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 Post subject: THE POLITICS OF STAR TREK
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 12:51 am 
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THE POLITICS OF STAR TREK


By: Timothy Sandefur

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Posted: August 25, 2015
This article appeared in: Volume XV, Number 3, Summer 2015

Leonard Nimoy’s death in February brought to a close his unusual career continually playing a single role for half a century. Between 1966, when the television show Star Trek premiered, and 2013, when the movie Star Trek Into Darkness hit the screens, Nimoy portrayed the franchise’s beloved first officer, Mr. Spock, in two TV series and eight films. As he acknowledged, the key to Star Trek’s longevity and cultural penetration was its seriousness of purpose, originally inspired by creator Gene Roddenberry’s science fiction vision. Modeled on Gulliver’s Travels, the series was meant as an opportunity for social commentary, and it succeeded ingeniously, with episodes scripted by some of the era’s finest science fiction writers. Yet the development of Star Trek’s moral and political tone over 50 years also traces the strange decline of American liberalism since the Kennedy era.

Captain Kirk and the Cold War

Roddenberry and his colleagues were World War II veterans, whose country was now fighting the Cold War against a Communist aggressor they regarded with horror. They considered the Western democracies the only force holding back worldwide totalitarian dictatorship. The best expression of their spirit was John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, with its proud promise to “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

This could have been declaimed by Captain James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner), of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise, who, as literature professor Paul Cantor observes in his essay “Shakespeare in the Original Klingon,” is “a Cold Warrior very much on the model of JFK.” In episodes like “The Omega Glory,” in which Kirk rapturously quotes the preamble to the Constitution, or “Friday’s Child,” where he struggles to outwit the Klingons (stand-ins for the Soviet menace) in negotiations over the resources of a planet modeled on Middle Eastern petroleum states, Kirk stands fixedly, even obstinately, for the principles of universal freedom and against collectivism, ignorance, and passivity. In “Errand of Mercy,” the episode that first introduces the show’s most infamous villains, he cannot comprehend why the placid Organians are willing to let themselves be enslaved by the Klingon Empire. Their pacifism disgusts him. Kirk loves peace, but he recognizes that peace without freedom is not truly peace.

This was not just a political point; it rested on a deeper philosophical commitment. In Star Trek’s humanist vision, totalitarianism was only one manifestation of the dehumanizing forces that deprive mankind (and aliens) of the opportunities and challenges in which their existence finds meaning. In “Return of the Archons,” for example, Kirk and company infiltrate a theocratic world monitored and dominated by the god Landru. The natives are placid, but theirs is the mindless placidity of cattle. In the past, one explains, “there was war. Convulsions. The world was destroying itself. Landru…took us back, back to a simple time.” The people now live in ignorant, stagnant bliss. Landru has removed conflict by depriving them of responsibility, and with it their right to govern themselves. When Kirk discovers that Landru is actually an ancient computer left behind by an extinct race, he challenges it to justify its enslavement of the people. “The good,” it answers, is “harmonious continuation…peace, tranquility.” Kirk retorts: “What have you done to do justice to the full potential of every individual? Without freedom of choice, there is no creativity. Without creativity, there is no life.” He persuades Landru that coddling the people has stifled the souls it purported to defend, and the god-machine self-destructs.

This theme is made more explicit in “The Apple,” ...
(Continued)
http://www.claremont.org/crb/article/th ... star-trek/
Have to confess I was in accord with the early Star Trek politics.

Would watch any episode I could, not the case with later versions.

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 Post subject: Re: THE POLITICS OF STAR TREK
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 1:49 am 
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I was socialized by their ethos by the reruns in the early 1970s ;)

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 Post subject: Re: THE POLITICS OF STAR TREK
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:35 am 
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I must confess I never watched the original series.

It was interesting to read that they actually opposed totalitarianism, the further the franchise goes the more they seem to promote totalitarianism, communism to the point of opposing their own military as 'fascists' and spreading propaganda for world government that rules all sentient species.

In later series and such it goes as far as species who have fought each other in existential total war are simply brought to table and over two meetings they drop the war and surrender their independence for a communist union without any kind of war crime trials or reparations of any sort.

It goes as far as finding compassion for disgusting xenos that try to exterminate human race. "Well, maybe they do have a reason to hate us now that we started fighting back? Maybe if we didn't fight back they would stop killing us?" they seem to be asking in ST Enterprise.

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 Post subject: Re: THE POLITICS OF STAR TREK
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:53 am 
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Its true, the shift in the ethos of the Star Trek universe is pretty much a reflection of the shift in the ethos of intelligentsia and a sizable fraction of the elites.

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 Post subject: Re: THE POLITICS OF STAR TREK
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:59 pm 
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Well... Roddenberry went full on squirrel turd nutty before the TNG series began.

