Libertarian History/Philosophy

Authorized Heinlein Bio Out Next Month, Science Fiction Writers Get Pumped



In honor of the upcoming August 17 release of the first volume of the much-anticipated authorized biography of Robert A. Heinlein, publisher Tor Books is asking various science fiction writers to name their favorite work by the author of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, Stranger in a Strange Land, and other influential works. 

The first installment is up this week. In it, Postman author David Brin makes the case for Beyond this Horizon, Heinlein's treatment of the notion that "an armed society is a polite society," and offers this sure-to-be-controversial take on Heinlein's libertarianism:

Here we see the clearest ever expression of his political philosophy, which is demonstrably neither "fascist" nor anywhere near as conservative as some simpleminded critics might have us think. Indeed, his famed libertarianism had limits, moderated and enriched by compassion, pragmatism and a profound faith that human beings can improve themselves, gradually, by their own diligence and goodwill….

When it comes to politics, his future society is, naturally, a descendant of the America Heinlein loved.  But it has evolved in two directions at once.  Anything having to do with human creativity, ambition or enterprise is wildly competitive and nearly unregulated. But where it comes to human needs, the situation is wholly socialistic.  One character even says, in a shocked tone of voice: "Naturally food is free! What kind of people do you take us for?"

None of this fits into the dogma of Ayn Rand, whose followers have taken over the libertarian movement.  If Robert Heinlein was a libertarian, it was clearly of a more subtle kind, less historically or anthropologically naive, more compassionate…and more interesting

I wrote about the deep and abiding love affair (sometimes a love/hate affair) between science fiction writers, libertarians, and Heinlein here. Brian Doherty celebrated Heinlein's 100th birthday in Reason's pages here.

Via BoingBoing.

NEXT: Cory Doctorow on The War on Kids, Boing Boing, & His Next Novel

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I first read Beyond this Horizon earlier this year. If it wasn’t by Heinlein, I’d never have bothered to finish it.

    Unless you like completely unrealistic characters in a tedious book that is actually two half-assed novellas strung together and called a novel, avoid it like the plague.

    1. The first half – up through the shootout – is entertaining enough, though it’s a long way from his best.

      As for the second half… tedious and half-assed is a charitable description.

    2. Thanks, J sub D — bought it on amazon for 68 cents plus $3 shipping, but cancelled the order when I read your warning.

      The only two allegedly existing copies in the HI state library system were lost or claimed returned (i.e., lost with an excuse).

    3. Heinlein did that a few times — building to a climax midway thru a work, thus maintaining the surprise factor that usually goes away when the reader knows how far it is to the end. And in this as in some other cases, the climax is even short-circuited by deus ex excusica. Oh yeah, while you were out cold, the good guys won, you don’t need to know the details, now let’s discuss some really important stuff.

  2. *One character even says, in a shocked tone of voice: “Naturally food is free! What kind of people do you take us for?”*

    “If Robert Heinlein was a libertarian, it was clearly of a more subtle kind, less historically or anthropologically naive…”

    Say what?

  3. Brin has always, for all his libertarian/pro-liberty leanings, had a pervasive collectivist slant to his works, and it’s unsurprising he would look for that in the writings of a writer he admired. I haven’t read Beyond this Horizon, so I can’t judge whether that’s the case here, but maybe others (NutraSweet, I’m looking at you) who have read it can weigh in on Brin’s interpretation.

    I have certainly not gotten the impression he talks about from other Heinlein works, but Heinlein was also a versatile author who explored a lot of different concepts.

  4. ‘sure-to-be-controversial ‘

    I’d say he captured Heilein perfectly. I’d sign up for that version of libertarianism’s newsletter.

    I think a certain level of pragmatic socialism makes libertarian sense, at the very least it helps keep those who can’t really help themselves out of everyones way.

    1. I think a certain level of pragmatic socialism makes libertarian sense

      “pragmatic” and “libertarian” do not mean what you think they mean

  5. I guess that guy hasn’t read much Heinlein.

  6. Food (like healthcare) is “free…” kayyyyyyy.

    1. I’d be interested to see if Heinlein was actually making fun of the concept of free food, considering that he was the person who came up with TANSTAAFL.

