Welcome to Librarium Online!
Join our community of 80,000+ members and take part in the number one resource for Warhammer and Warhammer 40K discussion!
Registering gives you full access to take part in discussions, upload pictures, contact other members and search everything!
I've been wanting to bring this up for a while and I guess now is as good a time as any.
In the novel Starship Troopers Robert Heinlein puts forward his ideas on ideal government. He definitely presents the Federation in a good light. It is clear that the author is not trying to illustrate a dystopia when he shows us Rico's society.
The basis of his government is similar to that of an ancient Greek city state. It is a democracy like ours in that only citizens over the age of majority can vote. The difference is that the only way you can become a citizen is by serving a minimum term in the military, and military service is purely voluntary. Anyone who has seen the movie knows that the military is unrestricted to men or women so there is no sexism.
The logic is this: Only a citizen who is willing to put their body in the way of a threat to the society as a whole (ie. die for their country) is truly a mature person who understands that the needs of the many override those of the few. Therefore only they should be able to participate in policy making. Merchants and artists and stuff are valuable but unless they are also willing to die for their country then they have no right to decide how the country works. This leads to a much more limited democracy than a typical modern one, but it definitely makes sense on some levels.
What does everyone think of Heinlein's idea?
PS. Now we get to talk imaginary politics for once!
Ahhhh, but there are two different kinds of rights: Basic Human Rights and Earned Rights.
You can't vote until you are 18 here; that's an earned right. However you can't be legally bought and sold like an animal; that's a Human Right.
Driving is an earned right, carrying a concealed weapon is an earned right, drinking is an earned right.... ect. There are thousands of earned rights in every society already. I see no problem with using the military as a screening process for governmental service/input. I have no problem with keeping the freeloading "I wouldn't die for my country" hippies out of the decision making process.
But hey, that's just my opinion because I put my life on the line every that day I pull my uniform on.
Interesing... It has it's points. Hmm.... *goes of to think*
Although the idea is interesting, I donâ€™t believe that kind of political system would work in a modern society for several reasons.
First of all, you must keep in mind that modern technology has lead to a lot of ethical issues that the old Greek societies never had to deal with; in those days you were either physically fit or you were dead. People didnâ€™t survive birth defects and diseases as they do today. To adopt the Greekâ€™s social model would be to discriminate against a certain group of individuals because of their physical abilities or rather lack thereof; the physically handicapped cannot make good soldiers, but they can be productive and intelligent members of society contributing to the greater good nonetheless. Should they be made â€˜second-rangâ€™ citizens (or entirely lose their citizenship) because of their birth defects? A blind man can be a great politician or scientist in spite of his handicap; in fact, many of the worldâ€™s brightest heads have a kind of disability - perhaps this is why they have instead chosen to develop their mental abilities. And yet you would deprive them of democracy and the right to participate in the runnings of their nation? Not only is that unethical, itâ€™s also stupid.
Secondly, it has been proven that an army of conscripts is a lot less effective than an army of professional soldiers, so having a large percentage of a nationâ€™s population serving in the army doesnâ€™t necessarily mean youâ€™ll win more battles or have more soldiers return home from the front to become citizens. Professional soldiers are a lot more motivated to improve themselves and their surroundings than conscripted soldiers. And although you might claim that serving in the army is voluntarily in your imaginative country, it really isnâ€™t if you canâ€™t be a citizen without doing it. So from a military point of view, this wouldnâ€™t be a good idea either.
Finally, to counter Hourglassâ€™ arguments, I would like to point out that this is not about the willingness to die for oneâ€™s own country, but to die for other peopleâ€™s political convictions. Do you honestly expect people to be willing to serve in the army and risk their lives to support the politics of a government they have had no influence on choosing? If you canâ€™t vote before becoming a soldier you wonâ€™t be fighting for your country, youâ€™ll be fighting for someone elseâ€™s country the whole time! Only afterwards would you have the right to influence the choice of government, making other people fight for your ideas. This seems so backwards to me that itâ€™s frankly ridiculous.
Personally, I wouldnâ€™t die for my country. Itâ€™s a piece of dirt with a red and white flag planted in it. If someone wants it bad enough to attack it, Iâ€™ll let them have it and move somewhere else. Denmark is not only a location; itâ€™s a mindset, a culture, a people. We can make a new Denmark elsewhere as long as weâ€™re still alive. No cornfield or windmill is worth dying for.
However, I would die for my moral convictions: that everyone has a right to life, to freedom, to equality. I am not going to serve in the military, but I will if at all possible be serving in the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders; I am willing to risk my life in an effort to improve other peopleâ€™s, going into a war zone with no other weapons than my white coat and a big red cross on my back. If that doesnâ€™t earn me citizenship, then frankly I donâ€™t want to be a citizen. :rolleyes:
"Girls are nice and cuddly on the outside, and freaky on the inside." ~ Lost Nemesis.
*H0urg1ass makes a note*: "Denmark won't defend themselves, they are now on top of my list." :yes:
I didnâ€™t say Denmark wouldnâ€™t defend itself, I said I wouldnâ€™t defend Denmark. Thereâ€™s a difference. We do have a military, and some of the best specialist soldiers in the word (they beat the Navy SEALs twice at the last NATO exercise.) We might not be a big country, but weâ€™re still Vikings.Originally Posted by H0urg1ass
"Girls are nice and cuddly on the outside, and freaky on the inside." ~ Lost Nemesis.
i don't know about this whole disabled people thing. i'm wouldn't be letting mentally disabled people vote (i'm fairly sure they're allowed to now). as for the whole military thing, should needs to be civil service (because some people can't stomach physical strenuation or the sight of blood).
all i know is, i'm covered eithe way since i'm already in the military, besides i'm already living by someone's rules, if they want to pay me to go kill people that don't live by their rules, well, i still need food on my table. anyways, it's not like you have to be a citizen to have a good life.
and it's not that denmark won't defend themselves, it's just that they'll try to but eventually they'll all end up on trains bound for prison camps.
and well when you lack numbers, you jave a lot more time to dedicate on training the few that you do have. sadly, as the imperial guard have demonstrated, a horribly large number of lasguns can overwhelm can specialist infantry.
The problem with this system is very, very simple.
In democracy, we are allowed to choose between a set of different ideologies.
In Starship Troopers, only people who have demonstrated their commitment to a certain ideology are allowed to vote.
Therefore, it's just a dictatorship by another name. Only one ideology can ever be successful in government, because only people who would support that ideology are allowed to vote.
Heinlein was a very intelligent man who made a massive contribution to science fiction, but I can't agree with his logic here. Not in the context of democracy.
On the other hand, if he'd just said 'dictatorship is better than democracy', I'd probably have shrugged and said 'that's a legitimate opinion,' because it is. My problem is with the fact that Heinlein claims to be supporting an idea of democracy which isn't really democracy at all..
But heck, all democracy is compromise.. there is no real democracy in the world today. So maybe he's right.
Last edited by The_Giant_Mantis; November 18th, 2005 at 18:43.