His super socialist nuttery was reportedly injected, to some extent, in the first season or two. Everyone working on it seemed to hate his input, and he caused a lot of problems with the writers & such due to his bullshit utopian wannabe nonsense.

No wonder I never bothered watching much of anything but the original series. My first tastes of TNG as a teenager (iirc) repulsed me. I might have been able to somewhat enjoy some of the later stuff in the series long after the Roddenberry had been cut out, such as the Borg themed stuff, but it my impressions were mostly in the shitter due to my first contact with it. Didn't bother even trying with the later ones either.


There's a really good documentary about all the nasty bullshit that went on behind the scenes of the first few seasons of The Next Generation.

Called Chaos on the Bridge.

It's on Netflix here in the US.

I think Shatner produced it, so you know they didn't try to fluff things up for the doc. :lol: I recommond it, even if you didn't like or watch TNG (like me). :twisted: Gives a glimpse into some of the cutthroat shit behind TV productions. Especially ones based on an old theme considered a classic by that point.

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 Post subject: Re: THE POLITICS OF STAR TREK
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 5:22 pm 
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I had the same reaction to TNG when it was released: utter abhorrence. Until a year or so ago, I had watched a sum total of probably three episodes from TNG era.

I saw they have the entire series on Netflix and watched the first couple seasons and at my age, I was able to endure it. It is true that the Star Fleet is portrayed as being very passive, but the stories and characters are overall not bad. Data in particular I thought was really well done and shows a lot of interesting development. The Worf character was passable and even Deanna Troy was nice to look at.

I think I've watched about two episodes from one of the other spinoffs, the one with the Black guy in command of the space station in the middle of nowhere . . . other than that, I'm completely ignorant of all the other spinoffs.

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 Post subject: Re: THE POLITICS OF STAR TREK
PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:14 pm 
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Anthropoid wrote:
I had the same reaction to TNG when it was released: utter abhorrence. Until a year or so ago, I had watched a sum total of probably three episodes from TNG era.

I saw they have the entire series on Netflix and watched the first couple seasons and at my age, I was able to endure it. It is true that the Star Fleet is portrayed as being very passive, but the stories and characters are overall not bad. Data in particular I thought was really well done and shows a lot of interesting development. The Worf character was passable and even Deanna Troy was nice to look at.

I think I've watched about two episodes from one of the other spinoffs, the one with the Black guy in command of the space station in the middle of nowhere . . . other than that, I'm completely ignorant of all the other spinoffs.


The black guy in charge of the space station was "Deep Space 9".

That was probably about my favorite one of the various series.
There was more of a warfare focus in DS9.
Another thing I liked about it was the story arcs.
Most of the ST series and spinoffs were generally self contained episodes.
DS 9 would not only have multiple episode stories but would have have story arcs over an entire season and cliffhangers that carrrier over from one season to the next.

One pet peeve about TNG series was that they would sometimes do poker nights. But they didn't have money or earn salaries...so what the hell do you play for as poker stakes?
Not sure that was ever explained.

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 Post subject: Re: THE POLITICS OF STAR TREK
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:04 am 
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NefariousKoel wrote:
Well... Roddenberry went full on squirrel turd nutty before the TNG series began.

His super socialist nuttery was reportedly injected, to some extent, in the first season or two. Everyone working on it seemed to hate his input, and he caused a lot of problems with the writers & such due to his bullshit utopian wannabe nonsense.

No wonder I never bothered watching much of anything but the original series. My first tastes of TNG as a teenager (iirc) repulsed me. I might have been able to somewhat enjoy some of the later stuff in the series long after the Roddenberry had been cut out, such as the Borg themed stuff, but it my impressions were mostly in the shitter due to my first contact with it. Didn't bother even trying with the later ones either.


There's a really good documentary about all the nasty bullshit that went on behind the scenes of the first few seasons of The Next Generation.

Called Chaos on the Bridge.

It's on Netflix here in the US.

I think Shatner produced it, so you know they didn't try to fluff things up for the doc. :lol: I recommond it, even if you didn't like or watch TNG (like me). :twisted: Gives a glimpse into some of the cutthroat shit behind TV productions. Especially ones based on an old theme considered a classic by that point.


It's available here as well even without US IP, might just give it a look! :lol:

Besides the politics pro-communism bullshit of the series it also has that Wesley Crusher teenage character. As soon as the series starts he's just a teenage kid of one of the staff. He is allowed to enter the restricted bridge of the starship and even given a full tour on the cutting edge systems - which he somehow is already completely familiar with.

He then gets a permanent pass to the bridge and manages to somehow outperform the finest of the Starfleet's best and brightest regularly. Yet despite this all he cannot pass the entrance exams to Starfleet.

