Good episode guys! There were places where I was screaming at my phone, but you frequently looped back and made the points that I would have made. If it’s not clear, me screaming is good – it means you were making me think. Nice, thought provoking episode.
A few things:
First, there are a number of speculations that the original formulation of the “pursuit of happiness” was the pursuit of property or the right to hold property. There were a number of these. It seems probable that the founding fathers down played the right of holding property for the more vague “happiness”. This may have been to preserve the right to tax wealth, but we go into historical speculation at this point.
It’s also worth pointing out that John Locke said that the main purpose of government is to protect those natural rights that the individual cannot effectively protect in a state of nature. Phrased differently, protect the property of the rich from those that aren’t.
I was disappointed that you didn't mention the “freedom from” versus “freedom to” distinction. Heinlein is well known as a Libertarian, so his book is almost entirely about freedom from government intervention. It doesn't deal with freedom to be Black, freedom to be gay, freedom to be a woman, pick your favorite freedom.
While Johnny Rico is frequently mentioned as an anti racist character, it's worth remembering that his proper first name was Juan. In a 1950s idea of the American melting pot, he anglicized the name. I'm not blaming for Heinlein for this, he was a man of his time. However, it's worth noting that modern ideas of racial tolerance were not part of his world.
Another thing that you alluded to was that restricting citizenship to those who had been involved in the military restricted it to a specific group of people. I'm less bothered by that because we have a de facto equivalent now - it's extremely hard to get into public office without a college degree. That being said, Heinlein's description implies that you can't get into public office unless they can verify that you've been properly indoctrinated. I find that is extremely disturbing. It’s not a Herrenvolk democracy, but it kind of is. (Kind of related, but Orson Scott Card said that he thought only Mormons should have civil rights and that this is not bigoted because anyone can choose to be a Mormon.)
Thanks again for a very interesting episode. I am very glad to have found this forum.