July 06, 2007

Robert Heinlein, Centenary 1907-2007

Tomorrow, July 7, 2007 is the 100th birthday of Robert A. Heinlein, one of my very favorite Authors. I've read most of his output over the years, becoming a fan in 1957 as a 6th grader reading Space Cadet, then already published in 1947 or 48 I believe. Since then, I've read so many, Stranger in a Strange Land, Glory Road, Methuselah's Children, The Cat Who Walked Through Walls. So many, so much wonder, adventure and writing that captivates the young as well as the young at heart. What I didn't know, is that Heinlein also was a contributor to Edward R. Murrows radio series "This I Believe". Among his efforts was this, and reading it sent chills up and down my spine, not because it is spine chilling science fiction, but because it is what America was, and can be again if we all collectively pull our heads out and get on with the business of America. Robert A. Heinlein ladies and gentlemen:

Our Noble, Essential Decency

by Robert A. Heinlein

I am not going to talk about religious beliefs but about matters so obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them. I believe in my neighbors. I know their faults, and I know that their virtues far outweigh their faults.

Take Father Michael down our road a piece. I'm not of his creed, but I know that his goodness and charity and loving kindness shine in his daily actions. I believe in Father Mike. If I'm in trouble, I'll go to him. My next-door neighbor's a veterinary doctor. Doc will get out of bed after a hard day to help a stray cat—no fee, no prospect of a fee. I believe in Doc.

I believe in my townspeople. You can knock on any door in our town, say, "I'm hungry," and you'll be fed. Our town is no exception. I've found the same ready charity everywhere. For the one who says, "The heck with you, I've got mine," there are a hundred, a thousand, who will say, "Sure, pal, sit down." I know that despite all warnings against hitchhikers, I can step to the highway, thumb for a ride, and in a few minutes a car or a truck will stop and someone will say, "Climb in, Mack. How far you going?"

I believe in my fellow citizens. Our headlines are splashed with crime. Yet for every criminal, there are ten thousand honest, decent, kindly men. If it were not so. no child would live to grow up. Business could not go on from day to day. Decency is not news. It is buried in the obituaries, but it is a force stronger than crime.

I believe in the patient gallantry of nurses, in the tedious sacrifices of teachers. I believe in the unseen and unending fight against desperate odds that goes on quietly in almost every home in the land. I believe in the honest craft of workmen. Take a look around you. There never were enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence Hall to the Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square by craftsmen who were honest in their bones.

I believe that almost all politicians are honest. For every bribed alderman, there are hundreds of politicians—low paid or not paid at all—doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work. If this were not true, we would never have gotten past the thirteen colonies.

I believe in Roger Young. You and I are free today because of endless unnamed heroes from Valley Forge to the Yalu River. I believe in—I am proud to belong to—the United States. Despite shortcomings—from lynchings, to bad faith in high places—our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.

And finally, I believe in my whole race—yellow, white, black, red, brown—in the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability, and goodness of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe that we have come this far by the skin of our teeth—that we always make it just by the skin of our teeth—but that we will always make it, survive, endure.

I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching oversized braincase and the opposable thumb—this animal barely up from the apes—will endure, will endure longer than his home planet, will spread out to the other planets—to the stars and beyond—carrying with him his honesty, his insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage, and his noble essential decency. This I believe with all my heart.

What a mind this man had.

H/T via Instapundit to John Derbyshire of "The Corner" who also notes that this essay and others are available from NPR and I think I'm headed over to Barnes & Noble to pick up a copy, even if NPR did put it out.

Posted by GM Roper at July 6, 2007 11:51 AM | TrackBack

Without going into too much detail I will say that even though I disagree with much of his politics, Heinlein is fine man of the highest integrity. He was a "practice what you preach" kind of guy and I absolutely repsect that.

Posted by e. nonee moose at July 6, 2007 01:10 PM

I loved Rober Heinlein's work growing up; The Past Through Tomorrow remains among my favourites....


Posted by Bald-Headed Geek at July 6, 2007 01:42 PM

Another great read is Heinlein's "StarShip Troopers". It details the coming-of-age story of a young recruit in the military of the future replete with observations on history, moral philosophy, duty, honor, civic vitue, economics, comradeship, and ethics. An adventure story with a practical kind of intellectualism. Still very much relevant today.


Posted by Lawrence H at July 6, 2007 02:30 PM

This is a great find. I read a lot of Heinlein earlier in my life (including "Stranger") but I never saw this before. Excellent post.

Posted by C. D. Jewell at July 8, 2007 03:32 AM

Oppose Harry Reid

Christians Against Leftist Heresy


I Stand With Piglet, How About You?

Reject The UN
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting


101st Fighting Keyboardists

Prev | List | Random | Next
Powered by RingSurf!

Naked Bloggers

Improper Blogs

Milblogs I Read

The Texas Connection
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

American Conservative

The Wide Awakes


< TR>
AgainstTerrorism 1.jpg
[ Prev || Next || Prev 5 || Next 5]
[Rand || List || Stats || Join]

Open Tracback Providers

No PC Blogroll

Blogs For Bush

My Technorati Profile
Major Media Links

Grab A Button
If you would like to link to GM's Corner, feel free to grab one of the following buttons. (Remember to save the image to your own website).

Whimsical Creations by GM Roper
My Store

Technorati search

Fight Spam! Click Here!
YCOP Blogs

The Alliance
"GM's Corner is a Blogger's
Blog, and then some!"
-----Glenn Reynolds

Coalition Against Illegal Immigration

Southern Blog Federation

Kim Komando, America's Digital Goddess
Powered by:
Movable Type 2.64

Template by:

Design by:

Hosted by: