As I observe the tone and apparent lack of civility in current political discourse I wonder, is civil service still possible?
The history of the civil service provides an interesting perspective. According to Wikipedia, the origin of the civil service can be traced back to the Imperial examination founded in Imperial China. The Imperial exam based on merit was designed to select the best administrative officials for the state’s bureaucracy. Interesting concept, objectively test applicants in order to choose the best person for the job.
Prior to the Imperial exam, most bureaucratic appointments were based on recommendations from prominent aristocrats or local officials. Those with power and money ruled the day. Sound familiar?
What if we were to elect our public officials based on merit? Granted, there may be differences of opinion as to what skills are most important but I think the conversation and the outcomes would be very different.
What would the “test” to be a legislator look like? I’d say the civics test that individuals must pass to become aU.S.citizen is a good place to start. Candidates for citizenship must answer 10 randomly selected questions out of a set of 100 questions. Shouldn’t a legislator be able to answer all 100?
If legislators came to the table based on merit, maybe they would have a common level of respect for each other rather than disdain for those in the opposing party. Maybe they would focus on facing the key challenges of the day rather than on shilling for the party that got them there. Maybe there would be no need for political parties. Maybe they would serve the people, and be true civil servants.