A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout. There ought not to be anything in the whole universe that man can't poke his nose into - that's the way we're built and I assume there's some reason for it. Butterflies are not insects. They are self-propelled flowers. A long and wicked life followed by five minutes of perfect grace gets you into Heaven. An equally long life of decent living and good works followed by one outburst of taking the name of the Lord in vain—then have a heart attack at that moment and be damned for eternity. Is that the system? Theology is never any help; it is searching in a dark cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there.

        - from Job: A Comedy of Justice

Pacifism is a shifty doctrine under which a man accepts the benefits of the social group without being willing to pay - and claims a halo for his dishonesty.

Mr. Jones, has it ever occurred to you, the world being what it is, that women sometimes prefer not to appear too bright? There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him. "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"
        - Quotation commonly ascribed to "Logic of Empire"

"You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity."
        - Correct form of above quote in "Logic of Empire"

"It is true that Amalgamated has lost business through my activities, but that is the natural result of my discovery, which has made their policies as obsolete as the bow and arrow. If an injunction is granted
on that ground, I shall set up a coal-oil-lamp factory, and then ask for an injunction against the Edison and General Electric companies to forbid them to manufacture incandescent bulbs."

        - Dr Pinero, Lifeline

Always keep your clothes and your weapons where you can find them in the dark.

Love your country, but never trust its government.


Ah, yes, the 'unalienable rights.' Each year someone quotes that magnificent poetry. Life? What 'right' to life has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What 'right' to life has a man who must die if he is to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of 'right'? If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man's right is 'unalienable'? And is it 'right'?
As to liberty, the heroes who signed that great document pledged themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is always unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it is always vanquished. Of all the so-called 'natural human rights' that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost.

The noblest fate that a man can endure is to place his own mortal body between his loved home and the war's desolation.

Of course, the Marxian definition of value is ridiculous. All the work one cares to add willl not turn a mud pie into an apple tart; it remains a mud pie, value zero. By corollary, unskillful work can easily subtract value; an untalented cook can turn wholesome dough and fresh green apples, valuable already, into an inedible mess, value zero. Conversely, a great chef can fashion of those same materials a confection of greater value than a commonplace apple tart, with no more effort than an ordinary cook uses to prepare an ordinary sweet. These kitchen illustrations demolish the Marxian theory of value - the fallacy from which the entire magnificent fraud of communism derives - and to illustrate the truth of the common-sense defintion as measured in terms of use.

I told you that juvenile delinquent is a contradiction in terms. Delinquent means failing in duty. But duty is an adult virtue - indeed a juvenile becomes an adult when, and only when, he acquires a knowledge of duty and embraces it as dearer than the self-love he was born with. There never was, there cannot be, a juvenile delinquent.

So what difference is there between our voters and wielders of franchise in the past? Under our system every voter and officeholder is a man who has demonstrated through voluntary and difficult service that he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage. I want you to worry yourself sick before a drop, so that you can be unruffled when the trouble starts. War is not violence and killing, pure and simple; war is controlled violence, for a purpose. The purpose of war is to support your government's decisions by force. The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him but to make him do what you want him to do. Not killing... but controlled and purposeful violence. I made a very important discovery at Camp Currie. Happiness consists in getting enough sleep. All the wealthy, unhappy people you've ever met take sleeping pills; Mobile Infantrymen don't need them. Give a cap trooper a bunk and time to sack out in it, and he's as happy as a worm in an apple - asleep.

Peace is a condition in which no civilian pays any attention to military casualties which do not achieve page-one, lead-story-- unless that civilian is a close relative of one of the casualties. But, if there ever was a time in history when "peace" meant that there was no fighting going on, I have been unable to find out about it.

But does Man have any "right" to spread through the universe? Man is what he is, a wild animal with the will to survive, and (so far) the ability, against all competition. Unless one accepts that, anything one says about morals, war, politics, you name it, is nonsense. Correct morals arise from knowing what man is, not what do-gooders and well-meaning old Aunt Nellies would like him to be. The Universe will let us know - later - whether or not Man has any "right" to expand through it.

Anyone who clings to the historically untrue - and thoroughly immoral - doctrine 'that violence never settles anything' I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedom.

On the steps of the Federal Building we ran into Carmencita Ibanez, a classmate of ours and one of the nice things about being a member of a race with two sexes.

Dont you know about sergeants?
Well... I'm learning.
They dont have mothers. Just ask any trained private. They reproduce by fission... like all bacteria.

But if you didnt have more urgent things to do after supper, you could write a letter, loaf, gossip, discuss the myriad mental and moral shortcomings of sergeants and, dearest of all, talk about the female of the species (we became convinced that there no such creatures, just mythology created by inflamed imaginations - one boy in our company claimed to have seen a girl, over at regimental headquarters; he was unanimously judged a liar and a braggart).

