Commentary: Starship Troopers is Not a Satire

Starship Troopers / Sony Pictures
by Josiah Lippincott


The militaristic, quasi-authoritarian society portrayed in the 1997 science fiction film Starship Troopers is obviously superior to our contemporary gay liberal “democracy.” For this reason, the film fails as satire. The film’s supposed attempt to lampoon the audience’s instinctual gravitation towards strength, beauty, and nobility backfires.

Two and a half decades later, Starship Troopers continues to reveal how moralistic, stupid, and tasteless the modern left really is. Liberals cannot make good liberal art. In fact, such a thing does not exist. All liberal art, at its core, is ham-handed propaganda. When leftists do make good art, it is in spite of their ideological commitments, not because of them.

Critics claim that Starship Troopers is a satire of fascism and fundamentally anti-war. The film’s director, Paul Verhoeven, says the same. Verhoeven conceived of the movie as one giant joke on the audience. Verhoeven called the film’s plot about three teenagers fighting in the armed forces of the United Citizen Federation in an intergalactic war against aliens an “idiotic story” about “young people” going to “fight bugs” in space.

He cast the characters as dumb action hero jocks: “I was looking for the prototype of blond, white, and arrogant.” His heroes and heroines were “chosen straight out of Nazi propaganda.” The point was to mock what he saw as Americans’ tendency toward authoritarianism and militaristic violence. The dumb rubes who came to watch aliens get blown apart were actually having their thoughtless jingoism subverted by his clever storytelling.

Starship Troopers, therefore, is the ultimate midwit bait. There is nothing that a midwit, and his close cousin — the “shitlib yokel” — love more than feeling like he has gotten one over on his “vulgar,” “unthinking” conservative peers. Both the midwit and the shitlib yokel are a national cancer and civilization-level threat.

The midwit generally has an IQ slightly above normal — somewhere around 115. He feels himself, therefore, to be superior to those around him who do not have such intellectual prowess. He reads books, see, and listens to music that they just don’t understand. One finds midwits all over master’s degree programs and crammed into studio apartments in important neighborhoods in big cities. Go to any brunch spot on a weekend in Northern Virginia, and you’ll find it crawling with midwits.

These are human beings who are smart enough to read “studies” but not smart enough to question them. Midwits do not have original thoughts. The very idea terrifies them. Their identity is so bound up in “being smart” and “respectable” that they cannot veer one iota from dominant opinion. There is, in fact, no group of Americans less open-minded or more slavish than the midwits.

The shitlib yokel is a species within the same genus as midwits. The shitlib yokel is a leftist who lives in a predominantly conservative area. He, like the midwit, views his peers as bigoted rubes. The shitlib yokel imagines himself taking a stand against Trumpist fascism because he wears a mask in the grocery store and flies a Pride flag in his window. If you want to find a shitlib yokel in middle America, go to any small town’s library. You’ll find the place (and its staff) filled with patronizing and obnoxious leftists blathering about how this is “a safe space” for trans and gay youth, migrants, the homeless, etc. English teachers at the local high school are another common vector for the shitlib yokel spiritual disease.

What the shitlib yokel and midwit have in common is their insecurity. They fear not being with the “in-crowd,” that they aren’t at the cool kids’ table. The shitlib yokel in the middle of nowhere, Ohio, lives in permanent horror that respectable liberals in New York City might think he’s “one of those people” — a Trump voter who doesn’t use pronouns and isn’t quintuple vaxxed like the smart people in important places.

Midwits and shitlib yokels compensate for their insecurity by venting onto others their vehement and vicious resentment. There is nothing that a midwit shitlib loves more than feeling superior to others. For instance, pointing out that “Frankenstein” is the name of the scientist and not the monster in Mary Shelley’s novel is the kind of thing that shitlibs and midwits love. They live for the thrill of publicly correcting a lesser mortal on this kind of point.

Now you can see why shitlibs and midwits love Starship Troopers. The rubes might think the movie praises victory in combat, courage, and noble sacrifice in the face of danger, but akshually the director said it was a critique of fascism, and if you analyze the film through the lens of 10,000-word essays on critical theory, then you see that the alien bugs trying to wipe out humanity are the good guys, bigot. It is a shitlib midwit wet dream to correct the “chuds” who think the movie is cool.

Over the weekend, they got their chance after a conservative commentator made the claim that Starship Troopers is a failure as a parody.

