Wednesday, August 01, 2007

"The only fascist science fiction writer in America": RA Heinlein

(The Politics of Sci-fi, continued)

From Libertarian Forum, 1969 or so:

"""""According to a February issue of National Review magazine, Robert Heinlein is one of 270 signers of a jingoist petition circulated in the U. S. Author's Guild by the facile William Buckley and his spiritual cohort Frank S. Meyer. The petition, a belated retort to an earlier anti-Vietnam war roster of authors (which was eminently successful), calls for "the vigorous prosecution of the Vietnam war to an honorable conclusion." Deep contemplation is not necessary to comprehend the statist, authoritarian implications of such New Right weasel words and the concomitant beliefs of men who would endorse it.""""""

Apparently even a few Libertarians thought Heinlein a bit too whacked and rightist (to the real Precious-Bodily-Fluids sort of Hawk, Nixon was "soft"). Heinlein appears to be the favorite scribbler and ideological guru of New Worlds. Excepting JC, of course, and perhaps the Deep Thoughts of Hog HulkRon, the Galactic Rassler (one of the loudest of DU Blog-Martyrs: loudness being inversely proportional to like rationality.......). Perhaps HulkRon--homophobe, congenital liar, white trash protestant, misogynist, and lover of all things Heroic and Heinleinian---might leave his WWF Today alone for a few days and read up on his ideological guru's pal Bill Buckley (At least Buckley wielded some nice Ivy League prose: more than pulpmeister RAHeinlein, or poor Hulk-Ron, another Caliban who fancies hisself Shakespeare, could say).

Buh bye Hulk

In 1969, Abbie H. (yeah he had some issues), student of Marcuse--and Marx--- would most likely have put a bullet in Hulk-Ron's head for even buying one of Colonel Heinlein's potboilers: jus' saying. And of course Abbie would have called a girly-mann psychotic who idolizes Heinlein the great closet-case Himmler that he izz. Or just "stupid phuck."


Maybe Preacher HulkRon recalls a bit of Screepture: Suffer Fools gladly.


Max said...

Wow! Did I say you write lucidly over here? I think this was a misplaced commentary that was supposed to go into the deranged, guffaw and delete category in the NW moderation queue.

Looks like Arconius baited you with the fun Romney post. Not that you didn't ask for it.

J said...

Let's put it this way: if you say you are a "liberal," and then quote Mussolini, most normal humans will point out your egregious inconsistency, and indeed hypocrisy. If one takes all that 60s lovey-dove crap seriously (I don't really, but Astronious does), one doesn't then turn around and quote Heinlein as some authority on, like, everything: and really Heinlein is far closer to Mussolini, if not the brownshirts, than he was to say Jefferson, or Osiris Forbid, Marxism.

Did you read the article I linked to? Von Mises was hardly some whacked marxist. That was sort of the Popperian group: Bertrand Russell also denounced 'Nam. Not Colonel Heinlein: RAH was to the right of William F. Buckley for christ's sake. He was pals with Al Haig, I believe. Buckley and his pals thought Nixon was a wimp. Of course consistent ethics rarely bothers a supremely opportunistic hick such as your pal Astronius. And again, AstroBoy routinely lies and presents conjectures and guesswork as "truth". And you allow it.

All violations of writer's ethics, and indeed opposed to Jeffersonian concepts.

J said...

In fact, given any sort of objective morality, I'd say ol RAH, like his bizarre pal L-ron rests lower in Hades than even the beats or 60's leftists. They rest somewhere near to like their heroes, Nixon, and Reagan, if not the Wehrmacht. If there is no such thing, then he was just another opportunistic hack writer, lacking style and taste, regardless of his ability to spam in some Newton 101 into his potboilers.

Let's ask say Bruce Sterling or Harlan Ellison, or even KS Robinson about ol RAH. Ellison while not my fave writer on occasion called RAH the hawk and crypto-fascist he was.

But let's cut the ethics chit-chat, since I doubt you know utilitarianism from U2. You play joisey rules, then everyone plays josiey rules. Savvy? And Astronius, behind all of his BS sci-fi hype, is playing by Joisey rules, like most protestant shit does.

Max said...