      1. Wasn’t he envisioning a world where technology had made essentials like food so abundant they could be given away?

        1. I have no idea. That would be a post-scarcity society, which destroys Brin’s interpretation completely, as there is no “socialistic” aspect to post-scarcity, since there is no sacrifice by the better off to help the less well off. Post-scarcity makes food like air; of course it’s free, just like air is free to all of us right now.

          1. Precisely. Which makes Brin sound like a complete idiot, unless I’m missing something.

            1. Of course, I’m a libertarian, which makes me unsubtle, anthropologically naive and lacking in compassion, so what the fuck do I know?

              1. the same skills you use as a journalist

                1. You got that right. So why aren’t more journalists libertarians? It’s a crazy world.

                  1. because it involves reporting reality

                    1. ba-da-bing

          2. Definitely post-scarcity – resources are produced in such abundance that it’s a major chore to use them all. (To the point that one of the characters complains that no matter how esoteric and theoretical a branch of scientific research is, it always has some practical benefit, and eventually more than makes back any public investment.)

        2. Wasn’t he envisioning a world where technology had made essentials like food so abundant they could be given away?

          Who was it back in the 1950s or 60s that said atomic power would make production of electricity so cheap, they would be giving it away free?

        3. Wasn’t he envisioning a world where technology had made essentials like food so abundant they could be given away?

          Many sci-fi authors have done just that thesis — for example, Iain Banks’ “Culture” novels talk about a thoroughly socialist society that works because robots have made every material need so cheap and abundant that it can be given away for free.

          1. There’s a more pop culture aspect to this type of post-scarcity system: Star Trek. If you have a replicator that can make a cup of tea, Earl Grey, hot, or a Ford Mustang, appear out of thin air for no cost, the concept of money and capitalism becomes somewhat obsolete. Which is why it the whole gold pressed latinum/Ferangi bit never made any sense to me.

            1. In ST’s future, not everyone has replicators or the huge energy supplies needed to make them work. Those without replicator technology still, for the most part, use money. Also, certain things are apparently not replicable, Latinum being one. My understanding is that gold is used as a kind of binding agent for the Latinum, much as we alloyed silver with copper in making durable coins (before switching to the entirely “base metal” sandwich-coins we have today).

      2. Also, Heinlein involved with “social credit” and the Upton Sinclair EPIC thing in the ’30s, and Beyond This Horizon is very early work (1942). He got more libertarian as time went on.

        1. Yeah, For Us, The Living is particularly and notably fucktarded on economics.

          1. Yes, the economics of For Us, the Living and Beyond This Horizon are almot exactly alike. Even the subplot of the man from the past is almot exact.

            1. Perhaps in the future typing lessons will be free….

      3. Actually, I’m sure he didn’t. I’m sure at that point he meant what he was writing. But this a hugely retarded conversation because Brin is talking about Heinlein’s second book. Of like forty. The man’s bibliography is enormous, and by his death he’d completely transformed in political thinking.

        The fact alone that Brin cited Beyond this Sunrise is enough to discredit anything he has to say; the man is clearly not concerned with reflecting on Heinlein’s body of work, but rather only on this one thing he said this one time when he was young and stupid that sort of/kind of reminds the man of his own backwards intellectual whatever-the-shit.

        3) Stranger in a Strange Land
        2) The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
        1) Time Enough for Love

        1. And by “cited” I mean “chose.”

          And by “this is a hugely retarded conversation” I really only mean “I want to kick Brin in the teeth.”

          1. Brin is the opposite of Heinlein; he started out so well, and got more collectivist over time, which is why I haven’t even bothered to see if he’s written anything new in at least 10 years.

            1. His first uplift books were thrilling. He went downhill rapidly.

              1. Those and The Practice Effect were excellent. He actually started going downhill with Earth, which is 20 years ago.

                1. 20 years, sounds about like the last time I read his stuff.

                  1. It was The Transparent Society that confirmed Brin was a jackass.

                    1. Kiln People was pretty insteresting, but doesn’t match up with his Uplift War books.

            2. “Consider Phlebas” and “The Player of Games” were excellent. Just ordered “Use of Weapons”.

              Charles Stross is another sci-fi socialist who has done some interesting earlier work.

              Not entirely buying the notion of a benevolent socialist society propped up by robot superabundance, especially the benevolence part, but it’s an interesting thesis.