What is so “goddamn obvious, it’s on the wiki page” is not, in fact, obvious at all. Shitlib midwits pointing to an authority — the movie critics and director — for the meaning of the film is a perfect encapsulation of their mental deficiencies. Just because a critic or even the director says that the movie is a satire does not mean that it is one.

First, it is possible that the director is lying. If Verhoeven was actually trying to make fascist art, what better way to defend himself than by insisting that the art is tongue in cheek? Moreover, Verhoeven could be wrong. Just because he intended to write a satire does not mean he succeeded. In fact, by trying to make a satire of right-wing beliefs, it is possible he made a film that confirms and elevates them.

This is, in fact, what happened. The so-called “fascist” regime, the United Citizen Federation, that is supposedly being parodied in Starship Troopers is superior by leaps and bounds to the one under which we live today. The United Citizen Federation is a warrior-caste society. Political rights only come with military service. As the main character, Johnny Rico, explains in the beginning of the film, “A citizen accepts personal responsibility for the safety and the body politic defending it with his life. A civilian does not.”

Only those who are willing to risk themselves for the maintenance of the political order have full rights of citizenship. In the world of Starship Troopers, there are no political free riders. The UCF is a warrior regime that roots its legitimacy in its ability to defend humanity from the Arachnids, an alien species that, while apparently unintelligent, still possesses the capacity to threaten Earth by launching asteroid strikes.

The UCF harshly punishes criminals. In one scene, we are shown a murderer being convicted and executed the same day after being caught. The punishment is carried out in public. When the main character gets one of his men killed in training after an accident, he is punished by flogging for his mistakes. Later, when a human attack on the alien homeworld fails, the UCF’s leader — “The Sky Marshall” — resigns. The first Sky Marshall is a white male. His replacement is a black woman. Regardless, the policy of the UCF does not change.

The film’s aliens are inhuman creatures without language, art, or philosophy. They kill humans with impunity and without any shred of remorse. The only “intelligent” alien is a gigantic multi-eyed slug creature that sucks the brains out of humans that it captures. This isn’t Avatar, where the aliens have real character. There is nothing sympathetic or compelling about the Arachnids.

By contrast, the human characters, though simple, have real virtues. They have courage, discipline, and a willingness to sacrifice themselves for their comrades. The account of military life in Starship Troopers is an idealized but still relatively faithful account of the real thing. The military training they go through is tough and violent, but it is also a product of their free choice. There is no compulsion to sign up, and no costs to leaving.

The most unrealistic part of the military training in the film is that it shows men and women not only living and working together but also showering together and sharing the same quarters. Like Plato’s guardians, these young warriors are so dedicated to the common good that they almost completely give up on private pleasures. They can, to a very high degree, at least, subordinate the longings of their genitals to the demands of duty and military virtue.

The United Citizen Federation portrays a successfully racially integrated regime that is filled with highly motivated servants who are willing to defeat its existential enemies with violence. Today, we live under a liberal democracy, our borders are wide open, our “leaders” regularly enrich themselves through corruption and insider trading, there are homeless encampments everywhere, and a decline in the willingness to serve. We are told that we live in a democracy while the ruling party uses lawfare to try and destroy the leading opposition candidate. We would be lucky to live in a regime that has the kind of racial harmony and public accountability in Starship Troopers. The authoritarian Federation is more honest and better at protecting its people than our current regime.

We live in a regime where citizenship is so worthless that anyone who manages to crawl over our border can enjoy all of its benefits (and sometimes even more!) without paying the costs. This is a decisively worse situation than one in which political rights are given out to those who earn them through devotion to the common good. Liberal critics of the film argue that the UCF propaganda shown in the film is ham-handed. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! Virtually every commercial on TV today features non-whites, interracial couples, or homosexuals. We are daily drenched in the least subtle propaganda in human history — all of it promoting the idea that America is a fundamentally racist country that needs to be transformed sexually, demographically, and spiritually.

Our nation is divided; you can watch the patriotism and public spirit drain away in real time. Military recruitment of white men has fallen by 50% in the last five years. At the Super Bowl, the NFL played a separate “national anthem” for blacks. Criminals regularly get away with the most heinous and brutal crimes in our regime. In 2020, the homicide rate went up by 30 percent. We regularly allow torture rapists and the worst kinds of pedophiles and murderers to live out their natural lives in prison — the average stay on death row in America today is 19 years.

In Starship Troopers, the rise of the ruling warrior-caste is explained by the chaos caused by the “democracy” and “scientists.” Is this supposed to be satire? We live in a regime governed by both of those factions today, and our society is in a constant state of crisis. The America of COVID lockdowns, vaccine mandates, endless foreign wars, and skyrocketing crime is not a free country. We live in an authoritarian regime that, unlike the one presented in Starship Troopers, hates ordinary people and does not fulfill its basic purpose: protection of the lives and property of its citizens.

The Federation has no illusions about what politics means. In the film, a character explains that the Federation understands that all politics is rooted in violence. That isn’t a fascist line that highlights the absurdity of the regime’s military government, but a statement of fact. Liberals believe in authoritarian violence more than anyone else in America today. The left is not anti-war, and it certainly isn’t anti-police. Just ask the hundreds of protestors who have been arrested and convicted for parading inside the Capitol on January 6. Liberals who claim to love humanity will foam at the mouth when it comes to Russia and Putin. These sanctimonious defenders of “peace” and “coexistence” are more than happy to run hundreds of thousands of Ukranians into the meat grinder when it comes to fighting the alleged enemies of democracy.

Even if one takes the most cynical possible view of the Federation as presented in Troopers, it would still be better than the Washington DC ruling class funneling tens of billions of dollars into an overseas war it is too cowardly to fight in itself.

Liberals only show mercy to the degraded and low. They are only interested in treating the “root causes of crime” when it comes to the scum of the earth — real criminals and rioters. Liberals have no problem with the BLM “summer of love” violence, where nearly every major American city burned at the hands of communist agitators. When it comes to “baking the cake, bigot” liberals believe in power and in getting their way at the barrel of a gun. The idea that leftists are political utopians who want to live in a world without the need for violence is a shameful lie. Leftists love violence as long as they are the ones who get to decide who receives it.

Politics is always about force. Every regime that wants to survive uses violence in order to enforce morality. What makes the liberals different (and contemptible) is that they lie about this truth while insisting that others do the killing for them. Say what you will about Lenin and the Bolsheviks; they weren’t afraid of getting their hands dirty to achieve their aims. Can you imagine a masked-up homosexual twink “policy analyst” in DC being willing to murder the Russian royal family in cold blood? That type might dream of brutal, bloodthirsty violence against his political enemies, but he doesn’t have the inner drive or physical power to make it a reality.

Starship Troopers fails as satire because the world of strength, nobility, and sacrifice that it portrays is intrinsically compelling. Human beings with normal instincts love what is their own and hate that which threatens it. You will not convince ordinary people that they should side with genocidal alien beings over their kith and kin.

So what if the Arachnids have some kind of “intelligence” or if the humans attacked first? Do the Arachnids have God-given natural rights? Why should this language-less, art-less, physically repulsive species be allowed to occupy whole planets just because they happened to evolve their first? Where does that right come from?

Liberals have no reasoned answer to this question. At base, their sympathy for The Other is rooted entirely in their instinctual hatred of higher life. Civilization requires discipline and force in order to exist. Civilization therefore requires drawing distinctions between good and bad, strong and weak, beautiful and ugly.

Civilization is painful, traumatizing even, for those who do not have the inclination or taste for it. Remembering to shower, pay taxes, and follow the laws requires effort and memory. Some people do not have a good memory and don’t want to put in the work that civilization requires. In a civilized order, these people become losers.

Liberalism is the spiritual inclination to side with the losers — with those who are traumatized and victimized by the pain required to make civilization possible. That is why leftists online side with the collective bug hive mind that hates humanity. It is why they foam at the mouth at depictions of the Federation in Starship Troopers.

Every person with healthy instincts would choose to live in a harsh but ordered society to being exterminated by hostile outsiders. No amount of mockery or propaganda is going to change that fact.

The liberal response to Starship Troopers reveals what they really are — bugmen. Liberals love mediocrity, victimhood, and weakness. They love The Other more than themselves, and chaos more than order. Their commitment to pity and “compassion” means, in the end, death.

But promoting the abyss doesn’t make for good art; it doesn’t make for art at all. Verhoeven and the rest of the modern left can say whatever they want, but they cannot change human nature and they cannot hide who they really are. To make good art, you have to embrace civilization. To embrace civilization, you must embrace, or at least pay homage to, the virtues that make it possible.

Starship Troopers does that, which is why, despite all intentions to the contrary, it fails as satire but succeeds as art.

– – –

Josiah Lippincott is a Ph.D. student and a former U.S. Marine Corps officer. You can find him on Telegram at or subscribe to his Substack here.



Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact

Related posts