It’s remarkable that the Dutch film-maker Paul Verhoeven, the director of such Hollywood dross as Basic Instinct and Showgirls in the 1990s, is also the man behind RoboCop and Starship Troopers, two of the best sci-fi political satires from the last two decades of the 20th century. Both movies have stood up well to the test of time, the alien-invasion story in particular finding new resonance in the era of the so-called War on Terror (though both, it must be said, pale into comparison besides John Carpenter’s They Live, from 1988). Below is an interesting discussion of Starship Troopers by the presenters of Chapo Trap House, the purposefully subversive American politics’ podcast, hosted by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. It’s worth a look or a listen if you are an admirer of the original movie.
Of course, the book wasn’t satire. In fact, nobody really knows what Heinlein’s actual intentions were. He’s a bit of Rorschach test. His other books like “Stranger in a Strange Land” and “The Moon is a Harsh” mistress seemed to carry very different political messages. There’s a lot of disagreement on how to square them, and what Heinlein actually believed…….he was notoriously cryptic on that point.
The bad news is that there actually IS a movement that wants to restrict the vote to military veterans in the US. The good thing is that it’s still a pretty fringe movement, even in times where crazier, and crazier stuff keeps coming to the fore.