I did ask KSR about Heinlein and he let me know his feelings were along similar lines to your own (sans hyperbole). It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do to disagree with one of my great literary heroes to his face, but I did. Since then I've managed to read ol' Bob again and thoroughly enjoyed every word.

The interesting thing is that Stan now knows I enjoy Heinlein but he still considers me a friend and we can talk about many things we do agree on perfectly amicably. That's one of the joys of being fully human. Some of us can find peace while being a tad inconsistent. It doesn't drive us completely bonkers- toys in the attic- surely gone fishing. You get the picture.

J said...

I am not suggesting that RAH's books be pulled from library shelves. Some of his writing I enjoy--even the militaristic Starship Troopers (before the 60s, and his move to the right I would argue). But anyone who champions liberal values ad nauseum who not only reads Heinlein but holds him to be a supreme authority is about the same as some "liberal" who would quote Mussolini--i.e hypocritical, inconsistent, whacked.

Being "fully human" (more of your patented veiled sarcasm, or "ethics by suggestion") does not entail being a hypocrite, or a liar, or a wannabe mafioso.

It's also amusing how you duck the real substance of my posts: i.e. Heinlein signing off on arch-conservative Buckley's petition to like, bomb the Enemy into oblivion. It WAS a big deal 35 years ago or so.

Indeed fiction, sci-fi or otherwise, often functions as sort of history-destroyer, as some have noted. Instead of a debate or essay on the millions of vietnamese people killed (or even iraqi people killed), blogland focuses on various silly fictional scenarios, or endless ID politics. Few are sillier than Heinlein's. Really I think Astronius' Heinlein invocations are deliberate attempts to derail other discussions--like a few sentences on Orwell, or "Reds", or Dawkins, music, etc.

It's all part of his scheming--one notes this on his DU posts as well; people are discussing some intense and complex situation, the War Effort, or Patriot Act, the problems of the Lancet report, and Egonius bursts in to remind all present of some personal incident (or worse, some imagined scene from Heinlein) that has little or no bearing on anything. St. Narcissus sails on.

Max said...

If you could just take a slight tack in your perception you might see him as providing free entertainment (as I do with him and you, and I trust he does with me). Instead you get all worked up as if he's one of the presidential candidates or something. He's just an old friend blathering on like the rest of us. You are far too serious.

J said...

Yeah I thought that initially, but not anymore. His silly Romney spam was a typical emotional over-reaction---nearly binge-like. Note that I didn't actually claim he was a Romney-oid (yet), but if he became one, you would hopefully stop him. A hypothetical as they say. But he has to fly off into silly paranoid fantasies, and then the drah-ma and lies (misogynist, etc.). He's whacked. I don't really care anymore: one doesn't attempt to reason with .........Hulk. He's the one with the axe to grind, and the obsession.

The great inconsistency is that he seems to think it's cool to quote a right-wing writer, as well as "liberals"--thus suggesting a certain moral relativism, but then turns around and denounces conservatives as immoral, the embodiment of evil. etc. I wager Heinlein even hoisted a brew with young Cheney on occasion, if not Reagan. Praising both liberalism and Heinlein (not liberal, in person or his writing) is really an informal contradiction: A and ~A (be a liberal, and don't be a liberal). Thus false (not to a machiavellian of course, who says there are no values anyways)

The hyperbole on this thread is a bit much (less than his usual insulting posts), but the central point holds: Heinlein was adamantly in favor of the Vietnam War, and indeed he got more militaristic in the 70s, siding with Reagan, and the "star wars" plans.

Max said...

The multiple colors and fonts should have given you a clue that he wasn't being emotional, he was having fun. He was play acting a crazed lunatic. Remember he does have a drama degree.

As for RAH, hate to break it to you, but he's dead. All that remains are his wonderful stories. His politics, which shifted with the wind and whatever made for good background for whatever story he was writing, are irrelevant to the here and now. Perhaps he did hoist a brew with Dick C. Do I care? Does it diminish the joy of reading his books? Not a bit. Let him RIP.

J said...

His politics, which shifted with the wind and whatever made for good background for whatever story he was writing, are irrelevant to the here and now.

