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(Boing Boing)   How Robert Heinlein changed from committed socialist to spittle-flecked, right-wing lunatic almost overnight   (boingboing.net) divider line 235
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15344 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Jun 2014 at 11:32 AM (14 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-06-11 10:40:46 AM
A three way with L Ron...

Wow, he was nuttier than I thought.
 
2014-06-11 10:46:53 AM

baka-san: A three way with L Ron...

Wow, he was nuttier than I thought.


Considering that L. Ron essentially created Scientology on a bet, it's not all that nutty...
 
2014-06-11 11:02:55 AM
The Chinese Communists implanted a transistor in his brain.

Study it out people.
 
2014-06-11 11:22:36 AM
He got old and teaparty-y?
 
2014-06-11 11:33:44 AM
Let him rest in peace.
 
2014-06-11 11:35:51 AM
From the few paragraph blurb that consisted of the article:

"In truth, Heinlein's shift to the right took place over a decade, from 1948 to 1957."

/perhaps submitter was going for the "ironically wrong headline" or something?
 
2014-06-11 11:36:07 AM
Long term brain damage due to blunt force trauma?
 
2014-06-11 11:37:42 AM
This wasn't the first love triangle in the Heinlein residence (they had earlier been in a consensual threesome with L. Ron Hubbard)...

And here I would have sworn that Hubbard kicked in their door, kidnapped them and engaged in some of that Rick James shiat... But it was consensual. Go figure.
 
2014-06-11 11:38:25 AM
So... he got more racist and that made him more right wing.

His underlying flaw was always one of imagining he could engineer a solution to all the world's problems with simplistic models.  Heinlein, like Rand, was a great example of people using fiction to justify philosophies that would never work in the real world.
 
2014-06-11 11:38:31 AM
proteus_b:

/perhaps submitter was going for the "ironically wrong headline" or something?

The only way to get a greenlight.
 
2014-06-11 11:39:49 AM

Xexre: Long term brain damage due to blunt force trauma?


...And then he got better. :-)
 
2014-06-11 11:41:12 AM
Do Heinleins Dream of Electric Sheeple?
 
2014-06-11 11:41:27 AM

ikanreed: So... he got more racist and that made him more right wing.

His underlying flaw was always one of imagining he could engineer a solution to all the world's problems with simplistic models.  Heinlein, like Rand, was a great example of people using fiction to justify philosophies that would never work in the real world.


Too bad he didn't try the most simple of simplistic models, the Hwheaton model. "Don't be a dick."
 
2014-06-11 11:42:02 AM
I don't know. The shift is only really huge in terms of modern conception of the political spectrum. Most of the ideas in his books were always pretty nutty and extreme....if interesting.
 
2014-06-11 11:42:12 AM
I'm confused. What makes him a libertarian? Fear of overpopulation or the fact that he likes three ways?
 
2014-06-11 11:42:56 AM
Come on, guys...who among us hasn't been converted to another political ideology by one of the participants in our open marriage?
 
2014-06-11 11:42:58 AM

ikanreed: Heinlein, like Rand, was a great example of people using fiction to justify philosophies that would never work in the real world.


you take that back!  It's perfectly reasonable to have a friend "Mike" who obscures all your communications while opening the comms of your much more powerful adversary and they never figure it out!

/Reality is a Harsh Mistress
//and a real B****, too.
 
2014-06-11 11:45:51 AM
So he was a socialist when he lived an insular life within one country, but as he travelled and saw more of the world and became more broadly aware of it, he developed his thinking beyond a childish dream of everyone holding hands and dreaming happy thoughts.
 
2014-06-11 11:46:06 AM
Did someone just take Starship Troopers too literal again?
 
2014-06-11 11:47:59 AM
Gohd.  A threesome involving Heinlein, Hubbard and Ayn Rand.

www.troll.me
 
2014-06-11 11:48:18 AM
Heinlein was a nudist, too. Guy was into isms.

/His juvenile science fiction is GREAT, though, aside from the crypto-fascism in "Star Ship Troopers" and "Citizen of the Galaxy"
 
2014-06-11 11:48:33 AM

mekkab: you take that back! It's perfectly reasonable to have a friend "Mike" who obscures all your communications while opening the comms of your much more powerful adversary and they never figure it out!


I'm all for the suspension of disbelief, and silly sci-fi nonsense.  The only problem is that people want to take the implied conclusions of those books back to the real world.
 
