August 25, 2005 1 Comment
My ancient and creaky BlackCrayon book market is broken. Something changed on the Amazon side and I have yet to adjust whatever I have to adjust on my side.
I think after about 5 years as an “Amazon Associate” I’ve probably netted less than 1 book a year with this program, so I’m not feeling a strong incentive to fix that part of the website. (Also relevant to my morale and motivation: I stopped programming about 2 years ago when I turned to Austrianism, reading, writing, editing.)
But my reviews aren’t working either, which does bother me. I’ll get around to fixing whatever’s broken, but meanwhile, I thought I’d re-post some reviews here.
The first is inspired by news from Wally Conger that there might be a big screen version of Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress in the works. (And by someone who is (a) connected to Firefly, (b) aware of what libertarianism is (although he miscapitalizes the word), and (c) aware of the fact that Hollywood is much more interested in Marxist screeds than in libertarian screeds!)
Libertarian Revolution on The Moon — 2076.
Robert Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress tears at the heart of serious, freedom-loving readers.
It was the first story to get many of us to seriously question the legitimacy of government.
For me, it was both the first novel to use the term ‘anarchist’ to mean something peaceful rather than violent or chaotic, as well as the first novel to emphasizes the difference between “national” liberation and personal freedom.
But after the protagonist, Manuel Garcia O’Kelly, comes to believe that government is as much a threat to liberty as it has ever been any form of protection, he is left with the sad impression that government is inevitable, however much we struggle to do better.
O’Kelly’s friend and mentor, Professor Bernardo de la Paz is based on Heinlein’s libertarian anarchist friend, Robert LeFevre.
The Professor’s advice to the framers of Luna’s post-revolution government:Accentuate the negative!
De la Paz fears that the newly empowered Lunar citizens will want to make a law for everything.
In this case, accentuating the negative means creating laws that restrict what the government can do. He wants the citizens to empower themselves not as a collective entity, but as peaceful individuals.
The Lunar rebels declared their independence from Earth on July 4th, 2076 — hoping to equate their struggle with Thomas Jefferson, et al., but where Jefferson had said “The policy of the American government is to leave its citizens free, neither restraining them nor aiding them in their pursuits,” the new Lunar government is unpersuaded by the warnings of Professor de la Paz and Jefferson himself.
Those who are attracted to government “service” are there to pursue their own visions of a better society, not to stay out of the way of those who disagree with them.
In his own politics, Robert Heinlein was a libertarian minarchist who believed that the State is a necessary and inevitable evil. Once the population exceeds a certain size, all that’s left for an individual to do is move on.
There are many of us who are grateful to Heinlein for introducing us to the distinction between liberty and democracy, between personal freedom and collective sovereignty, between the society and the State.
But after giving us our first push in an unpopular and unsupported direction, he then refused to follow us to the natural conclusions of his own arguments. He was our ideological forefather, not our brother.