Debatable. To you they are irrelevant. To your pal KS Robinson they are relevant. To some in the non-conservative sci-fi camps they are relevant. It's similar to the situation with some french writers after WWII. Some of them, like Camus, had worked with the Resistance, and fought the nazis. Others had indeed worked with the Vichy (Sartre himself (I don't care for most of his BS, really) was accused of being a collaborator). Some like LF Celine, went so far as to applaud the nazis. If you were in France, even a few years after the War, vichy collaboration WAS a big deal. It might still be, as Pound's anti-semitism and radio broadcasts for Il Duce still bother some in academia.

Were you a North Vietnamese person who had seen 1000s killed by the bombs and napalm that Heinlein, and Buckley and his crew had supported (and Nixon/Kissinger), or even one of the more rational 60s radicals you would probably not be so forgiving. Some of the beat generation fans don't forgive Kerouac for a few somewhat militaristic and anti-leftist comments in mid 60s. There is a political context to writing, sci-fi, or traditional lit., and I feel you overlook that, as does Astronius. The leftist bloggers certainly haven't been forgiving of Hitchens, who moved from left to a moderate position--and Hitchens did protest Nam bombings, and is certainly less of a rightist than Heinlein was.

Heinlein also denounced all the liberal give-a-away programs, the LB Johnson- like social welfare stuff that B----- B------ routinely advocates (or at least spams into places). That's one reason the libertarian types were taking issue with him: he had, starting in late 60s, moved away from a anti-statist libertarian type of thinking to a hard-right military-statist. There are some suggestions that he invoked the nazis with approval on occasion.

J said...

Note too the great intellectual doing his wannabe Teamster-goon schtick, man. Ah don't think he wants to play that game: Verstehen Zee, Hick-ron? You don't want to go there, trash. Amazing you let that slide: if I said half-the-shit he says, you would have a fit.

The convo has ended.

Max said...

It appears he's successfully goaded you into soiling your own blog with hate filth. How easily manipulated you are. A stronger man would not fall prey so easily to his fun & games. But there you are in black and white. A hater of a fool. Why?

J said...

Yass, I may have let the Fool-Ron irritate me on occasion, but there's a limit to the amount of foolishness one can gladly suffer. A better question: why do you allow a Fool to control/dominate your site? (Bb's more like a Knave than Fool, really--Fools are usually witty and entertaining, if authentic Fools. You are part Fool, perhaps. As is Senrab. And I, to some degree. Knaves, on the other hand, are crass, violent, underhanded, etc. See the rustic scribblings of Knave-Ron for example. What's more, Knaves typically want to be....Knights, and will do anything to become a Knight. And therein lies the danger).

J said...

It's not hate filth, either. You should spend a few weeks reading say Bertrand Russell, or even Chomsky, including his thoughts on 'Nam, or maybe some Pynchon. I'm not as left as I once was (apres 911), but Heinlein's actions in the late 60s and 70s should rightly irritate anyone who ever valued the 60s counterculture--hanging out with WF Buckley was about the equivalent to say joining the CIA (and I wager RAH had some CIA and military connections as well, as did L-Ron). RAH did not protest McCarthyism, and in the 50s supported Eisenhower, and then Nixon, and then Reagan. Dr. Leary was no fan of RA Heinlein.

Max said...

So what happened to it being a free country? If I or mister-onius wish to read a certain loong-dead author and enjoy it why should we not be allowed to do so in peace. I do not find myself exhibiting any fascist tendencies (you may beg to differ) as a result of exercising my freedom to read what I wish, anymore than I am becoming a marxist from reading John Reed. If anything, the opposite is true. When I read Heinlein now, I see his libertarian views differently than when I was younger and more malleable. Now I can enjoy the story without buying 100% of the philosophy. Same with Reed. I enjoy his passion and his vivid description of a crazy time where big things were happening. I do have critical faculties, however, and can see the tragedy that is occurring. I can even apply the lessons of history to understanding Daily Kos diatribes and rants on a deeper level. Much of what I read there is pure horseshit but I can see it for what it is- I don't have to eat it up like an idiot. Still, I'm not afraid to read anybody and find that a lot of what I vehemently disagree with has value. Why else would I be here?

J said...

