931 – Robert Heinlein on Patriotism

“The next level in moral behavior higher than that exhibited by the baboon is that in which duty and loyalty are shown toward a group of your own kind too large for an individual to know all of them. We have a name for that. It is called ‘patriotism.’
Behaving on a still higher moral level were the astronauts who went to the Moon, for their actions tend toward the survival of the entire race of mankind. The door they opened leads to the hope that H. sapiens will survive indefinitely long, even longer than this solid planet on which we stand tonight. As a direct result of what they did, it is now possible that the human race will never die.
Many short-sighted fools think that going to the Moon was just a stunt. But the astronauts knew the meaning of what they were doing, as is shown by Neil Armstrong’s first words in stepping down onto the soil of Luna: ‘One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.'”

-Robert Heinlein

Quote Number: 99

Source: Heinlein, Robert. “The Pragmatics of Patriotism.” Address. US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland. April 5, 1973. In Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact. Vol 94, Issue 6. Condé Nast: New York. 1974.

Source Notes:

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