Culture Magazine

Tillerson's Folly and the Distinction Between Personal and Public Interests and Duties

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
The NYTimes has an article about the damage Tillerson has done to the State Department. The article contains this paragraph:
Equally damaging, Mr. Tillerson’s insular management style alienated or marginalized many of the department’s most experienced hands. He and the small team around him seemed to view foreign policy professionals as the enemy — a “deep state” opposed to Mr. Trump’s agenda. In this they were profoundly wrong. Over the past 25 years, I’ve worked closely with hundreds of Foreign Service officers and civil servants through Democratic and Republican administrations. To a person, they take pride in checking their personal beliefs at the department’s door and working for the success of whatever administration they serve. I could not tell you the political affiliation of any of the officers with whom I served.
The distinction, the one I've highlighted, is critical to a properly functioning bureaucracy. Your personal beliefs and interests are one thing and they must be kept separate from the duties and commitments governed by your job. Start at the top, with citizen Trump, this administration is short on people who routinely and reflexively make this distinction.
For two other versions of the same distinction, see the last three paragraphs of my recent post, Janet Hays, a brief remembrance.

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