… is from pages 186-187 of H.L. Mencken’s essay “On Government,” as this essay is reprinted in the 1996 Johns Hopkins University Press collection of some of Mencken’s best essays, Prejudices: A Selection; in this quotation Mencken refers to the typical civil ‘servant,’ wearing at least the veneer of idealism, who became more prominent after the shrinkage of the spoils system and that system’s overt role in dispensing jobs to cronies:
He doesn’t start off with a bald demand for a job; he starts off with a Message. He has discovered the long-sought sure cure for all the sorrows of the world; he has the infallible scheme for putting down [in]justice, misery, ignorance, suffering, sin; his appeal is not to the rules of a sinister and discreditable game, but to the bursting heart of humanity, the noblest and loftiest sentiments of man. His job is never in the foreground; it is concealed in his Vision.