Study Guide

Secretary-General Joseph Douglas in Stranger in a Strange Land

By Robert A. Heinlein

Secretary-General Joseph Douglas

The Secretary-General of the World Federation. Sounds menacing, right? Well, hey, if the shoe fits… As it turns out, Douglas's goal is to further his own political agenda and do whatever is necessary to meet said goal. He tries to force Mike to sign papers he doesn't understand, and he even lies to the world once Mike escapes, claiming he knows where the Man from Mars is. P.S. Lying to the world never ends well.

Douglas meets his match in Jubal Harshaw. Both have brilliant political minds, but they set those minds toward opposing tasks. Jubal wants to promote Mike's independence for Mike's sake, while Douglas wants to take it away for his own sake—foil, perhaps? We'd say so.

When all is said and done, Jubal arranges it so that Douglas gains power by becoming Mike's personal treasurer, effectively ending the conflict between him and Mike by ceding to Douglas's selfish side. One point for the jerks of the world, we guess.

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