Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The insight of Robert A. Heinlein

The insight of Robert A. Heinlein

On the heels of my post on "Intellectual Property", I find myself wanting to spread the "IP" of another. This is one of the clearest explanations of my world view I have ever read.

"A rational anarchist believes that concepts such as 'state' and 'society' and
'government' have no existence save as physically exemplified in the acts of
self-responsible individuals. He believes that it is impossible to shift blame,
share blame, distribute blame ... as blame, guilt, responsibility are matters
taking place inside human beings singly and nowhere else. But being rational, he
knows that not all individuals hold his evaluations, so he tries to live
perfectly in an imperfect world ... aware that his effort will be less than
perfect yet undismayed by self-knowledge of self-failure." - Robert A. Heinlein
(The Moon is a Harsh Mistress)

I guess this means I will continue to refer to myself as an "anarchist" for the foreseeable future. Believe it or not, I am reading The Moon is a Harsh Mistress for the first time right now. Why did I wait so long? "Finite time" is my only excuse. This isn't my first taste of the wisdom in this book, though. There is another Heinlein quote on the next page that is also a favorite of mine. I discovered it through another liberty-lover long before I even knew where it originated.

"I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I
tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I
know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."

Taken together these quotes give a pretty good description of how I attempt to live.