Maybe some day they'll get everything nice and tidy and we'll have that thing we sing about, when "we ain't gonna study war no more." Maybe. Maybe the same day the leopard will take off his spots and get a job as a Jersey cow, too.

Any sort of ship you have to learn to pilot; it takes a long time, a new set of reflexes, a different and artificial way of thinking. Even riding a bicycle demands an acquired skill, very different from walking, whearas a spaceship - oh, brother! I won't live that long. Spaceships are for acrobats who are also mathematicians.

Mostly I stood around and gawked... especially at girls. I hadnt realized just how wonderful they were. Look, I've approved of girls from the time I first noticed that the difference was more than just that they dress differently. So far as I remember I never did go through that period boys are supposed to go through when they know that girls are different but dislike them; I've always liked girls.
But that day I realized that I had long been taking them for granted. Girls are simply wonderful. Just to stand on a corner and watch them going past is delightful. They don't walk. At least, not what we do when we walk. I don't know how to describe it, but its much more complex and utterly delightful. They dont move just their feet; everything moves and in different directions... and all of it graceful.

I've heard it called a 'strategic victory'- but I was there and I claim we took a terrible licking.

The trouble with lessons from history is that we usually read them best after falling flat on our chins.

It may be that the Navy has developed hypnosis techniques that have not yet gotten around to passing on to the Army. Or her secret weapon may be older than that and not usable by the Mobile Infantry.


Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child.

The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, withou a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.

God split himself into a myriad parts that he might have friends." This may not be true, but it sounds good - and is no sillier than any other theology.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

That old saw about the early bird just goes to show that the worm should have stayed in bed.

Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house.

Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed.

By the data to date, there is only one animal in the Galaxy dangerous to man, man himself. So he must supply his own indispensable competition. He has no enemy to help him.

There are hidden contradictions in the minds of people who "love Nature" while deploring the "artificialities" with which "Man has spoiled `Nature.'" The obvious contradiction lies in their choice of words, which imply that Man and his artifacts are not part of "Nature" : but beavers and their dams are.

Any priest or shaman must be presumed guilty until proved innocent.

If it can't be expressed in figures, it is not science; it is opinion.

A fake fortuneteller can be tolerated. But an authentic soothsayer should be shot on sight. Cassandra did not get half the kicking around she deserved.

Always yield to temptation, It may never pass your way again.

To get anywhere, or even to live a long time, a man has to guess, and guess right, over and over again, without enough data for a logical answer.

The ways of God and government and girls are all mysterious, and it is not given to mortal man to understand them.

Don' ever become a pessimist, Ira; a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun--and neither can stop the march of events.

'Savage' describes a cultural condition, not a degree of intelligence.

The meek shall inherit the earth - a 6 foot plot above them.

I don't trust a man who talks about ethics when he is picking my pocket. But if he is acting in his own self-interest and says so, I have usually been able to work out some way to do business with him.

"All men are created unequal."

"Progress doesn't come from early risers - progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things."

"History does not record anywhere at any time a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help."

"Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend."

"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh."

"Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse."

"Never appeal to a man's 'better nature.' He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage."

"You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once."

"Democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man. How's that again? I missed something."
"Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is wiser than a million men. Let's play that over again, too. Who decides?"

"Stupidity cannot be cured with money, or through education, or by legislation. Stupidity is not a sin, the victim can't help being stupid. But stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death, there is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity."

"Do not handicap your children by making their lives easy."

"Always tell her she is beautiful, especially if she is not."

"If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for ... but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong."

"Does history record any case in which the majority was right?"

"This sad little lizard told me that he was a brontosaurus on his mother's side. I did not laugh; people who boast of ancestry often have little else to sustain them. Humouring them costs nothing and adds to happiness in a world in which happiness is always in short supply."

"Secrecy is the beginning of tyranny."

"The greatest productive force is human selfishness."

"Be wary of strong spirits. It can make you shoot at tax collectors ... and miss."


Goodness without wisdom always accomplished evil.

Of all the nonsense that twists the world, the concept of 'altruism' is the worst. People do what they want to, every time. If it pains them, to make a choice- if the 'choice' looks like a 'sacrifice' -- you can be sure that it is no nobler than the discomfort caused by greediness... the necessity of having to decide between two things you want when you can't have both. The ordinary bloke suffers every time he chooses between spending a buck on beer or tucking it away for his kids, between getting up to go to work and losing his job. But he always chooses that which hurts least or pleasures most. The scoundrel and the saint make the same choices....

