Patriot Games

Glenn Reynolds may be pulling one of the better Poe’s Law fast ones here, but it sure looks like the guy is saying (in his always baffling weekly USA Today column, how he keeps that I’ll never know) that, rather than questioning President Obama’s patriotism, it may be time to do something about those unpatriotic liberal voters who put him into power twice.

Perhaps we need to pay closer attention to these questions where presidents are concerned, but perhaps we should go a step farther: In a country like ours, where voters reign supreme, it seems as if concern about the patriotism of rulers ought to also apply to voters.

Science fiction writer Robert Heinlein, in his famous novel Starship Troopersenvisioned a society where voters, too, had to demonstrate their patriotism before being allowed to vote. In his fictional society, the right to vote came only after some kind of dangerous public service — in the military, as a volunteer in dangerous medical experiments, or in other ways that demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice personally for the common good. The thought was that such voters would be more careful, and less selfish, in their voting.

So when the five-day wonder of questioning Barack Obama’s patriotism is over, perhaps we should address another question: How patriotic is the electorate? And how long can we survive as a nation if the answer is “not very”? And we should proceed from there.

Actually bringing up Starship Troopers as an example of a voting society and implying in the next paragraph that maybe having voting and citizenship be earned somehow by “patriots” is so ridiculously and completely peg-the-needle fascist that I honestly believe Reynolds is pulling our leg here, but there’s not anything in the rest of the column that makes me think this is satire or parody.

I think he might actually be serious.

I mean isn’t this the next logical step for the party that’s trying to limit the number of people who are allowed to vote, those trying to depress the electorate to the point of apathy leaving only the true believers to cast ballots, who believes the Voting Rights Act is an outdated relic, and is actively blocking any attempt to try to update it for the 21st century?  Why not open fascism where only the right people are allowed to vote?  That would certainly prevent that whole “demography as destiny” problem the GOP is facing, yes?

I dunno, nothing really surprises me anymore about these guys.

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248 replies
  1. 1
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    What sacrifice for the public good has Glenn Reynolds made?

  2. 2
    greennotGreen says:

    Robert Heinlein also flirted with father/daughter incest in more than one book, as I recall.

    Does Glenn Reynolds have any female offspring?

  3. 3
    Belafon says:

    I think my favorite political observation, which Reynolds is ignoring, comes from Starship Troopers. The teacher asks why the form of government in the novel has succeeded while all the others have failed. And the answer is because it hasn’t failed yet. No big revelation about why it’s better, just that it’s the current one.

  4. 4
    greennotGreen says:

    Yeah, I’m in moderation which, considering my comment, isn’t surprising. But holding Heinlein up as a model for anything other than thrilling story-telling (especially in his young adult fiction) is ludicrous.

  5. 5
    Hildebrand says:

    In the vast ocean of ideas about how to make a participatory democracy work, needing to fish in fictional waters should tell you all you need to know about RWNJs like Reynolds.

  6. 6
    greennotGreen says:

    Perhaps Reynolds’ (and many other conservatives’) problem is that he read Farnham’s Freehold and took it seriously. After all, according to that prescient work, if you give African Americans power, they’ll just end up eating you.

  7. 7
    debbie says:

    I’ll take Heinlein over Ayn Rand any day, but neither holds the key to politics.

  8. 8
    debit says:

    I wonder if he thinks we should all be involved in poly-amorous relationships (including our family members) as well.

  9. 9
    Linnaeus says:

    This:

    And we should proceed from there.

    …can mean a lot of things. None of them good.

  10. 10
    Woodrowfan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: didn’t he leave the US to live overseas?? that’d qualify.

  11. 11
    MomSense says:

    Who decides on the definition of patriotism?

  12. 12
    Woodrowfan says:

    @debit: I liked “Time Enough for Love” until it turned into “Oedipus Rex Goes Time Traveling” eww.

  13. 13
    greennotGreen says:

    @debit: That was what my moderated comment referred to; you were just more delicate than I.

  14. 14
    C.V. Danes says:

    It seems to me that the ultimate patriotic duty that citizens of a democracy can do is to preserve and expand democratic institutions and ideals, such as universal suffrage, the right to privacy, the right to congregate and protest, and all the other hallmarks of a robust government of and by the people.

    It would seem that restricting voting to “approved” patriots would be very undemocratic indeed. Perhaps those who suggest such things are the ones who should be questioned, no?

  15. 15
    karen says:

    And the next thing will be to arrest anyone who votes Democrat. Fascism, thy name is GOP.

  16. 16
    Woodrowfan says:

    @karen:

    And the next thing will be to arrest anyone who votes Democrat. Fascism, thy name is GOP.

    that’s on their platform for the 2018 midterms I believe/// and yes, I’ve had righties tell me basically that exact same thing about voting, and they were quite serious.

  17. 17
    Marc says:

    Yeah, those conservatives: so deeply concerned for the common good.

    @Omnes Omnibus: I think he just volunteered to go fight ISIS. Right?

  18. 18
    TomG says:

    I’d swear that the actual text of Starship Troopers never specified “dangerous”. And Heinlein later clarified that he was talking about people needing to participate in civil society in some public service way – ANY way – NOT just in the military.

    But Glenn is not the only person to mis-read that book. I am not defending the premise, but it’s annoying when right-wingers resort to misrepresenting Heinlein because what he actually said was not reactionary enough for them.

  19. 19
    Fourten says:

    Hold the F on, it’s not “patriots” who get to vote in the future of Starship Troopers, it’s “citizens.” If he can’t tell the difference then, even after reading the book, there is no hope for him.

    (plus that future is both color and gender blind (yes in the novel too), and possessing of a one-world-government, so I doubt he’d want to live there)

  20. 20
    Patricia Kayden says:

    I believe Blacks have already paid a steep price to be allowed to vote in this country. Just watch Selma. I don’t curse but Reynolds can beep himself.

  21. 21
    khead says:

    Glenn Indeedy sounds like the FB feed of some of the hometown peeps. Democrat hates America, dog bites man.

    Also, wanted to thank folks again for the comments last night. I crashed out right after I posted the update on my wife.

  22. 22
    EconWatcher says:

    I’ve always thought of Reynolds as just a troll, a poor man’s Anne Coulter.

  23. 23
    SFAW says:

    @greennotGreen:

    Robert Heinlein also flirted with

    Wasn’t it Sturgeon? (“If All Men Were Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?” is actually a short story) Of course, I’m not familiar enough with Heinlein to know.

    But I have read “Beyond This Horizon,” another RWTM fave. That and ten bucks will get me on the 7 Train to Flushing.

  24. 24
    Patrick says:

    In his fictional society, the right to vote came only after some kind of dangerous public service — in the military, as a volunteer in dangerous medical experiments, or in other ways that demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice personally for the common good.

    Why stop there? Why not simply make it so that only people that owns property are allowed to vote? Isn’t that really what he is after? Aren’t they that the only true patriots?

  25. 25
    raven says:

    At one of Paul Broun’s anti-ACA “town hall meeting” there was some jackass in a wheelchair with all this Air Force shit plastered all over it running his mouth about how the hippies hadn’t earned the right to speak out against Broun. He was too stupid and pitiful to even respond to.

  26. 26
    SFAW says:

    I think it’s ironic that Reynolds would hint at that, considering it’s the RWTMs, not the Democrats, who are destroying this country.

    But self-awareness is RWTMs short suit, and projection is their long suit.

    Assholes.

  27. 27
    JPL says:

    @karen: That’s what I thought. He really thinks that democracy has failed us.

  28. 28
    karen says:

    It’s “patriotic” voting now but it’s a short jump to only Christians able to vote. Why else would they be judging Presidential candidates by how Christian they are and by Christian I mean Dominionist Christian.

  29. 29
    raven says:

    @karen: Honkey christers

  30. 30
    chopper says:

    @MomSense:

    reynolds, of course. and he gets to have rights because he’s a True Patriot(tm). i mean, he has a blog and everything!

  31. 31
    SFAW says:

    @Patrick:

    Why stop there? Why not simply make it so that only people that owns property are allowed to vote?

    And their wettest of wet dreams is that the property of which you speak is what is sometimes referred to as “human capital.” Or maybe it should be “three-fifths human capital”? (Obligatory IYKWIMAITYD)

  32. 32
    Bobbo says:

    By all means let’s deny the vote to those selfish unpatriotic so-called Americans who want lower taxes

  33. 33
    greennotGreen says:

    @SFAW: It may also have been Sturgeon, but Heinlein definitely went there in Farnham’s Freehold and apparently Time Enough for Love according to Woodrowfan above. I couldn’t finish the latter book.

  34. 34
    SFAW says:

    @greennotGreen:

    OK, thanks for cluing me in, I didn’t make the connection when Woodrowfan wrote it.

  35. 35
    FlipYrWhig says:

    What does Instapud gain by attributing this idea to _Starship Troopers_ instead of, oh, I dunno, ancient Sparta?

  36. 36
    debit says:

    @SFAW: In his later books, Heinlein had father/daughter, mother/son and poly relationships front and center. I try not make assumptions about the man’s personal life, but if he truly thought relationships with such an inherent power imbalance was healthy, the dude was seriously fucked up.

  37. 37
    Evil Paul says:

    Well, on a positive note, Heinlein’s system of citizenship would have disqualified most of the Bush administration from public service. In fact, looking at some of the more strident, flag waving tea party jerk wads elected over the last couple of years…I’m struggling to come up with more than one or two who actually served in the military (or done any kind of public for that matter).

  38. 38
    celticdragonchick says:

    @TomG:

    I’d swear that the actual text of Starship Troopers never specified “dangerous”. And Heinlein later clarified that he was talking about people needing to participate in civil society in some public service way – ANY way – NOT just in the military.

    True.

    The premise was that you had to serve in some way(and nobody could be denied …service was a right no matter how imaired or unsuitable you might be…the book was real clear on that point), and the military was not the only service option.

  39. 39
    prufrock says:

    When I was in high school I had a teacher who was a retired Master Chief Petty Officer. One of the many valuable lessons he taught me was that eight (or nine, or twelve) weeks of boot camp won’t erase eighteen years of stupid. My Marine Corps experience taught me that completing a four year contract also often doesn’t do the trick. If you think otherwise, check your Facebook feed for some of the opinions of old right-wing acquaintances who are prior military.

    In short, Heinlein’s idea is completely contradicted by the evidence. It is Crystal Pepsi stupid.

  40. 40
    cmorenc says:

    Actually, Reynolds is onto something with the “demonstrated patriotism” idea from Heinlin’s Starship Troopers – but it likely won’t work out the way he implicitly anticipates it would, to winnow the eligible electorate to a more conservative-inclined group. Up through the later stages of the Vietnam war, we actually had something roughly, if only partly and imperfectly approximating Heinlin’s/Reynold’s idea – the universal military draft. True, only males were subject to it, and there were many loopholes by which the sons of more privileged families could escape it (lookin’ at YOU Dick Cheney and George W. Bush), but the fact that so many working and middle-class families eventually caught onto the fact that their sons were being put at dangerous risk for a foolish, grotesquely wasteful misadventure by the nation’s leaders in the alleged name of “patriotic duty” to fight communism – was a major factor in turning public opinion against that war. Also, the communal sense of shared sacrifice in World War II set the stage for two decades of quasi-socialistic programs such as the GI Bill, the FHA, expansion of the Social Security program, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., which conservatives only began getting any real traction against when Richard Nixon exploited southern white resentment against the gains of the Civil Rights movement.

    Be careful what you wish for Glen Reynolds – if you get it, it may not turn out the way you expect it will.

  41. 41
    Ryan says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: In fairness, I see on Wikipedia that he is too young to have dodged the Vietnam War.

  42. 42
    Ryan says:

    I don’t want Giuliani to ever be president, does that make me a patriot?

  43. 43
    cmorenc says:

    Hey, I could go for universal communal unisex shower facilities (maybe that’s only in the movie version of Starship Troopers rather than Heinlin’s novel ??)

    /ducks flying bricks :=)

  44. 44
    jayackroyd says:

    @greennotGreen: I’ve long wanted to write a literary analysis of RAH’s work entitled Time Enough for Incest It’s EVERYWHERE, not just in what a friend of mine used to call the posthumous Heinlein. Brothers, cousins, Uncles, Dads, Grandads, Threesomes with one’s self. Podkayne’s got a funny uncle, Manny sleeps with his Mum, Thorby marries his cousin, Jubal’s partners call him Father, and on and on.

  45. 45
    RSR says:

    How about teaching in an urban public school? Oh, no, those are greedy union workers with ‘tenure for life’ so that clearly isn’t what he meant.

  46. 46
    MattF says:

    Remember when Reynolds was a big deal? Oh, the memories. Oh, or maybe not. In any case, Reynolds is very much in the ‘that was then’ category– and won’t be emerging from that category, ever.

  47. 47
    SFAW says:

    @Ryan:

    In fairness, I see on Wikipedia that he is too young to have dodged the Vietnam War.

    So is Kos, and yet, somehow, he managed to serve in the Army. The recruiting office in Birmingham (or wherever he was raised) must have been closed that decade.

    ETA: Not ignoring our esteemed Bloghost. Just that Markos has been a liberal for awhile, I’m a-thinking.

  48. 48
    raven says:

    @prufrock: Every time I see a teabagger event on the tube I look for the inevitable Nam vets in the crowd. I aways wonder what happened to the thousands of guys who knew the whole thing was a fucking hoax? The dudes you see are bitter fuckers who think if we had just killed another million or so they’d be doing fine in Ho Chi Minh City. Oh, wait. . .

  49. 49
    jayackroyd says:

    Actually the argument was tied to a contemporaneous crackpot theory of morality–that one “advanced” from selfishness to altruism, and the highest form of altruism was to an abstract ideal of a state. Self<immediate family<family<clan<tribe<people<abstract political entity.

    As mentioned above, the RAH daddy figure guy DOES say that the state came into being accidentally, but it's stable because it works–people who put their lives on the line in service to the state are inherently superior.

    And lashes and nooses are better than jails.

  50. 50
    TooManyJens says:

    They already believe that people who aren’t conservative don’t love their country, and that groups who don’t generally vote Republican should have their right to vote restricted, so this is just a slightly novel way of combining two long-standing strains of right-wing thought. Hell, I’m glad he’s coming right out and saying it.

  51. 51
    Amir Khalid says:

    @cmorenc:
    In a world with unisex communal showers, a naked body would — alas — be no big deal.

  52. 52
    Cliff in NH says:

    @karen:

    He covered that one too, “Revolt in 2100”

    incidentally, the election that turned the country into a theocracy was around 2012 ..

  53. 53
    Joey Maloney says:

    @greennotGreen: I wondered about that legend, “To Serve Man” over the entrance to all the FEMA re-education camps.

  54. 54
    Sloegin says:

    Of course they’d hate it if it were flipped and the requirements were something like:

    Improving public education + increase access
    Concern for the health of the land and it’s people
    Participate in civic life (such as jury duty)
    Fund public works and infrastructure
    Noblesse oblige rather than I got mine FU

  55. 55
    SFAW says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    In a world with unisex communal showers, a naked body would — alas — be no big deal.

    Huh. That’s what my wife said to me the other night – “That’s no big deal” I guess she was thinking about Starship Troopers. Or England.

  56. 56
    Starfish says:

    @greennotGreen: In Time Enough for Love, the protagonist goes back in time and has sex with his mom so he might have become his own father.

  57. 57

    The problem with the sort of patriotism of conservatives (or fundamentalism of any stripe) is that it assumes that the most extreme among us should be the ones defining what patriotism or fundamentalism is and allows you to nicely define your enemies as insufficiently fervent or dedicated to the cause.

    Though, I suppose, a nice side effect of limiting citizenship to military service is that it would disqualify most of the neocons and chickenhawks from holding office.

  58. 58
    SFAW says:

    @Joey Maloney:

    I thought it was “Work Makes You Free.”

  59. 59
    Sherparick says:

    @debit: This is where I was going with Heinlein’s books. Also, his complete rejection of organized Christianity in both his “New Deal” liberal Leslyn phase before his new right-wing militaristic libertarian Ginny phase (and apparently there was a period from 1943-46 where the three of them lived together, not exactly a Republican model.) Starship Troopers, which of course has a very militaristic, fascist edge, is in someway and “anti-Atlas Shrugged” shot at the Ayn Rand wing of the libertarian movement. I am not sure how well Rand and Heinlein knew each other, but the they both lived and worked in Hollywood at the same time in the late 1940s and the libertarian tent could not have been big enough for their two egos.

    And yes, the next thing in the Conservative movement is about further restricting the vote to “real Murricans.”

  60. 60
    Bobby B. says:

    It’s creepy how many right wing blog comments refer to science fiction writers and comic books. Almost as if they’re nerds.

  61. 61
    bjacques says:

    Even in the book, Heinlein pointed out that the militarized world government arose from global disgust at previous civilian ones blundering into a nuclear war. Volunteering for non-military civil service meant that the government could use you as it saw fit, with the implication that it wasn’t much of an escape from military service.

    In either case, chickenhawks like Glenn Reynolds and others who would restrict the franchise probably wouldn’t be eligible for the vote in that world. Cheerleading for a rightwing government from behind a keyboard or on Fox and Friends doesn’t count as public service. Heinlein didn’t think much of his contemporaries Walter Winchell and Westbrook Pegler, two direct ancestors of Reynolds, Erickson, and especially Drudge, who wore a hat like Winchell.

    Having read a lot of his novels and short stories back in the day (along with Niven and Pournelle, mea culpa), then distanced myself, I’m inclined now to cut him a little slack on some things. Like the above.

    ETA: Others beat me to the point about chickenhawks.

  62. 62
    SFAW says:

    @Starfish:

    In Time Enough for Love, the protagonist goes back in time and has sex with his mom so he might have become his own father.

    NatLamp had a story like that in their early years. Not sure if it was before or after Heinlein’s version.

  63. 63
    Mike E says:

    Nerrrrrds!

    Lotsa Heinlein hate here, tho Bradbury kinda went creepy right wing in his later years, also…Too much to unpack in the hallowed canon of sci-fi literature, but it’s typical of wingnuts to cherry-pick RAH’s Starship Troopers but then poor-mouth actual citizen (constitutional) exercises like the decennial census; jury duty; the postal system, among others.

    eta ditto Comrade Dread

  64. 64
    prufrock says:

    @raven:

    The dudes you see are bitter fuckers who think if we had just killed another million or so they’d be doing fine in Ho Chi Minh City. Oh, wait. . .

    That’s what drives me crazy over the whole Islam ooga booga the right-wingers spew. A generation ago, it was commies from Southeast Asia who would overrun California if we didn’t stop them over there. Somehow, California remains decidedly un-communist, as much as tea-baggers would like to think otherwise.

  65. 65
    karen says:

    Either the GOP has decided that “A Handmaid’s Tale” should be the new Constitution or Margaret Atwood was even more brilliantly prescient than I thought she was. When I read it in the 80, it terrified me but I really thought it would never reach that far. I was so naive.

  66. 66
    Mike E says:

    @Starfish: Nope, he sees himself as a boy, already spawned when he does the deed…yer thinking of SPOILER ALERT! Philip J Fry being his own grandpa.

  67. 67
    Mike in NC says:

    Glenn “Instamaggot” Reynolds deserves to be a hemorrhoid in Rudy Guiliani’s asshole.

  68. 68
    NonyNony says:

    @Ryan:

    I don’t want Giuliani to ever be president, does that make me a patriot?

    Naw – it just means that you have at least 2 brain cells to rub together.

    Let’s remember that almost nobody wanted Giulianni to be President in 2008, the last year the man was actually somewhat relevant. And that includes a lot of people who thought Sarah Palin was a good VP choice for John McCain that year.

  69. 69
    Mike in NC says:

    @raven: Today’s paper had a front page article on SC Rep. Mark “Appalachian Trail” Sanford holding a town hall meeting in his district and all the old folks (including a number of Vietnam vets) were demanding a “total war” against the so-called Islamic State. Then they apparently went home and hid under their beds.

  70. 70
    Jado says:

    ” a willingness to sacrifice personally for the common good.”

