Heinlein’s Technological Messiah

Robert A. Heinlein’s masterpiece the Sixth Column, written in the 1950’s regards a future eerily similar to the reality of events in the world today. In the future the US and the rest of the free world has fallen to Pan-Asian Red Dawn style invasion. A corrupt regime based on graft and bribery takes over, and the population is enslaved to work camps. A few ex-military dudes are holed up in a mountainside. They develop new technologies – body armor force-fields and cutting edge laser weapons. They also develop an electronic halo, which they use for religious significance. They start calling the rebel leader Lord Mota. He has an Obi-Wan type quality to him.

Basically these guys use their technologies to convince many of the enslaved people to follow them. The Pan-Asian guards are bribed with gold. Also the guards do not report the strange technology because they don’t want to get in trouble with their bosses. So they always report every thing as status quo, so as not to draw attention to themselves. Meanwhile, the halo ex military dudes build up this giant following. It gets to where they are too big for the enemy government to really handle. The religious group is finally rounded up in a public park for execution. However, the rebel dudes depose the Prince using the technology. Finally, they impose their own military dictatorship based on reason and science. This is done under the premise of preserving the union , though in reality it is opposed to restoring the democratic republic.

“It seems obvious. We have here a unique opportunity to break with the stupidities of the past and substitute a truly scientific rule, headed by a man chosen for his intelligence and scientific training rather than for his skill in catering to the preferences of the mob.” (page 222)

Some of the strange things in this book I should mention are the author’s use of Mormons to effect the religious rebellion. The mention of a church massacre in Charleston, SC is a weird coincidence. Also the church strongholds in the story occur in Salt Lake City and Denver, often considered by conspiracy theorists to be centers of FBI and Illuminati, respectively. The use of a gigantic religious hologram by the rebels to cause rebellion also mirrors some newer technologies which we have discussed on the site before.