We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
One of my most cherished possessions is a letter written to me from RAH in reply to one I wrote him as a 15 year old fan. Two pages long, it explained in detail his thoughts with respect to the following quote from "Glory Road" and it truly had a profound effect on my life. To wit:
"Democracy can't work. Mathematicians, peasants, and animals, that's all there is — so democracy, a theory based on the assumption that mathematicians and peasants are equal, can never work. Wisdom is not additive; its maximum is that of the wisest man in a given group."
When I read "Glory Road", that one just jumped out at me because I was an awkward teenager at best, moderately inept socially (I was never comfortable with other kids my age - except for my wife, but that's another story), but I was a math prodigy so it made me think a little better of myself. I asked why mathematicians would be more important than, say a plumber, and his answer was truly interesting.
In any case, his letter is framed and hanging on my office wall right next to my Captain's license and the pictures of the boats I've owned over the years.
Just as an interesting sidebar, most of his best quotes, and the ones most often referred to, come from his 1973 novel "Time Enough for Love" or "The Further Adventures of Lazarus Long" (I made that up, but that's basically what the book is). One interesting factoid about TEoL is that the animated series "Futurama" stole lock stock and barrel the concept of Phillip J. Fry becoming his own Grandfather - which was something that Matt Groening and David Cohen admitted, from the novel.
MARK STEYN: “After marrying her progeny into the royal houses of Germany, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Greece and Spain, Queen Victoria was known as the grandmother of Europe. The inbreeding among Obama’s court and its press corps is more like one of those ‘I’m my own grandpaw’ deals.”
Posted at 8:19 am by Glenn Reynolds
Great incisive minds, all, RAH, Mark Steyn, Tom Francis!
Thanks, BD --your taste inpeckerble as usual. Not only the great quotes from the various characters in the body of work, but someone has put some great pix in the margins --the vapor (?) cone of that jet breaking the sound barrier is enough for the site visit all by itself.
He had a reputation of being a rather gruff, impatient and demanding fan icon, but I found him to be friendly and outgoing - in particular to a teen aged kid who basically asked "I'm a math wiz, but I have trouble with other subjects - am I still superior?" :>)
--definitely an aristos of the mind, and he knew not everyone could be the same. But he did not take that to mean that he should not be. "Take it or leave it" may sound gruff and impatient, but it's hard to imagine anything more fair.
His misunderstood novel, "Starship Troopers", shows how much he valued individual responsibilities to the group (state) and what the group (state) owed the individual.
The whole idea of "anybody can serve - we will find a place for you" and at the end of your service, you are a full citizen with full voting rights because you contributed to society isn't a novel one (no pun intended), but he explained the concepts in a way that was perfectly understandable.
Universal suffrage seems so fair, so right --but somehow, the fact is, that what it's doing to our national politics is not fair to anyone, by any stretch of any imagination. RAH's solution is about the best anyone's come up with.
"No man is an island — " Much as we may feel and act as Individuals, our race is — a single organism, always growing and branching — which must be pruned regularly to be healthy.
This necessity need not be argued; anyone with eyes can see that any organism which grows without limit always dies in its own poisons. The only rational question is whether pruning is best done before or after birth.
Being an incurable sentimentalist I favor the former of these methods — killing makes me queasy, even when it's a case of "He's dead and I'm alive and that's the way I wanted it to be."
But this may be a matter of taste. Some shamans think that it is better to be killed in a war, or to die in childbirth, or to starve in misery, than never to have lived at all. They may be right.
But I don't have to like it — and I don't.
Well, that's just plain marvelous --entire philosphies compressed into table talk, advising that if the best you can get with life is a truce, then you win, because you got the best you can get.