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Thread: "An armed society is a polite society" Robert Anson Heinlein, Beyond This Horizon (1942)

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Anson_Heinlein [excerpts]

    Within the framework of his science fiction stories Heinlein repeatedly integrated recognizable social themes: The importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress non-conformist thought. He also examined the relationship between physical and emotional love, speculated about unorthodox family relationships, and the influence of space travel on human cultural practices. His iconoclastic approach to these themes led to wildly divergent perceptions of his works and attempts to place mutually contradictory labels on his work. For example, his 1959 novel Starship Troopers was widely viewed as an advocacy of militarism and even to contain some elements of fascism, although many passages in the book disparage the inflexibility and stupidity of a purely militaristic mindset. By contrast, his 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land put him in the unexpected role of pied piper to the sexual revolution and the counterculture, and through this book he was credited with popularizing the notion of polyamory, or responsible nonmonogamy.
    He supported himself at several occupations, including real estate and silver mining, but for some years found money in short supply. Heinlein was active in Upton Sinclair's socialist End Poverty in California movement in the early 1930s. When Sinclair gained the Democratic nomination for governor of California in 1934, Heinlein worked actively in the unsuccessful campaign. Heinlein himself ran for the California State Assembly in 1938, but was unsuccessful.[9] In later years, Heinlein kept his socialist past secret, writing about his political experiences coyly, and usually under the veil of fictionalization. In 1954, he wrote, "...many Americans ... were asserting loudly that McCarthy had created a 'reign of terror.' Are you terrified? I am not, and I have in my background much political activity well to the left of Senator McCarthy's position."[10]
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    The Heinlein juveniles, novels for young adults, may turn out to be the most important work he ever did, building an audience of scientifically and socially aware adults. He had used topical materials throughout his series, but in 1959, his Starship Troopers was regarded by the Scribner's editorial staff as too controversial for their prestige line and was rejected summarily.
    Many of these were first published in serial form under other titles, e.g., Farmer in the Sky was published as "Satellite Scout" in the Boy Scout magazine Boys' Life. There has been speculation that Heinlein's intense obsession with his privacy[19] was due at least in part to the apparent contradiction between his unconventional private life and his career as an author of books for children, but For Us, The Living also explicitly discusses the political importance Heinlein attached to privacy as a matter of principle.
    The novels that Heinlein wrote for a young audience are commonly referred to as "the Heinlein juvelines," and they feature a mixture of adolescent and adult themes. Many of the issues that he takes on in these books have to do with the kinds of problems that adolescents experience. His protagonists are usually very intelligent teenagers who have to make their way in the adult society they see around them. On the surface, they are simple tales of adventure, achievement, and dealing with stupid teachers and jealous peers. However, Heinlein was a vocal proponent of the notion that juvenile readers were far more sophisticated and able to handle complex or difficult themes than most people realized. Thus even his juvenile stories often had a maturity to them that made them readable for adults. Red Planet, for example, portrays some very subversive themes, including a revolution in which young students are involved; his editor demanded substantial changes in this book's discussion of topics such as the use of weapons by children and the misidentified gender of the Martian character. Heinlein was always aware of the editorial limitations put in place by the editors of his novels and stories, and while he observed those restrictions on the surface, was often successful in introducing ideas not often seen in other authors' juvenile SF.
    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Robert_A._Heinlein

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Robert_A._Heinlein

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    http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Robert_A._Heinlein:
    "There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men." * Source:Starship Troopers, Sergeant Charles Zim, Page 61
    • Heinlein's argument on hoplophobia.

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