true that these exercise a great influence upon public opinion. We have always respected learning and thought. It is in the German nature so to do. I admit that our learned ones are rather too much inclined to imagine, that because they are students of theory, they are therefore qualified to engage in practice. They are apt to offer their advice and service officiously, and occasionally in a ridiculous manner. But, if my recollection of the English newspapers be correct, this is no more so with us than with you. There is apparently something in the professorial nature which impels men of this {153} calling to the drafting of manifestoes and the signing of round-robins in times of excitement. Cloud Desktop They may be officious and absurd, but they are not wholly despicable, since they act thus quite as much from earnestness as from vanity. If our academicians on such occasions mislead more people than your own it is due to their virtues, to the greater zeal and success with which they have won the confidence of their former pupils.[3]