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”?
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)
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.