    See, this is the cognitive dissonance inherent in their worldview – they think that all of these selfish cruel mean-spirited policies that serve only to afflict the afflicted and comfort the comfortable are a PERSONAL SACRIFICE.

    The fact is that they ARE a personal sacrifice, in that these policies intentionally inflict hardships on the very people that willingly vote for the policies. The question is WHY do these people make the sacrifice in favor of those in positions of power and wealth? Do they think there will be gratitude forthcoming? Or do they honestly believe that these policies will make a better world for their children?

    I don’t get it. I can’t wrap my head around it.

  71. 71

    The subtext of accusing Obama of not being patriotic is racism. He’s black, ergo Other, ergo not American. In this context, ‘patriotic’ means ‘supports white supremacy.’ It’s not really a code, it’s the standard Republicans use to judge those terms. So when he asks how patriotic the electorate is… he means that liberals are nigger-lovers and have to be stopped. This is where Cleek’s Law comes from, folks.

    As for Heinlein, he was always kinda ‘adolescent libertarian’y, but his early books were fun anyway. I loved Moon Is A harsh Mistress. Then while he was writing Stranger In A Strange Land, Alzheimers started to creep in. It was horrible and disturbing to me to read the books after that, and watch the process unfold ever so slowly. His plots lost coherence, his morality and inhibitions became steadily more juvenile, and after awhile he didn’t even know what book was writing. His own books got jumbled together in a universe-swapping mess. It scared me watching a mind gradually deteriorate that way.

    EDIT – @Jado:
    It all makes perfect sense if you interpret it through the lens of racism. It’s not just that they want power over blacks, remember. It’s that they consider blacks inferior, and especially lazy and spoiled children. That means that by hurting blacks, they’re actually being responsible and mature. By reacting to the Brown Threat overseas with mindless violence, they’re being brave, because reason and kindness cannot work with an inferior race.

  72. 72
    Luthe says:

    I’m all for universal service of some sort, but not as a preq to voting. I think we’d all be better off if the CCC or the WPA were reinstated, or the AmeriCorps program given enough funding that the volunteers weren’t forced to survive on poverty-level stipends. Hell, I’d be happy to work in an inner-city school or Bumfuck, Idaho for a few years if it meant my student loans would disappear.

    P.S. Glenny-boy needs to realize Starship Troopers was written as satire.

  73. 73
    jayackroyd says:

    @cmorenc: the text version is much more “traditional.” Starship pilots, and naval officers can be female, but them apes in the interstellar Marine corps are all male. Pretty sure the showers WERE communal, though.

    Enders game. Now there were communal showers in that one–critical fight scene in one. But I don’t recall how Card dealt with girl boy things.

  74. 74
    jayackroyd says:

    @Mike E: Or “…All You Zombies”

  75. 75
    SRW1 says:

    That guy in the White House really is a magican. He doesn’t have to do anything but be himself to get dudes like Glenn Reynolds to drop all layers of pretense.

    Also, too: Why does USA Today think ‘America über Alles!’ much different from ‘Deutschland über Alles!’?

  76. 76
    boatboy_srq says:

    In his fictional society, the right to vote came only after some kind of dangerous public service — in the military, as a volunteer in dangerous medical experiments, or in other ways that demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice personally for the common good. The thought was that such voters would be more careful, and less selfish, in their voting.

    While Reynolds does skate awfully close to the fascist edge here, I have to agree with @cmorenc that the unintended consequences could be therapeutic. If public service – and by that I do not mean joining a country club to dodge actual front-line fighting – is the gatekeeper, applying this would weed out a good number of chickenhawks. It might also take care of “sovereign citizens” and other non-participants. (No, I’m not suggesting the linked item is fact: just pointing to a fairly recent controversy where a major political figure had problems with appearance based on a “service in lieu of combat during wartime” brouhaha. There are better examples out there to be sure.)

    Reynolds’ idea is terrible. It falls victim to Rmoney’s “47%” fallacy: ineligibility would be treated as non-participation, just as falling below tax thresholds was perceived as failing to contribute to society. It particularly fails to address the actions of pseudojournalism (I’m thinking Fauxnews here) where the main proponents aren’t even citizens in the first place. But it might be instructive to see how many would go along – until they discover their own particular “service” doesn’t qualify them for the franchise.

  77. 77
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @MomSense: Why, patriots like The Ol’ Perfessor get to decide who’s patirotical enough to to vote!

  78. 78
    D58826 says:

    @prufrock: It never changes. If Reynolds thinks we need to screen voters the maybe the ability to read and understand simple declarative sentences woulds be a better place to start. The right has been in its usual tizzy/fainting couch mode because Obama will not link ISIL to Islam.

    Obama last week from the White House:

    [Violent extremism] is not unique to one group, or to one geography, or one period of time. But we are here at this summit because of the urgent threat from groups like al Qaeda and ISIL….Al Qaeda and ISIL and groups like it are desperate for legitimacy. They try to portray themselves as religious leaders — holy warriors in defense of Islam. They are not religious leaders — they’re terrorists. (Applause.) And we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam. (Applause.)
    Now, just as those of us outside Muslim communities need to reject the terrorist narrative that the West and Islam are in conflict, or modern life and Islam are in conflict, I also believe that Muslim communities have a responsibility as well. Al Qaeda and ISIL do draw, selectively, from the Islamic texts. They do depend upon the misperception around the world that they speak in some fashion for people of the Muslim faith, that Islam is somehow inherently violent, that there is some sort of clash of civilizations….And to their credit, there are respected Muslim clerics and scholars not just here in the United States but around the world who push back on this twisted interpretation of their faith.
    [snip] So just as leaders like myself reject the notion that terrorists like ISIL genuinely represent Islam, Muslim leaders need to do more to discredit the notion that our nations are determined to suppress Islam, that there’s an inherent clash in civilizations. Everybody has to speak up very clearly that no matter what the grievance, violence against innocents doesn’t defend Islam or Muslims, it damages Islam and Muslims. (Applause.)

    He clearly notes the link between ISIL and Islam but rejects giving ISIL a recruiting tool by turning our policy into a war on Islam. Even Bush 43 recognized the need to avoid a ‘clash of civilizations’ scenario. He called it the global war on terror not the global war on Islam. He did slip once and used the hot-button word Crusades but they backed off that one real quick and he never used the word again.

    Obama is trying to thread a needle in the rhetoric he using. While it is fair to criticize the particular shade of grey that he is using, but to suggest that he doesn’t understand the nature of the threat or its roots in Islam is just stupid. But then we are talking about the GOP here.

  79. 79
    RobertB says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: IIRC, Heinlein suffered from some kind of blood vessel blockage, which they finally cleared up after a lot of bad writing, and before he wrote _Friday_, _The Cat Who Walks Through Walls_, and _Job_.

  80. 80
    Botsplainer says:

    @karen:

    Being a Canuck, Atwood got everything wrong about her dystopia.

    It would have been headquartered in Dallas or Nashville, would encompass only parts of the Midwest and South, with no damn papist sounding Bishops.

    Heinlein made the same mistake in Revolt in 2100.

  81. 81
    PaulW says:

    Basically he’s calling 60 million American voters “unpatriotic”.

    And if he’s all for having the voters “serve” the nation, what does it say that a vast majority of REPUBLICAN candidates/leaders are all draft dodging hypocrites?

    This is why I dread the Republicans’ effort to devalue/eliminate the Citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment: the second they do that is the second they start rounding up every “un-American” they hate.

  82. 82
    PaulW says:

    @boatboy_srq:

    Reynolds’ idea is terrible. It falls victim to Rmoney’s “47%” fallacy: ineligibility would be treated as non-participation, just as falling below tax thresholds was perceived as failing to contribute to society. It particularly fails to address the actions of pseudojournalism (I’m thinking Fauxnews here) where the main proponents aren’t even citizens in the first place. But it might be instructive to see how many would go along – until they discover their own particular “service” doesn’t qualify them for the franchise.

    Right all on counts.

  83. 83
    henqiguai says:

    @greennotGreen(#6):

    …if you give African Americans power, they’ll just end up eating you.

    Hmmm, white meat. Wait! We’re talkin’ roast turkey for dinner and sandwiches, right?!!

    Then again, could someone find a clip of Gil Scott Heron’s “White Thighs”? My google-fu this morning ain’t working; low chi.

  84. 84
    Svensker says:

    Used to be a libertarian and I’m pretty sure I know exactly where Reynolds is coming from. Heinlein’s ideal of the free-wheeling ex-military Citizen with a knife strapped to his hairy thigh was the pinnacle of political correct cool in libertarian circles back in the day – and I think Reynolds is about the right age to have been in the same kind of circles. Yes, he means it. No, there’s no irony or satire involved.

  85. 85
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Luthe:

    I’m all for universal service of some sort, but not as a preq to voting. I think we’d all be better off if the CCC or the WPA were reinstated

    Of course, the service requirement in Starship Troopers looked an awful lot like the “military or CCC — your choice” to me.

    And no exceptions for rich scions. If you didn’t want to get your hands dirty, too bad. No vote for you.

  86. 86
    RH says:

    Very few if any of the RWNJ would qualify unless whining and bitching are acceptable as qualifications

  87. 87
    MomSense says:

    @chopper:

    reynolds, of course. and he gets to have rights because he’s a True Patriot(tm). i mean, he has a blog and everything!

    Not specifically Reynolds but on the right it seems they keep wanting to deny people the right to vote, and feel that they have some sort of self granted authority to decide who is and is not patriotic. They only like the democratic process when the “right people” exercise their rights and vote the way they like? It’s offensive.

  88. 88
    Jinchi says:

    or in other ways that demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice personally for the common good.

    Like paying taxes?

  89. 89
    henqiguai says:

    @TomG (#18):

    I’d swear that the actual text of Starship Troopers never specified “dangerous”. And Heinlein later clarified that he was talking about people needing to participate in civil society in some public service way – ANY way – NOT just in the military.

    Yep; in one of the conversations about this very thing, in the book, he gives the example of someone deaf, mute, blind, and wheel chair bound; they were still entitled to perform Federal service even if it was ‘counting hairs on a caterpillar by hand’ in order to earn the franchise.

