Dec 12, 2005

Is Modern Liberalism Gene Roddenberry's Fault?

Anyone old enough to have seen the original Star Trek series created by Gene Roddenberry might recognize the utopian ideals of today's liberals in it. Think about it. On any major policy we debate, Star Trek is the fulfillment of the liberal playbook.

Start with environmental policy. No fossil fuels burned in GR's world. Nope - only dilithium crystals and warped space needed. Isn't it grand? No CO2 emmissions at all - no SUVs, no lawnmowers, no contrails. No mining or drilling, except for those resourceful Neanderthals on some distant planet mining dilithium crystals. And the federation has such a sense of social justice that we end up fighting for their liberty! Awesome.

Next up, how about economic policy? Capitalism or socialism? How primitive. As far as I can tell, no currency ever changes hands. Everyone in the Federation seems to "work" for the Federation (is this the U.N.?). And, of course, they're perfectly matched to their positions. I mean, Scotty was born an engineer. You get your food from this nifty device called a replicator - no charge! Housing, clothing, transportation, child care, education - all provided by the Federation. Whoopee!

How about health care? Well, Star Trek gives a whole new meaning to "universal healthcare"! I never saw Bones turn away anyone. He could take care of you even if your blood was green. With all the fancy technology at his disposal, he could develop an antidote to anything. What is wrong with our greedy drug companies today! This is the 21st century isn't it?

And finally, we can wrap up social policy, civil rights, race relations, international relations conveniently in "the prime directive". This is encompassed by today's liberal ethics of multiculturalism, political correctness and moral relativism. The policy of "non-interference" in evolving societies is analogous to the liberal's hands-off who-are-we-to-judge attitude. Of course, Kirk was wont to defy the principle just about every episode, but his phaser was judiciously set to "stun" most of the time.

There seems to be only one deadly sin among Federation members. It was always the guy in the "red" shirt (conservatives, don't get paranoid) that got killed. Remember, Bones would look up at Kirk with an arched brow and say, "He's dead, Jim".

Still, I'd like to believe Roddenberry knew he was writing fiction. He must have understood enough about physics to know the "no-free-lunch" principle. If only the same could be said of the bliss ninnies of the left!

Damn, the captain and crew on the bridge wore "blue", didn't they!


Anonymous said...

The captain and flight crew wore gold. Spock and McCoy (professors and doctors, in other words) wore blue. Spock had contempt for all less intelligent than he, and McCoy ranted about "humanity" and feelings a lot.

Hey, that works!

Ken said...

I think you make some good points, but -- if I had time (maybe someday) -- it might be fun to dig a little more rigorously into the economic implications of replicator technology such as Roddenberry posited. It's not necessarily blue-sky; consider a society where much of the grid is run on decentralized pebble-bed reactors, and backyard nanofabricators are unremarkable in the middle class. Open-source/free vs. patent-protected fabricator programs?

Cathy said...

You, my dear sis - are a hoot!

Anonymous said...

Nice write up. Who knows? It could be that Gene had some kind of socialist leaning, but I grew up watching the original Star Trek and turned out just fine as a conservative, and its still a classic favorite for me. Never cared much for the newer trek stuff. Kirk was the last Captain of the Enterprise for me.

It was just the most awesome thing on TV when it first appeared. The hunger had already been there, the appetite whetted with shows like "Lost in Space" and even "Voyage to the bottom of the Sea". I remember the frustration of watching the silly production "Lost in Space" and wanting a serious space adventure program. And then here comes Star Trek.

Well, your article is meant to be humorous, but just a few facts. The red shirt security detail was back in the '60's decades before people started using terms like "red states" and "blue states". Those are in reverse, since red usually is identified with socialism and communism, and is called an "angry" color. Ever met a liberal that didn't seem a bit angry?

There are lots of things hypocritical or just out of sorts about the original Star Trek. It was just entertainment, afterall, but its interesting to note a few things for the sake of humor.

One of the most glaring faults was the constant use of "where no man has gone before" but probably half of the episodes dealt with problems caused by "man having been there before". ie: a Federation crew is stranded (years before), and some cranky wacko sociologist thinks he can improve the planets disorderly society by importing a Nazi Germany standard to the planet, and Kirk & Co. have to go clean up the mess.

javadoug said...

My cat has a few interesting ideas:
One thing that seems to be overlooked is that the Enterprise is a war machine, not politics.
But nevertheless, it is an interesting comparison and thesis. And hey, Star Trek is always an interesting diversion :)

To this I'd add a few things in Star Trek which the lefty liberals would sure to attack...

