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There is a satirical phrase, "Everything not forbidden is compulsory," which seems to have been a part of popular culture (in varied form) in the English-speaking world in the early 20th century. It was later used by Murray Gell-Mann as a tongue-in-cheek way of formulating a fundamental principle of quantum mechanics. In the physics context, it's referred to as the "totalitarian principle." I ran across a comment on a WP talk page saying that Heinlein uses this phrase in the 1940 story "Coventry." Can anyone help me track down where in the story it occurs? It's a pretty long story. What I have handy is the 1967 Berkley mass-market paperback edition of The Past Through Tomorrow, but if anyone can point me to the general location within the story, I should be able to find it.

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    I believe the phrase originates with The Once and Future King by T H White. – Harry Johnston Jan 13 at 20:54
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    @HarryJohnston: Actually that turns out to be wrong. I've done some edits to the WP article, which used to claim that. For a careful historical discussion, see thepaper by Kragh referenced in the WP article. White didn't publish the phrase in print util 1958. – Ben Crowell Jan 13 at 21:12
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    Huh. I thought Once and Future King was much older than that. My mistake. – Harry Johnston Jan 13 at 23:08
  • @HarryJohnston: The story existed in a series of different versions. The phrase didn't appear until the 1958 version. The Kragh paper goes into all this. – Ben Crowell Jan 15 at 1:13
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It’s about a quarter of the way through:

The state was thought of as a single organism with a single head, a single brain, and a single purpose. Anything not compulsory was forbidden.

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    For anyone else trying to locate it, it's about two pages after the end of the courtroom scene, inserted as an authorial explanation during a dialog between David MacKinnon and Fader Magee. – Ben Crowell Jan 13 at 19:33
  • @BenCrowell It's pretty easy to find it here, just search for "compulsory": archive.org/details/Astounding_v25n05_1940-07_dtsg0318 – user14111 Jan 14 at 10:27

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