  90. 90

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Oh, there will always be exceptions for rich people, even if they don’t get out of mandatory military service.

    They’ll get the cushy jobs as a general’s aide or stationed in the Texas Air National Guard (where they may or may not show up regularly) while their poorer friends are slogging through the desert or jungle or urban environments getting shot at.

  91. 91
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: The weird thing is, “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” is actually early Late Heinlein; it was after both “Starship Troopers” and “Stranger”. And if you read it with that in mind, there’s a lot of questionable subtext in there. But it was my favorite book of his for many years just because of the unusual, experimental prose style and the pacing.

  92. 92
    boatboy_srq says:

    @karen: Following the truly Xtian principle of “do unto others” – as in “do unto others before they do unto you.” This is part of why they’re so scared of Voter Fraud and FEMA Camps and all the other horrors they envision the Left inflicting on them for their Righteousness™: they’re afraid the Left will get there first.

  93. 93
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Jinchi:

    Like paying taxes?

    Nope. You had to set aside your personal ambitions and sacrifice years of your life in service to the community.

    I can see far too many ways for the specifics be corrupted, but that society has long influenced my ideal of how we should be treating our veterans.

  94. 94
    Paul in KY says:

    @Ryan: Yes, yes that does.

  95. 95
    Jinchi says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    And no exceptions for rich scions. If you didn’t want to get your hands dirty, too bad. No vote for you.

    It’s a nice fantasy, but George W. Bush’s stateside stint in the national guard is the type of service most of the rich typically get unless they actually want to shoot someone. So is Mitt Romney’s deferment from Vietnam. He served in Paris as a missionary, instead.

  96. 96
    Paul in KY says:

    @SFAW: I would just like a straight up ‘Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here’

    Sorta truth in advertising…

  97. 97
    henqiguai says:

    @greennotGreen(#33):

    Time Enough for Love according to Woodrowfan above.

    One of the stories inTime Enough for Love Lazarus has lost the will to live (long story); a way is found for him to go back in time to his youth; he meets his mother and has a fling with her – way way creepy. But he did this while he, himself, was already present as a, in his own words, not particularly likeable grade-school aged boy. So no hint of him being his own father; beyond the whole ‘kill your own grandfather before you were born’ time paradox thingie.

  98. 98
    Luthe says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: If the draft were reinstituted today* with those as the choices, I’d be all for it and volunteer post-haste. A little collective service would do us all good.

    *Exceptions limited to such things as “completely paralyzed” and “not mentally cognizant enough to understand what is being asked.” Everyone else is fair game.

  99. 99
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jinchi: That’s the “47%” thing. They think half the country isn’t paying taxes so they aren’t true stakeholders and shouldn’t vote because all they’ll do is vote themselves more free stuff. Unlike old Republicans, who vote themselves lower taxes and free stuff, but that’s totally different, because whiteness, that’s why.

  100. 100
    Paul in KY says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I can tell you he’s a better writer than Rand. Just struggling thru ‘Atlas Shrugged’.

    WTF kind of adolescent would have enjoyed reading that?!?!?!

  101. 101
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Oh, there will always be exceptions for rich people, even if they don’t get out of mandatory military service.

    In the real world, yes. In the book, no. The protagonist is a rich man’s son. By the end, he’s earned a chance at OCS and graduated, and his father has belatedly decided to earn the franchise as well and is his NCO.

    Again, what so many people miss is that the ST society was created after the old oligarchy messed up so badly that there was a popular uprising. Put a bunch of grunts in charge of designing the new society, and there won’t be many exceptions.

  102. 102
    Matt McIrvin says:

    Liberals like to imagine that a universal draft would make our society less warlike, but I think it would actually be the opposite. Unless the draft went up to age 75, it’d still be kids fighting the wars, not the old people who actually do most of the voting. The military would always have this huge pool of cannon fodder to draw on. Whenever there wasn’t actually a war on, the old veterans would figure kids these days were getting soft.

  103. 103
    C.V. Danes says:

    @karen:

    And the next thing will be to arrest anyone who votes Democrat. Fascism, thy name is GOP.

    Fascism has many faces. Just try suggesting that Hillary Clinton should have to run a real primary before being ordained and you’ll see the long knives come out.

  104. 104
    Buddy H says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I never understood the “47% isn’t paying taxes” logic. When I was making twenty thousand dollars a year I was paying a shitload of taxes. All kinds of taxes were taken from my paycheck. And then there were the sales taxes on just about every purchase. Bridge and highway tolls, etc. How do low income people live tax free? I never did.

  105. 105
    jimbo57 says:

    When your conservative friends say `We`re a Republic, not a Democracy`, this is what they mean…

  106. 106
    henqiguai says:

    @prufrock (#38):

    My Marine Corps experience taught me that completing a four year contract also often doesn’t do the trick.

    Starship Troopers was military science fiction and a vehicle for some of Heinlein’s musings on citizenship. He also dealt with some of those questions in his young adult novel space Cadet as highlighted with a required course called something like ‘Doubt’; I think – been decades since I read the book. But as in Starship Troopers it was a philosophy course to force thought on citizenship. I think.

  107. 107
    Captain C says:

    Wouldn’t a “dangerous public service” requirement disqualify many Republicans, including virtually all of the public ones?

  108. 108
    Paul in KY says:

    @henqiguai: The chicken hawk elite would just have some kind of BS stuff made up for them, if they were able to institute Mr. Heinlein’s fictional future-polity.

  109. 109
    JaneE says:

    I really doubt that this is what he means, but a mandatory 2 years of public service (military, peace or America corps, domestic charity, etc) might be a good thing for young people. Give them a 2 year break between high school and college, and let them do some good for everyone, at minimum wages, in a structured environment. Sort of like the draft, but for everyone and with more options.

  110. 110
    Jinchi says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    Put a bunch of grunts in charge of designing the new society, and there won’t be many exceptions.

    In the real world it takes exactly one generation for there to be exceptions.

  111. 111
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Buddy H: It’s just a simple shell game. When complaining about federal expenditures, they leave Social Security and Medicare in, then when complaining about freeloaders who aren’t paying their share, they leave the taxes that pay for Social Security and Medicare out. The idea is just to put a thumb on the scale to make it look as much as possible as if the shiftless poor are robbing the productive rich.

  112. 112
    Jinchi says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Liberals like to imagine that a universal draft would make our society less warlike

    Who are these “pro-draft” liberals. It seems like they were all despised as draft-dodging hippies just a few years back.

  113. 113
    MomSense says:

    @Paul in KY:

    I can tell you he’s a better writer than Rand. Just struggling thru ‘Atlas Shrugged’.

    WTF kind of adolescent would have enjoyed reading that?!?!?!

    Paul Ryan but then he was only the Republican nominee for VP last time around…

  114. 114
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Jinchi: Charlie Rangel is probably the most prominent; he’s been pushing the idea for years that if we want to go to war there needs to also be a draft. Apparently doing it again concerning ISIS. Whenever he brings it up a bunch of liberal columnists say they support him.

    The idea of being PAYGO about war has some merit, but I think he overestimates the political dissuasion that a draft would provide, since the burden is so disproportionately on the young. The old Tea Party voters don’t care if their children and grandchildren have health insurance; why should they care whether they get drafted into combat?

  115. 115
    Roger Moore says:

    @prufrock:

    Somehow, California remains decidedly un-communist, as much as tea-baggers would like to think otherwise.

    It’s because we imported all the most fervent anti-communists from Vietnam, dontcha know.

  116. 116
    Paul in KY says:

    @Buddy H: Only income taxes count, Buddy. Those other ones are ‘fake taxes’.

  117. 117
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @JaneE: Most likely effect of that is that governments use the national-service workers as a lever to break up public-sector unions. Kind of like Teach for America, for instance.

  118. 118
    Paul in KY says:

    @MomSense: I can assure you (from being 183 pages into Atlas Shrugged, with many more to go) that if you were an adolescent anything & you liked this book, you were/are deeply, deeply weird.

  119. 119
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Jinchi: Yah. I think the book was assuming it would take several generations for the lessons of the societal collapse to fade, and the ET invasion just happened to start before those cracks started appearing.

  120. 120
    Woodrowfan says:

    @SFAW: he was already born and was a kid then. still VERY creepy.

    Heinlein’s Number of the Beast was one of the few books I started then put aside because I didn’t want to read anymore. I loved some of his other works, such as “If This Goes On” and the first part of “Time Enough for Love” was great. So I don’t hate him, but I dislike some of his stuff..

  121. 121
    Matt McIrvin says:

    …More fundamentally, the idea that the problem with America is that young people are too lazy and self-centered is just wrong. Mostly, they can’t find jobs.

    So I view with suspicion all of these programs to coerce them into mandatory whatever; the mandate means downward wage pressure. How about just providing decent CCC-style jobs and offering to hire them?

  122. 122
    Patrick says:

    @PaulW:

    And if he’s all for having the voters “serve” the nation, what does it say that a vast majority of REPUBLICAN candidates/leaders are all draft dodging hypocrites?

    Amen. I guess Dick “5 deferments” Cheney” just lost his right to vote then…

  123. 123
    dean reinke says:

    I would define being patriotic as getting vaccinated and getting your kids vaccinated.

  124. 124
    PurpleGirl says:

    Good post Zandar.

    (I’m glad that you’re back posting here at BJ. I’ll admit to being lazy about going to other blogs to read but I really do enjoy the mixture at BJ.0

  125. 125
    Randy Khan says:

    I am completely unsurprised by the misreading of Starship Troopers – as many others have pointed out, “patriotism” had nothing to do with the franchise (except in the sense that you had to care enough about getting the right to vote to serve) and military service was not the only way to go (although, naturally, in context, that’s about 95% of what you saw in the book).

    And, FWIW, like a lot of science fiction writers, Heinlein posited a lot of different kinds of government. The eventual government in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress was a very democratic democracy (and I seem to remember that the franchise extended to a pretty young age), in a world explicitly populated by a range of ethnicities. He also was no fan of religion in politics, as evidenced by “If This Goes On” and big chunks of Stranger in a Strange Land. In later works like Friday, he’s also pretty clear about what happens when governments break down.