              1. The first two books mentioned @ 5:12 were by Iain Banks, not Brin.

                1. Actually all three are by Banks.

  7. I have patterned much of my personality on that of Jubal Harshaw.

    The rest is based on Coach Magurk from Home Movies.

    1. If Lazarus Long wasn’t so weirded out by homosexuality, I’d definitely date him.

      1. Laz was down with incest, though. Shouldn’t that count for something?

      2. Didn’t he have an affair with Andy Libby? It was implied in Number Of The Beast.

        1. Yeah, but the doc gave Andy a vagina first.

          1. That’s still just a sophisticated surgical version of a shemale.

          2. Heinlein is amazing.

      3. In Laz’s defense, though he was uncomfortable with it he was very passionate about the right to be homosexual.

    2. Unfortunately, I patterned my personality after Chewbacca and it’s too late to change at this point.

      1. Are you equivalently hirsute?

    3. The name’s McGuirk and soccer’s the game

  8. I am, quite literally, anticipating this book’s release like no other book in my lifetime. Heinlein’s books were treasures to be enjoyed over months and years. I am currently on my third copy of Moon is A Harsh Mistress.

  9. I have never read a single word of Heilein. I need to at some point. For all of the big fans here, what is the “must read” book?

    1. I think most people would say to start with The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

      1. Agreed.

      2. Most libertarians would say that, at least.

      3. My father read Stranger in a Strange Land a few years ago and found it disappointing. I would hope the Moon is a Harsh Mistress is better.

        1. It’s shorter, more exciting, and more thematically focused. But it isn’t as interesting.

          This is what I think, at least.

        2. I vote Mistress as well/ If the clipped prose bothers you, remember that he meant it to be that way.

          1. Moon‘s heavy use of Russian words somewhat reminded me of Alex and his droogs from A Clockwork Orange. BTW, if you ever read that book, stop with the penultimate chapter. The last is the worst fucking cop-out in literary history.

            1. Like the conclusion of the TV serial Lost?

    2. My first was The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. The cover said something about “A tale of libertarian revolt”, and that’s all it took for me to buy the book.

    3. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress followed by Stranger in a Strange Land.

      I read every SF book I could get my hands on in high school. The school librarian would set aside new books when they came in and give them to me first.

      I read every Heinlein book in the library. But The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land are the ones I still remember vividly after 35+ years.

    4. Moon is a harsh mistress and Starship Troopers are my two favorites.

      In his later works, there appears to be a pattern in his writing where 1 chapter furthers the plot and the next chapter is basically an essay (spoken through his characters) on issues the author feels like talking about.

      1. If you’re going to read “Stranger,” make sure you read the “restored” edition from 10 years ago or so. It’s a much richer work.

        The restored edition of “The Puppet Masters” is also a revelation – RAH invented the modern techno-thriller _years_ before anyone else!

        1. Thanks for the heads up there. I missed the news on those.

    5. “ime Enough for Love” (rather lengthy) and The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.

      His future history stories were assembled into one book (name somebody?) that’s a good intro to his work.

        1. Oh, yes. The Past Through Tomorrow is where I started–and it’s a ridiculously deep look through his stuff.

          Aside from that, I would agree with The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Time Enough for Love. All of the juveniles except Starship Galileo and Farmer in the Sky.

          But anyone who can get their hands on The Past Through Tomorrow really owes it to themselves to pick it up.

          Lord, what an amazing book that is.

          1. Make that “Rocket Ship Galileo” and cover me in shame.

      1. It helps to read the short story “Methusela’s Children” before “Time Enough for Love”.

        His juvenals are pretty good, “Citizen of the Galaxy” and “Between Planets” and “The Rolling Stones”.

        “The Door into Summer” was a great time travel book.

    6. I will be reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress then. Thanks to all.

      1. His children’s books are some the best things he wrote in a pure story-telling sense. Most are good, but I’m particularly fond of Tunnel In The Sky.

        1. I started reading Heinlein’s childrens’ books when I was 9 or 10, then worked up to the adult works as I grew older.

          Between Planets and Red Planet both deal with tyranny and revolution, and serve as a really good intro to these topics for the young ‘uns.

          The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is his best exposition of libertarian values, and possibly his best work. Starship Troopers is a close second.

          1. “Moon is a Harsh Mistress” and “Stranger in a Strange Land” were arguably Heinlein’s best works. I’d start with either of them.

