Thursday, April 15, 2021

Quote of the Day (Robert A. Heinlein, on Drinking and Taxes)

“Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors and miss.”—Science-fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988), Time Enough for Love (1973)

Oh, what a card Mr. Heinlein was! A common school of thought about him was that, starting with Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), he wrote novels that were, as summarized by Gary Westfahl for Locus Magazine, “increasingly long-winded, idiosyncratic, and highly opinionated”—not to mention reflective of his libertarian beliefs.

The quote above merely expresses, in tongue-in-cheek form, what Heinlein concluded in The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress (1966): “There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.”

Still, in the current political environment, today’s quote belongs in the “don’t try this at home, folks” category. With or without liquor, taking a shot at a tax collector is not a good idea—even if the tax system is intrusive and inequitable, and even if the tax collector one encounters is as obnoxious and allegedly criminal as Joel Greenberg, the (perhaps former?) friend of Congressman Matt Gaetz.

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