Translation of Excerpts from Robert Heinlein's Book, Take Your Government Away - Part 4

    Chapter 3: Essence and Husk

    “It’s not a fact that everything is just like that.”

    In this chapter I will try to dispel some popular illusions about politics. I don’t think that you believe all these speculations, but if you are a typical American, and you have not dealt with politics before, then some of them are most likely familiar to you. Before we move on to a detailed discussion of the art of practical politics, I would like to shed light on the fallacy of certain provisions of our Great American Creed that are directly related to politics, which will save time for you and me in the future.

    If you do not take into account love and religion, about politics, perhaps, more speculation is written than about any other subject. I intend to discuss some of them, and try to refute them. Most of the misconceptions, of those that I will discuss, have been chosen by me because I myself was forced to change my point of view on them from the experience of my bitter political mistakes. My current views, of course, may also be incorrect, but they are based on the scientific method of observing facts, and not on desk discussions. So if you do not believe me, go and check everything yourself, and it’s better not once, to see for yourself. But in order to protect you from many mistakes, I would advise you to consider the truth that I will tell you, until your own experience makes you think otherwise. And please pay attention that all generalizations, which I do regarding various social groups have their exceptions. Evaluate everyone who comes to you without being biased. For example, in nature there is no physical law that prohibits women from housewife clubs to be smart, and occasionally smart women do meet there.

    Now let’s drop the conventions and talk frankly. We will touch on many forbidden topics, and take them apart by bones. We will discuss many issues that are not discussed in a decent society, and we will talk about them completely freely, without using, however, obscene words. We will discuss Catholics, Communists, Jews and Negroes, women politicians, political reformers, school teachers, Irish Catholics, the government from members of the ruling party and the government on a competitive basis, and find out if the father is always right. I will try to describe everything as I saw it with my own eyes. And I hope I don’t write anything that hurts you personally, but this can happen.

    “No one should relate religious beliefs to politics”

    This is a beautiful statement reflecting the American ideal of religious freedom. However, it is divorced from reality, and gives away by sentimental idealism. One must always take into account the religious convictions of a candidate for a political post, because they are one of the most important features of his personality. Whether he is a Catholic, Protestant, Communist, Mormon, or Jew, his religion has a strong influence on how he behaves in certain areas of activity (I did not make a reservation, reckoning among religions and communism, I consider him a religion, and I will write further why ) However, it is important not to succumb to blind prejudice, objectively taking into account a person’s religious beliefs, in order to understand how he can behave in connection with these beliefs.

    I must say that in the religion of the candidate in relation to politics, there is no discrimination, or inconsistency with the American spirit. The religion of man is his free choice, even though most people accept the faith of their parents. A Catholic can become a Jew, and a Communist can become a Quaker. A person’s religion says a lot about his attitude to the world, spiritual values ​​and prejudices, and if this person is involved in politics, then we have every right to take an interest in his religious beliefs.

    As an example, let's imagine that we live in a fictional city where local school departments can, on their own initiative, spend budgetary funds to support those private parish schools that accept students for free education. And let's say you think that budget funds should be spent only on supporting public schools. Before you lies a ballot paper with two candidates, equally experienced, respected, and decent people, one of whom is a Catholic, the other is not.
    Should you choose a candidate that supports your views, or, without going into details of the biography, choose a candidate that you liked so much with your beautiful eyes?

    Imagine a different scenario: the same elections, the same city, you are not a Catholic, and you think that taxpayers' money should be spent on supporting free education, however, the government should not establish a compulsory free education program, except for the compulsory reading ability write and count. You think that parents have the right to decide for themselves what school subjects their children will teach, and you are afraid of a state obligation in this matter. Who will you vote for?

    Or maybe you are a Catholic, and you are afraid that budget financing of Catholic schools will be the first step to the state gaining control over them?

