I’m very tempted to just
steal republish the whole thing, but that wouldn’t be fair to Hube. I’d recommend that you read the whole thing:
I’m currently in the process of re-reading Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers for the umpteenth time. If you’re not familiar with this outstanding novel, don’t let the title — or the 1997 film based on the novel — fool you. It’s far from a kiddie cookie-cutter tale (although, in its original incarnation, it was intended to be). Indeed, it’s a treatise on the weaknesses of our current culture, both moral and political, because we’ve forgotten what works. Dana Pico over at one of my favorite blogs, Common Sense Political Thought, recently commented on this during a discussion about the decline of the city of Baltimore. He writes,
I’d like to say that I am constantly amazed how our modern society has managed to take 6,000 years of accumulated wisdom from every culture ever known on this planet and decide that it’s not worth crap, but to say that I am constantly amazed by it would be a lie. Now it’s just a dull feeling of, “What else is new?”
Heinlein, in the guise of Lt. Col. Jean V. Dubois in the novel (who is protagonist Juan Rico’s high school teacher of History and Moral Philosophy), continually muses on this very subject throughout most of the novel. While not sparing vehement criticism of Marxism and communism whatsoever, Dubois doesn’t let Western society off the hook for its failings either. In chapter 8, Rico, while in boot camp, reminisces about high school and Dubois’s lectures:
Mr. Dubois was talking about the disorders that preceded the breakup of the North American republic, back in the XXth century. According to him, there was a time just before they went down the drain when crimes such as Dillinger’s (a trooper who deserted and killed a little girl) were as common as dog fights. The Terror had not been just in North America — Russia and the British Isles had it, too, as well as other places. But it reached its peak in North America shortly before things went to pieces.”Law-abiding people,” Dubois had told us, “hardly dared go into a public park at night. To do so was to risk attack by wolf packs of children, armed with chains, knives, homemade guns, bludgeons … to be hurt at least, robbed most certainly, injured for life probably — or even killed … Murder, drug addiction, larceny, assault, and vandalism were commonplace. Nor were parks the only places — these things happened also on the streets in daylight, on school grounds, even inside school buildings.”
Sound familiar? Heinlein wrote Troopers in 1959 — fifty-one years ago — yet what he writes above is found every single day in newspaper headlines and stories.
Much more at the link.