Compare the expression of the two men. Mr. Roosevelt’s expression is intense, vigorous, and almost belligerent. Mr. Taft’s expression is mild, calm, judicial, good-natured, and jovial.
By what stretch of the imagination could anyone suppose that a man of Mr. Taft’s character and aptitudes, as shown by the indications pointed out in the foregoing, could even begin to carry out the policies of a man of Mr. Roosevelt’s character, as shown by the indications we have pointed out? And yet, all of the political history of the United States since 1909 has been completely changed as the result of Mr. Roosevelt’s lack of knowledge of the plain facts of the science of human nature. Indeed, the result of Mr. Roosevelt’s choice of a successor is found in Mexico, in Germany, in England, in France, and, in fact, throughout the world.
Woodrow Wilson has been criticized, perhaps, as severely for his selection of men for various posts in his administration as for any other cause, if reports are to be believed. He has probably suffered far more from unfortunate selection of lieutenants and of men for special tasks, and has more deeply regretted his mistakes of this nature, than any other thing in his administration up to the time that these lines are written.
The few examples we have given in this chapter of men who gave excellent promise and then failed to live up to their expectations are typical. They are occurring every day in every line of business and industry, as well as in politics and government. We are told by some who have made a study of this subject that the only way to find out what a man can do, what his aptitudes are, what are his abilities, his capacities, his type, and what his performances will be, is to put him in a place where he will have an opportunity to show what there is in him. If this is the best that science can do for us, we are, then, groping in darkness through a tangled maze of pitfalls. We have nothing left but to go on using disastrous and impracticable methods in the selection of men for commerce, for industry, for financial responsibility, and for the highest positions of honor, responsibility, and power in the gift of the people.
True, we can determine a man’s fitness by giving him a trial. But, if he is a failure, and we learn nothing by experience, the next incumbent may be a hundred-fold worse. Furthermore, in many places, selection by trial is an impossibility, as in marriage, in the presidency of a bank, or in a general to lead a forlorn hope. There must be some better way.
Some years ago we were asked to make an investigation at a printing and publishing house. Two years before this time the proprietor had ceased to receive any profits from the enterprise and, at this particular time, complained that for months he had been putting money into the business in order to keep it going. He himself was not a practical printer and was not in immediate management of the concern. His manager, however, was an able man, a good printer, and was considered to be a good business man.