Robert A. Heinlein, 1977, Detroit, MI (Photo by RLK)
ROBERT HEINLEIN AND THE OBAMA PEACE PRIZE
I have to admit the whole Affirmative Action Peace Prize given to our first black President just for being black .... continues to disturb me. It seems to me to be left-wing "soft racism of low expectations".... writ large.
I found a passage which describes just why this whole thing is ridiculous. Robert A. Heinlein's Starship Troopers, written 50 years ago, has this whole situation nailed.
The scene is a High School senior class on History and Moral Philosophy, some 200 years from now. A teacher is quizzing a student.
“Nothing of value is free. Even the breath of life is purchased at birth only through gasping effort and pain.” He had been still looking at me and added, “If you boys and girls had to sweat for your toys the way a newly born baby has to struggle to live you would be happier… and much richer. As it is, with some of you, I pity the poverty of your wealth. You! I’ve just awarded you the prize for the hundred-meter dash. Does it make you happy?”
“Uh, I suppose it would.”
“No dodging, please. You have the prize — here, I’ll write it out: ‘Grand prize for the championship, one hundred-meter sprint.’ ” He had actually come back to my seat and pinned it on my chest. “There! Are you happy? You value it — or don’t you?”
I was sore. First that dirty crack about rich kids — a typical sneer of those who haven’t got it — and now this farce.
I ripped it off and chucked it at him.
Mr. Dubois had looked surprised. “It doesn’t make you happy?”
“You know darn well I placed fourth!”
“Exactly! The prize for first place is worthless to you…because you haven’t earned it. But you enjoy a modest satisfaction in placing fourth; you earned it. I trust that some of the somnambulists here understood this little morality play. I fancy that the poet who wrote that song ["The Best Things in Life are Free"] meant to imply that the best things in life must be purchased other than with money — which is true — just as the literal meaning of his words is false. The best things in life are beyond money; their price is agony and sweat and devotion… and the price demanded for the most precious of all things in life is life itself — ultimate cost for perfect value.” '