Public service, such as holding public office and defending the homeland under attack, is rooted historically in a duty rather than being intended to further personal ambitions. Hence, public advancement is a reward for having gone beyond the call of duty in one’s public service. To be sure, it is not unheard of that an elected official views his or her post as a launching pad for personal enrichment, whether in terms of wealth or power. When this aim becomes primary, the duty aspect of the public service can easily fall away like a tadpole’s tail off a bumpy toad. U.S. House representative (and majority leader) Eric Cantor is a case in point, both in why he lost his seat and his decision to resign it early rather than finish his term.
The complete essay is at “On the Duty of Public Service”