The word fascist is thrown around regularly in modern America without any explanation of what it actually is. Republicans love to call Obama a fascist for his environmental policies and the overhauling of the American healthcare system. Democrats call Republicans fascists when they support Traditional values such as prayer in schools or opposition to homosexual marriage. Pundits, politicians, and pop culture all throw the word fascist around liberally to be a generic slur for anyone who disagrees with you.
With no explanation in the media or in school to what fascism actually was, growing up I had no idea that my favorite science fiction series not only presented me with fascist ideas, but actually indoctrinated me in them. Science fiction had shown me the last great bastion of pop culture where fascist ideas are not only explored, but encouraged. This will be Part One of my examination of fascism in Science Fiction. …stay tuned for Part Two!
The problem for screenwriters and authors is that fascist themes and imagery inherently appeal to the masses, even when the majority of folks would deny it. The hierarchy of fascism is inherent in almost all modern stories that involve a hero. Naturally, people gravitate to a hero who promotes healthy masculinity, is motivated by the desire for justice, is willing to use righteous violence to defend his people, and who refuses to be bribed or manipulated through the pull of materialism. Almost all heroes throughout history transcend the Leftist narrative to fulfill the natural fascist worldview of the man willing to give up everything to promote a healthy culture and a healthy people.
The forced egalitarianism of the Left is absent from innumerable books, films, and television shows because at the end of the day, weak and effeminate egalitarianism has no resonance with the folk. A cultural myth cannot be hewn from the decrepit and warped tree of Cultural Marxism, only the hardy trunk of Tradition is strong enough to create a hero and narrative to pass ideas through the centuries from generation to generation.
Traditional literature is rampant with Traditionalist ideas that reinforce a rejection of Modernity. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series gets bashed by the hysterical Leftist media for reinforcing “White Supremacy”, the acceptance of monarchy as the proper form of government, a rejection of egalitarianism, and the reinforcement of Traditional gender roles. Aragorn from Lord of the Rings is not democratically elected to be King of Gondor, it is because of his pure blood line that he is King. The peasants of Gondor didn’t collect ballot signatures to determine the proper defense strategy of the White City of Minas Tirith, the leaders of the Men of the West were in charge.
The issue of the direct overtones of fascism being a part of the science fiction genre however demonstrates the times that the authors are writing in. Tolkien with Lord of the Rings was reinforcing Traditional values that were commonly accepted among the people of the West at the time, science fiction is dealing with looking towards a future in which mankind will inevitably have to throw off the tyranny of Cultural Marxism and begin the long march back towards a sane society.
Francisco Franco understood the importance of a people who have been exposed to Modernity needing several generations of fascism to purge the corruption of the present decadent society before we can return to the Traditional society of our ancestors. Starship Troopers by Heinlein provided an example of the possibilities of mankind rejecting modernity to pull together with a society that can face the struggles of the future, both external and internal.
One of my first introductions to science fiction fascism was the novel Starship Troopers. I had previously watched the film that had been released (review of that to come) but the novel took a far different perspective from the movie that I knew. Robert Heinlein clearly and unapologetically created a world that embraced Traditional fascist ideas and rejected the Modernity of America and the weakness of the Enlightenment. To this day the novel Starship Troopers is controversial due to its open support of fascist societies and the disdain for the egalitarian democracies that littered the world at the time of the books publication in 1959.
Written during the Cold War between capitalism and communism, Robert Heinlein proposed a society and a vision that chose a third option, one in which merit, hierarchy, service, and sacrifice were rewarded instead of the decadent and slothful capitalist democracies or the enslaved tyranny of communism. Heinlein believed in a society in which the only citizens of the future society are those who had volunteered and served in the military.
The plot of Starship Troopers is following the enlistment and story of Juan Rico serving as a member of the Mobile Infantry in a war against the voracious hordes of the alien Arachnids (called Bugs) and the Bugs alien allies named “The Skinnies.” The novel traces Rico as he goes from being a soft and easily relatable young man to being a true warrior in the armed forces of the Federation. The Bugs have only one goal, destroy mankind. Likewise mankind understands that in the cultural thunderdome of combat, either Humanity or the Bugs will survive, not both. Heinlein uses Rico to explore his views on civil government, duty, militarism, masculinity, and a whole host of discussions on what forms a society. Coming from a moderate Republican upbringing I had never been exposed to fascist thought, until I cracked open my used bookstore copy of Starship Troopers and I was exposed to an entirely new way of thinking, and I liked it.
The criminal justice system in Heinlein’s new society has been radically changed, including public executions through hanging, whippings, and other forms of direct use of force against offenders. The society that only generations before had been terrorized by roving bands of youths and crime waves had been pacified and natural order had been restored.
