A Man After my Own Heart...

After a sort of tip from Instapundit, I picked up Robert Heinlein's book, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. I was never much of a Heinlein fan as a kid, but halfway through this book I am realizing how much I missed.

I think a lot like this guy did. During a revolution, a 'congress' is discussing the form of new government. At this 'congress,' a woman proposed numerous laws and regulations, prohibitions on her fellow citizens. The lead character says, in his unique dialect (it's necessary for the story):

Thing that got me was not her list of things she hated, since she was obviously crazy as a Cyborg, but fact that always somebody agreed with her prohibitions. Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws--always for the other fellow. A murky part of us, something we had before we came down out of trees, and failed to shuck when we stood up. Because not one of those people said: "Please pass this so that I won't be able to do something I know I should stop." Nyet, tovarishchee, was always something they hated to see neighbors doing. Stop them "for their own good" -- not because speaker claimed to be harmed by it.

It sure sounds familiar, doesn't it?



PK said...

I'm not much of a science fiction fan, but Benardo de la Paz statement from this book has stayed with me.

"But I will accept the rules that you feel necessary to your freedom. 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."

Walter Greenspan said...

This brings to mind a local merchant who wants a local ordinance that businesses must be closed on Sunday because he wants to close on Sundays but does not want to lose business to his competitors, so he wants everyone to be required to close on Sundays.

Anonymous said...

Years ago when our children were young, we had an exchange student live with us. I remember her friend, another exchange student from Italy, made the comment at one of our family functions. He said "You Americans think you are so free. You have many, many more rules and laws than we do in Italy." My heart is with America, but there might be some truth to his statement.