  126. 126
    Paul in KY says:

    @Matt McIrvin: By now, the Republicans have figured out that having an all volunteer military makes it easier to use. They would fight that (reintroduction of draft) tooth & nail.

  127. 127
    boatboy_srq says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Whatever happened, one wonders, to the idea that an income tax was aimed solely at the highest earners – because they had a greater stake, and because they could afford it.

    /snark

    Honestly there comes a moment when “Taxed Enough Already” becomes farcical. The Teahad resents taxation on principle: but put them in the same room with someone unfortunate enough to fall below minimum income/property levels, and suddenly that ideal of a tax-reduced life becomes something far less laudable.

  128. 128
    The Moar You Know says:

    Lotsa Heinlein hate here, tho Bradbury kinda went creepy right wing in his later years, also…

    @Mike E: I just finished “America and Americans” and the guy who really went off the rails in his later years, and shocked me at just how far he went of the rails, was John Steinbeck.

  129. 129
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Paul in KY:

    if you were an adolescent anything & you liked this book, you were/are deeply, deeply weird.

    Most of the people I’ve known who found it appealing were hooked by its “unappreciated genius” vibe. They were bullied, usually told they were targeted for being too smart in school, and strongly identify with the urge to go Galt.

  130. 130
    Morzer says:

    @C.V. Danes:

    Two points:

    1) Plenty of people on here think that a genuinely competitive primary would be just fine. The trick is finding the challenger who can make it happen. So far what’s available is Fantasy Liz Warren and Not Entirely Credible Joe Biden, with a side order of The Guy Who Believes In Data and Wild Socialist Bernie Sanders. Of course, any and all of them are vastly better than the corrupt rabble of racist morons filling the GOP idiotocracy’s dance card – but I struggle to see any of them giving HRC a real run for her money.

    2) Wanting to avoid a pointless trudge through meaningless primaries and save cash for the big game isn’t an indicator of fascist views. Fascism depends on refusing to acknowledge reality and turning to futile fantasies about saviors on horseback. Admitting that HRC is going to walk this, absent some utterly bizarre scandal or health problem, and what matters is keeping the GOP away from the White House is just sensible at this point.

  131. 131
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Patrick:

    I guess Dick “5 deferments” Cheney” just lost his right to vote then…

    Or hold political office.

  132. 132
    RSA says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    Put a bunch of grunts in charge of designing the new society, and there won’t be many exceptions.

    I’m guessing an NRA membership card and a ribbon on the back of an SUV wouldn’t cut it. I’m wondering, though, whether a stint in the Peace Corps or Teach For America would. I don’t know about attitudes toward such programs.

  133. 133
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @boatboy_srq: When Obama was proposing a new, higher bracket starting at $200,000, much of the discussion was just arithmetically and fiscally illiterate; people spoke as if tax brackets applied to total income rather than taxable income, and as if, when you crossed a bracket boundary, the new rate applied to all your income rather than just the amount above the threshold. So there was all this bluster about how everyone would have to make sure their income stayed below $200,000 lest the Obama tax make them a pauper.

    I couldn’t tell how much of it was dishonest and how much was just stupid, since you could tell that tax brackets do not work that way just by looking at the table in a 1040, and a lot of these people surely paid enough attention to their own income tax returns that they ought to have known that.

  134. 134
    Ruckus says:

    @Comrade Dread:
    Though, I suppose, a nice side effect of limiting citizenship to military service is that it would disqualify most of the neocons and chickenhawks from holding office.

    Like most of their ideas they don’t ever take the long view of what they want really means. Seven yr old’s rarely do. Now if they would just hold their breath until they get what they want…….

  135. 135
    patrick II says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Because of the Vietnam protests, Republicans, starting with Nixon, starting working towards an all volunteer army. While old people may send young people to war it is easier if its someone else’s son or daughter not yours. Ask Mitt Romney. And if you are young and might get drafted, you are much more likely to partake in protests or otherwise work against the war.

    Now we just send smaller numbers of guys to war over and over, where they become more damaged, but are more separated from the rest of the community so the sacrifice is hidden and not shared throughout the community. That is also why they don’t want pictures of war violence or pictures of caskets coming home. Just TV video game type highlights that helps cable news ratings go up to helps sell killing strangers in foreign wars.

  136. 136
    Roger Moore says:

    @jayackroyd:

    But I don’t recall how Card dealt with girl boy things.

    I don’t think he ever mentions how they dealt with that topic in regard to showers. There is a scene when Ender is first promoted from his launchie group that touches on the topic of nudity in general; Ender is warned that his commander doesn’t want him “showing skin” around girls. Ender sees this as ridiculous and needlessly divisive because they’re all prepubescent so it doesn’t make much difference, and besides, it wasn’t applied to the girl he met when he first came into the barracks. That kind of prohibition wouldn’t have made sense if they had coed showers. In any case, it wouldn’t have made as much difference because Ender is right; they all graduate to other schools around the time they reach puberty, so it wouldn’t be as big an issue.

  137. 137
    Cacti says:

    The Tea Party movement has always had the markings of a proto-fascist movement.

    Just a matter of time until it embraces explicit fascism.

  138. 138
    patrick II says:

    Maybe Reynolds meant that Bush II, Cheney and Rumsfeld should not even have been allowed to vote, let alone hold high government offices, and that John Kerry should have been our president.

  139. 139
    Matt McIrvin says:

    …Concerning Starship Troopers itself, this question of what Heinlein meant by non-military service goes around and around and around among science-fiction fans. Heinlein said some stuff later that is not actually in the text of the book, which implies that the alternatives to going to war would generally be miserable and dangerous, and gives serving as a test subject in risky medical experiments as an example.

    There’s a lot of other strange stuff in that book, such as the material about the superiority of public whipping as a punishment for most crimes (which proceeds from the initial premise that of course children grow up wrong unless their parents hit them a lot). But I get the impression that military and ex-military people like it because it’s a society in which, for all the toughness of Mobile Infantry training, soldiers and veterans really are treated better than they are in ours.

  140. 140
    Paul in KY says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: I haven’t got to that part yet. Right now, characters occasionally say ‘Who is John Galt?’ in the same manner that you might say ‘how many angels can fit on the head of a pin?’

    Have met several of the main characters, but no explanation yet as to who in the Hell ‘John Galt’ is.

    IMO, only if you were a budding rail tycoon would you like this book.

  141. 141
    henqiguai says:

    @Matt McIrvin (#98):

    Liberals like to imagine that a universal draft would make our society less warlike, but I think it would actually be the opposite.

    Non-vet but Vietnam-era potential draftee (until the Lottery; #336). I knew way too many combat veterans. Aside from a certain low-burn rage against warmongering politicians, the magority of them were very adament that war should be the very last resort. Seems to be a common thread in the writings of a lot of professional / career military as well.

  142. 142
    Paul in KY says:

    @Matt McIrvin: A lot of people don’t know how the tax code works. Since they don’t make enough to do any boundary crossing & all their income is taxed at 10% or 8% or whatever it is, they are very susceptible to Republican propaganda that intimates that the makers would get all their riches taxed at that onerous rate.

  143. 143
    Ruckus says:

    @Matt McIrvin:
    Seemed to recall that many adults(those above draft age) were not so much against the draft during Vietnam. But then you have to figure that a lot of those parents had lived with WWII and Korea with the draft when going was the patriotic thing to do. And a lot of them didn’t even wait for the draft, they enlisted. It was what a lot did. A lot of that changed towards the middle/end of Vietnam, more and more were against the war and the draft, and in Jan 70 the draft was by lottery, ostensively to make it fair and cut down on the bitching.

  144. 144
    Jinchi says:

    @Buddy H:

    How do low income people live tax free? I never did.

    That’s exactly how the scam worked. Every working stiff heard that 47% of Americans didn’t pay taxes, but he knew damn well that he did.

    The guy who lost his job during the collapse of the economy didn’t think he was one of those deadbeats. Neither did the 70 year old retiree paid into the system for 40 years before retiring, or his wife who stayed home raising the children, or the soldier on active duty in a warzone.

    Check out this link if you want to see how this works in action:
    http://actuallyyourethe47percent.tumblr.com

  145. 145
    SatanicPanic says:

    such voters would be more careful, and less selfish

    This man is a Republican, isn’t he? He doesn’t see the irony here?

  146. 146
    PIGL says:

    People have already pointed out that The Idiot totally misses the essential points of RAH’s notion in Starship Trooper. The essence you had to prove that you were capable of putting broader interests ahead of your own, and that every individual had an absolute right to earn citizenship my such demonstration.

    My thinking has evolved since I was 14, and after having read and pondered Altemeyer, I think what we need is a test for citizenship is a reasonably good assay for not being an asshole, or an authoritarian follower. And I am dead serious. I don’t even mind that a high false positive rate might keep some non-assholes from voting, as long as most assholes were also prevented.

    Enlightenment ideals about universal suffrage and free internal communications founder upon three empirical rocks: multi-modal distributions of political predilections in the human population, the tendency for wealth to concentrate, and the ability of wealth to manipulate one of those sub-populations into supporting its agenda.

  147. 147
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @RSA:

    I’m wondering, though, whether a stint in the Peace Corps or Teach For America would.

    In the book’s society, yes.

    A person who wanted to earn the franchise could be assigned to do anything in service to the society. If the person were handicapped in some way, something would be found that they could do.

  148. 148
    Eric U. says:

    I hate to question the patriotism of any American, but the republicans are sorely testing me. I still try think that most of them think that the policies they promote are best for the country, but I’m really starting to have my doubts

  149. 149
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Matt McIrvin: The problem is that most people don’t look too hard at their tax paperwork: they all fill in the forms and thank Jeebus that their deductions mean they’ll get a comfy little rebate. Naturally the Reichwing punditry could spin the higher tax rate proposal, because Gummint takes too much of everyone’s paycheck to begin with. Intuit and H&R Block have done the US a tremendous disservice by taking the work out of figuring one’s own taxes – and seeing all the permutations of the tax code – out of taxpayers’ hands and hiding it behind a pretty interface.

