THIS I BELIEVE
Robert A. Heinlein
I am not going to talk about religious beliefs but about mat-
ters so obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them.
I believe in my neighbors. I know their faults, and I know
that their virtues far outweigh their faults.
Take Father Michael down our road a piece. I'm not
of his creed, but I know that goodness and charity and
lovingkindness shine in his daily actions. I believe in
Father Mike. If I'm in trouble, I'll go to him.
My next-door neighbor is a veterinary doctor. Doc
will get out of bed after a hard day to help a stray cat.
No feeno prospect of a feeI believe in Doc.
I believe in my townspeople. You can knock on any
door in our town saying, "I'm hungry," and you will
be fed. Our town is no exception. I've found the same
ready charity everywhere. But for the one who says,
"To heck with youI got mine," there are a hundred,
a thousand who will say, "Sure, pal, sit down."
I know that despite all warnings against hitchhikers
I can step to the highway, thumb for a ride, and in a
few minutes a car or truck will stop and someone
will say, "Climb in, Machow far you going?"
I believe in my fellow citizens. Our headlines are
splashed with crime, yet for every criminal there are
10,000 honest, decent, kindly men. If it were not so,
no child would live to grow up. Business could not go
on from day to day. Decency is not news. It is buried
in the obituaries, but it is a force stronger than crime.
I believe in the patient gallantry of nurses and the te-
dious sacrifices of teachers. I believe in the unseen and
unending fight against desperate odds that goes on qui-
etly in almost every home in the land.
I believe in the honest craft of workmen. Take a look
around you. There never were enough bosses to check
upon all that work. From Independence Hall to the
Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and
square by craftsman who were honest in their bones.
I believe that almost all politicians are honest . . .
there are hundreds of politicians, low paid or not paid
at all, doing their level best without thanks or glory to
make our system work. If this were not true we would
never have gotten past the thirteen colonies.
I believe in Rodger Young. You and I are free today
because of endless unnamed heros from Valley Forge
to the Yalu River. I believe inI am proud to belong
tothe United States. Despite shortcomings from
lynchings to bad faith in high places, our nation has
had the most decent and kindly internal practices and
foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.
And finally, I believe in my whole race. Yellow,
white, black, red, brown. In the honesty, courage, in-
telligence, durability, and goodness of the overwhelm-
ing majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere
on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I
believe that we have come this far by the skin of our
teeth. That we will always make it just by the skin of our
teeth, but that we will always make it. Survive. En-
dure. I believe that this hairless embryo with the ach-
ing, oversize brain case and the opposable thumb, this
animal barely up from the apes, will endure. Will en-
dure longer than his home planetwill spread out to
the stars and beyond, carrying with him his honesty
and insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage and his
noble essential decency.
This I believe with all my heart.
This was originally a speech for a CBS television show of the same name. It was broadcast December 1, 1952. It can be found in Grumbles from the Grave, a book of Robert A. Heinlein's letters. It is on page 163 of the paperback version.