The American Behavioral Scientist this month is given over to the celebration of three events.
There is first that glorious electric idiot, the computer. If for eons mankind could worship the sun, and even the moon, not to mention snakes, trees, and cows, it is not surprising that some atavists can reflect in awe upon the new Past Master of the Arithmetic Tables. In a prescient sentence sixty-three years old, the Logician Royce declared, "To say `yes' or `no' to the question: Does this object belong or does it not belong, for this purpose, to this collection of objects?' is the last as well as the first task of the human thinker in all his dealing with particular facts." The possibilities of adding "yes"and "no" like lightning can upset and reform practically every intellectual and industrial operation of man. Isn't that enough to send one to his knees?
Second occurs American social science, which in these pages expresses its genius by means of the computer. Applied social science is the principal reason why the United States holds its role as the greatest social force of the Twentieth Century world. Other countries are ridden by bureaucracies, primitive armies, and lawyers that bridle free expression in the natural sciences generally; the United States is less controlled by these because its human sciences loosen the bonds of compulsive, non-rational behavior. Other countries have, to be sure, great novelists, religious organizations, physicists, and businessmen; America's ability to compete in these respects is enhanced because its counterparts are less enlivened and directed by the social science modes of thought and behavior. Not genius, nor industriousness nor lofty ideals -but rather instrumentals and empiricism- carry the country high. That social scientists are no showered with honors-except when they go abroad- not surprising. They are looked upon with some suspicion by the traditional elites, like a strange officer who takes the front rank in the morning roll-call.
The third matter to celebrate here is the more specific occurrence of a group of authors who, as representative of the highest achievements of the American intellect and as masters of the Glorious Idiot, have been able together and individually to push forward into new areas of social inquiry and scientific application. In one of various friendly conversations of days gone by, I suggested to Edward L. Greenfield, President of Simulmatic Corporation, the organization in the framework of which all the work was taking place, that a collective presentation would be a benchmark in the theory and instrumentation of the social sciences. He agreed to help and so did all of his collaborators. The results are now before us, and there remains only to introduce the authors (see page 44) before presenting their work.