For a public officer we want a person who thinks as we do: this is what political parties mean. If we were scientific, we would want an officer because he were best qualified. Our method of government rests on this partisanship,—on my side and your side, the pros and cons, the ins and outs, the saints and sinners, the democrats and republicans. It is said that in the nature of things and in the quality of the human mind, the life of the race must be partisan. We are told that there is good and evil, a proposition, however, not capable of proof; that there is day and night, but the day and the night both are continuous and they merely pass over us where we stand; that there is up and down, but not one of us knows at this moment whether he is on his head or on his feet. The processes of nature are all continuous and we interpret the contrasts as if they were essential differences in substance.
There are no parties in science. There may be difference of opinion when we do not yet know the truth, and variations in interpretation, and personal antagonisms between those whose science does not reach to the heart; but government at present is organized partisanship. A merchant is not partisan in his shop, nor a manufacturer in his factory, nor a farmer on his farm, nor a teacher in his class-room; but at the polls these persons think they are not citizens unless they have opinions which are correct because they hold them. This long-continued practice solidifies opinion and makes it impregnable to evidence; we come at length to substitute habit for reason.