I do know that the slickest way to lie is to tell the right amount of truth - then to shut up.

I'll give you an exact definition. When the happiness of another person becomes as essential to yourself as your own, then the state of love exists.

Morality is your agreement with yourself to abide by your own rules.

Audacity, always audacity. When I was in high school, I won a debate by quoting an argument from the British Colonial Shipping Board. The opposition was unable to refute me - because there never was a British Colonial Shipping Board.

        - Jubal Harshaw

A desire not to butt into other people's business is at least eighty percent of all human wisdom . . . and the other twenty percent isn't very important.

"Say, do you feel about astrology?"
"Never touch the stuff. Prefer brandy." Thou art God. Know that and the Way is opened. THE DOOR INTO SUMMER

I have spent too much of my life opening doors for cats - I once calculated that, since the dawn of civilization, nine hundred and seventy-eight man-centuries have been used up that way. I could show you the figures.
While still a kitten, all fluff and buzzes, Pete had worked out a simple philosophy. I was in charge of quarters, rations, and weather; he was in charge of everything else. But he held me especially responsible for weather. Conneticut winters are good only for Christmas cards; regularly that winter Pete would check his own door, refuse to go outside because of that unpleasant white stuff beyond it (he was no fool), then badger me to open a people door.
He had a fixed conviction that at least one of them must lead into summer weather. Each time this meant that I had to go around with him to each of the eleven doors, hold it open while he satisfied himself that it was winter out that way, too, then go on to the next door, while his criticisms of my mismanagement of the weather grew more bitter with each disappointment.
...But he never gave up his seach for the Door into Summer.

The receptionist at the Mutual Assurance Company was a fine example of the beauty of functional design. In spite of being streamlined for about Mach Four, she displayed frontal-mounted radar housings and everything else needed for her basic mission.

But while I was looking for a place to park - Los Angeles was safe from invasion; the invaders wouldnt find a lace to park.

What do you ask after thirty years? Have they reached the stars yet? WHo's cooking up 'The War to End War' this time? Do babies come out of test tubes? "Doc, do they still have popcorn machines in the lobbies of movie theatres?"

Chuck had a theory that women were closely related to machinery, both utterly unpredictable by logic. He drew graphs on the table top in beer to prove his thesis.

He lectured me on the mathematics of time theory and temporal displacement (he didnt call it time travel).

Nothing could go wrong because nothing had... I meant nothing would.
No - Then I quit trying to phrase it, realizing that if time travel ever became widespread, English grammar was going to have to add a whole new set of tenses to describe relexive situations - conjugations that would make the French literary tenses and the Latin historical tenses look simple.

I had taken a partner once before but damnation, no matter how many times you get your fingers burned, you have to trust people. Otherwise you are a hermit in a cave, sleeping with one eye open. There wasn't any way to be safe; just being alive was deadly dangerous... fatal, in the end.

Missisipi planter indicted under anti-zombie law - His defense : "Them boys hain't drugged, they're just stupid!" FRIDAY

What are the marks of a sick culture? It is a bad sign when the people of a country stop identifying themselves with the country and start identifying with a group. A racial group. Or a religion. Or a language. Anything, as long as it isn't the whole population.

From the strictest humanitarian viewpoint, any attempt to stop the processes by which over-crowded cities purge themselves is not a kindness. The people who come out on top write the official versions found in history books, history that is no more honest than is autobiography. If I had a Boy Scout I could make a fire by rubbing his hind legs together. A religion is sometime a source of happiness, and I would not deprive anyone of happiness. But it is a comfort appropriate for the weak, not for the strong. The great trouble with religion - any religion - is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot thereafter judge those propositions by evidence. One may bask at the warm fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak certainty of reason - but one cannot have both.


How you behave towards cats here below determines your status in Heaven.

What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it... If a person wants to take his own life, it is his privilege. THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST

He's a mad scientist and I'm his beautiful daughter.

The Bible is such a gargantuan collection of conflicting values that anyone can "prove" anything from it. #

The most expensive thing in the world is a second-best military establishment, good but not good enough to win.

"Why don't they make more science fiction movies?"
The answer to any question starting, "Why don't they-" is almost always, "Money." The shops certainly did have pretty things and the handmade blouses were among the prettiest. Ticky insisted they were "bargains" and I suppose they were. I never will understand about such things; to my mind a bargain is something I need at a price I can afford. To be human : to strive in the face of the certainty of failure. Would you consider buying a book just because I asked you to? It's called Expanded Universe. I would say that my position is not too far from that of Ayn Rand's; that I would like to see government reduced to no more than internal police and courts, external armed forces - with the other matters handled otherwise. I'm sick of the way the government sticks its nose into everything now.