2014-06-11 11:48:43 AM
"The real problem of the Far East is not that so many of them are communists, but simply that there are so many of them."  - Heinlein

"The trouble with China is, there are too many chinks here." - L. Ron Hubbard

Three-ways with megalomaniac sci-fi writers are bad, m'kay?
 
2014-06-11 11:49:19 AM

Voiceofreason01: I don't know. The shift is only really huge in terms of modern conception of the political spectrum. Most of the ideas in his books were always pretty nutty and extreme....if interesting.


And occasionally childish.
 
2014-06-11 11:49:37 AM
He criticized President Obama?

/knew he was famous for his foresight, but DAMN
 
2014-06-11 11:50:14 AM

Greymalkin: So he was a socialist when he lived an insular life within one country, but as he travelled and saw more of the world and became more broadly aware of it, he developed his thinking beyond a childish dream of everyone holding hands and dreaming happy thoughts.


libertarianism is just as broken a philosophy as socialism.
 
2014-06-11 11:51:01 AM

Flappyhead: And occasionallyfrequently childish.


but yeah...I'd agree with that
 
2014-06-11 11:51:08 AM

LazyMedia: /His juvenile science fiction is GREAT, though, aside from the crypto-fascism in "Star Ship Troopers" and "Citizen of the Galaxy"


Star Ship Troopers the movie did an excellent job satirizing that, though.
 
2014-06-11 11:51:29 AM

ikanreed: mekkab: you take that back! It's perfectly reasonable to have a friend "Mike" who obscures all your communications while opening the comms of your much more powerful adversary and they never figure it out!

I'm all for the suspension of disbelief, and silly sci-fi nonsense.  The only problem is that people want to take the implied conclusions of those books back to the real world.


Building a back up doomsday weapon to pound the earth into submission is perfectly reasonable.  Only an idiot would build just one
 
2014-06-11 11:51:39 AM
ts2.mm.bing.net
 
2014-06-11 11:52:41 AM

Voiceofreason01: Greymalkin: So he was a socialist when he lived an insular life within one country, but as he travelled and saw more of the world and became more broadly aware of it, he developed his thinking beyond a childish dream of everyone holding hands and dreaming happy thoughts.

libertarianism is just as broken a philosophy as socialism.


It's almost like the world is too complex to be labeled and understood with just 1 type of philosophy.
 
2014-06-11 11:52:41 AM
But the weird sexuality and incest subtexts in his novels is not bound by politics!
 
2014-06-11 11:53:15 AM

Greymalkin: So he was a socialist when he lived an insular life within one country, but as he travelled and saw more of the world and became more broadly aware of it, he developed his thinking beyond a childish dream of everyone holding hands and dreaming happy thoughts.


Yeah, that's totally what happened. Such wisdom he developed, that selfishness is the ultimate good. Most people don't get around to that until their sophomore year of high school.
 
2014-06-11 11:53:34 AM
I like to say "TANSTAAFL" a lot. Not for any particular political reason, I just like the sound of it, especially when I'm eating a free lunch.
 
2014-06-11 11:53:40 AM

Voiceofreason01: libertarianism is just as broken a philosophy as socialism.


It's worse, because libertarianism is uncompromising in its main idea: "Freedom first, everything else second."  Socialism, can be tempered by pragmatism, but tempered libertarianism is just liberalism.
 
2014-06-11 11:53:45 AM
Has anyone ever thought that the reason that his fictional books were all over the political map was because he was just a good writer who is able to Atticus Finch himself into different mindsets?
 
2014-06-11 11:53:56 AM
the check from the Koch bros cleared the bank?
 
2014-06-11 11:54:17 AM
Dear Penthouse,

As a celebrated science fiction author, I never thought I'd be writing to you, but...
 
2014-06-11 11:54:29 AM

ikanreed: So... he got more racist and that made him more right wing.

His underlying flaw was always one of imagining he could engineer a solution to all the world's problems with simplistic models.  Heinlein, like Rand, was a great example of people using fiction to justify philosophies that would never work in the real world.


Oh really? That's weird. The DHS campaign "if you see something, say something" comes verbatim from Starship Troopers. I bet you've never actually made it through a Heinlein book cover to cover.

It's not just the "right wing" that harbors racists.
 
2014-06-11 11:55:36 AM

LazyMedia: /His juvenile science fiction is GREAT, though, aside from the crypto-fascism in "Star Ship Troopers" and "Citizen of the Galaxy"


Don't remember 'citizen of the galaxy' at the moment, might need to look it up.