    This is one place where most of the rest of the planet has a distinct advantage. In a substantial number of countries, salaries are advertised after-tax (gross pay less taxes and fees). The numbers look paltry to the US, but only because US salaries are advertised pre-tax, with the idea that the pre-tax number is a goal and that every cent less than the advertised rate is Theft™. While that’s necessary for a federalized system like the US’, where different states assess different additional taxes and fees, and where the income tax is variable depending on investments, family status etc., it’s still an unfortunate illusion that all those $s are due to you and taxation becomes confiscation rather than an obligation that comes with citizenship.

  150. 150
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Bobby B.: That’s because they are… I’ve participated in a number of fandom activities and know a number of fans. It no longer surprises me when they spout libertarian nonsense. They all feel they got where are they by their own work, didn’t get help for anyone, and while they may join a fandom group they really don’t like joining clubs, etc. Fandom may be the only group they attach themselves to. I no longer talk about politics with a number of acquaintances, to them I’m a statist (horrors!). BTW, I’m proud to be a statist.

    ETA: And a good number of them regard RAH as their philosophical father.

  151. 151
    SatanicPanic says:

    @PIGL: Everything dies, I’d rather do it based on some decent principles- like everyone’s voice is worth hearing. And if the idea is that we can’t have universal suffrage because wealthy people will manipulate people… therefore we must have enlightened people make choices for them, mmm, that’s kind of the same thing.

  152. 152
    cokane says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: my thoughts exactly, glad this was the first comment. how the fuck do ppl live with this kind of cognitive dissonance?

  153. 153

    @Buddy H:
    It’s not logic. They’re not wishing away other kinds of taxes. They have been told that 47% don’t pay taxes. They already believe in a vast class of lazy moochers who they’re better than. Almost all blacks fall into this fantasy category. I certainly remember growing up surrounded by stereotypes of blacks as poor, drug-addicted criminals who could work their way out of the ghetto if they really wanted to. If all of this is true, it also explains why their side ever loses elections, and gives them a reason to feel righteous about their hate. They WANT it to be true that 47% don’t pay taxes.

    Have you ever tried explaining the truth to them? They don’t know what you’re talking about. They give you blank looks or continue ranting angrily. Logic is not part of this.

    EDIT – @cokane:
    ‘Cognitive dissonance’ is one of those examples of where wikipedia, an encyclopedia based on popular knowledge, is wrong. Ask any psychologist or psychiatrist. Humans believe contradictory things as a default state. Spotting contradictions and fixing them takes effort and learned skills. Actual cognitive dissonance is the Ben Franklin effect. People change their beliefs to match their actions (which are based on emotion).

  154. 154
    Citizen_X says:

    I’m all for Glenn Reynolds being sent to the Bug planet.

    Or ISIS-held territory. Either way.

  155. 155
    PIGL says:

    @SatanicPanic: Absolutely not. I didn’t say enlightened, I mean “not assholes”. Not the same. I am pointing out that the perversions of democracy that we are seeing in the west are inevitable results of there being 27% assholes who can be brought to support anything. Creating a political homes for them (Republican Party in the USA, Conservative Party of Canada) creates a near-permanent working majority for the oligarch party, and a political ratchet down to hell. There’s only a few ways this can end, and perfecting enlightenment universal democracy is not one of them, I am convinced.

    I think that a voting population of 70% of population making electoral decisions that are not biased towards evil would be an improvement … it does not mean that these would be my preferred decisions. That’s not the point at all.

  156. 156
    Iowa Old Lady says:

    I am effing sick of people judging whether others are sufficiently patriotic or Christian. They may say they love their country. They may go to that Episcopalian church. But are they TRULY what a self-established judge decides is good enough.

    And that doesn’t get to whether being patriotic and Christian and the only good ways to go.

  157. 157
    Peale says:

    Hmmm. O.K. since they all appear to be on-board with the attack Obama’s otherliness and patriotism this week. Makes me wonder…when they all start boobing their heads in unison it usually means something. In the past it has meant Norquist or Rove have given orders. I don’t think any of their leading candidates has military service at all. But I wonder if its time to start digging into Walker and Bush’s past to find out why they want to go this route. I’m guessing that they are covering up for a Bush’s lack of military service once again. But I wonder if there isn’t something more detestable than draft dodging AWOL business there in Jeb’s abnormal and very unamerican upbrining.

  158. 158
    SatanicPanic says:

    @PIGL: Everything is going to end someday though. I don’t think it’s going to end anytime soon. This country is almost 250 years old and it’s survived worse. Shit, 27% is an improvement. But let’s say we’re going to do something, what would you have us do?

  159. 159
    mikej says:

    @Randy Khan: I really liked Job a lot,particulary for one scene. The main character is a fundamentalist and goes dimension hopping to worlds that have various degrees of similarities between them. He is shocked to see a traffic light. He cannot understand that people can be persuaded to follow the law even when there isn’t a cop on every street corner.

  160. 160
    penalcolony says:

    Reynolds’s column is incomprehensible unless you realize the “nation” he has in mind is the Confederate States of America.

  161. 161
    Roger Moore says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Ask any psychologist or psychiatrist. Humans believe contradictory things as a default state.

    Yep. And this is probably a good thing. If we had to stop and check whether any new idea contradicted all our existing ones, we’d never get any thinking done. I do think, though, that people ought to be willing to stop and reconsider their thinking if and when they’re presented with a glaring inconsistency between two of their cherished ideas.

  162. 162
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Buddy H: They don’t take those other taxes into consideration. The only one that counts is federal income tax. They ignore every thing else.

    ETA: Although when a state or locality needs revenue, they will consider raising the sales tax and other fees, the things that poor(er) people do pay and out of proportion to their income.

  163. 163

    @Roger Moore:
    I completely agree, but never assume that this is an automatic behavior, the ground state of humanity. It’s not. Like not pooping on the floor or not screaming at and hitting anyone who irritates you, it’s a learned behavior. It’s actually quite a difficult learned behavior, especially since it’s not taught as a social requirement.

  164. 164
    henqiguai says:

    @Frankensteinbeck (#69):

    Then while he was writing Stranger In A Strange Land, Alzheimers started to creep in… His own books got jumbled together in a universe-swapping mess. It scared me watching a mind gradually deteriorate that way.

    I believe it was a brain tumor; he wrote Friday after its removal; completely different person. And the universe-swapping book you’re probably remembering is The Number of the Beast; really weird story which even rolled in e.e. “doc” smith’s Lensmen characters. Even *I* thought that book was strange, and I’m generally considered definitively strange.

  165. 165

    @henqiguai:
    I never knew what it was. I didn’t know anything about Heinlein’s actual life. I just saw the incoherency and wishful thinking creep in gradually. I saw cognitive ability deteriorate. Maybe it scarred me, because that is truly my nightmare scenario now.

  166. 166
    Tripod says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I get the rich man’s war, poor man’s fight framing, but I suspect Rangel thinks the US military still need vast levies to peel potatoes.

    The left’s nostalgia is largely Laborite. They have trouble getting their heads around the vast change in labor inputs over the last fifty years. This is as true for the DoD as for Ford.

  167. 167
    Emma says:

    @Randy Khan: Yes. Amazing how often people forget that Heinlein, like most science fiction writers, played with all sorts of sociopolitical scenarios.

  168. 168

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    Maybe it scarred me, because that is truly my nightmare scenario now.

    You needn’t worry. You are as sharp as a tack and your observations are insightful.

  169. 169
    Patrick says:

    @Eric U.:

    I hate to question the patriotism of any American, but the republicans are sorely testing me. I still try think that most of them think that the policies they promote are best for the country, but I’m really starting to have my doubts

    I will never forget when it was announced that Chicago would not get awarded the Olympics. At the same time, there was a tape of a conservative group that had some kind of a meeting and they cheered the fact that a US city had lost its bid. While there were locals in Chicago that did not want the Olympics in their own city for totally legitimate reasons, this conservative group didn’t want Chicago to get it because they hated President Obama to that level.

    There are many, many Republicans who care more about their party than they do about America. They showed it when they cheered against America in the example above, and they have showed it over and over again during the last 6 years.

  170. 170
    AnonPhenom says:

    the right to vote came only after some kind of dangerous public service — in the military, as a volunteer in dangerous medical experiments, or in other ways that demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice personally for the common good.

    So you must prove your ‘patriotism’ in order to vote, but not to run for office?
    I suspect that, just as many on the Right’s definition of ‘good moral character’ is directly proportional to the heft of one’s bank account, Reynolds’ definition of ‘patriotism’ will also.

  171. 171
    Tripod says:

    @Peale:

    White women maybe? They’ve been able to hammer Obama (at least in the off years effectively) and get those voters. Hillary maybe puts them back in play? The GOP sees Obama’s rising approvals and are getting worried they won’t be able to run against him.

  172. 172
    henqiguai says:

    @Frankensteinbeck (#164):

    I saw cognitive ability deteriorate. Maybe it scarred me, because that is truly my nightmare scenario now.

    Yeah, both my wife and I agree. I’m of the school that when/if I start down that path, pop a cap…

  173. 173
    Peale says:

    @Tripod: Yeah. Or they are going to try to use the election to derail any peace agreement with Iran. Maybe. I don’t know. Anyone who talks to a muslim is one of Chamberlain’s China Hands, maybe. Or they want Hillary to throw Huma Abedin under the bus.

    Who knows. I’m just speculating. I mean if the election were held today it would be about gays and invading Iraq. Maybe that’s what they want – vote for us and we’ll show those Arabs something. I can’t imagine that they want to run on Iraq. But obviously, I am suspicious of their new found outrage over things that were discussed 8 years ago.

  174. 174
    The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    @Luthe: There is such a program. It’s called Grow Your Own, and it means working in high needs schools (usually in special ed, math, or science), serving high-need kids for five years, and all your college debt is forgiven. It’s how I wound up being a licensed learning behavior specialist for the state of Illinois.

  175. 175
    henqiguai says:

    @Tripod (#165):

    I get the rich man’s war, poor man’s fight framing, but I suspect Rangel thinks the US military still need vast levies to peel potatoes.

    Nope. He’s stated that the intent was to get more universal (especially the ostensibly privileged) skin in the game when it comes wo warmongering. I agree, since that was a major motivator to a lot of the Vietnam anti-war protesting.

  176. 176
    Origuy says:

    @PIGL:

    I think what we need is a test for citizenship is a reasonably good assay for not being an asshole, or an authoritarian follower.