I'm afraid of coaching, of writer's classes, of writer's magazines, of books on how to write. They give me "centipede trouble" -- you know the yarn about the centipede who was asked how he managed all his feet? He tried to answer, stopped to think about it, and was never able to walk another step.

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects,'This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know,' the end result is tyranny and oppression, no matter how holy the motives. Mighty little force is needed to control a man whose mind has been hoodwinked; contrariwise, no amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. No, not the rack, not fission bombs, not anything -- you can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him.

Touch is the most fundamental sense. A baby experiences it, all over, before he is born and long before he learns to use sight, hearing, or taste, and no human ever ceases to need it. Keep your children short on pocket money--but long on hugs.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do.

No intelligent man has any respect for an unjust law.

Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense. Hurting yourself is not sinful--just stupid.


What did I want?
I wanted the hurtling moons of Barsoom. I wanted Storisende and Poictesme, and Holmes shaking me awake to tell me, "The game's afoot!" I wanted to float down the Mississippi on a raft and elude a mob in company with the Duke of Bilgewater and Lost Dauphin.
I wanted Prester John, and Excalibur held by a moon-white arm out of a silent lake. I wanted to sail with Ulysses and with Tros of Samothrace and to eat the lotus in a land that seemËd always afternoon. I wanted the feeling of romance and the sense of wonder I had known as a kid. I wanted the world to be the way they had promised me it was going to be, instead of the tawdry, lousy, fouled-up mess it is.
I had had one chance - for ten minutes yesterday afternoon. Helen of Troy, whatever your true name may be - and I had known it - and I had let it slip away. Maybe one chance is all you ever get.
        - Oscar Gordon, "Glory Road"

"A person must be everything - a warrior, a pacifist a staunch individual, a willing cog in the mechanism of a galactic socio-organism. A man who obeys laws and breaks them, creates his own and polices them. He must be friends with all and none because he must be impartial to all. He must walk the line between passion and reason, and never fall lest he lose his footing forever. He must respect all gods, while honoring his own, renounce his home town and be at home everywhere. The limits of space are his only boundaries, and the burden of freedom his only responsibility. And above all, he must be a true and gentle knight."
        - from the film version of "Space Cadet"

There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or a corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute nor common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back, for their private benefit.
        - The Judge, "Life-Line"

Look, friends, the only possible way to enjoy life is not to be afraid to die. A zest for living requires a willingness to die; you cannot have the first without the second. The '60s and '70s and '80s and '90s can be loaded with the zest for living, high excitement, and gutsy adventure for any truly human person. "Truly human"? I mean you descendants of cavemen who outlasted the saber-tooth, you who sprang from the loins of the Vikings, you whose ancestors fought the Crusades and were numbered the Golden Horde. Death is the lot of all of us and the only way the human race has ever conquered death is by treating it with contempt. By living every golden minute as if one had all eternity.
        - Guest of Honor Speech at the XIXth World Science Fiction Convention, Seattle, 1961

So far as I know, every such story has alien intelligences which treat humans as approximate equals, either as friends or foes. It is assumed that A-I will either be friends, anxious to communicate and trade, or enemies who will fight and kill, or possibly enslave, the human race. There is another and more humiliating possibility - alien intelligences so superior to us and so indifferent to us as to be almost unaware of us. They do not even covet the surface of the planet where we live - they live in the stratosphere. We do not know whether they evolved here or elsewhere - will never know. Our mightiest engineering formations they regard as coral formations, i.e., seldom noticed and considered of no importance. We aren't even nuisances to them. And they are no threat to us, except that their engineering might occasionally disturb our habitat, as the grading done for a highway disturbs gopher holes. Some few of them might study us casually - or might not.
        - Regarding his short story "Goldfish Bowl" in "Grumbles from the Grave"


