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Libertarians on Heinlein 
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Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:40 pm
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Post Libertarians on Heinlein
The Ludwig von Mises Institute is placing a great deal of libertarian literature online:
Go HERE and search for Heinlein.

A 1969 review of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress HERE (see p. 3) indicates that he was not, at least at that time, fully accepted by the movement as it stood then as one of their own, because of his support for fully prosecuting the Vietnam War.

Later mentions of Heinlein in various libertarian magazines indicate he was accepted by other writers as a libertarian.


Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:57 am
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Post Re: Libertarians on Heinlein
When did he turn against the draft?


Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:37 pm
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Post Re: Libertarians on Heinlein
georule wrote:
When did he turn against the draft?

When did he ever support it?


Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:52 pm
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Post Re: Libertarians on Heinlein
BillMullins wrote:
georule wrote:
When did he turn against the draft?

When did he ever support it?

What you said. There is never a time in the documentary record when he approved or even tolerated conscription


Sat Jul 17, 2010 7:56 am
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Post Re: Libertarians on Heinlein
Only of slight relevance, but a good place to drop one of my favorite stats about the Vietnam War:

Number of Vietnam-era veterans: 8 million.
Number of Vietnam-era draftees: 2 million.

Whatever else there is to be said, the notion that Vietnam was all press-gang troops isn't even a little bit true.

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In the end, I found Heinlein is finite. Thus, finite analysis is needed.


Sat Jul 17, 2010 1:25 pm
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Post Re: Libertarians on Heinlein
JamesGifford wrote:
Only of slight relevance, but a good place to drop one of my favorite stats about the Vietnam War:

Number of Vietnam-era veterans: 8 million.
Number of Vietnam-era draftees: 2 million.

Whatever else there is to be said, the notion that Vietnam was all press-gang troops isn't even a little bit true.


But the looming draft is why there was a waiting list to get into something less direct (Navy, Air Force, NG, etc).


Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:55 am
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Post Re: Libertarians on Heinlein
I'm sure there are many ways to interpret it. I've also seen the argument that many "volunteers" were forced in one way or the other (as an alternative for jail time over minor infractions, etc.)

I have no particular horse in the race but it annoys me to see the sloppy retconned position that Vietnam was a war fought entirely by unwilling draftees. I do not find it at all surprising that somewhere well over half were volunteers who signed up for the usual reasons, whether passively because it was expected (although less an absolute requirement as it had been a few years earlier) or actively because they believed it was their duty.

It needs to be remembered that the vague collective memory of "the Sixties" represented a truly minority position that became accepted and popular only long after the fact. Check, for example, the Billboard top 10 or 100 through the early 1970s... you will find very few entries of what's considered the signature music of the era among much more staid old standards.

So in retrospect Heinlein's position seems Reaganesquely Rock Ribbed, but it was closer to the mainstream - and the notion, dead since Nixon, that it was a duty to support our country's obligations - than the narrow recollected view of what was then a fringe movement.

It doesn't matter who was right in the end. If you're going to evaluate someone's actions, you have to do it in context.

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Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:18 am
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Post Re: Libertarians on Heinlein
JamesGifford wrote:
Only of slight relevance, but a good place to drop one of my favorite stats about the Vietnam War:

Number of Vietnam-era veterans: 8 million.
Number of Vietnam-era draftees: 2 million.

Whatever else there is to be said, the notion that Vietnam was all press-gang troops isn't even a little bit true.


While only 20% of the Vietnam veterans being draftees sounds like a low number, you have to remember that most folks (especially after the lottery instituted in 1969 made it easier to predict your odds of forcible induction) did not wait to be drafted. If you enlisted you had a much better chance of avoiding combat, if that was your goal, although not a sure thing. It was also quite easy to get a deferment if you were enrolled in higher education or married. It is true, however, that voluntary enlistment by those who wanted to volunteer to fight remained quite high until the last few years of the war. I still have my old draft card somewhere.


Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:26 am
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Post Re: Libertarians on Heinlein
JamesGifford wrote:
So in retrospect Heinlein's position seems Reaganesquely Rock Ribbed, but it was closer to the mainstream - and the notion, dead since Nixon, that it was a duty to support our country's obligations - than the narrow recollected view of what was then a fringe movement.

It doesn't matter who was right in the end. If you're going to evaluate someone's actions, you have to do it in context.

Just so.

It's also probably one of those Problematica that Heinlein was aware of -- and groused about -- the forced deterioration in the armed forces in the 1960's and 1970s but never seemed to become aware that the way Nixon (et seq.) (for which read "the Imperial Presidency") abused (and continue to abuse) the U.S. Military had turned it into an institution which needed to be questioned with all the duties citizenship imposes before obeying -- into an institution or institutions it was not safe to repose one's trust in as a good Catholic places his conscience in the arms of the Magistracy of the Church (a simile Heinlein himself used).


Mon Jul 19, 2010 1:39 pm
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Post Re: Libertarians on Heinlein
BillPatterson wrote:
BillMullins wrote:
georule wrote:
When did he turn against the draft?

When did he ever support it?

What you said. There is never a time in the documentary record when he approved or even tolerated conscription


Okay, you're the man to know. I remember seeing something about that recently, but I don't remember where.

He was certainly quite willing to use it as a recruiting tool for Philly tho --"come work for me before the draft gets you! booga-booga!" Since in some instances those letters were written to men he knew were not currently eligible to be drafted, I'm not sure "never. . . even tolerated" is entirely defensible.


Mon Jul 19, 2010 3:55 pm
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