”Frederick the Great was once asked why it was that he chose his officer corps only from the Junkers of Prussia, rather than other groups. Why not a clever baker's son from
? What's wrong with a solid farmer from Dresden Pomerania?
"Nein," he replied, explaining his preference for the Junkers, "Because they will not lie and cannot be bought."
Great empires depend on a reliable professional class of military officers, administrators and businessmen.
had them when it ruled the waves. They came out of the public (we would call them private) school of "Tom Brown's School-days," and were packed off into the Her Majesty's civil service. Many were incompetent. But few were dishonest. Britain
never really had a specific class of civil servants; the place was always too big and too mobile. As good a military man might spring from the coalmines of America as from the citadels of the East Coast elites. So might a good businessman arise from the cattle ranches of West Virginia as from the counting houses of Texas . The history of World War II, for example, is the tale of how they came together and got the job done. They too were often hopelessly naïve and incompetent - compared, say, to the more experienced Germans. But very few stole. Very few lied. Very few shirked, ducked, or jived. San Francisco
If I ever run for public office I think I’ll borrow from Fredrick’s answer and use it for a campaign slogan:
“I won’t lie and I refuse to be bought.”
What a refreshing thought if our Congresscritters and civilserpents started embracing it now.