I do however remember that the government in 'Star Ship Troopers' was a much more subtle thing than potrayed in the movie.  In the book you were much more likely to end up 'serving' your time in a rest home giving sponge baths to the elderly than you were to ever end up in combat.

In the end I don't think it'd do much - consider the current and previous couple crops of politicians.  At least token military service is highly represented; Heinlein's requirement isn't actually all that high of a bar and equally gamable by the populists as the current system, if not more so.

It is an interesting thought that those who have the vote are going to have experience with both sides of the coin.  It's been a long time since I had to worry about the private economy(retiring now), but the number of mistaken beliefs about government workers out there...
 
2014-06-11 11:56:02 AM

ikanreed: Socialism, can be tempered by pragmatism, but tempered libertarianism is just liberalism.


Which doesn't mean that people can't be pragmatic libertarians.  The word "liberal" doesn't apply to classical liberalism anymore, it applies to modern social liberalism.
 
2014-06-11 11:56:19 AM

technoblogical: I'm confused. What makes him a libertarian? Fear of overpopulation or the fact that he likes three ways?


Have you ever read any of his later works?
 
2014-06-11 11:56:37 AM

puckrock2000: "The real problem of the Far East is not that so many of them are communists, but simply that there are so many of them."  - Heinlein

"The trouble with China is, there are too many chinks here." - L. Ron Hubbard

Three-ways with megalomaniac sci-fi writers are bad, m'kay?



The weirdly ironic thing here is that China itself with its one-child policy and forced abortions could be said to be more Malthusian than Heinlein and Hubbard.
 
2014-06-11 11:58:20 AM
The psychotic ramblings of a syphilitic mind.
 
2014-06-11 11:58:34 AM

Empty H: It's almost like the world is too complex to be labeled and understood with just 1 type of philosophy.


I'd say that socialism and libertarianism(or for that matter any "ism") are too simple to describe the world. Basically if your solution fits into the form: "well the world would be perfect if everyone would just  ", then you're probably under-thinking it.
 
2014-06-11 11:59:26 AM
I think him and Varg Vikernes would have been good friends. Their understanding of religion and politics make just as much sense. As in far right wing and all the sense of a fart in a doorknob.
 
2014-06-11 11:59:46 AM

technoblogical: I'm confused. What makes him a libertarian? Fear of overpopulation or the fact that he likes three ways?


I'd say that he was definitely a Libertarian, and not just in the conservatives who like to smoke dope sense. On military and fiscal matters, he was decided conservative, but on moral and social issues, he was far more liberal than not.

As for his racial views, they were complicated. He's the sort that was happy to include non-caucasians in starring roles (although his publishers made it difficult for him to be too overt about that) while, at the same time, publishing a book where a future black empire was composed of racist cannibalistic slavers. (And, even there, he put in a sharp dig at the treatment that blacks endured under whites in the South with the suggestion that the white population brought this upon themselves.)

I think that it's hard to pigeonhole Heinlein into some neat and specific political category. I suppose that if you forced me to come up with the most appropriate label, I'd say that he was a cynical technocrat who believed that technology can solve all of our problems combined with the belief that humans will tend to fark those solutions up in the long run (but that humans are also AMAZING, AWESOME AND UNSTOPPABLE).

Make of him what you will. At least he's a better writer than Rand.
 
2014-06-11 11:59:47 AM
How Robert Heinlein changed from committed socialist to spittle-flecked, right-wing lunatic almost overnight


FTA In truth, Heinlein's shift to the right took place over a decade

fark journalism excellence
 
2014-06-11 12:00:12 PM

enry: Have you ever read any of his later works?


Like that one book that was three people, all related, traveling in a spaceship and spending 2/3rds of the book pontificating on why it was of extreme importance that the Captain be obeyed instantly?

(or the ones where he cloned himself female so he could fark himself?)
 
2014-06-11 12:00:13 PM

ikanreed: Voiceofreason01: libertarianism is just as broken a philosophy as socialism.

It's worse, because libertarianism is uncompromising in its main idea: "Freedom first, everything else second."  Socialism, can be tempered by pragmatism, but tempered libertarianism is just liberalism.


Every modern society includes public-sector socialist policies, from public schools to subsidized health care to old-age pensions. Economic and social libertarian principles underly liberalism, but libertarianism a la Rand or Heinlein is an unworkable crock of shiat that nobody has ever used as a basis of government, no more practical than Marxist-Leninism (which WAS implemented, and sucked).
 
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