With his surge in the polls I've been trying to get a handle on the philosophy of Newt Gingrich, and after finally seeing signs which should have been obvious all along and confirming them with a bit of research, I realized what I should have caught on to long ago, that Newt Gingrich is a Robert Heinlein Republican.
Like many in my generation I grew up reading Robert Heinlein's Science Fiction novels almost religiously. Heinlein's dystopian vision of the future and his romantic obsession with man as superman was enormously appealing to a teenager growing up in the space age. The Heinlein man could perfect himself and conquer the universe singlehanded by sheer determination and willpower. Heinlein's theme was the triumph of the individual over time in Methuselah's Children, over space in The Man Who Sold the Moon, over conventional morality in Stranger in a Strange Land and over the governments of lesser men in Farnham's Freehold. Heinlein's political philosophy of Rational Anarchism is summed up by the Professor Bernardo de la Paz in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress:
"In terms of morals there is no such thing as a ‘state.’ Just men. Individuals. Each responsible for his own acts. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free, because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything that I do."
Heinlein's muscular, militaristic individualism carried with it a deliberate intention from the very first to influence politics. After World War II Heinlein experimented with direct involvement in politics, served in elective party office in California and ultimately campaigned for Goldwater in 1964 and may have ghostwritten ads and speeches for his presidential campaign. In this period Heinlein had a friendship and rivalry with fellow writer L. Ron Hubbard. They supposedly had a long standing bet to see who could start a religion which would change society. Hubbard's answer to this challenge was the creation of Scientology. Heinlein's answer came through his writing and the ideas expressed in some of his bestselling novels of the late 1960s and its ultimate product seems to be Newt Gingrich.