from Heinlein facebook - RAH, letter to E.J. ‘Ted’ Carnell, April 16, 1944

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Nov 16, 2021, 12:34:08 PM11/16/21
RAH, letter to E.J. ‘Ted’ Carnell, April 16, 1944

“Have you noticed, Ted, that there are not [sic] villains in my stories?
There are protagonists and antagonists, but no villains and no heroes.
In some way that is an example of my political and social viewpoint.
People have many shortcomings; they are frequently ignorant,
narrow-minded, selfish, misinformed, prejudiced, provincial, misled,
misguided, self-centered, semantically unoriented, a little bit crazy —
but the truly vicious man is rare. Honesty, decency, altruism,
generosity are much more common.

“However, from a survival standpoint, stupidity and ignorance are
capital crimes, punishable as such. But they can never be cured by
treating them as if they were viciousness.”

some responses

Georges Bormand
That he didn't use real villains in his books doesn't prove that there
are not many in the real world; only that fighting real villains is not
the subject of his books, it is fighting stupidity.

Nancy Lebovitz
I think Heinlein did have the occasional villain (Mrs. Keithley, for
example) but they were rare.

Jim Dutton
Nancy Lebovitz And the three men who came upon Laz and Dora on their
farm. Of course, he wrote a LOT of stuff after 1944, and there are many
more examples.

Chuck Coffin
But it ties in with the LL comment that no man is a villain in his own eyes.

Zac Green
I would agree with almost everything he said there, bar one word;
altruism. The human animal is psychologically incapable of true altruism.
On the occasion we think we're seeing it, it is just an individual with
conditioning to feel either guilt wh… See more

Zac Green
Absolutely correct. People do things they think will make them happy.
Nobody does good things for others because they think “doing this will
make me unhappy,”

Jim Dutton
Jesse Delanoy I have to disagree there. I've helped people out in
circumstances I wasn't happy about at all ... but they needed the help
more than I needed relief from whatever my own negative circumstance was.
It happens every time someone needs a li… See more

Jesse Delanoy
And you were happier helping those people out than you would have been
with personal relief from the negative circumstance. You may have acted
thinking you would experience some personal loss or discomfort (which
people often mistake for altruism) but … See more


Nov 25, 2021, 2:17:49 PM11/25/21
a425couple <> writes:

> Chuck Coffin
> But it ties in with the LL comment that no man is a villain in his own eyes.

This is an often missed point. We like to assume we are the good guys
and those who oppose us are bad, but the sad truth is most of the time
neither we nor they are good or bad.


Jan 12, 2022, 8:20:58 PMJan 12
Hans... Our hats have little skulls on them. Are we the bad guys?
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