Lesson # 4 from Starship Troopers

Today, we’re going to cover the second lesson from Starship Troopers.  This is the second lesson in the mini-series.  If you haven’t read the previous post yet, please do so right now and try to follow it in order.

Lesson # 4: Only let Americans who have served honorably in the military vote in elections

Quote: “Under our system every voter and officeholder is a man who has demonstrated through voluntary and difficult service that he places the welfare of the group ahead of personal advantage.”

***** Please know upfront that in the book, everyone was a citizen, but only veterans who served honorably were allowed to vote in elections.

starship troopers bookMy Take:  Let me begin by telling you that I am a big fan of individual rights and individualism, and always will be.  The U.S. Constitution was designed to establish and protect individual rights.  And while I think that individualism is a good thing, it can create problems in elections and put our country in bad situation.  I could start by saying that most people in America cast their vote to whichever political party offers them the most FREE government entitlements.  If you don’t believe me, look how the last couple elections turned out.

When political parties and politicians offer people free government checks, free cell phones, extended unemployment, free healthcare, and promote the idea that everyone can and should own a home and go to college, and all these other crazy promises, they typically get elected.  Simply put, most people will cast their vote based off what is best for them, not what is best for their country.  And sometimes those two things are completely different from each other.

So for the sake of argument, what if only veterans could vote?  What if only people who have been willing to join the military and defend their country (and served honorably) could vote in elections?  What would you think about that?  What type of impact would that have on society?  I know there would be many arguments against it, while you could just as easily defend its merits.

Here are some of the pros and cons to having only those who served in the military honorably be allowed to vote (as I see it):


  • You would have people voting who cared about the greater good of the country
  • You would have people voting who were more concerned about the impact on the country, rather than the impact on them


  • Not everyone is physically eligible for military service
  • Not everyone who joins the military is patriotic or serves for the right reasons

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that I have mixed feelings about this subject.  While I can see the merits of a system like the book has to offer, there are too many grey areas.  However, I do like the concept of voting being something that you have to earn, not something you get just by being an American.  I also believe that voting is one of the most important rights an individual has, other than their personal freedom.  What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let me know.

11 thoughts on “Lesson # 4 from Starship Troopers”

  1. Faith A. Coleman

    I’m still not sure if this is meant to be a tongue-in-cheek, argument for the sake of argument. If I’m not mistaken, this country was founded on the idea that there isn’t one right idea or way to do things. The veteran who shot up the Naval yard yesterday, should he vote? Or the mass-murderer at Fort Hood? What about all the people who are associated with or work in jobs that support the military with medical care, manufacturing, intelligence, etc. Shall that be limited to veterans who’ve been in direct combat? It raises irie when sweeping generalizations are made that most, if not all, people vote for the person who promises a phone. Do you really think that Most of us that impressively stupid. Talk is cheap. I hope the people who feel this way are taking action. I’m sad for you that you think so little of your fellow Americans. Should we applaud you for setting us ignoramouses straight?

    1. I’m a little confused about your point. I definitely don’t think most Americans are stupid. I’m just proposing a debate question from the book. Like I said in the post, there are a lot of grey areas and this would be next to impossible to do, but it is an interesting idea.

  2. Not to mention campaign advertisements in Mexico by a certain someone to encourage their coming to the U.S. and actually telling them HOW to obtain welfare benefits. It’s vote-buying, that’s all it is, free cell phones and all. Having said that, I don’t know if I would limit voting only to the military, but I would limit voting to those (and don’t ask me how I would accomplish this) who were informed. I get so frustrated with people who have no understanding of the issues, but who catch a headline or two and think they are current. And people don’t seem to study history at all any more. Many people still actually think Islam is a “religion of peace.” It’s not, but few actually research on their own. Just pick up a copy of the Quran. Instead, we voted one into the highest elected office in the country, and now people are surprised when they read stories like how he gave the Muslim Brotherhood $1.5 billion dollars? The Muslim Brotherhood gave birth to and is the proud papa of Hamas and Al Qaeda. The U.S. right now is not headed down the road less taken; rather, other countries have been there and paid heavy prices. For example, I have had occasion to talk with several people from Russia over the past several years, and they are reliving nightmares they thought the left behind. In addition, take a look at Nazi Germany. Anyway, I strongly believe being uninformed, coupled with the aforementioned personal voting rather than selecting leaders based on what is good for the country, are the two most critical issues we face when it comes to electing leaders in this country. In my opinion “Obama Claus” as Rush Limbaugh called him after the election, bought voters who lost sight of some very dangerous truths about this man. Creating dependence is how you control people.

    1. Very good point, Amy. For the most part, the government wants people to be dependent on it, so they can control people. Like you said, I don’t know what the solution looks like, but I wish I did.

  3. It’s because of tough, potentially controversial topics such as this that made Robert A. Heinlein such an influential author. Truth is, this idea has its merits, but it also opens up a can of worms that could get rather messy to sort out. I agree that people should earn their votes, and our elected leaders should have a long, and proven track record of serving the country before themselves. As sad as it is that the majority of voters these days make self-centered decisions based on what will be the most self-serving option, our leaders tend to lack the integrity to stick to their morals once elected into office. The whole system stinks and this solution of veterans-only at least opens up the discussion of where to go from here.

  4. Daniel Slone

    This subject is a political minefield, but I agree that all too often people vote based on personal interest and short-term benefits. One of the points Heinlein makes in his book is that veterans understand and accept the concept of the greater good. Lots of other countries still have some form of mandatory military service, which I think has distinct advantages. While it’s true that many don’t qualify in one respect or another for military service (and with downsizing we don’t really have room for them all anyway), we could have some sort of national service program as an alternative. I would just like to have the confidence that at least a majority of voters were making an honest evaluation of what’s best for the nation as a whole.

    1. Yes, this is a political battlefield, but I do believe there are some merits to his point. People who have signed their name to the dotted line, or at least served their country in some way, have a different perspective than those who haven’t. I’m not sure how you could go about doing it fairly, but I do like your idea of having some type of National Service Program.

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