America is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories.
A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction.
It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens.
What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all.
But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses.’
‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure.
Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state.
For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader – the barbarians enter Rome.
Robert Heinlein (July 7, 1907 – May 8, 1988) was an American science-fiction author, aeronautical engineer, and retired Naval officer. Sometimes called the „dean of science fiction writers“, he was among the first to emphasize scientific accuracy in his fiction, and was thus a pioneer of the subgenre of hard science fiction.
His published works, both fiction and non-fiction, express admiration for competence and emphasize the value of critical thinking. His work continues to have an influence on the science-fiction genre, and on modern culture more generally.
Heinlein became one of the first American science-fiction writers to break into mainstream magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post in the late 1940s. He was one of the best-selling science-fiction novelists for many decades, and he, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke are often considered the „Big Three“ of English-language science fiction authors.
Notable Heinlein works include Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers (which helped mold the space marine and mecha archetypes) and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.
Heinlein used his science fiction as a way to explore provocative social and political ideas, and to speculate how progress in science and engineering might shape the future of politics, race, religion, and sеx.
Within the framework of his science-fiction stories, Heinlein repeatedly addressed certain social themes: the importance of individual liberty and self-reliance, the obligation individuals owe to their societies, the influence of organized religion on culture and government, and the tendency of society to repress nonconformist thought. He also speculated on the influence of space travel on human cultural practices.
Heinlein was named the first Science Fiction Writers Grand Master in 1974. Four of his novels won Hugo Awards. In addition, fifty years after publication, seven of his works were awarded „Retro Hugos“—awards given retrospectively for works that were published before the Hugo Awards came into existence.
In his fiction, Heinlein coined terms that have become part of the English language, including grok, waldo and speculative fiction, as well as popularizing existing terms like „TANSTAAFL,“ „pay it forward,“ and „space marine.“
He also anticipated mechanical computer-aided design with „Drafting Dan“ and described a modern version of a waterbed in his novel Beyond This Horizon.
In the first chapter of the novel Space Cadet he anticipated the cell-phone, 35 years before Motorola invented the technology.
Several of Heinlein‘s works have been adapted for film and television.