Icons, old and new - (pages 13 - 14)
This might have been a progressive working manner. But we did exactly the opposite. We promoted as professors those once merely secondary school teachers, although they were not at all fit for these jobs, as they used to be specialists in only one field. Then we founded a lot of secondary schools manned by whomever happened to be available. Afterwards we built thousands of primary schools, with staff appointed at random. I declare that there are hundreds of primary school teachers who cannot even spell, place a comma or a full stop, so to let alone talk about syntax or ortography. This last subject-matter is in a real mess, seeing that everybody thinks they can use whatever spelling they like.
We needed a better administration. Landlords rewarded their overseers by promoting them tax collectors. We agree this was not a good thing to do. But what did the liberals do better than that? They appointed whomever could spell correctly a few words. That means they have their own bailiffs, but they also allowed them to pull strings and use the state authority against their former masters. Anyway, which was in fact the old tax collector’s task? He had to urge people to till their land, then he took their metayage to store it in special barns. From time to time he even forced people to build a road as his masters had ordered.
Whether good or bad, this was all that people of that sort knew how to do.
However, were they fit for the new state of the changing society? Were they suited to higher demands? There is no way of accepting this. Today’s people are no longer obliged to have special barns for their masters or to till their own land. That means people are free to die for hunger if that is what they want. However, the sub-prefect nowadays has no better idea than his predecessor about what he should do. He has nothing to do anymore, but to be a meddler between the prefect’s office and the town hall. The prefect’s office is also an intermediary between the ministry and the sub-prefect’s office and, finally, the mayor’s house is a meddling office between public servants and private persons. This job is better and faster carried out by post, really. Moreover, there are electoral agents dealing with people that sell their votes.
The former tax collectors’ simple obligations were withdrawn from them and they were given some new ones that they did not know anything about. Administration is a real science and today a sub-prefect knows only how to write misspelt letters, as he has no knowledge of anything.
What is management? Has there been any universal liberal genius who asking himself what management means? What could it possibly mean to consider people’s prosperity as a responsibility of your wisdom and care? It means you must do the thinking for the one not able to think for himself. It means pondering over communal taxes. It means warning people not to accept more and more taxes imposed by the mayor over nightso just to rob the peasant blind!
Nothing would have been more natural than liberals asking themselves what management meant. As soon as they had put this question, they could have seen
what a difficult thing administration was and how necessary it was for a sub-prefect to know at least as much as an administration and political economy teacher knows. Moreover, he also has to be quite familiar with the place he lives in, so to be able applying what he knows.
Save in our country, the administrator is everywhere a real father for the rural population. He is the one to thinks of when and why the population is decreasing; when and why production is going to decrease; when and where a road is to be cut; when and where a school is more necessary to be built Finally, he is that official who by well-spoken words can persuade the peasant that the one ought to be elected a mayor is the most industrious, kindest and wisest Romanian in the village, not the most quarrelsome, talkative and laziest one. He has to check if the notary and the teacher know their jobs or if the priest looks after his church well. A sub-prefect’s job needs as much knowledge, selflessness and patriotism as only a person endowed with a real and vast education can have. We can admit that nowadays there still are people whose good faith is proven. Yet solid education and long experience in the field is a surer warranty than lack of education and no experience.
Any ordinary citizen can aspire to every social position in the country. That is why whoever has just a bit of education wishes to stop tilling the land and his aim is to become a state clerk. Of course, liberals have invented thousands of jobs, so to employ everybody, but they are still not enough to go around. Therefore, they are going to play a new trick: decentralization and elective system for public servants. This is meant for their protégés to be employed by state, at least by rotation. That means they want to make the government ten times more expensive and corrupted than it is today. This will be changed every three years. Then all of them will be pleased. It is true that liberty, equality and brotherhood cannot satisfy each upstart’s claims.
On this ground, liberals are interested in being promoted to central administration. That is the moment when they can rule over the whole country. Then, it is the time for unsuccessful lawyers to be appointed as secondary school principals, town mayors, school inspectors or prefects. But as soon as they get these jobs, they become personally interested in a longer liberal administration. This is because the government depends on Chambers, consequently on elections. So they do their best for their friends to be elected. Meanwhile, their friends are state officials, state officials’ relatives, public contractors or public contractors’ lawyers or they might also have a legal case with the state. This way, they try hard to be elected, so ministers would fear them and do whatever they want them to do. Grocers, traders or priests do not suspect all these, so their vote is given to "endangered" liberty. Besides, liberals always promise that there will be no more taxes under their rule - no direct taxes, no taxes on turnover, no tobacco monopoly, no military service and no duty on liquors -, but lots of jobs, where everybody could be employed, all over the country.