The great science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein was one of my first favorite writers, back when I started reading his juvenile fiction when I was about 12 or 13. I had no idea that he had already arrived at some of the conclusions it would take me decades to find.
There’s a widely held belief that Heinlein was a libertarian, but that’s much more complicated than most people think. He was pretty much an outright socialist in the early decades of his life, then a hardcore cold warrior after that. Still, libertarian themes emerged, most famously in “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.”
Whatever he was in the early parts of his life, he gave us some of the best literary efforts on ideas related to freedom. I was reminded of that earlier this week when I saw this quoted, which comes from “The Notebooks of Lazarus Long“:
“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.'”
Today, we have a state that teaches people — through its policies and its words — to despise the minority who keep moving the human race forward. We have politicians who aren’t qualified to run hotdog stands making decisions about re-engineering our economy and continuing to subvert the economy. (The problems are on both sides of the mainstream.) All the time, they tell us it’s not their fault. They tell us that if they weren’t engaging in their financial madness, things would be even worse. They want us to believe that our troubles are all bad luck, not their fault.
The state is the place to lay the blame. It’s time for the creative and productive minority to set itself free from the chains of the state — and refuse to serve those who claim to be its masters.