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An Armed Society Is A Polite Society - and other ruminations of Robert Heinlein

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by lopaka, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. lopaka

    lopaka Well-Known Member

    I grew up reading Heinlein. Still do.

    From Robert Anson Heinlein's works:

    “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”

    “Remember though, your best weapon is between your ears and under your scalp -provided it's loaded.”

    “Never tease an old dog; he might have one bite left.”

    “You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.”

    “Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.”

    “There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”

    “It is impossible for anyone to be responsible for another person's behavior. The most you or any leader can do is to encourage each one to be responsible for himself.”

    “At least once every human should have to run for his life, to teach him that milk does not come from supermarkets, that safety does not come from policemen, that 'news' is not something that happens to other people. He might learn how his ancestors lived and that he himself is no different--in the crunch his life depends on his agility, alertness, and personal resourcefulness.”

    “Does history record any case in which the majority was right?”

    “A managed democracy is a wonderful thing... for the managers... and its greatest strength is a 'free press' when 'free' is defined as 'responsible' and the managers define what is 'irresponsible'.”

    “The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses.’

    ‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome.”
  2. pat701

    pat701 member

    I have to agree.
  3. BCCL

    BCCL Well-Known Member

    Great stuff!
  4. gspn

    gspn Well-Known Member

    I like most of them. But every time I read the one about "an armed society is a polite society" i think of places like Afghanistan or any one of another third-world countries who are awash with arms and where "polite" doesn't live.
  5. cluck

    cluck Well-Known Member


    Stranger in a Strange land was good but Moon is a Harsh Mistress really shows his grasp of an over-reaching government.
  6. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Well-Known Member

    Folks, it's us "plebs" who are fighting for the right to keep and bear arms. The elites Heinlein cowtows to are the ones trying hard to end it. Ever notice how many billionaires are among the ranks of the antis? Or how many general officers? Fiction writers should stick to fiction.

    And the quip about armed societies being polite is questionable too. It's easy enough to refute and doesn't help us much.
  7. blindhari

    blindhari Well-Known Member

    In 1966 (?) as I remember I was setting in Ft Lee, Va with 1 whole stripe on my shoulder. I ran across Starship Troopers and then sought out "Pragmatics of Patriotism" by Robert Heinlein. I then knew why I was in the Army and how I would ty to live the rest of my life.

    Sgt. Ranger
    Like my father before me
  8. scaatylobo

    scaatylobo Well-Known Member

    George Orwells "Animal Farm"

    And his "1984" are or should be required reading of all Americans and those that 'think' they live in a free country.

    I strongly that you either read them both,or get the cheat sheets we used for studying a book and read them.

    Keep your friends close ----- AND your enemys closer.
  9. Manny

    Manny Well-Known Member

    I seem to remember what I think is a Heinlein quote that went something like this:

    "In life there may come a time when you have to abandon all possessions on a moments notice to escape with your life"

    ...or words to a similar effect. I've tried to find it several times and haven't been able to. If someone knows the original and can provide a link I'd be very grateful.
  10. Teachu2

    Teachu2 Well-Known Member


    A man should be prepared to abandon all his possessions at least thrice in his lifetime.
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2013
  11. lopaka

    lopaka Well-Known Member

    More Heinlein:

    "The police of a state should never be stronger or better armed than the citizenry. An armed citizenry, willing to fight, is the foundation of civil freedom."

    "Place your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark."

    "Love your country, but never trust its government."
  12. SuperNaut

    SuperNaut Well-Known Member

    This is my favorite Heinlien (Lazarus Long) quote:

    "A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

    — Robert Heinlein - Time Enough for Love
  13. Kevin Rohrer

    Kevin Rohrer Well-Known Member

    Bread and Circuses

    This is EXACTLY what happened in the last election. It will only get worse if Bread and Circuses is repeated in four years.
  14. jamesbeat

    jamesbeat Well-Known Member

    My favorite author; The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is the reason I own a cannon, Tunnel in the Sky and The Door into Summer being my favorites.
    The guy was a genius.

  15. TNBilly

    TNBilly Well-Known Member

    The difference is again, only some of them are armed. If most or all were armed and equally committed things would be different. As an aside I'm not sure Heinlein ever envisioned the mentality there is over there either.
  16. gspn

    gspn Well-Known Member

    Now we are merely arguing about degree. An "armed" society doesn't necessarily mean that every single individual is armed...a "material" number of armed people would get the job done.

    My point still stands...you can have an armed society where people aren't polite.

    In many places in the world the society is for all intents and purposes "armed" and conflict reigns...it's human nature.
  17. wuluf

    wuluf Well-Known Member

    "I'm going to trade you in on a dog..and shoot the dog."
    my favorite Heinlein quote!

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