Heinlein's Criticism In Starship Troopers

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Is western society truly the best way to organize ourselves? Well, Robert Heinlein would say no. In Starship Troopers, Robert Heinlein criticizes the culture and political organization of western society, which he believes is, on a fundamental level, designed to fail. His first criticism is in the way children are raised, which Heinlein believes will result in criminal adults who are unable to meet their responsibilities to society. Heinlein also criticises western society’s opposition to war, which Heinlein believes to be a legitimate method of population control. However, Heinlein’s main criticism has to do with democracy itself, which Heinlein believes will lead to the previous two faults faced by western society by failing to balance authority…show more content…
Dubois later goes on to state that “pain is the basic mechanism built into us by millions of years of evolution which safeguards us by warning us when something threatens our survival.” (pg 121) These two quotes show the three pillars of what Heinlein believes to be good punishment; letting the punished know what you are punishing them for, humiliating them in front of their peers, and inflicting pain upon them. Far from considering this to be cruel, Heinlein considers this to be benevolent, because to punish a child harshly and immediately saves that child from a future life sentence or possible execution once they have become an adult. Heinlein also believes it to be benevolent because preventing a child from becoming a criminal saves that child 's victims from the harm that the child will inflict. This concept of punishment and the way it is applied to children leads to the first of Heinlein’s criticisms of western society, that being the refusal of western society to turn its children into adults in Heinlein’s eyes. A second criticism that Heinlein makes about western society has to do with western society’s aversion to war. Heinlein believes that war is a natural, valid, and necessary. When it comes to war, Heinlein takes a social darwinist perspective, believing that war is merely an extension of the competition which animals face in nature which drives evolution. Heinlein’s two main justifications of war have to do with population. First of all, Heinlein argues that…show more content…
Heinlein believes that this style of government makes its citizens fall victim to the previous two faults of western society. Instead, Heinlein argues in favour of a style of government called stratocracy, where the military and the government are the same entity without distinction. Heinlein’s particular style of stratocracy is to limit franchise to those people who have completed a full term of service in the military. Heinlein presents many reasons why you would want to limit franchise to this group of people. The first reason presented is that all states restrict franchise, even western democracy, who exclude children and those who’ve committed felonies. Thus, restricting franchise is a necessary part of all ideologies. Secondly, Heinlein believes it will bring about stability. “‘Revolution-armed uprising-requires not just dissatisfaction but aggressiveness...if you separate out the aggressive ones and make them the sheepdogs, the sheep will never give you trouble,’” (pg 194) In this quote Heinlein explains that when the people who have the ability to exercise force are the only people in power, violent revolution is impossible, which makes the system Heinlein presents very stable against internal threats. The third argument that Heinlein presents has to do with external threats, but it has already been summarized in the last paragraph. Essentially the expansionist nature of Heinlein’s stratocracy
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