Could you read, say, some essays by Benito Mussolini, and appreciate them, without making any connection between what he wrote, and fascism? Or how about...Mein Kampf. Heinlein, while he may not have not quite reached Hitler and the brownshirts (tho' Starship Troopers is pretty close to fascism; moreover RAH was pals with Werner Von Braun, who never completely repudiated his nazi past), is pretty close to Mussolini, ideologically speaking (the Italian fascists also loved "Futurism", Science, progress, etc.).

Why not just chat about Werner Von Braun? Or Goering for that matter. Ah yeah Vati Reichmarshall Hermann Goering, hepcat, pilot, old scoundrel, even a stoner: he knew what the F. integrals were.

It's this bizarre romantic-libertarian bric a brac that puzzles me: John Reed, or Heinlein; Abbie H-mann, or Britney Spears. Capricious. Googlestein some Leary: he talked some trash about Heinlein as a country club Repub, and militarist. While Dr. TL was not my fave writer, he had a somewhat cyberpunk-like sensibility, and I wager knew as much about quantum physics, modern psychology, literature etc. as did RAH. RAH was no rocker either: RAH talked trash about hippies, about the new left, about everyone. He was hardly "PC" either: RAH wuz a "gay basher" early on, and homophobe, like JimmyHoffanious.

There's this strange selection process to NW sci-fi that I find puzzling: Heinlein is cool, so is Benford, but say William Gibson & Co. have yet to make an appearance. Neither has PK Dick. Or Spinrad. Ballard, etc. Whatevs. Sci-fi should not be some agit-prop for the US military. Yet that is what RAH is, mostly.

Perezoso said...

Heinlein not only neglected to criticize McCarthyism: he actually supported it (google for The Facts). Indeed, as Leary realized (and Doc Leary served hard time for his views), Heinlein was running with the Fed Snitches (some of them Demos, and could probably quote Marx--or Jefferson at the drop of a badge). RAH also said some things against the "hippies" (as if that was some well-defined class--hah), and their drug use. So when you praisin' RAH, you giving praise to a Snitch. (Uncle Bill Burroughs also knew that hick redneck cops (or FBI g-men) were nearly matched in numbers by democratic J. Edgars (Di Feinstone one of current J-Edgars). Could "Hulk-Ron' be doing some "backing the badge" with his RAH invocations as well ? Es po-see-blay........

Max said...

"It's this bizarre romantic-libertarian bric a brac that puzzles me..."

Now you're making progress. Confusion is the first step toward enlightenment.

J said...

Note too, P-Z, the typical moralism of the J.Edgar-Ron typical political belch du jour. The naive, newbie liberal like J-EgdarRon still relies on his or her Sunday School moralism (one might even term it bourgeois): the Outrage! Appalling! How could they! No shred of decency! (and note the usual ham-fisted cliches).

The objective, skeptical investigator, on the other hand, makes no a priori assumptions, offers no emotional reactions: without sufficient evidence with the facts (of say Gonzo-gate), the authentic investigator (i.e. Holmes, or Sam Spade, instead of the New Worlder's Miss Marples, or Clouseau's, perhaps) withholds judgement on the guilt or innocence of the parties, even if ideologically one finds Bushco rather unappealing.

Besides Leahy, however sharp, offers plenty of weasel words in his own emotional diatribes: Leahy asserts that the attorneys given the axe were all "respected". Unlikely. The truth of most political scandals---if that Truth can be known at all by "non-insiders", ----, is far more complex than most Blog-o-crats can even imagine.

And like most scandals--and political chat---the usual naive Newbie Leftist begs the ethical question: why be moral? Indeed that old conservative, GOP supporter, and Snitch RA Heinlein said much the same: Strike while the iron is hot! (aka Carpe Diem. Rove, however f-ed up, knows what Carpe Diem means)

Of course, few DNC-o-crats have ever bothered with the cliffsnotes to that great text of political tactics, Nickie M's, The Prince, just as they don't know the King's Gambit from , er, King's Table.

J said...

Hah. I don't have a problem with reading a bit of RAH's manga (and that's what it izz really--closer to like comic strips, Buck Rogers--than to Shakespeare, or even, say, the monumental, quantum weirdness of Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow). But I do have a problem with anyone (especially a supposed "liberal") touting RAH--conservative, militarist, Establishment--- as the guide to all things political, cultural, or scientific.

