Above, we see criticisms of Heinlein. These criticisms are not unfounded. Some of them are, in fact, fairly well warranted. It is certainly true that he tended to advocate a lot more freedom of action for his male protagonists than for the subordinate secondary characters.

The thing to remember about Heinlein is that his basic attitudes were products of the very early 20th century, and that (with the probable exception of his sexual mores) these attitudes remained largely unchanged until his death in the late 1980s.

In the early 1900s, there were a lot of men who opposed women's suffrage on the grounds that women were not competent to vote; there were in fact quite a few women that espoused the same position. The archetypal hero was invariably male, whatever other qualities he might possess. Qualities such as personal courage, dignity, and honor were valued very highly. Men, particularly, were expected to show them; the corollary to this was that women were not expected to show them to anything like the same degree.

Thus, Heinlein mostly wrote books with male protagonists and female support characters. Women usually played second fiddle and were generally submissive to the male protagonist. The male protagonist, being a heroic figure, displayed exceptional personal courage, dignity, and (usually) honor. Since Heinlein liked to write stories about smart people, the male protagonist was also usually intelligent.

In Heinlein's early novels and short stories (essentially everything written before Stranger in a Strange Land), this was not as much of a problem. The masculinist perspective did not stand out from the background of the general science fiction community, and the stories were mostly kept under control by strong editors. His early publications were edited by the legendary John W. Campbell, while his juvenile novels were edited with a close eye to their suitability for 'impressionable young readers'.

In his later life, when he was writing with little or no control from an editor, this led to a series of books that have the same flaw as Platonic dialogues: the protagonist ends up being a genius while everyone else sits around in awe of their superior mind. The resulting conversations tend to be rather wooden.

It should be noted that Heinlein did write three novels with female protagonists. One of these, Podkayne of Mars was written at a time when female protagonists were exceptionally rare in science fiction. The other two, Friday and To Sail Beyond the Sunset, feature women who are very intelligent and competent, though probably not sufficiently independent to satisfy a feminist perspective. Fairly strong female characters also feature in some of Heinlein's other works, such as The Number of the Beast.

I would argue that Heinlein did have a strong belief in individual freedom, but that he thought that not all people are equally competent at exercising freedom. It is probably unfair to charge him with sympathy for any sort of Führerkult, His protagonists are generally not trying to rule large groups of others, and are instead concerned primarily with creating the kind of libertarian environment that Heinlein himself appeared to espouse.