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political activity, and speculates why Heinlein let Take Back Your Government, a finished book, sit in his files unpublished for 50 years.