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Author Topic: Robert A. Heinlein  (Read 3246 times)

freeman4liberty

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Robert A. Heinlein
« on: July 26, 2009, 12:29 PM NHFT »

I was thinking about a Heinlein novel I read where people were employed to destroy new cars for the purpose of preserving the jobs of the people who made the cars.  When I think back to this fictional story I want to scream:  It was a joke. It was a joke.

With a little internet searching I see my friends over at reason mag were thinking something similar. 
http://www.reason.com/blog/show/134035.html

Here's the quote from Heinlein:

The job I found was crushing new ground limousines so that they could be shipped back to Pittsburgh as scrap. Cadillacs, Chryslers, Eisenhowers, Lincolns - all sort of great big, new powerful turbobuggies without a kilometer on their clocks. Drive'em between the jaws, then crunch! smash! crash! - scrap iron for blast furnaces.

It hurt me at first since I was riding the ways to work and didn't own so much as a Grav-Jumper. I expressed my opinion of it almost lost my job....until the shift boss remembered I was a Sleeper and really didn't understand.

"It's a simple matter of economics, son. These are surplus cars the government has accepted as security against price-support loans. They're two years old now and then can never be sold....so the government junks them and sells them back to the steel industry.

You can't run a blast furnace just on ore; you have to scrap iron as well. You ought to know that even if you are a Sleeper. Matter of fact with high-grade ore so scarce, there’s more and more demand for scrap. The steel industry needs these cars."

"But why build them in the first place if they can't be sold? It seems wasteful."

"It just seems wasteful. You want to throw people out of work? You want to run down their standard of living?"

"Well why not ship them abroad? It seems to me they could get more for them on the open market abroad then they are worth as scrap."
"What! and ruin the export market? Besides, if we started dumping cars abroad everybody we'd get everyone sore at us - Japan, France, Germany, Great Asia, everybody. What are you aiming to do? Start a war?"

End quote:
from The door into summer
Robert A. Heinlein
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toowm

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2009, 01:53 PM NHFT »

TANSTAAFL --There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.

Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it.

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.

When a place gets crowded enough to require ID's, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.

Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way.

There comes a time in the life of every human when he or she must decide to risk "his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor" on an outcome dubious. Those who fail the challenge are merely overgrown children, can never be anything else.

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.

A monarch’s neck should always have a noose around it. It keeps him upright.

Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed.

It may be better to be a live jackal than a dead lion, but it is better still to be a live lion. And usually easier.

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.

Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

Learning isn’t a means to an end; it’s an end in and of itself.

People who go broke in a big way never miss any meals. It is the poor jerk who is shy a half slug who must tighten his belt.

Brainpower is the scarcest commodity and the only one of real value.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Courage is the complement of fear. A man who is fearless cannot be courageous. (He is also a fool.)

You don’t pay back, you pay forward

Does history record any case in which the majority was right?

Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to think so.

Progress doesn't come from early risers — progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.

A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.

All men are created unequal.

An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat.

When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.

Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors... and miss.

Being right too soon is socially unacceptable.

By cultivating the beautiful we scatter the seeds of heavenly flowers, as by doing good we cultivate those that belong to humanity.

Don't ever become a pessimist... a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events.

Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.

Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.

Do not confuse "duty" with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect. But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a footpad than it is with the leech who wants "just a few minutes of your time, please — this won't take long." Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time — and squawk for more! So learn to say No — and to be rude about it when necessary. Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you. (This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don't do it because it is "expected" of you.)

For me, politeness is a sine qua non of civilization.

I never learned from a man who agreed with me.

"Love" is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own... Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition. The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy.

Always store beer in a dark place.

How can I possibly put a new idea into your heads, if I do not first remove your delusions?

May you live as long as you wish and love as long as you live.

There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.
Quote
Wow-Car Companies, Banks

Age is not an accomplishment, and youth is not a sin.

Never insult anyone by accident.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do.

No statement should be believed because it is made by an authority.

One could write a history of science in reverse by assembling the solemn pronouncements of highest authority about what could not be done and could never happen.

One of the sanest, surest, and most generous joys of life comes from being happy over the good fortune of others.

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck."

The difference between science and the fuzzy subjects is that science requires reasoning while those other subjects merely require scholarship.

Democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man. How's that again? I missed something.
Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is wiser than a million men. Let's play that over again, too. Who decides?

The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive.

The universe never did make sense; I suspect it was built on government contract.

There is no way that writers can be tamed and rendered civilized or even cured. the only solution known to science is to provide the patient with an isolation room, where he can endure the acute stages in private and where food can be poked in to him with a stick.

They didn't want it good, they wanted it Wednesday.

Any government will work if authority and responsibility are equal and coordinate. This does not insure "good" government; it simply insures that it will work. But such governments are rare — most people want to run things but want no part of the blame. This used to be called the "backseat-driver syndrome."

You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.

Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house.

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives.

You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.

