Take Back Your Government

Jerry Pournelle told readers of Chaos Manor over the weekend that Baen will start work on an eBook issue of Robert A. Heinlein’s nonfiction book about practical politics called Take Back Your Government. “It may be out before the next election,” he said.

The book was never published in Heinlein’s lifetime. Baen released it in 1992, with an introduction and notes by Pournelle, and copy on the back cover possibly designed to make the book appealing to supporters of Ross Perot, then a third-party presidential candidate.

Readers of Heinlein’s fiction will find they are already familiar with his opinions about humanity’s real driving forces, such as his rejection of altruism:

Of all the nonsense that twists the world, the concept of ‘altruism’ is the worst. People do what they want to, every time. If it pains them to make a choice – if the ‘choice’ looks like a ‘sacrifice’ – you can be sure that it is no nobler than the discomfort caused by greediness… the necessity of having to decide between two things you want when you can’t have both. The ordinary bloke suffers every time he chooses between spending a buck on beer or tucking it away for his kids, between getting up to go to work and losing his job. But he always chooses that which hurts least or pleasures most. The scoundrel and the saint make the same choices.

I recommend Thomas Perry’s fascinating 1993 paper that explores — from admittedly scant evidence — Robert Heinlein’s pre-World-War-II political activity, and speculates why Heinlein let Take Back Your Government, a finished book, sit in his files unpublished for 50 years.

Discover more from File 770

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

4 thoughts on “Take Back Your Government

  1. This link identifies the essay’s author as the late Tom Perry, a well-known fan who in the mid-90s participated heavily in online forums:

    Tom Perry died of cancer on July 8, 1997, in Gainesville, Florida.
    Perry was an active and respected science fiction fan for more than forty years. His carefully researched and written articles, published in the 1970’s in AMAZING under the editorship of Ted White, revised the anecdotal history as to Hugo Gernsback’s loss of control of AMAZING STORIES in 1929, and, incidentally, alienated Sam Moskowitz, the principal disseminator of Gernsback’s oral reminiscences.

  2. Tom Perry was a very well-known fan writer in the Fifties and Sixties, particularly with his excellent fanzine, Logorrhea, and his column in a little-known fanzine named “Hyphen.”

    Tom was both fannish, and sercon, able to write thoughtful stuff about fandom, and science fiction, and was a good friend to many of us, including those of us he became friends by mail with in the Seventies. He’s greatly missed.

Comments are closed.