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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Heinlein: Starship Troopers

Book Cover

Heinlein's "Starship Troopers" is one of the books I reread every couple of years, and I have a feeling that the ideas I got from reading it in my late teens were influential in the rest of my life.

I must not have been the only one so influenced, half a century after its publication Starship Troopers is on the reading lists of the United States Marine Corps and the United States Navy OCS programs.

These next couple of paragraphs are excerpted from Wikipedia.
The overall theme of the book is that social responsibility requires being prepared to make individual sacrifice. Heinlein's Terran Federation is a limited democracy with aspects of a meritocracy based on willingness to sacrifice in the common interest. Suffrage (the right to vote) belongs only to those willing to serve their society by two years of volunteer Federal Service — "the franchise is today limited to discharged veterans", instead of anyone "...who is 18 years old and has a body temperature near 37 °C".

The Federation is required to find a place for anyone who desires to serve, regardless of his skill or aptitude (this also includes dangerous non-military work such as serving as experimental medical test subjects).
The key concept that comes out of this? No one can stop anyone from pursuing happiness, but life and liberty are said to exist only if they are deliberately sought and paid for. According to the novel, the U.S.A. collapsed because "people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted... and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears."

Looking at our government, looking at what people expect and demand from it, looking at who we vote into office, I am afraid that this is exactly the way America is going to end. Everyone wants life's amenities handed to them and no on is willing to take responsibility for his own actions.

Bottom line: I don't think that people who are not willing to sacrifice for this country should have any voice in running it.
"Memento mori"



Jim Handcock said...

Relayed from Vic:
Sadly such things are true, because all people inherently want more for less. meaning of course, if everything is free, why work for it? When given the choice between hard work for little (minimum wage) and a V.P corporate job, which has a lot of benefits, and little hands on hard work, but requires (or so it might be inferred or believed) mental capacity above, or beyond other people in the norm of society, which does the selfish part of all of us want? As that is 2 questions in reply to what I see as something noteworthy, I will answer before dropping back down under the radar again.
Why work for it? it is a rhetorical type question, I know, but bears answering. Something instilled in many people of previous generations has been working and earning what you get, find where that went and who hijacked it to get those off track, back on it.
Which does the selfish part of all of us want? this is a little more involved, but also relevant. all of us have a self worth gauge built into our own moral, and mental awareness. again, this has been changed from previous generations. While I have ideas on where it has been removed to, and why is not the question here, but more important who has done it should be noted, and then after that, they should be promptly removed and subject to something a little harsher than office hours. but again, I am diverting from the subject. find who has removed these things, and find how to put it back, and we Might set things right, if the damage done is not too great to be undone.

P.S. sorry to say, I am not bright enough to figure out why I can't post this to your page as a comment. I think with the change of accounts it has fubared a few things, the ability to leave comments being one of them, at least for the moment ;-) Will be down to see you as soon as time and schedule permit, we have just been busy with harvesting things, and yes, that will mean applesauce for Becca too