Friday, November 11, 2005

Starship Troopers, part the second

Hey, I read slow, but here's the next batch of notes:

heinlein uses dubois as his mouthpiece when refuting the founding father's declaration of "life liberty and the pursuit of happiness". he says that neither life nor liberty are rights; they must be bought and paid for like anything else of value. on pursuit of happiness, tho, he says that any man will pursue happiness regardless. i agree

but reading this, and his dialogue, it seems to me that a lot of this is heavy handed. nothing is subtle. then on some points, such as the one where he insists on flogging juvenile criminals, i can't help but think that it is too simplistic. after all, i have a hard time believing that, for example, a mother didn't spank her child prior to that child joining a gang some years later (heinlein seems to think that a lack of spanking was due to parents believing in "pseudo-scientific" beliefs of the time). a lot has to do with environment (village to raise a child). or perhaps he's suggesting that being flogged by government authority carries some educational weight that a parent's spanking does not.

another part of his extended analogy that didn't make complete sense was spanking a puppy versus spanking a juvenile. depending on the age of the juvenile (which he said was up to 18), a person has a capacity to reason that a puppy does not.

a lot of this led up to heinlein's putting a duty-based society over a rights-based one. i seem to recall an article from a canadian calling for just such a thing. i also believe that if everyone had to do what was right, rather than did what they were allowed, then society would be a much more civl place. but i don't think i'd be one to give up such freedom, even if i never exercised it.

but a duty based society is one in which its citizens championed the group above the individual. that would certainly seem like a hallmark of fascism.

one thing that I was curious about going into the book was heinlein's take on fascism versus the movie's. at this point, with putting forth a duty-based society versus a rights-based one, I think heinlein is firmly in favor of the good of the whole above the freedom of the individual.

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