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Lazarus Long An Objectivist?

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Lazarus Long, the main character in Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love and other novels seems to be quite an Objectivist. Following are a few quotes from the book, enjoy:

One man’s “magic” is another man’s engineering. “Supernatural” is a null word. -Lazarus Long

Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child. -Lazarus Long

History does not record anywhere a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help. -Lazarus Long,

Sin lies only in hurting others unnecessarily. All other “sins” are invented nonsense. -Lazarus Long

Taxes are not levied for the benefit of the taxed. -Lazarus Long

It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics. -Lazarus Long

If you happen to be one of the fretful minority who can do creative work, never force an idea; you’ll abort it if you do. Be patient and you’ll give birth to it when the time is ripe. Learn to wait. -Lazarus Long

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor. -Lazarus Long

The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history. -Lazarus Long

Does history record any case in which the majority was right? -Lazarus Long

God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent -- it says so right here in the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash, and in small bills. - Lazarus Long

What are the facts? Again and again and again - what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what "the stars fortell", avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable "verdict of history" - what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts! -Lazarus Long

One man's theology is another man's belly laugh. - Lazarus Long

A shaman shall be presumed guilty until proven innocent. - Lazarus Long

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Lazarus Long, the main character in Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love and other novels seems to be quite an Objectivist. 

Lazarus Long is a spokesman for Heinlein himself who, while influenced by Objectivism, was no Objectivist.

Heinlein had a strong altruistic streak, was more an anti-government libertarian than a consistently right-defending capitalist, and advocated General Semantics, an epistemological system that took nominalism and Logical Positivism to their concrete-bound dead end.

Other than that, he was a pretty cool guy.

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I really love his work, and Lazarus Long is one of my favorite characters. Heinlein's philosophy leaves a lot to be desired though. This is particularly annoying to me, because as you noted he often comes so close.

A perfect example of this is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. This is a classical pro-freedom work of science fiction, and one of my favorite books. In the sequel however , (I forget the name) it turns out that reality is purely shaped by man's whim. For example one of the characters is a tv show hero come to life, because people believe in him. For such a great work to be followed by such silly subjectivism was very dissapointing to me.

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According to the Wikipedia article on The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, "Tim Minear of Angel, Firefly and Wonderfalls is currently working on a screenplay based on the novel."

I haven't seen any of those, though I've heard great reviews of Firefly and generally good things about Angel. Probably worth keeping an eye out for.

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As I understand it, Tim Minear is an admirer of Ayn Rand. I haven't seen Angel or Wonderfalls, but this shows in Firefly.

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A perfect example of this is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. This is a classical pro-freedom work of science fiction, and one of my favorite books. In the sequel however , (I forget the name) it turns out that reality is purely shaped by man's whim. For example one of the characters is a tv show hero come to life, because people believe in him. For such a great work to be followed by such silly subjectivism was very dissapointing to me.

Mike was described in the booki as "the John Galt of the revolution." It caught me by surprise. Though that was becuase he lead the revolt but was never really seen.

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Mike was described in the booki as "the John Galt of the revolution." It caught me by surprise. Though that was becuase he lead the revolt but was never really seen.

I'll have to go back and check that out! I read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress years before I'd ever heard of Ayn Rand, so I wouldn't have known who John Galt was at the time. (BTW, I still count it as one of the best books I've ever read).

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I really love his work, and Lazarus Long is one of my favorite characters. Heinlein's philosophy leaves a lot to be desired though. This is particularly annoying to me, because as you noted he often comes so close.

A perfect example of this is The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. This is a classical pro-freedom work of science fiction, and one of my favorite books. In the sequel however , (I forget the name) it turns out that reality is purely shaped by man's whim. For example one of the characters is a tv show hero come to life, because people believe in him. For such a great work to be followed by such silly subjectivism was very dissapointing to me.

Just about all of Heinlein's later books were disappointing compared to the standard he set in Moon and earlier. I'm inclined to believe that age and infirmity were taking their toll.

His attitude toward Objectivism was probably summed up by this line from Moon, spoken by Professor de la Paz in a discussion of political philosophy with Manny: "I can live with a Randite."

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I'm almost 90% through Moon is a Harsh Mistress and I like it. It's all plot and melodrama, with almost no inner conflict and drama, but the plot keeps one interested. Heinlein demonstrates a knowledge of the history of revolutions. Not just because his characters quote the American founders, but in the way revolutions play out. Though the author hints that he's more anarchist than Objectivist, this does not intrude on the plot. 

I started and gave up on another Heinlein book once because it seemed pretty juvenile: I've forgotten the name but it was from the Lazarus Long series and revolved around free love and incest. 

From the little I've read, Heinlein uses sci-fi but his themes appear to be more philosophical than sci-fi: critiques of attitudes, conventional ideas and politics. 

Edited by softwareNerd

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Sorry we lost a post by Eiuol in this topic, speaking about Heinlein getting his readers to rethink the norms they have accepted. 

"Moon is a Harsh Mistress" does this better than the Lazarus Long book I've read (it might have been "To Sail Beyond the Sunset" or "Cat Who Walks Through Walls"). In the latter, the request to rethink seemed to dominate whereas in "Moon" the plot was central and the philosophical aspect was a necessary context. Without the plot to move it along, it would have been propaganda.

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Actually, all his later books are a lot "looser" plot-wise and a lot more post-modern in the sense of being very meta, e.g. indirectly referring to older books of his or not really planning out a plot beforehand. So I'm not surprised you wouldn't find those books so thrilling. Books around the time of "Moon" and the first book I recall Lazarus appearing in are when he was a pro at plot and deeper philosophical ideas.

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