Today our nation is encouraged to remember and celebrate the deaths of those brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country. Some may question the term ‘celebrate’ but that is the greatest honour we can give this day. Looking at the world outside our borders shows us what happens to a people poor in courage, lacking in love, and unwilling to pay the price civilization demands. I realize that many will be unable to understand the phrases and terms above, to the point of being nonsensical, as the meanings and connotations of the various terms have been co-opted, or distorted by those who hate these memes and by the indifference of those who don’t understand why they should care.
A benefit inherent in written language is that we don’t need to constantly reinvent the wheel. In a different work the Grandmaster wrote “Basic truths cannot change and once a man of insight expresses one of them it is never necessary, no matter how much the world changes, to reformulate them.”
With that in mind…
Just a little over 40 years ago, on 1973.APR.05, Robert Heinlein delivered the James Forrestal Memorial Lecture to the Brigade of Midshipmen at his alma mater the United States Naval Academy. As the first half of the lecture, at the request of the midshipmen, he discussed freelance writing. This is the second half:
In this complex world, science, the scientific method, and the consequences of the scientific method are central to everything the human race is doing and to wherever we are going. If we blow ourselves up we will do it by the misapplication of science; if we manage to keep from blowing ourselves up, it will be through intelligent application of science. Science fiction is the only form of fiction which takes into account this central force in our lives and futures. Other sorts of fiction, if they notice science at all, simply deplore it — an attitude very chic in the anti-intellectual atmosphere today. But we will never get out of the mess we are in by wringing our hands.