    Heinlein also proposed a society where antisocial types would be exiled to a place called Coventry, in a short story of the same name.

  177. 177
    AnonPhenom says:

    @FlipYrWhig:
    ‘47%’ is already a thing with voting, in that it’s about the number of voters who participate in U.S. election on a good day.
    The idea of willfully making it harder to vote in this country is the most patently un-patriotic thing imaginable.

  178. 178
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Reynolds and wingtard chickenhawks like them would be relegated to the second class service they richly deserve. I might add that in the world of Starship Troopers, desertion in punishable by death. Which means we’d have no deserting cowards as presidents.

  179. 179
    eyelessgame says:

    hey folks – (full disclosure, I know the author) – there’s an essay that has done the legwork on “just what was meant by “federal service” earning the franchise” in Starship Troopers, because Heinlein misrepresented his own book in later writings. You should read this – http://www.nitrosyncretic.com/rah/ftp/fedrlsvc.pdf – before making assertions about the book either way.

  180. 180
    catclub says:

    @Tripod:

    The GOP sees Obama’s rising approvals and are getting worried they won’t be able to run against him.

    in 2008 McCain kind of ran with ‘stay the course, don’t risk changing to that scary new, inexperienced guy’
    and it was his most effective message. Just think if Bush had been doing a good job and had favorable ratings above 23%. In 2016 ‘stay the course’ will have a lot of power. (knock wood).

  181. 181
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @AnonPhenom: Yeah, a lot of the political fans of ST (as opposed to the cool hardware fans) forget that part. The franchise you earned was the vote and the right to run for office.

    And the society only worked as well as it did because of early indoctrination. “This is why the society before ours collapsed. We’re trying to make sure the sort of people responsible can never get into power again.” It won’t work without that.

    There are two groups of fen who hate the ST movie with a white hot passion: the ones who can’t get over the fascism of the society being made explicit, and the ones who can’t forgive the lack of power armor.

  182. 182
    Alex says:

    And the brilliant part is they can then refuse Blahs military service and hence full citizenship based on staggering incarceration rates, or whatever criteria they want to use.

    Unless of course they need the cannon fodder, like they did during Iraq, in which case they can waive whatever requirements and permit the lower classes to die for their country while the children of the elite serve in TANG-like sinecures.

  183. 183
    Paul in KY says:

    @AnonPhenom: Obviously, someone who couldn’t vote would be ineligible for office. That’s my understanding of Heinlein’s theory.

  184. 184
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @eyelessgame: Ah, yes, that analysis was what I was thinking of above…

  185. 185
    Peter says:

    @TomG: That’s a little disingenuous of him. Yes, any kind of public service qualified…but you didn’t get to choose what you did, and all other forms of civil service were branches of the military anyway.

  186. 186
    Goblue72 says:

    @SFAW: Kos was stationed in Germany. Doesn’t count. /RWNJ

  187. 187
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: The other interesting/peculiar thing is that serving military can’t vote (I assume this includes lifelong career military); it’s only afterward that the franchise kicks in.

    It’s interesting that, having marshalled all that evidence, Gifford still believes that Heinlein always intended Federal Service to be mostly non-military, and only failed to say so because of an editing error. It all reads to me more as if that notion were a later invention, and Heinlein had false memories to the contrary.

  188. 188
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    a lot of these people surely paid enough attention to their own income tax returns that they ought to have known that.

    I’m convinced that most of the people complaining about how Those People don’t pay taxes… don’t realize that they themselves probably aren’t paying taxes either, _on net_. I think the discussion has been so illiterate and innumerate that people are under the impression that half the country isn’t even having taxes withheld from their paychecks, because they’re On Welfare.

  189. 189
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @FlipYrWhig: There has been some deliberate propaganda.

    I’ve probably mentioned this before: I remember, several years ago, there was an outfit called “Econ4U” that was allegedly trying to spread economic literacy among the general population. In practice it was all right-wing propaganda.

    They ran ads in the ad slideshows that sometimes played before movies, in the form of multiple-choice quizzes. One of them was about the percentage of people who didn’t pay any income taxes, and I remember that when that “47%” flashed up, someone in the audience actually shouted “WHY AREN’T THEY PAYING ANY TAXES???” It was fascinating seeing propaganda actually working in real time.

  190. 190
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @SRW1:

    Also, too: Why does USA Today think ‘America über Alles!’ much different from ‘Deutschland über Alles!’?

    Because American Exceptionalism

  191. 191
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Paul in KY: Also, too, those who are on active duty in the military cannot vote in Heinlein’s society. They are not citizens, they’re citizens in the making.

    Furthermore, there are no “terms of service” under certain circumstances, such as the Terran Federation being “in a state of emergency”. When you sign up in the Starship Troopers universe, you sign up for life, basically. Once you retire, assuming you survive your time in the military, then you become a “sovereign citizen”.

  192. 192

    @schrodinger’s cat:
    Awww, thank you! But the smarter you are, the harder you fall when a brain disease hits.

  193. 193
    MCA1 says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Precisely. Glenn Reynolds thinks paying something beyond payroll and sales taxes every year is not the cost of the social contract, but rather his great personal sacrifice.

    I also doubt he’s actually read Starship Troopers, as opposed to seeing the cringeworthy movie adaptation of it, which, despite pretty openly satirizing the fascist state in question, Reynolds no doubt interpreted as an unreserved cheer for the honor of military death and coed showers.

  194. 194
    AnonPhenom says:

    @Paul in KY:

    Obviously…

    But not, ‘obviously’ enough, to mention in Reynolds’ delusionary post. That might have reminded people that such ‘patriots’ as Cheney, Wolfowitz, Giuliani, Dubya Bush (sorry the Texas Air? Not dangerous), etc, etc, etc were unqualified for holding any office under those rules

  195. 195
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Two years, or as long as you’re needed. That gives them an out if you’re one of the many in manual labor jobs through “sheer lack of talent”.

    @Matt McIrvin: The book does mention digging tunnels on Luna and terraforming Venus. The Fleet Sergeant who signs Johnnie and Carl up is adamant that it’s not easy to qualify for the combat corps and gripes about having to find jobs nasty enough to assign the washouts. And the bit about counting caterpillar fuzz is in the book.

  196. 196
    Carl Nyberg says:

    How much of oppressing & killing brown people should one be required to do to vote?

    How much being a thug for capitalism is enough?

  197. 197

    Long long ago in a galaxy far far away, wasn’t John Cole was a huge fan of Glenn Reynolds?

  198. 198

    @MCA1:
    I liked the movie for its portrayal of a ca. 1960 concept of science fiction. I love how the aesthetic of science fiction changes through the decades.

  199. 199
    Snarly says:

    @Starfish:
    Unless I misremember, Lazarus Long went back to a few years after his birth, so he couldn’t have been his own father. As I recall, he found his childhood self, Woodrow Wilson Smith, extremely annoying and was tempted to strangle him.

  200. 200
    jl says:

    Obama has really driven the reactionaries nuts. I wonder what the average voter will think when they read that in USA Today? I think average voter smart enough to see Reynolds is implicitly charging anyone who does not vote his way is not patriotic enough to hold the franchise.

    There are the 27 percent deadenders who will steam and fume because they know Reynolds is not talking about them, and it’s a crying shame that all these unpatriotic USAers are allowed to vote for blacks, Hispanics, Asians, anybody under 60, even women(!) and dammit, nothing is going to done about it.

    Not sure how many more will not find that column nauseating.

  201. 201
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: Right… but the idea is that these are either military jobs or the closest equivalent they can find, something intended to be a real sacrifice, not piloting a desk at the General Services Administration.

  202. 202
    secondh says:

    well that was the express idea in Mein Kampf — eventuell auch, in 3rd Reich selbstverstaendlich.

  203. 203
    Brett says:

    What I loved about the book Starship Troopers was how cynical even the history teachers were about the system. It survives basically because it co-opts the people who might be aggressive enough to fight and die to overthrow it, and integrates them into the political structure. Hence the whole “complaints are loud and unceasing, but nothing ever changes”.

  204. 204
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @jl: I would love to see the letters to the editors on Reynolds’ article. Surely, even Conservatives can see how repulsive his argument is.

  205. 205
    Sherparick says:

    @SFAW: In “Time Enough For Love” a time traveling Lazarus Long comes back to Kansas City, Missouri just before America’s entry into WW1 to become his mother’s lover (while mentoring 10-year old Lazarus). Since Lazarus is in some ways a fictional alter ego for Bob Heinlein, who was born in 1907, this is a little kinky. Although I now rank Heinlein behind Kurt Vonnegut (“Mother Night,” “Cat’s Cradle, and “Slaughter House Five” give Kurt 3 masterpieces to Heinlein’s 1 (“Stranger in a Strange Land,” and I also like “God Bless You Mr. Rosewater” a lot.), I still appreciate the way way Heinlein opened up the world to me as a kid, despite his right-wing drift under Ginny’s influence. (Asimov, who went through several wives himself, could not get over how Heinlein’s politics switched after his marriage to Ginny).

  206. 206
    Paul in KY says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Sounds fun!

  207. 207
    Paul in KY says:

    @AnonPhenom: Well, he’s just a propagandist doing his shtick, so you can’t expect that level of truthiness from his dreck.

  208. 208
    Chris says:

    I’m sure it’s been said already, but: no, Reynolds is not pulling our leg. Bring this up on any right wing blog and you will receive plenty, plenty, plenty of support for the idea of restricting voting rights to The Right Kind Of Citizens. The idea that only people who pay income taxes should be allowed to vote, I think we’ve all heard that on. Other categories that they think should be denied the vote: dual citizens, people who live overseas, and young people. And in all cases, they’re quite open about the fact that the reason these groups should be denied the vote is because they lean Democratic.

    The abolition of universal suffrage is as much a part of who they are as tax cuts for the rich.

  209. 209
    Perspecticus says:

    Be careful there, Perfesser. A goodly number of our new recruits over the last decade-plus were foreign-born. Military service is a good first thought, but you’ll have to add a layer or two to make sure the blahs and them Messicans don’t vote through the military service loophole.

  210. 210
    AJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Besides masturbating on his keyboard every day?

