Storm's Journal

--| Robert Heinlein - This I Believe |-----

I am not going to talk about religious beliefs but about matters so obvious
that it has gone out of style to mention them. I believe in my neighbours.
I know their faults, and I know that their virtues far outweigh their faults.

Take Father Michael down our road a piece. I'm not of his creed, but I know
that goodness and charity and lovingkindness shine in his daily actions.
I believe in Father Mike. If I'm in trouble, I'll go to him.

My next-door neighbour is a vetrinary doctor. Doc will get out of bed after
a hard day to help a stay cat. No fee--no prospect of a fee--I believe in Doc.

I believe in my townspeople. You can knock on any door in our town saying,
'I'm hungry,' and you will be fed. Our town is no exception. I've found the
same ready charity everywhere. But for the one who says, 'To heck with you--
I got mine,' there are a hundred, a thousand who will say, 'Sure, pal, sit down.'

I know that despite all warnings against hitchikers I can step to the highway,
thumb for a ride, and in a few minutes a car or a truck will stop and someone
will say, 'Climb in, Mac--how far you going?'

I believe in my fellow citizens. Our headlines are splashed with crime, yet
for every criminal there are 10,000 honest, decent, kindly men. If it were not
so, no child would live to grow up. Buisness could not go on from day to day.
Decency is not news. It is buried in the obituaries, but it is a force stronger
than crime. I believe in the patient gallantry of nurses and the tedious
sacrifices of teachers. I believe in the unseen and unending fight against
desperate odds that goes on quietly in almost every home in the land.

I believe in the honest craft of workmen. Take a look around you. There were
never enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence Hall to the
Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square by craftsmen who were
honest in their bones.

I believe that almost all politicians are honest... there are hundreds of
politicians, low paid or not paid at all, doing their level best without thanks
or glory to make our system work. If this were not true we would never have gotten
past the thirteen colonies.

I believe in Roger Young. You and I are free today because of endless unnamed
heros from Valley Forge to the Yalu River. I believe in--I am proud to belong to--
the United States. Despite shortcomings from lynchings to bad faith in high places,
our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign
policies to be found anywhere in history.

And finally, I believe in my whole race. Yellow, white, black, red, brown. In the
honesty, courage, intelligence, durability, and goodness of the overwhelming
majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be
a human being. I believe that we have come this far only by the skin of our teeth.
That we always make it just by the skin of our teeth, but that we will
always make it. Survive. Endure. I believe that this hairless embryo with the
aching, oversize brain case and the opposable thumb, this animal barely up from
the apes, will endure longer than his home planet--will spread out to the
stars and beyond, carrying with him his honesty and insatiable curiosity, his
unlimited courage and his noble essential decency.

This I believe with all my heart.

Robert A. Heinlein.

--| References |--- 

In a letter to: Lurton Blassingame, January 6, 1953.

Grumbles from the Grave, Robert Heinlein, edited by Virginia Heinlein,
'Chapter VII - Fanmail and other Time Wasters', p. 140.

Back to Storm's Journal

SUBMIT AN ARTICLE posted: August 7, 2001