          2. I’ll second Red Planet. And if you want a fun read look up the short story “The Menace From Earth.”

      2. Citizen of the Galaxy is my personal favorite.

        1. Also a good choice.

    7. Dark horse answer: Although I think that “Stranger” is one of the greatest novels I ever read, if I were to get someone hooked on The Bob, I’d point him toward Waldo. No sociology, just fine storytelling.

    8. John,

      You need to, as Nick Gillepie would put it, start reading Heinlein right the fuck now.

      I think you’d love Heinlein, based on your posts here.

  10. Ayn Rand, whose followers have taken over the libertarian movement.

    That makes as much sense as Americans rallying around the Post Office as a symbol of our national identity.

    1. the dogma of Ayn Rand, whose followers have taken over the libertarian movement

      a) You could have fooled me
      b) If only

  11. There should be a H&R reading list – just the books recommended and/or required to understand various references in the comments.

    The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
    Ender’s Game


    1. Ugh. I fucking hate Dune.

      1. Yes, but you’ve read it and know what the joke is when somebody refers to Pro L’Dib.

      2. I’ve tried to read Dune twice and I could barely make it through a couple of chapters and I have read a LOT of science fiction over the years. Dune is the only book in couldn’t finish.

        I could barely stand to read the Wikipedia summaries of the Dune novels.

        1. Somebody needs to do a Dune / Atlas Shrugged mash-up.


        2. That’s because it’s not science fiction. It’s just a fantasy set in space. Herbert even goes so far as to invent a magical drug so he can avoid any meaningful exploration of technology re: spaceships, space travel, et cetera.

          1. But his son’s prequels are AWESOME!

            1. Really?

              I may have to check them out.

              1. Just look what you’ve done, An Idiot. Look what you’ve done.

                1. My work here is done…

          2. Everyone knows the lack of technology in Dune is because of the Butlerian Jihad…

        3. I will admit that I couldn’t get through 20 minutes of the movie.

          I really liked the concepts: Don’t be a slave to any substance because then it controls you. Our environment is essentially a filter that weeds out those that are inadequate. It has social, economic, religious, and political plot lines that all converge at the end.

          There’s just a lot of really neat ideas.

    2. Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. All of them 😉

    3. I LOVE Dune, and alot of Herbert’s other work as well. He was one of the first sci-fi authors to take on the science of ecology for his fiction.

      The Dune saga has been called sci-fi’s answer to LOTR, and they’re right. It’s complex, multi-layered, and well-written.

      Plus, it’s more on the soft sci-fi side, as I can’t STAND the majority of hard sci-fi.

    4. “Marooned in realtime”

  12. “One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything and facts are junked when they do not fit theory laid down by authority.”

  13. sure-to-be-controversial

    Really? It’s belligerently ignorant in the officially prescribed way, not in a thrilling new way. I don’t think libertarians will even notice being called crude-minded non-graspers of the subtly rich spiritual tapestry of post-hippie establishment platitudes again. That hole’s fisted out.

    1. I often disagree with cent, but this is an excellent line.

  14. Brin’s quote is self-serving claptrap. Heinlein acknowledges that those books were written during a period when he flirted with socialism. He grew out of it.

    1. He grew out of it.

      More like “married out of it”.


    2. But Heinlein did still try to balance individualism against group survival: not the kind of centrally-planned group survival Socialists talk about, but more of the “women and children first” variety.

      Exploring the idea of free food in a post-scarcity society would be perfectly in line with his thoughts on humans as part of a species.

  15. If David Brin was a jackass, it was clearly of a more obvious kind, less perceptive or self-aware, more pretentious… and more bloviating

    I may save this for his obituary.

  16. Heinlein did the novelization for the hit movie Starship Troopers? I wonder if he was able to capture all the nuance of the film.

    1. Surely you jest.

    2. I think the clues “hit movie” and “all the nuance” indicate he’s jesting.

      And stop calling him Shirley.

      1. It’s kind of tough to write novelizations when you’re dead.

        Though I can think of authors whose literary abilities would improve if they died.

        1. Well, I guess if you wanted to figure it out the easy way…

    3. The director of the movie did not read the entirety of Starship Troopers as he didn’t want reading the book to “interfere with his creative vision for the movie”.

