Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress: A Libertarian Book

The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress is a classic science fiction novel by Robert Heinline. The basics of the plot is that a quasi-futuristic colony of humans on the moon, in which the moon used to be a prison of exile from Earth, are being invaded by a the tyrannical earth government and an increasingly usurping domestic government, where their resources are being plundered and costs of living are being perpetually driven up. Efficiency is deteriorating and political dissent is being stifled.

A professor, an exiled earth woman who wants to overthrow "authority", the main character who gets dragged into the affair, and an artificially intelligent government machine that can manipulate practically anything it pleases on the planet all get together and plot to overthrow "authority", the centralized government of the moon, and the all interferance from the Earth's central government. For the professor at least, goal is an anarcho-capitalist society. The earth woman is a more minimalist libertarian.

The professor is an interest character, who describes himself as a "rational anarchist" that "doesn't believe it is legitimate for a group to do that which it is not moral for an individual or member of that group to do". The book is mostly written in first person, with occasional switches to third person for conversations, which makes it both interesting and akward.

A common and reoccuring theme throughout all of Heinlin's books is the terms "Tanstaafl", which starts for "there ain't no such thing as a free lunch", and characters that are consistant individualists and rebels against power. This theme is particularly strong in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Heinline himself makes no effort to leave you with the impression that he is anything other than a consistant and radical libertarian. All in all, it is a good read with a libertarian, even anarcho-capitalist theme.

No comments: