Sunday, January 11, 2009

Who are the heirs of Robert Heinlein?

After my recent rereading of "Expanded Universe", I am reminded how libertarian and patriotic Robert Heinlein was. Read "The Pragmatics of Patriotism" or "Who are the Heirs of Patrick Henry?" to see what I mean.

I'm thinking of this because of the hue and cry against Orson Scott Card, who is a Mormon and hasn't been hesitant about expressing his opinions. There are a number of discussions going on at various blogs on this subject. One of the more detailed is on Matt Staggs' blog, "Enter the Octopus".

So is Orson Scott Card off your reading list or what?

Interesting, huh? Like William F. Buckley once said, "Liberals profess to believe in a diversity of opinions, and then are shocked to find there are different opinions."

Let's face it, Communists subverted Western Culture by flattering and pandering to the elites; that's why political leftists - in English-speaking nations - can be so stuck up, obnoxious and arrogant (Think Gore Vidal). That allowed the conservatives to probably accumulate more political capital than they probably deserved - because the liberals were so "unlovable" - and run their tether out to the breaking point, putting our country in the fix it's in.

Card's opinions are pretty normal for a Mormon. Where I live, here is East Texas, he'd be considered a mealy-mouthed middle-of-the-roader. The fact that readers and authors suggest he be boycotted because of his personal beliefs is silly. A person's merits as an author stand apart from his personal life. William Sanders is the biggest, rudest jackass in the world. He's still a great writer.

I don't read Card's stuff. I simply don't like it - that's my taste. Whether he is a liberal, conservative, Mormon, Baptist, Catholic or member of the Schwenkfelder Church doesn't matter to me.

Subjecting an author to some sort of moral or ideological litmus test is completely against everything America stands for. After reading the blog I linked to above, it makes me wonder whether - with his background in the military, and his open and obvious libertarian and patriotic beliefs, would Robert Heinlein been able to get a start as a s-f writer today?

Or would he have been marginalized in the favor of people who are just as opinionated in the statist, collective, and secularist direction, but much more "politically correct"?


  1. It's wrong to have a list of writers you refuse to read based upon their political sympathies. However, those sympathies can color one's work, and make it difficult, irritating or impossible for others with the opposite view to read and take seriously. Life is short, and there's only so many books.

  2. I've never found an author whose work I wouldn't read because I happened to know their political opinions and didn't share it - even if those opinions colored their plots. Actually, I find plots tainted by different political sympathies more interesting. I know what I think - I'm curius what ohers think.

  3. I guess the main issue is whether the politics are heavy-handed and didactic or subtle and done with artistry.


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