Thursday, July 26, 2007

Citizenship ... The Heinlein Way

Immigration is a huge problem in many parts of the world. Here in the US, we question why we allow children born of illegal immigrants to have automatic US citizenship just because they are born in this country. Well there was a science fiction writer last century that questioned why citizenship was ever given to anyone, rather than earned.

In 1959, Robert A. Heinlein wrote a science fiction novel entitled Starship Troopers. This book was later made into a major motion picture. While this was basically a spaghetti western set in space, there was a social message incorporated into both the book and movie.

It seems on 22nd Century Earth, no one is born into citizenship, it must be earned. The major way that citizenship is earned in Heinlein's world is by military service. Is this really such a bad idea?

Now, the only rights a citizen has over a legal resident in the United States are, the right to a Federal Job and the right to run for political office. The only two obligations that a citizen has are the duty to vote and the duty to serve on a jury.

So, would it be so terrible to embrace Heinlein's idea? I'm thinking many would think it was a terrible idea (the book was called fascist when it came out), what do you think?

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14 comments:

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

Hummmm....
I can't help but wonder what Federal employees and politicians would think if illegals could take their jobs?

Paul Champagne said...

terri ... good point, I dare say an immigration law would have already been passed ... heavy on the enforcement.

David said...

This is similar to why no one takes education seriously. There is no sacrifice. People don't have to sacrifice for their kids education...so they don't care about the quality or whether or not their kids participate.

In the USA, too many people take their citizenship and what goes with it for granted. I wonder what would happen if we changed the constitution to take citizenship from non-voters and non-jury servers. Mandatory military service is a similar idea. Good point.

Paul Champagne said...

david ... what do you mean we don't suffer for our kids education? I have suffered through way too many school plays and concerts ... and now there are the grandkids

God Help Me

The Lowest Rated Blog said...

Starship Troopers was a good movie!

Oh by the way, I like the idea of EARNING citizenship by way of:

Mando military service
Mando voting
Mando jury service

Of course, this will never happen!

v/r tlrb

Terri@SteelMagnolia said...

Ohhhhhh (in my girl whiney voice),

I really don't think I'm good military material ... I'm a scardy cat ... I cry a lot....
I think I'd be like Private Benjamin....

The only thing I think I could do is be a nurse .... but I would pass out at eyeball injuries....
anything eyeball makes me woozy....

lime said...

what about those physically unable to serve? what about conscientious objectors who otherwise show exemplary citizenship?

David said...

That is the wrong type of suffering. If people had to pay (not through taxes) in a way they thought about (tuition) they would insist on their kids doing well and insist on an end to those awful plays that the public schools punished you with!

snowelf said...

Okay, I loved Starship Troopers even though it was cheesy sci-fi fun, and have always wanted to read the book.

I don't know if it's a good idea or not... because everyone has the right to vote now and they don't do it. Do we really want to make that harder? or do you think that people would see that as a status symbol like a college education. Here's my liberal side showing, but I think it would only make the inequality in our country a much stronger divide. Because you know it would cost money. Who exactly would it be good for? The rich male elite? I am certainly not that and I like having the right to do things here.

--snow

Akelamalu said...

I like the idea of 'earning' citizenship for the UK, if only we could find the illegals to make them earn it!

Queen of the Mayhem said...

Very interesting question you raise........I also like Terri's comment!

I am not sure how I feel about this. I will have to ponder this for a while!

..and I thought that movie was all about big bugs...(hee-hee)

buffalodickdy said...

The basis for that premise was ancient Rome. Citizens had extra privileges along with extra responsibilities.

Paul Champagne said...

tlrb ... This is a free society so I don't like the idea of mandatory anything. This is more of a carrot than a stick ... if you want citizenship and the rights that go along with it, then you do your service, you vote, you go to jury duty. If not, you are relegated to not having a voice in government (no politician is going to care about you if you can't vote).

terri ... in my little fantasy world, there would be other ways to earn citizenship. Not everyone is cut out for the military ... and in my experience, there are people that the military absolutely doesn't need. In my world, there would be an expanded peace corps for those able-bodied people that object to violence (more about that in my next post). For those people that are disabled or in any other way not physically able, they could be employed in community service jobs, that wouldn't pay them anything, but would qualify them for citizenship. The reason these would be unpaid is because I feel that the very escence of earning citizenship requires sacrifice. Duty in the military and peace corps already encompasses sacrifice.

lime ... please see the above paragraph for the answer to your question. During World War II, everyone contributed, and quoting Marx "From each according to his ability". Ouch I just got chills and a queazy feeling in the pit of my stomach ... last time I will quote Marx. If you come back later, I think you will be pleasantly surprized by my next post and my fantasy world will become clearer.

david ... I know that's not what you were talking about ... I was being facetious. I agree, but the tuition charged must be in proportion of the parent's income. 5% should hurt everyone equally.

snow ... as far as voting goes, if the results of the voting on American Idol are any indication ... maybe it is better that participation is low.

You are right about this plan perhaps making the divide in the country deeper. We will effectively have two classes (Citizen and non-Citizen). But unlike the monetary classes we have now, the non-citizens could easily change classes (and joining the military or the peace corps doesn't cost the person a penny, all they need is the desire. This should make the liberal in you jump for joy.

akelamalu ... under my plan, it is not just the illegals that would have to earn it ... everyone would. The illegals would jump at the chance for an opportunity like this ... there would be no need to find them (unless of course they had a record ... background checks would of course be mandatory).

your highness ... of course you must ponder this ... nobility never rushes to judgement. Unfortunately, this may take some of the mayhem out of the world.

buffalo ... I am hoping that we avoid what happened to the Roman Empire. We only have to keep it simple and pure ... no reading things into it, so no lawyers looking for loopholes.

buffalodickdy said...

Paul- that empire had it right longer than anything we have come up with! Do more, get more is a great premise for a new world order!