Kirk is the ultimate 'Maverick' (reference: McCain)

Many episodes - crewman are apparently expendable for exploration, it happened all the time. (reference: Iraq)

"The Enemy Within" - Kirk, the hero, is split in two. We learn that to be a good leader, we must have a good side and a bad side, and good judgment to keep track of the two. (reference: Bush)

In "The Corbomite Maneuver", kirk used a poker hand to beat Spock's chess position (reference: WMD)

Enterprise routinely kicks the heck out of Romulans and Klingons (reference: evil empires)

Kirk routinely makes mistakes, but he is forgiven because he is a cowboy who 'get's it'

In "The Return Of The Archons", why did Kirk break the Prime directive and interfere with the society of Landru?
a). because otherwise he and the Enterprise would be destroyed.
b). because it was not a living, growing society.
c). because the society was being directed by a machine.
d). all of the above.
The answer is d): all of the above. (reference: Iraq, Hussein and Weapons of Mass Destruction, WMD)

"Court-Martial" - where kirk is accused of murder, later acquitted. (Bush derangement syndrome)

In "A Taste Of Armageddon", what was Spock was destroying a disintegrator chamber when he said he was practicing a peculiar variety of diplomacy. Kirk put an end to their 'liberal' version of a war, where people simply marched into the chambers based on a computer model. (ref: global warming, and others)

and last but not least:

Kirk routinely gets the girl

The liberals might like these:

For centuries humans have glorified organized violence, but imprisoned those who employ it privately" - Spock

"Space Seed" - Khan's rebel uprising is squashed (Ref: civil war)

"The Devil In The Dark" - environmentalists save the Hortas

"Errand Of Mercy" - the Organians, a race a million years ahead of earth, steps in to stop the Federation and Klingons from waging war (one of my favorite episodes,not because of this message, but it's just a great mind exercise in alternate hypothesis)

As in "All Our Yesterdays" these and many other journeys are possible...

I used my trivial trek questions to research this :)

The Western Chauvinist said...

Steve -

Thanks for the correction. But, see, it still comes down to a red or blue way of looking at the world. We all know Kirk was a conservative at heart (and he donned the red when he became admiral).

oldsmoblogger -

Let me know if you ever write that piece. Pebble-bed reactors? Whoa, I want to hear more about that!

joe s. -

Yeah. We conservatives let the liberals get away with too much in their characterizations of us. Being "red" is the least of it. Somehow they get away with calling us fascist when they're the ones who want to set your thermostat, keep you out of your car and tell you what to eat. It is Orwellian. I say we change them for blue to green (they'll like that on enviro-correctness terms) as they are the ideology of covetousness and envy.

javadoug -

Thanks for the comment and the link. Obviously I'm in way over my head as a fan of Star Trek with you. You go, Dude!

Mike said...

Hmmm, yes it is easily proven that Gene Roddenberry had a number of socialist leanings. However, let us not forget that he also wrote "The Omega Glory" which ended with Kirk patriotically quoting the U.S. Constitution. So whatever else you want to say about him his personal love for America and democracy does not seem to be in doubt!

The Western Chauvinist said...

Thanks for the comment Mike. Just curious, if you don't mind sharing, how you found a post from 2005 on my blog?

And yes, I don't doubt Roddenberry was a patriot. Unfortunately, he seems to have developed a Utopian vision which the Left has used in the culture wars to counter the American Revolution, to co-opt liberalism and the Democratic party and recently to seize the reins of power in what used to be our "limited" government.

This comment sounds more serious than the original post and more serious than I intend. I'm not blaming all of this on Roddenberry really. Only the Left.

NeoLotus said...

The Democrats co-opted the Progessives in the early 1900s.

Limited government has been most encroached upon by the Republicans for the purposes of ensuring "security" at the airports and all that blather about "terrorists" not to mention conducting wars in Middle East and maintaining covert ops carried out both in and out of the U.S.A.

Believe what you like, but the argument you present is really stretching it.

NeoLotus said...

Short answer to your question is: No.

The Western Chauvinist said...

So, let me get this straight, NeoLotus. The encroachment on limited government started with Republicans (by which you mean George Bush)and airport security (TSA)? Nothing FDR did in the New Deal or LBJ in the Great Society, let alone Barack Obama and additional 1,000 billion dollars of debt he's adding each year is antithetical to limited government?

I usually enjoy intelligent exchanges with people who disagree with me on my blog. But the humorlessness and disconnect from reality evinced in your comment gives me little hope for that with you. I'm baffled that you felt compelled to comment on a fluffy little post like this with more absurdity than even I can imagine. Seriously?