The purpose of the criminal justice system to punish criminals and keep order is a key part of maintaining low crime rates in Heinlein’s worldview. Heinlein says that “While a judge should be benevolent in purpose; his awards should cause the criminal to suffer, else there is no punishment – and pain is the basic mechanism built into us by millions of years of evolution which safeguards us by warning when something threatens our survival. Why should society refuse to use such a highly perfected survival mechanism?”
Criminals are to be punished fairly and with the best interest of society at heart. One can guarantee that in the universe of Starship Troopers.
Nothing is given in Heinlein’s society, the importance of duty and self-sacrifice are the cornerstones of citizenship. Those who have no desire to serve their community or defend their civilization are allowed to fulfill their God given destiny, but are not treated on the same level as citizens. Citizens are not made due to the specific success of their military careers, citizenship is granted for serving and wilfully giving up one’s individuality to serve the greater good.
Fleet Sergeant Ho tells the main characters how “most of the volunteers aren’t number-one soldier material anyhow…[W]e’ve had to think up a whole list of dirty, nasty, dangerous jobs that will…at the very least make them remember for the rest of their lives that their citizenship is valuable to them because they’ve paid a high price for it…A term of service is…either real military service, rough and dangerous even in peacetime…or a most unreasonable facsimile thereof.”
Citizenship is something you sacrifice for and are willing to give life and limb to gain, in comparison to the age of anchor babies and legions of American “citizens” who have never even had the desire to sacrifice for their community and nation and transcend selfish materialism, Heinlein’s view of citizenship was revolutionary to me when I first encountered it as a High School student. In modern America where chickenhawk warmongers who have never served their nation in harms way are willing to send men and women overseas to die by the thousands to advance the interests of globalists, the principle that only citizens in Heinlein’s world can hold office or vote seems to be common sense.
The idea that citizenship was not simply a thing handed to everyone at birth, but something that had real value, value put into it from the blood of fellow veterans who had given it all to secure the future of the nation radically changes the very nature of citizenship. Only a few ever are given the instinct to rise to the role of being a sheepdog to protect the masses from enemies both foreign and domestic, and those who take the plunge of dedication to their nation should be rewarded accordingly.
The fundamental core idea of the novel Starship Troopers is that at the end of the day, violence and duty are the glue that hold a civilization together. As Christ commanded his followers to buy swords and the Bible calls men to defend their families and communities, Heinlein understands the God given drive to service that true masculinity embraces. Violence is the only way to defend your family when the wolves are at the door and no matter how persuasively the “Non-Aggression Principle” of the Von Mises Institute is worded, at the end of the day a man with a gun or blade and the will to use it will win the day against the cowardice of modernity.
Perhaps the most famous quotes of Starship Troopers takes place in the mandatory “History and Moral Philosophy” course that the main character had to attend in High School between a student whose mother had told her “violence never solved anything” and the teacher, Lt. Col Dubois “”Anyone who clings to the historically untrue — and thoroughly immoral — doctrine that ‘violence never solves anything’ I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.”
To defend our people, our culture, and our nation one must be willing to use force or the threat of it to maintain our way of life. If you do not defend the chicken coop against the foxes, soon only death and misery will be left inside the coop.
Civilizations must be defended by men willing to kill and die for it because of their belief in honor and duty. The unity between heart and mind is crucial for a society to flourish, but Heinlein points out that simply letting the brightest intelligentsia run affairs will inevitably fail because intellect is not synonymous with a duty to the folk “the pursuit of science, despite its social benefits, is itself not a social virtue; its practitioners can be men so self-centered as to be lacking in social responsibility.”
A culture must promote Traditional fascist values of sacrifice and martial masculinity in order to survive the dangers of a hostile world (and in the case of Starship Troopers a hostile galaxy). In a world in which the Left and Right had told me since birth that a man is defined by being an economic cog in the machine, Starship Troopers helped plant the values of Tradition in my mind as a young teenager. While it took me many more years to come to my current worldview, Robert Heinlein helped break me with the orthodoxy of modernity and show me the principles that my ancestors would view as common sense.
In the guise of an action adventure science fiction story, Heinlein let loose with both barrels a worldview for a healthy and organic society founded upon the principles that were forged through centuries of suffering and blood. As Lt. Col Dubois said in the novel “Basic truths cannot change and once a man of insight expresses one of them it is never necessary, no matter how much the world changes, to reformulate them. This is immutable, true everywhere, throughout all time, for all men and all nations.” Truth is not relative and the values of Tradition are never outdated, and to that I give cheers to Robert Heinlein and his valiant Roughnecks of Starship Troopers.