Starship Troopers – novel

Disclaimer: the post is not very intelligible, read the novel to understand what I am talking about. 

Want to make a short post on a novel I recently read, Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. It is a military sci-fi, meaning it is a novel not only interested in the speculative tech-driven futurism, but also in the military.

The novel is about a young guy enrolling into the army and becoming a brilliant officer. There is no drama and no real tension, it is just a feels-good piece for army fans. The book is set in the future where Earth is at war with some insect-like aliens, and the protagonist is a member of the infantry which engages the enemy on the ground.

The reason why I decided to write about this novel is because, very much like Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, it is full of such utter nonsense, mixed in with entertaining narrative, that it is hard to resist to argue with it. There is no real need too, the book is just cheap entertainment, but still I think I won’t do too much damage if I write a few lines about it ^^’/

The first fun fact about the happy future the book describes is that in that future only army veterans are citizens and only they are allowed to vote. Army service is no trifle either. The army happily killed a dozen people to train a few dozen, as was described in the book. And hundreds were sent home. The training as described in the book is filled with moderately-to-extreme hardships and constant humiliation of the lower ranking soldiers and aggression from the higher ranking army men. As explained in the novel, the army served as a sieve to pick only the most community-minded individuals and allowing only them to vote was good for everyone.

That is where I make my first stop. Obviously such system couldn’t last, it would be dysfunctional from the start. Such a group of voters would be hugely biased and would be easily exploited and lead astray to destroy their country. Not to mention that even in the novel there were plenty of episodes where army was brain-washing its members to follow a certain line of thinking, be it though drills or exams where you had to know the right answers for questions related to governing the planet (like, there was a right answer to a question “should you starrt a war if …”). I think even a little kid would be able to guess that this political system would result in something horrid, probably in extreme militarism.

That is an unfair criticism though. Heinlein didn’t care. He was happy with military dictatorship. Unless he was making a joke, he also believed that it is possible to provide correct answers to moral questions using mathematical proofs (shows he had no idea what math is 😅), and those were usually that you need to start wars and use other kinds of violence. That is fine, no one says that you have to have pacifist views or whatever. This is a military sci-fi after all.

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