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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 73.djvu/338

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

a most honorable career, or that the incumbent should set aside the honorable satisfactions of high office. I do imply that a president who in any way uses the university as a means of personal exaltation is abusing his office; I do imply that such success even when most deserving and well directed is too dearly bought when it is paid for, as commonly it is, by the mutilation of the academic efficiency, often the personal unhappiness of many a professor. I imply more than this: that the spirit in which the presidency should be assumed is not wholly different from the attitude which I heard a progressive American demoiselle prescribe for her mother as a most effective way to encourage the social success of her daughters; namely, to efface herself except when summoned. Now I am not approving this rule of conduct; I am but suggesting that a large measure of this spirit of depersonalization, somewhat more loftily conceived, shall dominate all who serve the administration of the grove. Administration must ever be second; and often must it be last. Academic perspective can be retained only by an advancement to the foreground in every presentation of scientific insight, educational wisdom and commanding personal quality, by the retirement to the background of all auxiliary services however essential, difficult or worthy, so that those within and without shall see, hear and understand. Once more let me cite the testimony of another (Stratton): "We exalt administrative ability above scientific insight," which should not be. Universities "should be the last to typify in their own structure the thought that discovering truth and imparting the vital principle whereby others may discover it are of a dignity less than that of organizing and management."

I can not better reenforce the scattered contentions of my plea than by gathering a few citations from one and another who, surveying the same sets of influences in which as it seems to me lies the future strength or weakness of the American universities, have brought away a similar and even less hopeful outlook. Professor Cattell regards with special concern the autocratic domination that externalism brings and the deterioration of character that follows in its wake:

The individual has once more been subordinated, crudely commercial standards prevail, and control has been seized by the strong and the unscrupulous. Those of us who are not ashamed to express faith in democracy regard all this as a temporary phase, which will only last until intelligence has developed equal to the complexity of the environment. The only real danger is that instincts may become atrophied before reason is ready to take their place. The trust promoter and insurance president, the political boss and government official, the university president and school superintendent, have assumed powers and perquisites utterly subversive of a true democracy. The bureaucracy is defended on the ground of efficiency; but efficiency is not a final cause. To do things is not a merit regardless of what they are, and bigness is not synonymous with greatness. There is no ground for hopelessness. Of the things done the good may last and the rest may be eliminated; bigness may become greatness.