Blue Group

Big Picture

A primary purpose of this page was to argue one's own point on the issue of whether Heinlein's novel Starship Troopers was an endorsement of Fascism. To do this comprehensively and intellectually, one must have an idea of what Fascism is.

So what is Fascism? It seems that it is easier to discuss the ideals that Fascism spurns rather than those that it embraces. A few of these follow, for a more complete overview of the ideas below, follow the link back to the Main Page or simply click the terms within the text.

  • An intense sense of Nationalism that can almost border on racialism.
  • Irrationalism, or the denouncement of human reason and the glorification of emotion. Andrew Heywood claims that Fascism "addresses the soul, the emotions and the instincts."1
  • Elitism and the idea of a strong leader with a large amount of power, this is the idea of Authoritarianism or Totalitarianism.
  • Fascism also entertains the idea of Socialism (though it was notoriously apprehensive of Communism). The classic symbol of Fascism was a bundle of Rods bound together with an Axe. The rods represent the people, stronger together than individually and the Axe symbolizes the great power of the state.

Does the novel Starship Troopers endorse Fascism? Looking at the information that the other groups presented on their pages, several conclusions can be drawn. It can be seen that most if not all of the hallmarks of Fascism are present within the novel. First and foremost, the Green Group made the point that Fascism is the promotion of the welfare of the state over the individual. They discussed History and Moral Philosophy class and how the nation is everlasting in comparison to the expendable individual.2

Some have made the speculation as to the truthfulness of the whole "state over individual" idea. Why, some question, do the soldiers go back and pick up their wounded instead of leaving them and simply fulfilling the duties owed to the state? The answer can be found through both practical and ideological means. Practically, it costs the state a lot of money and several months to send a trainee through boot camp and make them fit for battle. It would be inefficient for the state to expend these costly resources so freely. Secondly, the rescue and retrieval of troops boosts morale and camaraderie amongst the infantrymen as well. On an ideological level, it appeals to irrationalism. Obviously, assisting those in dire need of assistance “addresses the soul, the emotions and the instincts."3

Racialism plays a large part in Fascist ideology as well. As imperialism grew during the nineteenth century, and the whites came into contact with the people of other races, the whites viewed these people as almost a separate species. This is literally the case in the novel, the Terrans and the Bugs are fighting an interspecies war where only one can come out the winner and continue colonization. This is a proponent of imperialism. The society of Terra is also a largely elitist society that upholds the idea that a small ruling class (in the case of the novel, the military officials) should keep the larger and inferior class as ignorant as the ruling class required them to be.4

However, some may say that the idea of a vote is a democratic ideal, not a Fascist one. What these people fail to see is that the small electorate in the novel serves as a ruling class that has power centralized within one entity, the miltary. Since one must have passed through Federal Service to gain a vote, all those who do vote will most likely vote in favor of military policy. Moreover, the politicians who make these policies have also been part of the military, making it all the more likely that they will serve the military's purposes anyway. It is also apparent that the Bugs are operating under a Communist society which would naturally select them to be the enemies of the Terran Federation. The idea of the Hive enity is a foreign concept to Fascists who seek to "obliterate the individual."5 When the individual no longer exists, that leaves room for the unadulterated love of one's country, dicussed above.

The arguments for the presence of Fascism in Starship Troopers are above, however, those against Fascism also exist. First off, the culture within the novel (especially that of the Terran Federation) is very diverse and there are no certain prerequisites for entrance into the military. This can be seen through the names of the different characters, Johnnie himself is Fillipino and several of the other names such as Rascak and Dubois suggest different racial backgrounds. As such, this dissolves the sterotype of the racialism that is prevalent within the Fascism ideology. The idea of the limited franchise within the novel shows the normative thought processes of those who gave their lives to procure democracy within any society. In other words, they died to give us a say in government and the people of Terra are simply channeling the idea that political choice must come with sacrifice.

-Back to Main Page-

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License