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"How Star Trek explains...the strange decline of American liberalism..."

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  • "How Star Trek explains...the strange decline of American liberalism..."

    I may need to revive my Captain Kirk avatar...
    How Star Trek Explains The Decline Of Liberalism
    The development of Star Trek’s moral and political tone over 50 years 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.

    [...]

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/09/15/...of-liberalism/
    Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

  • #2
    OK. So...what does Phlox represent?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Skoblin View Post
      OK. So...what does Phlox represent?
      That sticky stuff in your throat due to colds and allergies?
      Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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      • #4
        Then along came STNG and it went all Progressive...

        No more women in mini skirts instead it's preachy ones who want to be your mom or feminists who want your job...

        The Klingons are good buddies with the Federation even if they're still @$$holes (great shades of Putin...? )

        The new bad guys are like the Ferengi (aka Big Corporations run by greedy businessmen who hate women), or the Borg (Stand ins for some sort of Right wing religious fanatics who expect you to think and act exactly like they do...).

        The Prime Directive, which Kirk so regularly tossed over his shoulder and ignored, is set in stone and planet after planet is allowed to wallow in Third World poverty while a benign Federation looks approvingly on...

        "The State" (aka Federation) appears to be a moneyless society where everyone gets whatever they need in endless abundance (sort of the fulfillment of the Communist wet dream on economics).

        Unlike with Kirk's Star Trek, STNG cares for the environment (remember when they discover too much use of warp speed was damaging the universe...? ) and useless critters big and small. Scotty beamed the Tribbles onto that Klingon ship fully knowing how the Klingons would deal with that problem...

        The only guy on STNG with any real sack and manliness is Q. He does what the hell he wants and only contritely apologizes when caught just long enough to get off the hook and do some more man crap to people.


        Written on the fly...

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        • #5
          What would Q be a metaphor for?.....

          Libertarians?
          A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

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          • #6
            That is a brilliant article.

            I was wondering what it had to do with the title of your thread at first, but now I highly recommend it.
            Over nearly 50 years, “Star Trek” tracked the devolution of liberalism from the philosophy of the New Frontier into a preference for non-judgmental diversity and reactionary hostility to innovation, and finally into an almost nihilistic collection of divergent urges. At its best, “Star Trek” talked about big ideas, in a big way. Its decline reflects a culture-wide change in how Americans have thought about the biggest idea of all: mankind’s place in the universe.
            "Why is the Rum gone?"

            -Captain Jack

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Pirateship1982 View Post
              What would Q be a metaphor for?.....

              Libertarians?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by T. A. Gardner View Post
                Nah.. that's just a fully grown tribble...

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                • #9
                  only negative on the article is he did not point out the main difference between Kirk and Picard one did things the other always retired to the conference room.

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                  • #10
                    I was always a fan of the original show more than TNG, and this article helps crystallize for me why I may have felt that way. To me, the original crew was more real...a projection of what people might become in a few hundred years but down deep still people, who had to overcome their own instincts to build a better society. In TNG the crew seemed in some ways inhuman. At times you got the idea that human instinct had been bred out of them, so that rather than learn to live with their less desirable qualities they just didn't have them. Kirk was more of a cowboy, and his solutions to problems were usually based on his instincts, while Picard was more insistent on following the unbreakable rules that shaped his society.
                    It's funny, though, how many times in the original series Kirk had to talk a computer into self-destructing. I remember a few other than the one mentioned in the article (Landru): Nomad, that floating robot that they beamed aboard, and the M5, the supercomputer that they tried to get take over the duties of the ship's crew. I think there were a few others too but I can't remember for sure...maybe VGer from the first movie? You'd think Kirk could talk to Spock and make his head explode after a while too.

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                    • #11
                      The irony is that Roddenberry devolves the Federalist conclusion into STNG which is basically a Roddenberry "dictatorship" where Maizlish takes control and runs things in the STNG rules fashion (which is kind of a slow train wreck). The main part of the "rules" revolve around "external" forces which force stories as opposed to "internal" forces caused all sorts of writing problems and is hardly any kind of liberal devolution but rather a series of personal on-set issues devoid of national politics.
                      It's a very progressive slant on where the Federation is going to go, an aspect not really supportive of the Federalists position. Trying to link Star Trek directly to political aspirations is kind of silly; Star Trek had the first interracial kiss which is totally at odds with 1960s social and political conservative convention. It's sad state of affairs when people are forced to link decades old TV shows with political trends in order to print. But, no wonder, it's the Cato Institute. Must have been a slow day.

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                      • #12
                        I always thought that morally tng was very wishy washy with everyone try to avoid making a judgement.

                        The original series was much better and had a clear moral message. Principles are important.
                        Last edited by Surrey; 16 Sep 15, 14:38.
                        "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Surrey View Post
                          I always thought that morally tng was very wishy washy with everyone try to avoid making a judgement.

                          The original series was much better and had a clear moral message. Principals are important.
                          So are phasers!

                          Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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                          • #14
                            Great thread, Doc. I need to finish the article but from reading the first few paragraphs I can say I wish I had written it.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Martok View Post
                              Great thread, Doc. I need to finish the article but from reading the first few paragraphs I can say I wish I had written it.
                              Me too!

                              I have often said that I learned everything I ever needed to know by watching Star Trek and The Three Stooges...
                              Watts Up With That? | The world's most viewed site on global warming and climate change.

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