I wager Karl Rove reads Heinlein, and even considers himself an intellectual for doing it. They now teach RAH's books at West Point and other military schools: Jingoism 101. He's another of these Big Daddies that Americans take for some type of authority, and his books are sort of Horatio Alger for a lot of phamilies too (one's tempted to say "bourgeois"). Precious Bodily Fluids, etc.

But my own view of fiction--whether speculative, sci-fi, or even traditional---remains skeptical. However grand a work of fiction is, it is not truth--historical, scientific, or logical. I think fiction often (not always) functions as a type of escape, a great deception, as movies do as well: Bertrand Russell thought so, as did some of the old-school marxists (ie Dickens' fictional nightmares of Victorian England are not at all the real nightmares of East End London circa 1840-1880. etc.).

George Lucas is our modern PT Barnum (and most sci-fi writers have a PT Barnum aspect as well). At least with a writer like Vonnegut (or Pynchon to some extent) there is some satire of current events, some political and historical relevance (Cat's Cradle, for instance, relates to the Cold War). Space operas set 100 or 1000 years in the future are merely dreams, however pleasant.

Perezoso said...

Anyhoo, as I said numerous times, RAHeinlein was a rat: or at least he became one, starting in the late 50's. A Snitch. A pal of WF Buckley, and later of the Reaganites. He hated the hippies (SEE the Annapolis speech from 72 or 73 if you think I am making this up), and had CIA connections. RAH denounced Dr. Leary, and everything he stood for. RAH would be applauding BushCo, Cheney, Rummy, Rove, the rest; indeed he'd probably say they were too soft, as the hawks said about Nixon.

It's not surprising RatRon Rellamy quotes RAH so much, and idolizes RAH to the expense of about any other writer (or even discussion). RAH wanted to be Werner Von Braun rocket Hero, a Galatic Hercules, like RatRon does. RAH was a supremely opportunistic hack: he always insisted "write for money" and for nothing else. RatRon has the same juvenile and heroic dreams if not psychotic ambitions, like most of Hicki Americanus.

J said...

Note how Max (or his irrational, crass, monolingual, anti-scientific boot-polisher, SubRonius) refuses to address the specific issues regarding the rightist politics of RAHeinlein that I raised, nor does he apparently believe that they were a big deal. So it goes.

Were you writing a paper on the "Politics of Heinlein" you would need to address the thesis (and supporting evidence from Libertarian Forum, Leary's bon mots, RAH Annapolis speech, other sources) presented by the writer. Since you or your SubbieRon failed to do that, you earn an "F" for the Politics of Heinlein essay.

Max said...

Reminds me of college- getting Fs for classes I didn't choose to attend.

I thought my non-essay deserved at least a C- !

J said...

Whatevs. I do think RAHeinlein was interested, starting in 50s when he at least tacitly supported McCarthyism, in providing sort of right-wing (with some libertarian hints) propaganda to American consumers, though he was enough of a hack and entrepreneur to realize he couldn't be real blatant about it. TEFL reads that way, if one considers Long as a RAH alter-ego (and I think TEFL a greatly overrated book). DuBois in Starship Troopers also has been read as RAH alter-ego (and I think he is--and too me, ST, unlike the too subjective TEFL, sort of real sci-fi--even if I disagree with RAH's code), and DuBois, as I have alluded to in quite a few posts, is one step from a militaristic dictator (or at least teaching dictatorship).

I would not claim Dubois advocates nazi-like fascism (some have said RAH was doing that however), but sort of a Patton or MacArthur-like American imperialism. And the Bugs themselves, read as metaphor (of 3rd world perhaps?), are not at all some PC creatures: they are large vicious insectoid-like aliens that must be liquidated. Heinlein's world--especially in ST-- is all about war, endless battle, valor, sacrifice, etc.


Another issue: what should humans blog about? I'm running out of ideas, and about to bag the blog-game, except for maybe posting some youtubes. Even the big name sites seem pretty futile. It seems that some bloggers go very formal, with research, data, detailed studies, etc. and that alienates most people, or ones goes topical, with soundbites, ID politics, and joins the herd, and is sort of disposable. The whole web is reaching a saturation point, and even in terms of intelligent, moderate politics, Blogworld doesn't seem to do much.

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