      At least you get to see Dina Meyer’s tits…

    4. Everyone involved in the production of that film should be beaten with a shitty stick. Then every copy in existence should be found and destroyed. I got so angry when I saw that piece of shit even the tit’s couldn’t make it better.

      1. I thought it was an awesome slap in the face of the fans of that overrated work. Kudos to Paul Verhoeven for putting your own stamp to it, and dragging a stake into the hearts of millions. There is no better way to obtain happiness.

        1. You must be a sad and pathetic creature if you can only get joy by creating pain in others. I truly pity you. Now go back to dressing in SS gear and putting on your makeup.

          1. Aw, Phil. Can I collect some of your tears for my morning coffee?

            1. Lol! Phil in Timmah!delphia.

      2. Perhaps they could be beaten with copies of the awful film version of Puppet Masters.

        1. That one did indeed stunk. I don’t even recall female nudity. Can it really be considered part and partial to Heinlein’s oeuvre to not contain female nudity.

          Friday should be the next one Hollywood mints.

          1. No ‘did’ needed, bleech!

            1. I rememebr thinking during the first 15 minutes “Wow, theya re actually following through onthe plot”. Two minutes later, forget about it.

              1. I thought there was a movie of version of “Friday.” And it had some sequels…

                1. I would like to see one more faithful to the original. Hollywood went even further down the faithless route with that one by starring Ice Cube instead of a babe and setting it in one neighborhood instead of hopping the globe, and substituting pot smoking and jokes for the spy intrigue plotting, and the changes were just a bit too much. However, like the second Dues Ex is not a bad game if you are not familiar with the first (though if you are familiar with it, the second makes you want to drive cross country to punch Harvey Smith — ‘universal ammo’ for fucks sakes man!), that Friday is not so bad judged on its own terms.

                  1. I would like to see one more faithful to the original.

                    Why? You already have the original. Adaptations “faithful” to originals are a waste.

                2. I guess you can compare it to what Hollywood did with Burroughs adaptation of for Alan Nourse’s Blade Runner. There was very little about illegal operations in the movie; one scene about artificial body parts, and another where the antagonist improvised an operation on himself. Other than that, it went totally astray with the plotting. Instead it was about hunting down androids. In spite of not being faithful to Burroughs, it was not really that bad.

                  1. Sad part is both of your examples pale against I, Robot…

      3. I actually enjoyed the movie Starship Troopers. Cartoonish camp and over the top special effects can be fun, though it didn’t do the book justice.

        1. You don’t understand, then. All that did do justice to Heinlein, if not to the book. And fun of course.

      4. Lots of viewers say that, but I bet Heinlein himself would’ve enjoyed it. Would’ve enjoyed the royalties too.

        The movie is very like Heinlein in ways other than that particular book. I like it when adaptations take off like that. It carrie forth Heinlein’s flavor more than his content.

    5. Only the shower scenes.

  17. I thought it odd that the pic doesn’t look like a Roberta Heinlein.

  18. But where it comes to human needs, the situation is wholly socialistic. One character even says, in a shocked tone of voice: “Naturally food is free! What kind of people do you take us for?”

    None of this fits into the dogma of Ayn Rand, whose followers have taken over the libertarian movement. If Robert Heinlein was a libertarian, it was clearly of a more subtle kind, less historically or anthropologically naive, more compassionate?and more interesting

    Free of price or cost, Brin, or should I say, ‘simpleminded critic’ of libertarianism?

    1. in a shocked tone of voice

      Wow! It’s like he was actually there! Listening to the characters!

    2. Incredible though his list of complaints:

      historically naive I’m not really a big fan of Rand, but given her background, fuck you with a hammer and sickle, Brin, you obtuse clod.

      anthropologically naive

      Anthropomorphic irrationality of personalizing, nay, deifying the state, is at the heart of socialism, not of Randism.

      For example, the next two words Brin chooses,
      more compassionate

      To which, compassion is not something you can demonstrate with another person’s money.

      Oh, and TANSTAAFL!

    3. “This air isn’t free, you pay for every breath.”- The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

      In stories in which the various incarnations of Luna feature, a person has to pay for the air they breathe, especially in someone else’s habitat or take a walk out an airlock. This is regarded by the protaginists as pefectly sensible as breathable air is a scarce resource in the moon colonies.

