David Rhoades
David Rhoades asked:

Comment: I really like this book. I think there is value in "Service before Vote" What do you all think?

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OlgaVG Leonardo, that is precisely what's discussed in the beginning of the book. Everyone has the right to join, but not everyone is fit to be a soldier. So the service includes all kinds of dirty, displeasing but necessary work. Check chapter 2
Amanda Ure
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Robert Whitcomb The exact reason for allowing only veterans to serve was because by their nature, they learned to put the welfare of the group before their own interests. This was highlighted by the fact that during training, service ws 100% voluntary, people could leave at any time.

I definitely think there is a valid discussion point here, of only allowing people who actually have a stake in policy to be able to change it.
Heather Dubarry There's more to it than that. It's not just service before vote. It's putting group welfare before personal interests.
Marcel If we accept 'service' as involvement and commitment I might agree. BUT does military service 'test' for the right behaviours and attitude we would want from our leaders? I think (history has shown that) not.

If we stick with how the book defines 'service' think this is possibly the worst suggestion for a good political system. It assumes that military services is
a) beneficial to society
b) the only type of beneficial service
c) military service is needed
d) those joining are of any valuable 'moral standing' whatsoever (not what we are seeing from today's military at all)

With this you'd end up in a fascist military dictatorship - which really is what he describes. I also don't think it's a proven assumption that this would lead to prosperity...

Sorry, I feel really strongly about this.
Rob In America the founders felt that all voices had merit and I don't think they would agree with a government withholding a persons right to have a say in his government until he becomes a member of the military. That being said, there are many countries that require mandatory military service as part of being a citizen. There are good reasons to do this. A people can develop a strong moral identity or a code of common sense, or a community feeling of right and wrong. In the military there are rules strictly enforced from saluting, showing respect to officers and each other, Taking your hat off when going inside, saying Mam or Sir as required. We saw our military change the face of America when so many soldiers came back from WWI , Then they taught their kids who ended up having those rules reinforced with their war WW ll, followed by the Korean war. But something Changed during Vietnam. People stopped believing in the righteousness of the Government. People didn't join the Military and in fact decided not to join in the rules that society told them was proper and since then their have been generations all playing by their own rules as they make them up. It feels like a loss of Country Identity, Morals could be taught in school but the question that leads to such debate is ,Who's Morals. Going into a mandatory service after high school might reestablish a sense of shared values for the country as a whole.
Greg Since the invention of democracy societies have asked the question: Who should be allowed to vote? Some restricted voting rights by birth, others by sex, others by race and others by wealth. Heinlein suggests "Service before you Vote". The problem with restricting to certain groups of people within a society is group think. Even if service is voluntary and open to all, it is not clear the result will be a cross section of society volunteering for service. Who then represents the interest of those groups under represented in the group of volunteers?

As for putting the interests of the group first, the question is: What group? All of society? Surely not. People identify strongly with smaller groups within society and only loosely with the larger groups. Look how tightly Rico identifies with his squad and his company and the MI in general and how he complains about the Navy guys. And that is how real life works as well. The US Federal Reserve is run by a board composed of civil servants who worked in the banking industry at one time and they put the interests of the banks ahead of the rest of society when they resolved the financial crises back in '08. So service is no guarantee that people will put the interest of the greater society ahead of the interest of their own subgroup.

Allowing everyone in society the right to vote may not be a perfect system, but it is the best system found to date.

Heillein's meditation on "Service before Vote" is worth reading, but in the end it is not convincing.
Jim Absolutely, Heinlein's thesis on this is spot on. No one should be having a hand in directing the policy and wealth of an organization they have no vestment into.

Heinlein was actually a fairly libertarian individual if I recall rightly. The society he painted in the book was nowhere near as ridiculously militaristic as the movie, the movie was practically a farce compared to the novel. The movie was designed to poke fun at guns, military and responsibility while making something that was visually impressive to a point.

Service before citizenship meant that you couldn't vote unless you have served the nation in come capacity. In the book this was doable in a variety of manners, including being a human guinea pig for experiments - something our do nothing welfare leaches might excel at.

I recall (its been a few years) that the book talked about this also in the manner of "franchisement". People could be residents etc, but to be franchised to vote and have certain rights, one had to be a citizen.

I'd personally want to be self sufficiency being a requirement for voting rights as well - if you can't take care of yourself, you have no business telling others how to do so.
Miguel Amistoso The the responsibility of voting is well explained in the book that I see it as a necessary step that could possibly be established in the future. I'm not sure though if its fit only to military service as not many can simply do that. Then again even forming an individual to be conscious of the welfare of society rather than individual gain is a lifetime challenge for mankind.
Kendall Moore Personally, I am ambivalent to the politics of the novel. I see it as more of a meditation on one's personal responsibility to both themselves and others, regardless of the circumstances.
Leonardo It would make sure that those who decide the future of a nation have responsability towards it, having to earn the right. On the other hand, not everybody is fit for military service, so i think it could be social, public or military service.

Maybe you work for a couple of years as a local government analist, or DMV manager. It should be still be service, in that you could not decide exactly what you where going to do, but it depends on what the nation needs the most at that time.
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