Stolen from Tim – Robert Heinlein Quote

by Mike

Tim slipped this quote into his post this morning, and I thought it worthy of elevating to the level of its own post. After all, Robert Heinlein helped to name this blog, for are we not all “Strangers in a Strange Land”, and do we not seek to understand our situations “in fullness”?

Prolific author and asture observer of the human condition, Robert Heinlein.

Prolific author and astute observer of the human condition, Robert Heinlein.
(From WikiQuotes)

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.” (Time Enough For Love)


Hand the people a scapegoat to hate. Let them kill a scapegoat occasionally for cathartic release. The mechanism is ages old. Tyrants used it centuries before the word "psychology" was ever invented. It works, too (WikiQuotes)

Hand the people a scapegoat to hate. Let them kill a scapegoat occasionally for cathartic release. The mechanism is ages old. Tyrants used it centuries before the word “psychology” was ever invented. It works, too

The quote about tyrants needing scapegoats is from Heinlein’s “Revolt in 2100″, artwork by William Holman Hunt, and featured on WikiQuotes.

Kind of reminds me of the way Obama demonizes the Republican party – like I said, Heinlein was an astute observer of human nature, and his quotations crop up more often that you might think.

He also hated intrusive government, stating in an interview circa 1990:

I would say that my position is not too far from that of Ayn Rand’s; that I would like to see government reduced to no more than internal police and courts, external armed forces — with the other matters handled otherwise. I’m sick of the way the government sticks its nose into everything, now.

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  • C. dog e. doG

    “How anybody expects a man to stay in business with every two-bit wowser in the country claiming a veto over what we can say and can’t say and what we can show and what we can’t show — it’s enough to make you throw up. The whole principle is wrong; it’s like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can’t eat steak.” (S: Robert Heinlein: On censorship, in The Man Who Sold the Moon (1950), p.188)

    Now them’s some pithy prose with widespread application to the condition of the condition we’re in.
    – C. dog

    • http://granitegrok.com/author/mike Mike Rogers

      Yes, I remember quite a few from my youthful readings of his works, but a browse of WikeQuotes was a refreshing trip down memory lane.

      An Armed society is s polite society.

      TANSTAAFL

      A nice piece on the wisdom of the anarchist, and many more.

      He’s be right at home with the porcupines!

      • C. dog e. doG

        I suspect the grok gang would too.
        – C. dog, quills down

        • granitegrok

          I am.

  • Rick_GraniteGrok

    Yes! Many of my past blogs have started with a Heinlein quote…Welcome to the band wagon, Mike!

  • Pingback: Some People Stay In Rhode Island And Vote Democrat – This Is Known As ‘Bad Luck’ — GraniteGrok

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