  211. 211
    AJ says:

    @karen: Er, they do that already. These voters are called “african americans.”

  212. 212
    SFAW says:

    @Goblue72:
    Good point. Of course, the real killer is that Markos, that damn Messcan, only did it to get the amnesty and citizenship that he knew the cryptofascist socialist Mooslim in the Black White House would propose 20-some years later. Which would give him time to plot La Reconquista, which apparently is already happening, according to the RWTMs.

    Or somethin’

    ETA: And I apparently need to learn how to type faster. (shakes fist at Perspecticus)

  213. 213
    SFAW says:

    @Chris:

    the idea of restricting voting rights to The Right White Kind Of Citizens.

    Fixed

  214. 214
    SFAW says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    Surely, even Conservatives can see how repulsive his argument is.

    Oh, Patricia, always with the jokes! You kidder, you!

  215. 215
    Chris says:

    @Cacti:
    Emphatically this.

  216. 216
    earthworx says:

    In Starship Troopers you had to join the military to become a citizen. Seems like the vast majority of the republican’s ruling class as done all they can to get out of joining the military.

  217. 217
    Kathy says:

    @greennotGreen:

    In honor of Heinlein’s I will Fear No Evil – only those who’ve had gender changes should get the vote…well Glenne?

  218. 218
    TLR says:

    “Voters reign supreme.” LOL. Try Googling “Deep State,” Glenn.

  219. 219
    gmoke says:

    Saw Reynolds speak at an event Larry Lessig hosted at Harvard Law school. He introduced himself by saying he’d prefer to talk about robots and law but that wasn’t the subject of the conference. Yeah, I think he’s serious about Heinlein as a political philosopher.

    Just don’t tell him Heinlein worked on Upton Sinclair’s 1934 CA Gubernatorial campaign.

  220. 220
    Randy Khan says:

    @mikej: I completely forgot to mention Job! And, of course, the good guy is the Devil, another reminder of how Heinlein felt about organized religion.

  221. 221
    Peale says:

    @Chris: Yep. Also having two “natural born” parents is a must and only limiting voting to “birthright” citizens. There’s many who think that the naturalization process is the same as amnesty.

  222. 222
    pluege says:

    it really is tough to tell when a craven imbecile is joking or serious.

  223. 223
    Arthur Arfa says:

    Perhaps public service should also be a requirement for commenting on public matters. In addition, starship Troopers provide that cetrtasin professions be occupied only by those who actually served.

  224. 224
    Randy Khan says:

    @eyelessgame: Interesting piece. While it’s clear that the book does not support the claim that 95% of the people in federal service are not in the military, I don’t think that’s how I would phrase the argument. Rather, I’d say that (1) it’s clear from the text (such as the line about counting hairs on a caterpillar) that at least some people don’t end up in what we’d think of as the military; and (b) you don’t get to choose what you do, unless your choice obviously lines up with both your talents and the government’s needs. (For instance, when Juan is talking about listing his preferences, he’s quite clear that there are a lot of things he doesn’t list because all of them seem terrible to him.)

    Of course, there’s also something of a middle ground, which is that anyone who signs up is stuck doing whatever he or she is told for the duration of the hitch, subject to something like military discipline. I think that’s probably the best reading of the book.

  225. 225
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @PIGL: The problem with such a notion is that personality can change over time.

    If you go back through Altemeyer, life experiences shaped the authoritarian followers. We know it has to do with brain structure (amygdala over-activation) which can be changed chemically or through various kinds of therapy.

    It’s the would-be dominators who are the dangerous people who have to be kept in line. Happily they are a small percentage of the population. And, against what movies teach us, they actually are less anti-social the smarter they are. These are the people who leave wreckage in their personal lives, destroy divisions and companies, run scams, run for office, defalcate, and throw their minions under the bus when the law arrives.

    The more license we give our leaders, the more we look the other way, the more we expect them to act like sociopaths and narcissists, the more we will get our wish and have sociopaths and narcissists in charge.

  226. 226
    brantl says:

    @Mike in NC: What makes you think he isn’t?

  227. 227
    Gus says:

    I’m astonished that there is a concept of “common good” in the Ole Perfesser’s worldview.

  228. 228
    TBPlayer says:

    It’s been a long time since I read Starship Troopers but I don’t military service was specifically required for full citizenship, just some kind of federal service.

    Like most Heinlein books it had some great stuff mixed in things that were absolutely infuriating.

  229. 229
    Paul in KY says:

    @Gus: You might be surprised to hear exactly what he thinks is the ‘common good’ :-)

  230. 230
    Repatriated says:

    @Tripod: A bit late with my reply, but the thing about “huge levies to peel potatoes” is a misunderstanding that even a lot of military members have.

    You don’t keep the extra troops because you need potatoes peeled. You keep the extra troops because it’s a lot quicker to tell an infantryman to put down the potato peeler and pick up a M-16 than to draft the potato-peeling subcontractor, run him through Basic Training, and then give him that M-16.

    Peacetime manpower requirements aren’t the same as wartime requirements, and prudence requires the military to plan for wartime as the baseline rather optimize for peacetime efficiency.

    You can’t run the military like a business.

  231. 231
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @Chris: Don’t forget women. I think Ann Coulter has come out against woman suffrage.

    “You should have to pass an IQ test to vote” is a popular one even among liberals. Maybe especially among liberals, despite its similarity to the Jim Crow-era literacy test wheeze and the possibility of all manner of abuses.

  232. 232
    gorram says:

    @PaulW: All the talk about “service” is just that – talk. It’s PR that helps get their foot in the door and then the real changes to how citizenship, residency, and voting rights interact will start (to be clear – we do need to make more changes to them, but they’re patently looking to reverse a whole series of changes made over the past centuries).

  233. 233
    gorram says:

    @C.V. Danes: Holy trivialization of the political violence in Nazi Germany, Batman!

  234. 234
    Chris says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    Crikey. Of all the things to forget.

    Yes, AC came out against votes for women. And she, too, justified it with the argument that women leaned Democrat and so were clearly too stupid to be trusted to vote.

  235. 235
    Repatriated says:

    @Sherparick: Another late response on a dead thread here:

    One thing that mitigates the “squick” factor is that by the time Lazarus Long time-travelled back to meet his mother, he was well over 230 years old, and hadn’t seen her in person for more than a century and a half of his personal timeline. (She was 32 years old when he met her again.)

  236. 236
    phred says:

    @jayackroyd: Clarification, for those unfamiliar with the book: Manny doesn’t sleep with his mother–he only refers to her having left his father. The “Mum” in the story is Mimi, the chief wife in Manny’s family, with husbands and wives in a line marriage. She is considerably older than he is, but she’s related only by marriage. To Sail Beyond the Sunset, though… well, I really don’t want to think about that one.

  237. 237
    The Moar You Know says:

    I couldn’t tell how much of it was dishonest and how much was just stupid, since you could tell that tax brackets do not work that way just by looking at the table in a 1040, and a lot of these people surely paid enough attention to their own income tax returns that they ought to have known that.

    @Matt McIrvin: Dead thread but what the hell. Great place for a story.

    CEO of my company did not understand marginal tax brackets (wrap your mind around that next time someone starts blathering about our nation’s Great CEOs). When I explained what it was and how it worked (and bear in mind I’m the IT guy, if I know this shit she sure should) her mouth just flopped open and then she pulled herself together and said “I don’t believe you.”

    Not “How the hell could you know this, you’re the IT guy.” She knew I was right. But she damn well wasn’t going to believe it.

  238. 238
    jefft452 says:

    Exactly what “dangerous public service” has Glen Reynolds preformed?

  239. 239
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    All of Reynolds’ weird positions can very easily read as extensions of a very very weird personality. Perhaps we should ask his psychologist wife about that? Oh no, if anything she’s even weirder.

    Exactly what “dangerous public service” has Glen Reynolds preformed?

    He’s a university professor, for pete’s sake! At a public university! He doesn’t get paid $160k a year without it being deserved oh.

  240. 240
    Chris says:

    @TBPlayer:

    It’s not infuriating so much as just exhaustingly, boringly, unimaginatively “been there done that;” yet another variation of the “my in-group is special theme.” Heinlein fantasizes a society in which only those who have served get to vote – which, shocker of shockers, is a category that includes Heinlein himself.

    How is this different from Plato, a philosopher, designing a society in which only a Philosopher-King has the wisdom to be at the top of the pecking order; or Khomeini, a Shi’a cleric, designing a society in which the Supreme Leader position will go to a Shi’a cleric; or all the propertied white males in early “democracies” who decided that only propertied white males could be trusted with the right to vote?

    Entitled prick who thinks his crap doesn’t smell dreams up a world in which full rights are restricted to the truly deserving, and the criteria for who is truly deserving, totally by coincidence, just happen to be perfectly tailored so that he’ll be among them. How about that.

  241. 241
    Bob Munck says:

    Older male right-wingers secretly believe themselves to be the love-child offspring of Robert Heinlein and Ayn Rand. They also believe that the later books attributed to Heinlein, starting with Stranger in a Strange Land, were actually written by Bill Ayers and Saul Alinsky. That avoids the problems of incest with mother and daughters, but doesn’t answer the question “where did all you zombies come from?”

  242. 242
    SteveJ says:

    I honestly believe Reynolds is pulling our leg here, but there’s not anything in the rest of the column that makes me think this is satire or parody.

    I also thought he wasn’t serious. Then I remembered that lots of conservatives were promoting Heinlein’s idea after Iraq turned into a Big Lie.

  243. 243
    Keith Chapman says:

    I genuinely want them to show an example of their envisioned patriotism test.

  244. 244
    labradog says:

    @greennotGreen:
    Reynolds adopted, or has guardianship, of a mentally incompetent woman named “Ann”.

  245. 245

    […] comments are on a post about a new column by conservative law professor Glenn Reynolds, arguing that while it’s perfectly reasonable to […]

  246. 246
    skeptonomist says:

    Isn’t Reynolds always pulling our leg? Are we sure that he is a real human being? Has anyone ever actually seen him?

  247. 247
    Bardi says:

    I am all for it. Here, Glenn, is your M-16 and one way ticket to the ME. Go prove you are a patriot.

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