    Questions can be even more complicated. Suppose, for example, that Congress is considering funding research. At the same time, many of the best colleges and universities are managed, or filled with representatives of a single religious denomination. Will you refuse to finance the research of the famous Catholic College of Our Lady by allocating money to some seedy college from Tennessee, from the same state in which scientific views on biology are determined by the decision of the state legislature? What do you think of the equally famous South California University that once belonged to the Methodist Church? Since then, much has changed at the university, but the influence of the methodologists is still felt. Will you allocate budget money to this university for engineering research, or, in your opinion,
    Meanwhile, we know from history that church private schools have made an absolutely indispensable contribution to the research that helped win the Second World War.

    How will the question of allocating money for scientific research affect the question of budget financing of parish schools? And he will certainly influence, and you yourself must compare all these factors when you decide whether to participate in the election campaign of a Catholic candidate or his non-Catholic rival.
    Another example: recently, my state legislature proposed passing a birth control law, and a law on licensing, controlling and restricting alcohol sales. The governor received about a hundred letters from supporters and opponents of these laws. An analysis of the letters showed that almost all letters related to birth control were written by Catholic communities, while all letters regarding the ban on alcohol were written by Protestants.
    So isn't it obvious that you have every right to be aware of the religious beliefs of your future congressman, senator, or governor?

    Suppose you belong to that religious movement, which is known as Scientific Christianity, and which denies the existence of diseases, considering them to be the result of sins accumulated in the soul. Then how do you feel about free medicine? Does it matter to you that the candidate for the state legislature belongs to your church, or does it not matter?
    A congressman-Judaist? Is he inclined or not to vote for the free admission in our country of all refugees from Europe? Who is more likely to refuse financial aid to England in favor of Palestine - a non-Zionist Judaist or an Irish Catholic from Boston?

    The political influence of religious beliefs can be illustrated endlessly. I’m not going to impose my opinion on all of these issues, I just want to explain to you that to ignore the significance of religious beliefs means to find yourself in an obviously disadvantageous position when drawing up your opinion about politicians and the problems they solve. But always choosing only members of your church, or, on the contrary, completely ignoring the candidate’s religion is just as stupid. The first of these approaches is narrow-minded and contradicts the American spirit, the second is naive-idealistic. Decide for yourself which one you like best!

    The role of church communities in politics

    (Before you blame me for communism, fascism, papism, Zionism, atheism, and so on, let me say this: like my great-grandfathers, I am a native American, mostly Irish blood flows in me, mixed with English, French and a little German.My name is Catholic, I was baptized in the Methodist Church, I believe in democracy, freedom of personality and religion.
    Nevertheless, in my opinion, American church communities are a frequent source of political corruption and scandals. This is sad, but easily confirmed by observations. This state of affairs is caused by the too strong faith of members of church communities that their united and combined efforts are able to expel all these scorched crooks from the local government. Indeed, members of the church community, having voted unanimously, could influence the outcome of any election, push through any reforms they need, and hold on to any of their gains. But in reality this does not work.

    I will not discuss whether we are becoming more moral, merciful and civilized, as a result of the influence on us of religious and missionary activities of priests, pastors, rabbis, and their parishioners. I also do not doubt that, as a rule, the political intentions of church groups are good. But due to the fact that these good intentions are applied too narrowly, without taking into account all the accompanying factors, they too often lead to bad consequences.

    Say, only recently, church communities have become interested in the procedure for concluding contracts for paving streets, recruiting staff for the civil service, and assessing the value of real estate for tax collection. As for the approval of the cost of evacuating stolen and abandoned cars, the distribution of gas tax revenues between a city, district and state, or the appointment of management companies in the public utilities sector, the church is likely to consider these issues too relevant to politics in order to preach about them from the department of the cathedral.
    Instead, religious communities are more likely to promote laws prohibiting acts contrary to their commandments. And professional politicians will only be happy to promise religious communities to pass such laws, because such laws themselves do not interfere, rather, on the contrary, they expand the scope for bribes and corruption, provide support from pimps, bookmakers and other similar interested parties, and, finally, support from parties of those same church communities that promoted these laws.

