Robert Heinlein

Writer of many SciFi books: Friday, Job, Time Enough For Love (Lazarus Long), Stranger In A Strange Land, Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, etc.


Excerpt from Revolt In 2100 re General Semantics

Had the science of semantics developed as rapidly as PsychoDynamics and its implementing arts of Propaganda and Mob Psychology, the UnitedStates might never have fallen into dictatorship, then been forced to undergo the Second Revolution...

The Covenant was the first scientific social document (Society Design) ever drawn up by man, and due credit must be given to its principal author, Dr. Micah Novak, the same Novak who served as staff psychologist in the revolution. The revolutionsts wished to establish maximum personal liberty (Freedom). How could they accomplish that to a degree of high mathematical Probability?

First, they junked the concept of "JustIce". Examined semantically "justice" has no referent - there is no observable phenomenon in the space-time-matter continuum to which one can point, and say "This is justice". Science can deal only with that which can be observed and measured. Justice is not such a matter; therefore it can never have the same meaning to one as to another; any "noises" said about it will only add to confusion.

But damage, physical or economic, can be pointed to and measured. Citizens were forbidden by the Covenant to damage another. Any act not leading to damage, physical or economic, to come particular person, they declared to be lawful.

Since they had abandoned the concept of "justice", there could be no rational standards of punishment. Penology took its place with lycanthropy and other forgotten witchcrafts. Yet, since it was not practical to permit a source of danger to remain in the community, social offenders wer examined and potential repeaters were given their choice of psychological readjustment, or having society withdraw itself from them - Coventry.

(I'm a bit uncomfortable with the power given to psychological "scientists" both here and in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, as I am dubious that anything as complex as the human mind, esp in each individual's case, will submit to accurate scientific understanding.)


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