      Heinlein either changed his ideas from ’42 or Brin is ignoring the context of the story he is quoting.

      1. There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (p. 162)

        “It was when you insisted that the, uh, young lady, Tish?that Tish must pay, too. ‘Tone-stopple,’ or something like it.”

        “Oh, ‘tanstaa?.’ Means ‘There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.’ And isn’t,” I added, pointing to a FREE LUNCH sign across room, “or these drinks would cost half as much. Was reminding her that anything free costs twice as much in long run or turns out worthless.”

        “An interesting philosophy.”

        “Not philosophy, fact. One way or other, what you get, you pay for.” I fanned air. “Was Earthside once and heard expression, ‘Free as air.’ This air isn’t free, you pay for every breath.”

        “Really? No one has asked me to pay to breathe.” He smiled. “Perhaps I should stop.”

        “Can happen, you almost breathed vacuum tonight. But nobody asks you because you’ve paid. For you, is part of round-trip ticket; for me it’s a quarterly charge.” I started to tell how my family buys and sells air to community co-op, decided was too complicated. “But we both pay.”

  19. Brin does come across as a condescending twat.

    The first couple of Uplift books – good stuff. Everything since – dreck. I can’t think of another writer who did so well but has fallen so far.

    1. *cough*Stephen Baxter*cough*

      1. And Greg Bear’s last SF book City at the End of Time was like Clive Barker writing an Ayreon album.

        1. Greg Bear hasn’t “fallen so far” because you first have to write something readable to have a relapse.

          1. C’mon, man. Queen of Angels, Blood Music, and Eon.

            1. Blood Music, very memorable.

              BTW, I hear James Hogan died earlier this week. I liked some of his work as well even though it tended to be an homage to the Campbell era. Pity too that in the last year he began writing a series of science articles for Lew Rockwell’s site.

              1. alan-

                BTW, I hear James Hogan died earlier this week.


                I really liked “The Two Faces of Tomorrow” and “Thrice Upon a Time”.

    2. Tom Clancy’s first five or so books were quite good, but then he became too famous for an editor or something. I gave up on him after one book which seemed to have some near-duplicate content in different chapters.

      1. Amen. Everyone’s work needs editing. Otherwise you end up writing like a blogger.

  20. Brin is not a libertarian, and at times doesn’t even seem to understand that word. He is a classic progressive, who while firmly believing that humanity can improve itself, seems antagonistic towards freedom in the economic sphere. He has said that aristocracy is a far greater danger than government ever will be. He fails to realize that without government the aristocracy wouldn’t exist.

  21. I could say all of Heinlein’s works but seriously for me it has to be “Stranger in a Strange Land.”

    After rather more than 50 years of reading and watching science fiction I decided that it was time to return something to the genre by way of thanks.

    Here is the result:…..story.html…..amp;sr=1-1

    I have also just completed a new novella “Soldier of the Brell” which I will make available as an e-book download from the Xlibris site. I will also make it available on the IPAD, Amazon’s Kindle, the Sony Reader and other E-readers.


  22. Brin is a fool.

    Heinlein in the 1930s and 40s was heavily involved in leftish political activism. He worked for Upton Sinclair’s EPIC campaign in California, touted Social Credit in _For Us, The Living_, and was a player in the California Democratic Party.

    In the timeline chart for the “Future History” stories, there is a line stating that the financial chaos of the “Crazy Years” was ended by the “Voorhis financial proposals” – a reference to Rep. Jerry Voorhis (D-CA), an ardent liberal whom he knew personally.

    The timeline chart calls the society which arose after the overthrow of the “Prophet Incarnate” as “THE FIRST HUMAN CIVILIZATION”. There’s a conversation between Lazarus Long and Andy Libby in _Methuselah’s Children_ which reveals something interesting about that society. Words have been assigned numeric “emotional indexes”, and newscasters are prohibited from using words rated above 2.0. Not very libertarian.

    The success of the castaway students in _Tunnel in the Sky_ is that they create a functioning government: “The greatest invention of mankind,” according to their martyred leader.

    Heinlein’s libertarian period really began after 1960, and after the 1964 defeat of Goldwater – whom he campaigned for, his last involvement in conventional politics.

    To cite quotes from his early work as evidence against a libertarian interpretation of his later work is foolish.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.