One grows weary of New Wave writers whining that their fellow SF authors and readers don't share their political views, which are invariably socialist when they aren't outright communist. For Michael Moorcock, who is arguably the obstetrician most responsible for the wretched changeling that came to be known as New Wave, to be carping about Heinlein and the admiration of readers for his work smacks of self-pity: my friends all like Heinlein! But he's a fascist! How can this be?
I am tempted to quote Larry Niven1 and wash my hands of the whole mess, but I was once young and stupid and made a similar mistake, only in the other direction: I was stunned that most SF fans weren't politically conservative. At least I had the excuse of being a teenager, something Mr. Moorcock clearly wasn't when he penned the maundering screed posted by mat catastrophe. I have also become irritated by idiots who claim that Robert Heinlein was a fascist, which statement establishes three things quite clearly in my mind: the idiot in question knows nothing about Robert Heinlein or fascism, and doesn't have the wit to find out.
The facts of the matter are fairly straightforward. After Heinlein was released from the Navy on a medical discharge, it is a matter of public record that he was an enthusiast of the Social Credit movement, a member of the Democratic Party, and worked quite hard to get Upton Sinclair elected governor of California on what amounted to a Social Credit platform, Sinclair's End Poverty In California (EPIC) program. He continued to work as a reform Democrat and ran for the California Assembly in 1938 as a Democrat. Up through the 1960s, Heinlein's views on Communism (against) and a strong national defense (for) would not have been at all remarkable in the Democratic party, and as that party began to succumb to the influence of the New Left in the late 1960s, Heinlein's views would have been closer to the Libertarian Party rather than any faction of the Democrats or Republicans. None of his political views could even remotely be characterized as fascist.
One can't help wondering whether most of the invective directed at Heinlein isn't rooted in simple jealousy. Many of the New Wave authors have come and gone without leaving any significant mark on the genre; even fewer are known to the average fan even by reputation. Moorcock himself is best known for his Elric of Melnibone series, fantasy novels whose protagonist is (literally) an inhuman antihero. Heinlein, on the other hand, was the first Grand Master named by the Science Fiction Writers of America, is a winner of multiple Hugo and RetroHugo awards, and is widely acknowledged (even by his enemies) to be a seminal figure in the field. Just about all of his works are still in print, whereas many of the books Moorcock cites approvingly are hard to find at best.
At the end of the day, one would like to think Moorcock's confusion about the perceived conflict between his friends' politics and their preferences in reading material is really just his problem. Unfortunately, I've seen too many people parroting his line to know better; hopefully some of those people will read this wu and --maybe, just maybe-- rethink their position.
1 "Writers have a word for people who think characters in stories speak for the author. That word is moron."