Which *could* be seen as subtle criticism to their communist Utopia. The only guy who actually knows his way around the ship's systems isn't qualified and cannot pass the entrance exams. Speaks something about both the Starfleet protocol and the skills of their best and brightest.

If it weren't so fucking retarded and infuriating to watch.


General theme across ST seems to be that it is acceptable not only to close in on Federation ships while firing at them, it is acceptable to destroy and commandeer their freighters without any reprisal and it is fully OK to board a Starfleet warship, gas the crew and attempt to sell them all as slaves while scuttling the ship, which is thwarted and after which fact the hostile xenos are allowed to simply cruise off without as much as a slap on the wrist.

The only folks who seem to make any sense are people like Romulans and Klingon. "Do not approach our warship or it will be seen as a hostile act against the Empire", "Leave our space immediately or prepare to be attacked" etc., unlike the Starfleet protocol which allows the enemy to take out your weapons and board your ship before you're allowed to set your weapons for stun.

It was infuriating to watch. Unsurprisingly merely suggesting that approaching a military vessel of a sovereign country within their territory would constitute an act of aggression is seen as "evil".

The ST Enterprise had a "evil mirror dimension" episode where the Starfleet was a fascist organization intent on securing mankind's power and place in the galaxy. However the fascist state is straight from the "bad scriptwriting advice" book where a dystopia amounts to your least favored form of government exaggerated to farcical proportions in an attempt to ridicule this strawman. Hence every last character in the mirror dimension belonging to the fascist Starfleet is constantly murdering their superiors and betraying one another to advance ranks.

This constitutes as the defense for "let them board our military vessels" space communism. "The only alternative would be a society where we torture everyone and all the officers constantly murder each other, hence it's better to be a bunch of phlegmatic space communists".

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 Post subject: Re: THE POLITICS OF STAR TREK
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:57 pm 
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Kameolontti wrote:
NefariousKoel wrote:
Well... Roddenberry went full on squirrel turd nutty before the TNG series began.

His super socialist nuttery was reportedly injected, to some extent, in the first season or two. Everyone working on it seemed to hate his input, and he caused a lot of problems with the writers & such due to his bullshit utopian wannabe nonsense.

No wonder I never bothered watching much of anything but the original series. My first tastes of TNG as a teenager (iirc) repulsed me. I might have been able to somewhat enjoy some of the later stuff in the series long after the Roddenberry had been cut out, such as the Borg themed stuff, but it my impressions were mostly in the shitter due to my first contact with it. Didn't bother even trying with the later ones either.


There's a really good documentary about all the nasty bullshit that went on behind the scenes of the first few seasons of The Next Generation.

Called Chaos on the Bridge.

It's on Netflix here in the US.

I think Shatner produced it, so you know they didn't try to fluff things up for the doc. :lol: I recommond it, even if you didn't like or watch TNG (like me). :twisted: Gives a glimpse into some of the cutthroat shit behind TV productions. Especially ones based on an old theme considered a classic by that point.


It's available here as well even without US IP, might just give it a look! :lol:

Besides the politics pro-communism bullshit of the series it also has that Wesley Crusher teenage character. As soon as the series starts he's just a teenage kid of one of the staff. He is allowed to enter the restricted bridge of the starship and even given a full tour on the cutting edge systems - which he somehow is already completely familiar with.

He then gets a permanent pass to the bridge and manages to somehow outperform the finest of the Starfleet's best and brightest regularly. Yet despite this all he cannot pass the entrance exams to Starfleet.

Which *could* be seen as subtle criticism to their communist Utopia. The only guy who actually knows his way around the ship's systems isn't qualified and cannot pass the entrance exams. Speaks something about both the Starfleet protocol and the skills of their best and brightest.

If it weren't so fucking retarded and infuriating to watch.


General theme across ST seems to be that it is acceptable not only to close in on Federation ships while firing at them, it is acceptable to destroy and commandeer their freighters without any reprisal and it is fully OK to board a Starfleet warship, gas the crew and attempt to sell them all as slaves while scuttling the ship, which is thwarted and after which fact the hostile xenos are allowed to simply cruise off without as much as a slap on the wrist.

The only folks who seem to make any sense are people like Romulans and Klingon. "Do not approach our warship or it will be seen as a hostile act against the Empire", "Leave our space immediately or prepare to be attacked" etc., unlike the Starfleet protocol which allows the enemy to take out your weapons and board your ship before you're allowed to set your weapons for stun.

It was infuriating to watch. Unsurprisingly merely suggesting that approaching a military vessel of a sovereign country within their territory would constitute an act of aggression is seen as "evil".

