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Stranger in a Strange Land

Stranger in a Strange Land

by Robert A. Heinlein

Rules and Order Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Johnson did not hit Jill as hard as he used to hit his wife before she left him, not nearly as hard as he hit prisoners who were reluctant to talk. Until then Smith had shown no expression and had said nothing; he had simply let himself be forced along. He understood none of it and had tried to do nothing at all.

When he saw his water brother struck by this other, he twisted, got free—and reached toward Johnson—

—and Johnson was gone. (8.199-201)

Johnson's job is to enforce the law, the rules. But this scene seems to suggest that a rule is only as righteous as the person enforcing it. Also, Mike requires Johnson to follow the same rules (and punishments) he enforces. All's fair in law and winking people out of existence.

Quote #2

"I never spoke more plainly in my life. Try believing the evidence instead of insisting that the cameras must be at fault because what they saw was not what you expected." (13.75)

Duke won't believe that the box simply disappeared even though the evidence points to that outcome. The rules and orders he perceives as existing in the world just won't allow for the possibility. It's something called the Confirmation Bias, and it's super interesting.

Quote #3

Always look for that happy, holy seal-of-approval with Bishop Digby's smiling face on it. Don't let a sinner palm off on you something 'just as good.' Our sponsors support us; they deserve your support (14.23)

Here we see religion as an institution, rather than spiritual camaraderie. The Church is trying to make a profit off its followers, a big no-no in Mike's Church of All Worlds. But, more important for the theme of "Rules and Order," they are trying to remove the ability of Fosterites to choose for themselves. Digby chooses for them instead.

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