Heinlein, Starship Troopers

okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
Written in 1959 by Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers shows us a world based on meritocracy, where only those who place individual responsibilty over individual rights are allowed to participate in the electotal process. Where being a citizen meant having to sacrifice in Federal service for an allotted period of time.

Unfortunately, most people who know of this story only think of interstellar war, "bug drops", and individual battle armor. In truth however, the story is a carefully laid out treatise on moral philosophy and the creation of a potential utopian society. It is often thought of as a soap box piece and that the "father figures" in the story are used to convey Heinlein's personal philosophies and politics.

My question is, in a nation where the, "people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted . . . and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears", should a reconsideration be made that only allows citizenship and suffrage to those willing to serve the common good?

[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Starship-Troopers-Robert-Heinlein/dp/0441783589"]Amazon.com: Starship Troopers (9780441783588): Robert A. Heinlein: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51T3Iwe0YZL.@@AMEPARAM@@51T3Iwe0YZL[/ame]
 

Charlie Bravo

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
5,293
New Orleans
Excellent book. I've read it a hundred times. There's something to be said for the concept of the right of franchise residing with those who have chosen to sacrifice for the common good. I wonder if this form of govt has ever been tried and if not, what might be considered the closest to something like Heinlien laid out in ST?
 
Jun 2010
1,618
Archuleta Mesa....till I come down.
Written in 1959 by Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers shows us a world based on meritocracy, where only those who place individual responsibilty over individual rights are allowed to participate in the electotal process. Where being a citizen meant having to sacrifice in Federal service for an allotted period of time.

Unfortunately, most people who know of this story only think of interstellar war, "bug drops", and individual battle armor. In truth however, the story is a carefully laid out treatise on moral philosophy and the creation of a potential utopian society. It is often thought of as a soap box piece and that the "father figures" in the story are used to convey Heinlein's personal philosophies and politics.

My question is, in a nation where the, "people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted . . . and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears", should a reconsideration be made that only allows citizenship and suffrage to those willing to serve the common good?

Amazon.com: Starship Troopers (9780441783588): Robert A. Heinlein: Books

Yes and no.

Yes because they have demonstrated commitment to the general welfare and earned the reward..no because who stops them then from becoming the elitists-tyrannist that potentially then sacrifice it..... because they and only their version.... is then acceptable...as defined for the general welfare of the state.
 

okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
On just a cursory level, I would say that there are some similarities in Sparta's ancient culture. Some differences being that you couldn't earn citizenship in Sparta as in the Terran Federation. However, later in the life of the polis, when the population was in serious decline, freedom would be given to the helots if they would fight for the State. It isn't citizenship and suffrage, but it is something in a simliar, yet twisted vein.

***edit***
Of course they could earn freedom or 'half-citizen' status in Sparta if fighting in a time of great duress.
 

Charlie Bravo

Ad Honorem
Dec 2010
5,293
New Orleans
Sparta had occured to me, too. The thing I found interesting, and preferrable to Sparta, obviously, about Heinlien's Federation is that anyone who wished to serve could serve, barring insanity or criminal background. However I gotta say iI wouldn't relish the idea of testing survival gear on Titan if I couldn't make it into the MI, lol.
 

okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
no because who stops them then from becoming the elitists-tyrannist that potentially then sacrifice it.....
There would definately have to be an ingrained sense of the Rule of Law. I believe this is something we have now(at least in the military). With the strongest military force in the world and the most ridiculous partisan infighting and quagmire of a Republic, the one thing we can seemingly always take comfort in, is the fact that some General isn't marching troops into the Senate and House.

The thing about the non-citizens in the book is that they aren't down trodden or enslaved. They have the same opportunities in life as the citizens. They simply can't take part in the running of the Government without first making a scarifice to the greater good. In my view, this sacrifice wouldn't have to be solely military, as how many wing wipers does the military actually need? Service could be to your individual communities, to the greater infrastructure, to helping those less fortunate. As a matter of fact, many HighSchools require some form of this for graduation now I believe.
 

OpanaPointer

Ad Honoris
Dec 2010
11,643
Near St. Louis.
When I went to South East Asia in 1970 I took three books, Stranger in a Strange Land, LoTR, and Starship Troopers.
 

okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
Sparta had occured to me, too. The thing I found interesting, and preferrable to Sparta, obviously, about Heinlien's Federation is that anyone who wished to serve could serve, barring insanity or criminal background. However I gotta say iI wouldn't relish the idea of testing survival gear on Titan if I couldn't make it into the MI, lol.
That is why I am thinking that service doesn't have to be to the military alone. There are always ways to serve the greater good. One thing I did like about the current Presedential administration was the idea of public service:
http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/NationalServicePlanFactSheet.pdf
 
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