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Grokking Starship Troopers

It’s been a pretty quiet week. I had to work Saturday so I haven’t done much besides work. We had a supply drive and it was more fun than I thought it would be. It was set up with the Governor’s office for her inauguration (Governor Kelly of Kansas). My board is all Republicans so it was nice to meet and compare notes with the Democrats.

I had a bit of a mishap at the end and it took me a goodly amount of time to clean up my mess. That shot most of the daylight. I went to this bar and grill Ross’s 20th Street. The Chiefs game was on so there was a loud and drunken crowd. The taps weren’t working so I had a KC Bir Dunkel which is a decent one. That and a Reuben and fries. A little puny but ok. Not my vibe so I won’t be back.

Mostly I’ve been reading a lot. I crushed Ursula Leguin’s Earth Sea Trilogy. Pretty solid fantasy. There was some good language and an interesting set of stories. I’ve also been reading a book on Salvador Dali. Diary of a Genius is our bookclub selection so I picked up a couple of books about him from the library while I wait p0lpfor it from Thriftbooks.

I set that aside for Starship Troopers. I read most of Heinlein’s oeuvre in 7th grade and it stuck with me better than most. I remember when the female pilot shaves her head really made an impression on me. That wasn’t really a thing in 1980, at least where I was from.

I keep seeing this meme with a quote from Heinlein that the people who really grok him like 3 books: Troopers, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land. I love Stranger, it doesn’t feel as right-wing as a lot of Heinlein. Definitely a favorite of mine.

I’d barely remembered Harsh Mistress. The only thing that has stuck with me was Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Not a bad lesson for a 12 year old. Its an impressive novel and has a nice bit on insurgency and revolution. It hits on his themes of responsibilities as well as rights. I can see it’s appeal from the right and the left.

Troopers is more problematic, popularly considered fascist. I loved the movie which was a bit of a satire and pretty clever. I haven’t finished Troopers but I don’t see it as fascist but it is authoritarian.

The two years mandatory military service to become a citizen is not necessarily a bad idea. I support a mandatory service period although I would count Peace Corp or Americorps or that sort of thing.

There is a lot on this HS civics teacher and his Sargent in basic training that point to social ills having their origin in abandoning spanking. Treats it like it’s science. In 1968 definitely a reaction to what was happening. We know I. Behavioralism that rewarding positive behaviors is way more powerful than punishing negative behaviors.

There are a lot of problematic pieces around those themes. He predicted America not lasting to the 21st century before falling to crime and disorder because of permissive parenting and lack of consequences. You can look at how the rest of the world handles crime and punishment and our crime rates and incarceration rate and see his these are BS.

I think I grok Heinlein I just don’t like him. He thinks because I only like 2 of the 3 I don’t understand him. I understand him I just think he’s wrong. Troopers is a rip roaring good war novel though. I’ll take it over art history any time.

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