"We can grow anything and make it live. I can make you a living thing—I won't call it an animal—the size and shape of that table over there. It wouldn’t be good for anything, but it would be alive. It would ingest food, use chemical energy, give off excretions, and display irritability. But it would be a silly piece of manipulation. Mechanically a table and an animal are two different things. Their functions are different, so their shapes are different. Now I can make you a winged horse—"
"You just said you couldn’t."
"Don’t interrupt. I can make a winged horse that will look just like the pictures in the fairy stories. If you want to pay for it; we’ll make it — we’re in business. But it won’t be able to fly."
"Why not?"
"Because it’s not built for flying. The ancient who dreamed up that myth knew nothing about aerodynamics and still less about biology. He stuck wings on a horse, just stuck them on, thumb tacks and glue. But that doesn’t make a flying machine. Remember, son, that an animal is a machine, primarily a heat engine with a control system to operate levers and hydraulic systems, according to definite engineering laws. You savvy to aerodynamics?"
"Well, I’m a pilot."
"Hummph! Well, try to understand this. A horse hasn’t got the heat engine for flight. He’s a hayburner and that’s not efficient. We might mess around with a horse’s insides so that he could live on a diet of nothing but sugar and then he might have enough energy to fly short distances. But he still would not look like the mythical Pegasus. To anchor his flying muscles he would need a breast bone maybe ten feet long. He might have to have as much as eighty feet wing spread. Folded, his wings would cover him like a tent. You’re up against the cube-square disadvantage."
Cargrew gestured impatiently. "Lift goes by the square of a given dimension; dead load by the cube of the same dimension, other things being equal. I might be able to make you a Pegasus the size of a cat without distorting the proportions too much."
"No, I want one I can ride. I don’t mind the wing spread and I’ll put up with the big breast bone. When can I have him?"
        - from "Jerry was a Man" by Robert Heinlein


Taken from "Our Noble, Essential Decency", submitted by Heinlein for the 1950s "I Believe" radio series:

I am not going to talk about religious beliefs but about matters so obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them. I believe in my neighbors. I know their faults, and I know that their virtues far outweigh their faults.
Take Father Michael down our road a piece. I'm not of his creed, but I know that his goodness and charity and loving kindness shine in his daily actions. I believe in Father Mike. If I'm in trouble, I'll go to him. My next-door neighbor's a veterinary doctor. Doc will get out of bed after a hard day to help a stray cat—no fee, no prospect of a fee.I believe in Doc.
I believe in my townspeople. You can knock on any door in our town, say, "I'm hungry," and you'll be fed. Our town is no exception. I've found the same ready charity everywhere. For the one who says, "The heck with you, I've got mine," there are a hundred, a thousand, who will say, "Sure, pal, sit down." I know that despite all warnings against hitchhikers, I can step to the highway, thumb for a ride, and in a few minutes a car or a truck will stop and someone will say, "Climb in, Mack. How far you going?"
I believe in my fellow citizens. Our headlines are splashed with crime. Yet for every criminal, there are ten thousand honest, decent, kindly men. If it were not so. no child would live to grow up.Business could not go on from day to day. Decency is not news. It is buried in the obituaries, but it is a force stronger than crime.
I believe in the patient gallantry of nurses, in the tedious sacrifices of teachers. I believe in the unseen and unending fight against desperate odds that goes on quietly in almost every home in the land. I believe in the honest craft of workmen. Take a look around you. There never were enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence Hall to the Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square by craftsmen who were honest in their bones.
I believe that almost all politicians are honest. For every bribed alderman, there are hundreds of politicians—low paid or not paid at all—doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work. If this were not true, we would never have gotten past the thirteen colonies.
I believe in Roger Young. You and I are free today because of endless unnamed heroes from Valley Forge to the Yalu River. I believe in—I am proud to belong to—the United States. Despite shortcomings—from lynchings, to bad faith in high places—our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.
And finally, I believe in my whole race—yellow, white, black, red, brown—in the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability, and goodness of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe that we have come this far by the skin of our teeth—that we always make it just by the skin of our teeth—but that we will always make it, survive, endure.
I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching oversized braincase and the opposable thumb—this animal barely up from the apes—will endure, will endure longer than his home planet, will spread out to the other planets—to the stars and beyond—carrying with him his honesty, his insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage, and his noble essential decency. This I believe with all my heart.


One of the main non-ideological complaints about "Starship Troopers" involves the plotting--too much talk and not enough shoot-'em-up scenes against those extraterrestrial creepy-crawlies. Yet the richness of the novel lies in these more thought-provoking sections, where Heinlein inserts miniature monologues that sound like outtakes from Zell Miller's GOP convention address. "My mother says that violence never settles anything," comments one character. A teacher who doubles as Heinlein's mouthpiece then pounces: "Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms." Heinlein goes on to describe a society in which citizens gain the right to vote through military service. His conjectures about "the decadence and collapse" of 20th-century democracies are also designed to raise liberal hackles: "Those noble experiments failed because the people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted and get it, without toil, without sweat, without tears." Heinlein certainly wasn't a conservative traditionalist. His most popular book, in terms of copies sold, was "Stranger in a Strange Land"--a paean to sexual liberation and an attack on organized religion.
        - John J. Miller, assessing Heinlein's legacy, "The Free Lance-Star"

>> Read more quotes from the works of Robert Heinlein [external link]

>> Return to Quotes index, or Site homepage.