'Starship Troopers' and Permanent War
There's always another enemy to destroy
Like many others of my generation, I grew up enjoying the movie Starship Troopers. In fact, it was one of my favorite films when I was a kid.
At the time, I was not old enough to understand its obvious socio-political commentary. It makes re-watching it as an adult doubly rewarding.
Shortly after I started doing Liberty Weekly in 2017, I bought the original 1959 Heinlein novel at Half-Priced books in St. Paul, Minnesota. Before then, I had not read it.
For those unfamiliar with the novel, it is a classic sci-fi piece about a militaristic fascist empire called the Terran Federation of Earth that creates intrusive conflicts (sound familiar?) throughout the galaxy. The main character, Johnnie, is an officer in the mobile infantry, a branch of the Federal Service. Normal plebeians must first "volunteer" for this Federal Service before they may earn the status and rights of a Federal Citizen.
One of the big takeaways from the story is that the permanent war state breeds a fascist loop: the Empire will always find another enemy to fight—even when it has complete dominion over all of Earth.
Truth be told, I found and continue to find Heinlein rather dull. Not because I fail to appreciate literature, or because his work is beyond me. It’s because he’s fuckin’ boring. Come on, man!
I much prefer the 1997 film perhaps, in part, due to the power of nostalgia (‘member Starship Troopers?! I ‘member!).
The film was incredibly hyperbolic and campy in all the best ways. It parodied famous propaganda films in a quasi-serious way. It stole its costume design from everyone’s favorite fascist regime. Most importantly, it had guns, giant bugs, and tits. What more could anyone ask for?
So, in this month’s bonus episode of the podcast, I discuss my affinity for Starship Troopers by revisiting a very early Liberty Weekly piece I wrote about it. I also give a behind-the-scenes update of the show.
Premium subscribers will find the full length bonus episode embedded below. DO YOUR PART and you can too.