Originally posted on on November 5, 2014 at 11:50 PM
I’m currently reading the second volume of a biography Robert A. Heinlein in Dialogue with his Century by William Patterson.
It’s interesting how hard he had to fight to keep any semblance of works he originally conceived and most of his juvenile novels were evidently changed a good deal due to editorial intervention. Though always patriotic and essentially pro-military, Heinlein actually saw himself as a traditional liberal until the mid 1950s or so when he began to feel the U.S. government was drifting away from liberal values and going increasingly to the left and even enabling communism. At that point he resigned from the Democratic Party and voted for candidates whom he considered less odeous than others which is essentially what I do.
Also though he participated in some meetings and correspondence around the formation of the John Birch Society, he requested his name be struck from the membership roll quite early on because he considered the organization to be misguided and it’s leadership to be unacceptably controlling. One of many valuable takeaways for me from the book was the notion that traditional American Liberalism is really quite a bit different for what passes as liberalism today.
Most of us I think, believe more or less in womens’ rights, that people shouldn’t be enslaved, that there should be help for persons less fortunate and a lot of other essentially altruistic notionsbut there are so many radical agendas today masquerading as liberal that I’ve always been suspicious of the L-word.
Right now I’m to about 1959 in the biography and he’s written most of his juveniles by this time. One of his last, Have Space Suit Will Travel, was the first RAH book I ever red and in some ways, one of my favorites, mostly because of the discussion of space suit operation which I’ve used with other sources to design life support gear for my own stories and practical designs.