The ST Enterprise had a "evil mirror dimension" episode where the Starfleet was a fascist organization intent on securing mankind's power and place in the galaxy. However the fascist state is straight from the "bad scriptwriting advice" book where a dystopia amounts to your least favored form of government exaggerated to farcical proportions in an attempt to ridicule this strawman. Hence every last character in the mirror dimension belonging to the fascist Starfleet is constantly murdering their superiors and betraying one another to advance ranks.

This constitutes as the defense for "let them board our military vessels" space communism. "The only alternative would be a society where we torture everyone and all the officers constantly murder each other, hence it's better to be a bunch of phlegmatic space communists".



Commies making implications that other forms of government induce their leaders to regularly murder each other?

Hrmmm. Sounds like the Commies are projecting their own tendencies on others. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: THE POLITICS OF STAR TREK
PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:25 pm 
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abradley wrote:
Quote:
THE POLITICS OF STAR TREK


By: Timothy Sandefur

DOWNLOAD ARTICLE PDF

Posted: August 25, 2015
This article appeared in: Volume XV, Number 3, Summer 2015

Leonard Nimoy’s death in February brought to a close his unusual career continually playing a single role for half a century. Between 1966, when the television show Star Trek premiered, and 2013, when the movie Star Trek Into Darkness hit the screens, Nimoy portrayed the franchise’s beloved first officer, Mr. Spock, in two TV series and eight films. As he acknowledged, the key to Star Trek’s longevity and cultural penetration was its seriousness of purpose, originally inspired by creator Gene Roddenberry’s science fiction vision. Modeled on Gulliver’s Travels, the series was meant as an opportunity for social commentary, and it succeeded ingeniously, with episodes scripted by some of the era’s finest science fiction writers. Yet the development of Star Trek’s moral and political tone over 50 years also traces the strange decline of American liberalism since the Kennedy era.

Captain Kirk and the Cold War

Roddenberry and his colleagues were World War II veterans, whose country was now fighting the Cold War against a Communist aggressor they regarded with horror. They considered the Western democracies the only force holding back worldwide totalitarian dictatorship. The best expression of their spirit was John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address, with its proud promise to “pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

This could have been declaimed by Captain James T. Kirk (played by William Shatner), of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise, who, as literature professor Paul Cantor observes in his essay “Shakespeare in the Original Klingon,” is “a Cold Warrior very much on the model of JFK.” In episodes like “The Omega Glory,” in which Kirk rapturously quotes the preamble to the Constitution, or “Friday’s Child,” where he struggles to outwit the Klingons (stand-ins for the Soviet menace) in negotiations over the resources of a planet modeled on Middle Eastern petroleum states, Kirk stands fixedly, even obstinately, for the principles of universal freedom and against collectivism, ignorance, and passivity. In “Errand of Mercy,” the episode that first introduces the show’s most infamous villains, he cannot comprehend why the placid Organians are willing to let themselves be enslaved by the Klingon Empire. Their pacifism disgusts him. Kirk loves peace, but he recognizes that peace without freedom is not truly peace.

This was not just a political point; it rested on a deeper philosophical commitment. In Star Trek’s humanist vision, totalitarianism was only one manifestation of the dehumanizing forces that deprive mankind (and aliens) of the opportunities and challenges in which their existence finds meaning. In “Return of the Archons,” for example, Kirk and company infiltrate a theocratic world monitored and dominated by the god Landru. The natives are placid, but theirs is the mindless placidity of cattle. In the past, one explains, “there was war. Convulsions. The world was destroying itself. Landru…took us back, back to a simple time.” The people now live in ignorant, stagnant bliss. Landru has removed conflict by depriving them of responsibility, and with it their right to govern themselves. When Kirk discovers that Landru is actually an ancient computer left behind by an extinct race, he challenges it to justify its enslavement of the people. “The good,” it answers, is “harmonious continuation…peace, tranquility.” Kirk retorts: “What have you done to do justice to the full potential of every individual? Without freedom of choice, there is no creativity. Without creativity, there is no life.” He persuades Landru that coddling the people has stifled the souls it purported to defend, and the god-machine self-destructs.

This theme is made more explicit in “The Apple,” ...
(Continued)
http://www.claremont.org/crb/article/th ... star-trek/
Have to confess I was in accord with the early Star Trek politics.

Would watch any episode I could, not the case with later versions.

The problem with big, uncertain projects is that no private enterprise can not do them. So it is natural that it is the state that can must take the risk. And even the project fails, much of useful, public domain technology is created that bring benefit for the common cause. Like teflon.

And it may be that project Mars is too expensive for a single nation. So co-operation of several nations is needed. Well, in a smaller scale ESA in Europe.

But then co-operation is not communism, not socialism.

But you Americans have very limited knowledge of those things. Some of Americans think that Denmark is a socialist country. :lol:

So it goes.

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