Criticism of those in authority is an important part of the political system of a republic. The threat of public criticism is designed to keep our leaders in the straight path of integrity and efficiency. Errors or dishonesty on their part are given "pitiless publicity," so that the force of public opinion will defeat them at the next election. While this system has its good effects during peace, it has even then its disadvantages. The right of free speech and of the free press is often abused and great men in the public service are violently slandered by political opponents and personal enemies. The charges brought against them may be answered by a counter statement, but there will always be some who will not notice this or will not be convinced by it, and thus the mere fact that a public charge is brought against a man will usually injure his reputation, regardless of the truth of it.