AN INQUIRY INTO THE POSSIBLE RECONCILIATION OF MASTERY AND FREEDOM *
HAROLD D. LASSWELL
My intention is to consider political science as a discipline and as a profession in relation to the impact of the physical and biological sciences and of engineering upon the life of man. I propose to inquire into the possible reconciliation of man's mastery over Nature with freedom, the overriding goal of policy in our body politic.
In the interest of concreteness I shall have something to say about past and potential applications of science in three areas: armament, production, and evolution.
It is trite to acknowledge that for years we have lived in the afterglow of a mushroom cloud and in the midst of an arms race of unprecedented gravity. Here I shall support a proposition that may at first evoke some incredulous exclamations. The proposition is that our intellectual tools have been sufficiently sharp to enable political scientists to make a largely correct appraisal of the consequences of unconventional weapons for world politics.
We have correctly understood the strength of the factors that perpetuate a feeble international order even in the face of recent technoscientific developments. The traditional tools at our disposal for the analysis of politics prepare us to regard a voluntary relinquishment of power as much less likely than efforts to perpetuate power. In a divided world it is not surprising to find that more elites expect to be in a better position by continuing the current system than by taking the risks involved in consenting to a new structure of power. But we have not dis____________________