30 December 2005

Starship Troopers

I seem to have a different copy from everyone else who has reviewed it. I just don't see the Fascism.

I do not see: A system of government characterized by rigid one-party dictatorship, forcible suppression of the opposition (unions, other, especially leftists, parties, minority groups, etc.), the retention of private ownership of the means of production under centralized governmental control, beligerent nationalism and racism, glorification of war, etc...

In the book I have, there is no mention of what form the government takes beyond that one must do a term of government service to vote. There might be coalition controlled parlamentary politics, we don't know! It's not mentioned in the text.

Juan's father speaks of free speech. Not very suppressed. Juan's family had never had a voter, yet they were wealthy. Rico shared his Roll's copter with Carl. They had an olympic sized swimming pool. Emilio is doing amazingly well for someone who is not part of the ruling party. Remember, "retention of private ownership of the means of production under centralized governmental control" that means the state runs it. Emilio would not have joined as a Private under a real Facsist government, a business owner is a party member. And since he had never done his term, he was not a party member. Yet he owned a business, delayed putting it on a war footing well into the war and then abandoned it to join the Army. None of that spells central control. He states that he joined because of his son. Not that he was forced to join because he was removed. Old Man Morales was not appointed by the Government, but selected by Emilio. Emilio was also free to move stocks around for Juan's benefit before he resigned.

Not much racism going on here either. The Rico's are Philippinos. Hard to imagine the Philippines becoming THE major world power. But even this is shot down. Xim is not a Philippine name, nor are scores of others mentioned. If there is racism, it is more xenophobia.

The feel of the society that comes across to me is more like America than Mussolini's Italy or Hitler's Germany or even Stalin's USSR. It seems like it's still a represenative democracy, with steep voting requirements. The book even mentions that our voting rights are truncated too. Gotta be 18 to vote, can't be a felon, etc.

There is even an explanation of how it got started too, but so many reviewers seem to miss it. A group of former troops happened across a group of people getting ready to punish another vet. After being left to rot by the peace treaty and basically forced to walk home, they decided that civilians would not be allowed to have a say in punishing him. They would take care of their own, and did what the people were going to do anyway. The decision was elitist, but they created a fairly egalitarian society with it later.

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