To be matter-of-fact about the world is to blunder into fantasy - and dull fantasy at that, as the real world is strange and wonderful.
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Friday

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2009, 02:23 PM NHFT »

toowm, you cheated!!  You're supposed to limit it to a quote a day.  You're not allowed to post quotes for at least two weeks now.   :P
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toowm

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2009, 03:24 PM NHFT »

I'm done, but happy

it was fun to compile

printed off a copy

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freeman4liberty

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2009, 06:13 PM NHFT »

Friday,

I don't think the rules are that strict.

freeman
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MattLeft

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2009, 06:35 PM NHFT »

"TANSTAAFL --There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"

There's a double negative in that statement.  It's essentially saying that there IS such thing as a free lunch.
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toowm

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2009, 06:36 PM NHFT »

"TANSTAAFL --There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch"
There's a double negative in that statement.  It's essentially saying that there IS such thing as a free lunch.
It's not a double negative, it's an emphatic negative.
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KBCraig

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2009, 05:51 AM NHFT »

"It's white on this side."
- Anne, the Fair Witness

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Sam A. Robrin

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2009, 07:55 AM NHFT »

"It's white on this side."
- Anne, the Fair Witness

Marvelous quote, but meaningless outside of context.
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Lloyd Danforth

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2009, 12:40 PM NHFT »

Isn't this based on knowledge or RH novels?  Was the 'fair witness' used other than SIASL?
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freeman4liberty

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2009, 12:47 PM NHFT »

Fair witnesses were discussed in other novels.  The only one I can think of is The number of the beast.  In this book they travel between universes and run into the universe where stranger in a strange land happens (or one where the siasl characters are). 
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KBCraig

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2009, 02:29 PM NHFT »

"It's white on this side."
- Anne, the Fair Witness

Marvelous quote, but meaningless outside of context.

My context was to evoke a smile from those who recognize it. To anyone else, it's probably meaningless.
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freeman4liberty

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2009, 03:11 PM NHFT »

Comrade Members, like fire and fusion, government is a dangerous servant and a terrible master. You now have freedom--if you can keep it. But do remember that you can lose this freedom more quickly to yourselves than to any other tyrant. Move slowly, be hesitant, puzzle out the consequences of every word. I would not be unhappy if this convention sat for ten years before reporting--but I would be frightened if you took less than a year.

Distrust the obvious, suspect the traditional...for in the past mankind has not done well when saddling itself with governments. For example, I note in one draft report a proposal for setting up a commission to divide Luna into congressional districts and to reapportion them from time to time according to population.

This is the traditional way; therefore is should be suspect, considered guilty until proved innocent. Perhaps you feel that this is the only way. May I suggest others? Surely where a man lives is the least important thing about him. Constituencies might be formed by dividing people by occupation...or by age... or even alphabetically. Or they might not be divided, every member elected at large--and do not object that this would make it impossible for any man not widely known throughout Luna to be elected; that might be the best possible thing for Luna.

You might even consider installing the candidates who receive the least number of votes; unpopular men may be just the sort to save you from a new tyranny. Don't reject the idea merely because it seems preposterous--think about it! In past history popularly elected governments have been no better and sometimes far worse than overt tyrannies.

But if representative government turns out to be your intention there still may be ways to achieve it better than the territorial district. For example you each represent about ten thousand human beings, perhaps seven thousand of voting age--and some of you were elected by slim majorities. Suppose instead of election a man were qualified for office by petition signed by four thousand citizens. He would then represent those four thousand citizens affirmatively, with no disgruntled minority, for what would have been a minority in a territorial constituency would all be free to start other petitions or join in them.  All would then be represented by men of their choice. Or a man with eight thousand supporters might have two votes in this body. Difficulties, objections, practical points to be worked out--many of them! But you could work them...and thereby avoid the chronic sickness of representative government, the disgruntled minority which feel--correctly!--that it has been disenfranchised.

But, whatever you do, do not let the past be a straitjacket!

I note one proposal to make this Congress a two-house body. Excellent--the more impediments to legislation the better. But, instead of following tradition, I suggest one house of legislators, another whose single duty is to repeal laws. Let the legislators pass laws only with a two-thirds majority...while the repealers are able to cancel any law through a mere one-third minority. Preposterous? Think about it. If a bill is so poor that it cannot command two-thirds of your consents, is it not likely that it would make a poor law? And if a law is disliked by as many as one-third is it not likely that you would be better off without it?

But in writing your constitution let me invite attention to the wonderful virtues of the negative! Accentuate the negative! Let your document be studded with things the government is forever forbidden to do. No conscript armies...no interference however slight with freedom of press, or speech, or travel, or assembly, or of religion, or of instruction, or communication, or occupation...no involuntary taxation. Comrades, if you were to spend five years in a study of history while thinking of more and more things that your government should promise never to do and then let your constitution be nothing but those negatives, I would not fear the outcome.

What I fear most are affirmative actions of sober and well-intentioned men, granting to government powers to do something that appears to need doing. Please remember always that the Lunar Authority was created for the noblest of purposes by just such sober and well-intentioned men, all popularly elected. And with that thought I leave you to your labors. Thank you.

"The professor"  
From:  The moon is a harsh mistress
R. A. Heinlein
« Last Edit: July 31, 2009, 12:29 PM NHFT by freeman4liberty »
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freeman4liberty

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2010, 06:52 PM NHFT »

Political tags--such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and. so forth--are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.

Lazarus Long
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freeman4liberty

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Re: Robert A. Heinlein
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2010, 01:34 AM NHFT »

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded--here and there, now and then--are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, andalmost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.”  --Laz Long

This was probably in the notebook above, but I love this one.
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