include a heavy reliance upon established authors, firmlyndrawn parameters of fields of interest, the much mentionednmultiple referee processing of manuscripts, down to morenmundane matters of insistence upon a ribbon copy andnverifiable author questionnaires. While no one mechanismnis foolproof, as a collection of safeguards these worknrelatively well. The problem is that they may work too well.nThe tendency of publishers to operate within well-definednlimits often leads to an overconservatized view of thenmarketplace and a corresponding suspicion, if not breakdown,nin innovation. Thus, extreme caution may have theneffect of drying up the wellsprings of creativity, and moreovernrejecting manuscripts that may be useful to publish,nalbeit risky on the surface.nThe present condition of scholarly journal publishingnindicates how serious the problem of the overconservativenapproach to truthmaking can become. In the social sciences,nat least, most journals have such finely tuned methodologicalncriteria for publication that the method rather thannthe findings, or even the theory, become central. The widengap in style and substance between book and journalnpublishing in the social sciences is indicative of this gapnbetween information and knowledge. For book publishersnto adopt the same standards of rigor is to guarantee an evennsmaller audience base for their products than currentiynexists and a choking-off of an area of creative communicationncurrentiy not available in the journal publications area.nElectronic SurveillancenThe revolution in electronics —ntelevision, information processing,nhome video—has been greeted bynalmost universal dismay. Apartnfrom a few Pollyannas like AlvinnToffler, the new technologies arenseen, by liberals and Marxists alike,nas instruments of coercion by whichnthe mass mind will be stamped withnthe official ideology of (in the Orwelliannliberal version) the state orn(in the next Marxist version) thenbourgeoisie. Hardly anyone hadnlooked seriously at what impact thencomputer chip and the video screennwould have on the politics of andemocratic society. In CommunicatingnIdeas, Irving Louis Horowitzntakes a serious but largely optimisticnview of the expanding informationalnopportunities that are open tonAmerican consumers. As a politicalnsociologist and academic publishern(he is president of Transaction),nHorowitz is acutely aware of thenpolitical aspects of communica-nREVISIONSntions, and his discussion ranges thenspectrum from scholarly publishingnto satellite television.nParticularly welcome is Horowitz’snhard look at the new Luddites,na combination of disgruntiedncomputer pioneers, political radicals,nand disappointed Utopians.nWhile the original Luddites hadnlegitimate grievances—skilled, independentncraftsmen reduced to thenlevel of hired help—the antitechnologyndoomsayers have littie toncomplain of. None has a reactionarynor agrarian vision of society;nmost oppose the electronic revolutionsnon no better grounds thannnostalgia for the better days of then1940’s and 50’s. By themselves,ncomputers and cable television willnnot replace print, much less subjugatenthe American mind. As Horowitznpoints out, recent developmentsnmake possible a morendemocratic society with a greaternvariety of choices. (Who watchesnnetwork TV anymore, except for anfew favorite shows?)nTightening the screws on the truth-error continuum maynhave the opposite impact of drying up the innovationconventionncontinuum. In such an environment, to errnonce in a while in the publication of a manuscript may benfar easier than tightening yet further the criteria of publicationnaltogether.nKarl Marx, in an early essay “Remarks on the NewnInstructions to the Prussian Censors” neatly expresses thenrationale behind most publishers’ reluctance to censor: “Arenwe to understand quite simply that truth is what thengovernment ordains? . . . Freely shall you write, but letnevery word be a genuflection toward the liberal censor whonapproves your modest, serious good judgment. Be sure thatnyou do not lose a consciousness of humility.” With thesenmocking words, Marx made plain that the problem forndemocratic society is less the occasional charlatan or liarnwho carries off a literary swindle than the much morenfrequent demands by the state and, in our age, the StatenPublishing House, to protect the public by preventingnaccess to controversial materials. The best safeguard againstnfraud is a free and untrammeled publishing network.nFail-safe systems urged by those who would make thenpublisher a Guardian of Truth represent a cure far worsenthan the disease. Truth can be guaranteed when thenexclusive publisher is the Government Printing Office. Butna democratic culture must be protected from that kind ofnperfection.nnnHorowitz’s optimism may not benentirely justified but not becausenelectronic technology is by its naturenthe instrument of Big Brothernor Daddy Warbucks. However, in annation with an educational systemnlike ours (initially mediocre andnrapidly disintegrating into programmednimbecility), intellectualnchoice is inevitably restricted. In ancountry where even the print technology’ofnbooks, magazines, andnnewspapers has become the agent ofnthought control, a similar fate maynawait the computer. What is remarkablenis that so far personalncomputers, cable and satellite television,nand home video have been anliberating experience for intelligentnconsumers, and yet all that we hearnfrom the best and brightest is to thenopposite effect. Perhaps they knownthe truth and are terrified by thenprospect of intellectual freedom. Innany event, Horowitz’s book shouldnbe read and studied by anyone interestednin the communication ofnideas.nAPRIL 1987/21n