    So if you are a member of a religious community and consider that laws for the prohibition of gambling, the prohibition and restriction of the sale of alcohol, the prohibition of the sale of contraceptives, or requiring mandatory observance of the Shabbat are necessary for the benefit of your community, this is your right, and I do not require you to change your mind and abandon the idea of ​​receiving such laws. But keep in mind, practice shows that such laws are only the first step towards the eradication of the evil against which they are directed. Moral issues cannot be resolved only by passing laws that govern them. If you are seeking the adoption of such laws, without bothering to analyze all the sociological, economic and psychological nuances that make up the cause of the vice that you intend to eradicate, then by adopting the law you will not only not eradicate evil, you will create dozens of new evils.
    If you are a congressman, and your conscience requires you to support a law of this kind, then think that after the adoption of this law, your task of combating corruption among officials who enforce this law will be complicated by orders of magnitude, and you but it will have to work a lot more and more hard to cope with the corruption caused by this law.
    And finally, if you are an amateur politician, volunteer in politics for free, and are interested in any reform, in order to avoid severe disappointments, do not expect real help from religious communities in promoting reforms, even if they help to achieve the moral ideals of these communities themselves .

    Women in politics

    At the dawn of the “Choose Women” movement, we were convinced that women would bring high moral ideals to politics, defeat bribes and corruption, which had so long been cultivated by mossy male politicians.
    And women really influenced politics: in the Senate they were allocated a separate make-up room. They influenced the spirit of political meetings: earlier similar to fist fights, now the meetings began to resemble a meeting of classmates. The range of treats at political events has also expanded: a simple diet of beer and pork rolls has been added canapes, cakes, ice cream, coffee and chilled wine. For me, this change in the menu is definitely pleasant: I do not like pork rolls.

    And with the advent of women in politics, bribe-takers reduced tariffs.
    Girls, please be quiet! Let me tell you! There are exceptions to all the rules, perhaps you are one of them. You know better.
    However, a lot of women have appeared in politics who seem to be eager to thunder straight to hell. Male politicians can be just as corrupt, but the gentle sex, in addition, is given for a lower price. Apparently, women entered politics in order to reduce not corruption, but its prices.

    When you open a party office or become a candidate’s manager in an election, you are immediately attacked by phone calls from women who want to help you in the election campaign. They will seem to you ready to work for the idea of ​​volunteers, however, very soon it will turn out that they are political prostitutes, ready without a twinge of conscience, for a very small fee, to support any candidate and any kind of bill.
    Reject their proposals, but do it politely: a politician should never bicker with anyone, your goal is to win elections, not phone disputes. Let your political rival hire these "volunteers" better, they won’t bring him any benefit, because they work so badly that they do not even pay for the low pay for which they work. However, later on you will probably find that your opponent hired one of your workers earlier than you, and now she works for free at your election headquarters during the day, and at night reports about everything that happens to the headquarters of your rivals. Do not let this discovery discourage yourself. A politician must be able to foresee such little things in life. And do not lose faith in people! Judging sensibly, you will see how many more honest people are around you than dishonest people. Rogues seem more numerous simply because

    I am inclined to believe, although I am not exactly sure of this, that, in general, men in politics are more honest than women. My opinion is based not only on lower tariffs for bribes from female corrupt officials. From my communication with a large number of men and women who are spinning in politics, I made the judgment that women are usually less likely to understand politics, and therefore they do not understand so well that all political problems have social consequences. In some part, this may be due to the fact that most women in their daily lives do not affect public life as much as men, and therefore have less opportunity to figure out how it works.
    In addition, many husbands deliberately cultivate such ignorance of their wives, because this gives them the opportunity to show at home how much they know about politics and not get caught in ignorance, because they still know better than their wives in politics.
    The most common phrase that I heard hundreds of times from women during the voter turnout is “My husband understands all of this for me.” And they really leave “all this” at the mercy of their husband, not distinguishing the speaker from the pitcher, and considering the Ombudsman a part of the car.

