Starship Troopers, movie and book

Here’s a video (youtube of course) review of both Starship Troopers the movie, and Starship Troopers the book.

It’s long, but worth it.

That’s from the “Knowing Better” youtube channel.

Mr Better examines both movie and book, and compares them. He finds that the movie is almost completely different than the book, sharing only a few names, but that the philosophy of the worlds in both stories are quite similar.

Mr Better says that the book is a libertarian manifesto, like Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, only shorter. I don’t think this is the case at all, Starship Troopers is clearly a textbook for civic and military organization. Nevertheless, Mr Better’s views are well worth listening to. He’s watched all the Starship Troopers movies (probably several times), and read the book more times than I have.

Mr Better entirely misses the mathematical morality given in the book, which is really strange, because he quotes a character in the book, Mr Dubois, Rico’s high school “History and Moral Philosophy” teacher:

We have such a theory now; we can solve any moral problem, on any level. Self-interest, love of family, duty to country, responsibility toward the human race - we are even developing an exact ethic for extra-human relations.

I missed those sentences in my effort to explain Starship Troopers, which is a shame, as those sentences baldly state the predictive mathematical nature of “Moral Philosophy”. Those sentences really do imply one of three things:

  1. Godel’s First Incompleteness Theorem doesn’t hold in the Starship Troopers universe.
  2. Moral Philosophy is either inconsistent or it’s not complex enough to contain Robinson Arithmetic
  3. Heinlein didn’t understand Godel’s work when he wrote Starship Troopers

Mr Better also notes that non-humans exist in the Starship Troopers universe. He catches this in the oath Johnny Rico swears to get into federal service. The oath puts humans in charge of non-humans, but never the other way around. The moral justification is left off, but is presumably a result of the math of Moral Philosophy.

Now, more than ever, I wonder why the Skinnies turned against the Arachnids and allied with the Terran Federation. If “Moral Philosophy” was a factor, was the mathematics of Human Superiority so convincing that the Skinnies just up and turned on the Bugs?