23 January 2022

Not Fascism But...

Over and over I read book and film reviewers describing "Starship Troopers" as advocating Fascism.

It often inspires me to re-read it.

The society described in "Starship Troopers" is not a description of a Fascist state.

What these reviewers keep forgetting is we have historical examples of Fascist states and things mentioned in "Starship Troopers" are not allowed in Fascism.

Emilio Rico, a non-voting resident, was a wealthy, landowning, successful, businessman.

In other words, not a member of the ruling class or party.

Lemme look for examples of such in, say, Mussolini's Italy...  Um...

Lemme quote wikipedia, it might not be unimpeachable, but it's accessible to even a liberal arts major:

State permission was required for almost any business activity, such as expanding a factory, merging a business, or terminating an employee. All wages were set by the government, and a minimum wage was imposed in Italy. Restrictions on labor increased. While corporations still could earn profits, Italian Fascism supported criminalization of strikes by employees and lockouts by employers as illegal acts it deemed as prejudicial to the national community as a whole. Similar to the Bolsheviks in Soviet Russia, Mussolini nationalized all independent trade unions into one government-operated syndicate, the Confistrada, which would be the arbiter of all disputes between labor and management. The closed shop was mandated nationwide in virtually all careers, where unemployed Italians were required to join the Confistrada in order to secure employment.

Show me where "Starship Troopers" describes Rico the elder operating like that.  Give the page number.

What I finally realized about them seeing the society that Juan Rico is from as being Fascist isn't that it's a Fascist society but that THEY, personally, would not be citizens or allowed to vote if they found themselves transported to that world.

Because they would never make the sacrifice of doing something dangerous to earn that right to vote and learn the value of putting society ahead of ones own selfish interests.

I think their viewpoint of the novel says more about them than the story.


  1. Spider Robinson rebutted all the usual arguments against Heinlein in great detail.

    1. I might even have linked to that somewhere in the past 16 years.

  2. I like challenging people who shriek endlessly about "fascism" this and "fascism" that to explain what fascists actually believed..and tell me the differences between Italian Fascism, German National Socialism, the Arrow Cross in Hungary, the Iron Guard in Romania, Franco's state in Spain, Salazar's state in Portugal, and so on. As far back as 1944 or so, George Orwell said that the term "fascist" had become so degraded that it just meant "someone I don't like." D**g H*lv*rs*n once called his getting kicked out of an APA "fascism" because all he wanted to do was to draw women with Hindenburg-sized breasts, which was not what the zine was supposed to be about.


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