Robert A. Heinlein: The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress


I liked it, but not as much as I thought I might.
The book tells the story of a group of individuals living on the moon who engineer a revolution against “The Authority” and establish a libertarian society with the aid of a sentient computer.
Despite Heinlein’s painstaking effort to ground this story in reality, one of the less believable elements is the nature of the revolution itself.  It has a Bolshevik flavor to it.  It’s basically a coup d’état.
Though the libertarian ideas are embedded in the story, it’s hard to just imagine this society not becoming a new dictatorship.
Given that the contemporary libertarian movement places such deep emphasis on philosophical arguments around morality, specifically non-aggression, it strains the imagination that this society would avoid any tendency towards collectivism.  

If Earth had gotten to the point where it depended on a lunar penal colony for food, then affairs have taken a turn for the worse in terms of humanity’s subjugation to government authority.
Presumably, everyone in the colony already knows that you pay for everything in life and all that was needed was to carry out the revolution so that liberty could be achieved. The saying “There Ain’t No Such Thing As a Free Lunch” (TANSTAAFL) was practically an article of faith, so one assumes this implicit understanding served as the foundation for the revolution.
Heinlein presents some provocative ideas around polyamory, polyandry, and gender roles too.  

The story is told in a futuristic pidgin English that took me some adjustment.
It will either draw you in or alienate you.
Nevertheless, it’s a very worthwhile read and is definitely recommended. 


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