Our Dutch Uncle
Foreword by Brad Linaweaver
"He is in our heads." So writes J. Neil Schulman about his hero, Robert A. Heinlein. My friend of thirty years, Bill Ritch, has used the same phrase as long as Ive known him. But just who is the "our?" Do Neil and Bill mean the community of science fiction professionals? Do they mean the fans? I think not.
The "our" refers to an area where two special interests meet: science fiction and libertarianism. For science fiction enthusiasts who are not libertarians (the majority), Heinlein is an important figure in the field and an influence on many writers. For libertarians who are not science fiction readers (the majority), Heinlein is an interesting footnote in the literature of liberty. But for those of us who combine these two passions and have optimism in the future, Robert Anson Heinlein is God.
We have needed this book for a very long time. As Mrs. Heinlein says in her endorsement, this interview will appeal both to readers of science fiction and to libertarians. But for those of us who burn for technological marvels and want freedom to enjoy them instead of being slaves to a technocratic Big Brother, Heinlein created the blueprint that may get us to a better world. Not Utopia, because he taught us that
The Robert A. Heinlein Interview and Other Heinleiniana such a dream truly is nowhere. A better world, on the other hand, is not impossible. It is simply hard to achieve.
When he died, the larger world paid attention to his impact on us; yes, on those of us who take The Moon is a Harsh Mistress seriously! As I wrote in New Libertarian, the Associated Press mentioned his libertarianism.
The science fiction press did its best to ignore the same thing. I was annoyed at the time. Now I see that the SF world was trying to do him a favor by ignoring his politics. They gave him a vacation from their usual slanders and libels.
Now with the Hollywood blockbuster of Starship Troopers, the SF community is back to normal; back to calling Heinlein a fascist. And what of his defenders? They know full well that the limited government model of liberty is every bit as objectionable to todays totalitarians as is any anarchy. Those who call Heinlein a fascist know that they are lying. Those who deny Heinleins libertarianism from the other direction know they are lying, too.
In this, the best interview with Heinlein, Neil Schulman inspired the following comment from his hero: "I would say that my position is not too far from that of Ayn Rand; that I would like to see government reduced to no more than internal police and courts, external armed forces with the other matters handled otherwise. Im sick of the way the government sticks its nose into everything, now." Also: "The justification for free enterprise is that its free."
There is only one kind of mentality in this sorry world that describes such expressions of American individualism as fascist: the Marxist mind. That this discredited mode of thought dominates science fiction criticism is no surprise. It still holds sway in New York and Hollywood. It may be finished in Moscow but its doing fine at Harvard and Yale.
That is why we need this book. Robert A. Heinlein is our Dutch Uncle. Maybe the American family is falling apart for lack of decent father figures but at least we still have the voice of one sane man who tells us to be the best we can be and expects even more than an Army recruitment ad. (Besides, hes Navy!)
The United States of America beat its greatest enemies of the century. Heinlein was there in the fight against fascism (and its virulent mutant form of Nazism) as well as in the 75-year-long struggle against Soviet Communism. We defeated these monsters and now our reward seems to be domestic tyranny at the hands of our worst elements, true parasites of the soul.
Naturally such people cannot stand the work of Robert A. Heinlein. Naturally they accuse the man of propagating what is actually their own evils.
The trouble for them is that Heinlein wont go away. They cant let him go away. The kind of totalitarian who gravitates to the arts needs to steal from somewhere even from our Dutch Uncle, who was a superb entertainer. But they make sure to leave out his philosophy.
Buy multiple copies! Tell your friends! This one book will answer for all time what Heinleins positions really were.
The answers are not good for the enemies of freedom.
December 27, 1998