    Therefore, when someone tells such a woman that she can earn some money by easy and uncomplicated work close to home, helping to conduct the election campaign, she is ready for anything, diligently carrying out everything that is ordered to her, without thinking about the political consequences of her actions for countries. She will not be surprised at the request to work for the candidate by voting against him, because she does not understand the very essence of political work. She can take part in a dozen campaigns and find out nothing about the candidates or their political programs, only knowing that the state senator, Mr. Bolshoyazyatka, is such a good person that they write about him in newspapers and books, and that every time When you need to vote, he kindly sends her a car, delivering her to the polling station and back.
    (In fact, this Mr. Bolshoyavzyatka is a scorched rogue, he has long been in politics, and he is decidedly unsinkable. And his biography is a work of art woven from distortions and omissions. But it’s nice to talk to him).
    Having gained the experience of such a “policy”, a woman, if she is smart enough to put a tick in the ballot, begins to see clearly, but she still does not understand all the consequences of her political activity. She begins to treat politics with skeptical cynicism, as she is now convinced that there is only one kind of politics in the world - that through and through false imitation of the politics she is engaged in. And nothing now will change this narrow-minded sarcastic opinion of her.
    Do not hire such a person, and do not try to convince her. A sincere female volunteer, working for you, will receive dozens of times more votes than this hired "enthusiast" will get them in various dubious ways for the state senator mentioned above (while remaining a loving wife, good mother, and respected member of the school parenting committee). You will not distinguish a person of this kind from a real volunteer, either externally or by conversation. But nevertheless, there is one sign that allows such a distinction to be made, and in nine out of ten cases this sign works: a sincere volunteer who comes to help will come to your office personally to search for a field of activity, while political prostitutes will offer their services over the phone and offer you go to them yourself (I think that by doing this they get their own price).
    This rule is not one hundred percent, but to some extent it will help you protect yourself. It will not work if you stumble upon a seeker of easy money in politics, bypassing voters, as well as if your rivals hire her, sending him to spy on your camp. But, nevertheless, the rule I described will protect you from many disappointments. Having gained a little experience, you will develop a flair for this tribe. Until then, don’t trust volunteers you haven’t worked with before, especially if they are too enthusiastic to work for free, not too much, however, going into the goals and objectives of the campaign you are pursuing. Do not appoint such subjects to work at headquarters, let them distribute campaign leaflets. And do not forget to selectively check to see if your leaflets have reached their destination.

    Another example of a breed of female politicians is the chairmen of women's political clubs. They organized these clubs, therefore they cannot be insincere in their desire to participate in politics. But, unfortunately, they are often stupid, ambitious, and completely useless to win the election. But they can perfectly help to lose the election. And if you offend them, then you will earn yourself an enemy for life. I appeal to you, our dear ladies: you do not need to be a woman politician, or a politician for women! Just be a politician, only female. Remember that you are equal with men! So do not create your own small factions and parties, but join existing political organizations and achieve your goals with them.
    And yet, after all these evil taunts addressed to women politicians, I am pleased to state that a sincere, intelligent, and educated female volunteer is the best political employee. This is a priceless pearl, which, praise to heaven, is not as difficult to find as a real one. Such a volunteer can be of much greater benefit than a male volunteer. She is not so afraid of routine work. She can go around the voters, sweep the office, print letters, send out newspapers, monitor the vote count, drive voters in a car ... She expects no other benefit from politics than the awareness of her usefulness. Once she was told that a good citizen considers it an honor to participate in improving his country. And she really thinks so.

    So, long live the female volunteer, the foundation and the driving force of every respectable political organization in our country!

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    Part 3
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