Starship Troopers Essay

Starship Troopers Essay

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The Novum presented in Starship Troopers is the rule of the Veterans and the resulting primacy of the military. This Novum sets the novel up as a utopic pandering to a readership demographic that the author himself is a member of. This is a normative sci-fi construction. Starship Troopers deviates in that the true target readership is the young man who has not yet been given a chance to join up. He is meant to gain a favorable understanding of the military man by sharing in his dream. The dream then - the world created – is the persuasive device.
Heinlein begins by claiming historical inevitability for his Novum. Once our decadent civilization falls, the veterans; as the faction best equipped to counter anarchy, will simply take over police and then government functions. Further, “those [early] veterans, since they were finding it necessary to hang some veterans, decided that, if they had to do this, they weren't going to let any "bleedin'… unprintable" civilians have any say about it.” (198). Which is to say that the distinction between soldier and civilian was built on the soldier’s resentment of their task. This implies that the soldiers blame the societal collapse on the decadence of the civilians. This is partially countered when veterans are stated to be just as likely to commit a crime as non-veterans (199) but more fully reaffirmed when it is stated that “[democracy] failed because the people had been led to believe that they could simply vote for whatever they wanted”(76). Regardless, this is where Heinlein introduces his system of franchise, and it too is conceptualized as an organic and obvious development. These two classes are essential as the book is a bildungsroman and its action is of comparison between the t...


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...the appeal of the life of the soldier and even of the validity of his Novum as a government form (he makes explicit reference to Technocracy, the nearest equivalent (199)). I do find the argument convincing, but perhaps not as much for the younger reader. The best advantages of military service presented are acquiesce and contentment, in short, the death drive - the desire to live less – a desire I hope is not well formed in the young reader. The arguments for the superiority of the military man are less convincing since they rely on a pretty problematic altruism founded on species survival over the individual but they are serviceable and no one debates with someone who wants to sacrifice himself anyways. Overall, if the capitalist game of meritocracy appears a bit too rigged and the death drive kicks in a bit early, military service is shown to be a good option.

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