While one of the two most famous “response” books to Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (all three books depicting a galactic war against a hive-mind insect race, with major sociological consequences), Ender’s Game, may or may not get turned into a movie, it now looks likely that something even better will happen: Ridley Scott, after working for decades to get the rights, appears likely to make Joe Haldeman’s Forever War, the story of near-light travel stretching a war over multiple, drastically varied periods of future Earth history (including one phase where the governments encourage homosexuality to combat overpopulation, even in the military, which should get some critics reacting).
In related news, I recently spoke to an Institute for Humane Studies alum who said he thinks the U.S. should follow his native UK in adopting a policy that — without him being conscious of it — happens to be the exact opposite of one in Starship Troopers: in the UK, about the only people forbidden to vote are those serving in the military, the thinking being that the military should stay apolitical (in Troopers, you can only vote if, a la Plato’s guardians, you’ve proven your selflessness by serving in the military).
I don’t think GOP prospects would be helped much if the UK method were adopted here, for what it’s worth. Say, how about a progressive voter reform plan like this:
•No military votes
•Prisoners and felons can vote (and for Congressional apportionment purposes are counted as residents of the [blue] areas where they committed their crimes, not where they’re imprisoned)
•No proof of identity necessary
•Families of resident aliens can vote by absentee ballot from their home countries
•Two votes for each Bush, Clinton, or Kennedy family member
•DC statehood, because slavery is wrong
•No votes for people tied to private corporations, as they may be biased
•Union members’ votes to be cast collectively, by head of union
On a more serious and depressing note, Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, may not want us all to become Starship Troopers but does want to make three months of servitude to government (receiving civil defense training and the like) mandatory for all eighteen to twenty-five year-olds (as described in his book and repeated in at least one interview online). I can’t help thinking that fanatical, knife-wielding Emaneul may have inherited such Spartan attitudes from his parents, his father having been in the arguably-terrorist Irgun in Israel and his mother having been a union organizer. Now we — and the new president — get to experience a little of his esprit de corps, though we can hope he has little impact on actual policy.
But given Obama’s popularity among the young, surely they could get plenty of volunteers for an Obama-corps. And while they’re serving, perhaps they should be forbidden to vote.
P.S. Speaking of voting, the guy I voted for in the primary (for strategic reasons lost in the mists of history now), Romney, pleased me by writing a New York Times op-ed yesterday entitled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” Nice to see someone still taking the hardass position these days — and someone from Michigan. For property rights advocates, it should get easier and easier in the next few years to demonstrate our consistency by pointing with disapproval to more and more cases of businesses, not just poor people, being on welfare.