Skip to comments.Politics of Trek: “This Side of Paradise” (Original Series Conservatism)
Posted on 04/02/2012 7:23:46 AM PDT by servo1969
Politics of Trek: This Side of Paradise
Some claim Star Trek presents a communist utopian view of the world. That is true of the Next Generation, where they pretend to have fundamentally changed human nature to the point of eliminating greed, jealousy, and the other human vices. But its certainly not true of the original series. To the contrary, Episode 24: This Side of Paradise is a fundamental repudiation of the idea of the communist utopia.
As our episode begins, the Enterprise makes orbit around Omicron Ceti Three. They are on a grim mission: to collect the remains of a 150 federation colonists who built a colony here before they realized the planet was exposed to Berthold rays, a newly-discovered deadly form of radiation which destroys living tissue. But as the crew beams down, they discover that the colonists are very much alive. The colonists have been given immunity from the radiation by spores from a seemingly harmless flower. The spores also give anyone they infect perfect health and happiness. But in exchange, people lose their own ambitions and become part of the collective community. Soon, the Enterprise crew is infected and Kirk must save them from paradise.
Why It's Conservative
There are several ways you can look at this episode. The most obvious would be as a repudiation of hippy drug culture. The hippies saw hallucinogenic drugs as a way to escape reality and find utopia. This episode rejects that. Spock even refers to the spores as a happy pill. But theres something more interesting going on in this episode.
This episode makes a fundamental point about human nature, and in the process, it rejects communism. To understand this, lets examine the choice Kirk faces...
(Excerpt) Read more at commentaramafilms.blogspot.com ...
TOS was very much clearly produced during the cold war. It was also a “western” in space.
TNG was “star trek for women”. I rarely watched it. The premier two hour episode saw not a single weapon fired. They “talked” the problem away. How “rivetting”. I was on the edge of my seat. /s
I did watch the episode where a guy was addicted to the holodeck. It cracked me up because as I watched it I said, “what a joke”. If we really had something like that, the only people that would NOT be addiceted to the holodeck would be the Amish.
I could not take the show seriously. Plus, as I jr high kid, I loved when an attractive alien woman said to Kirk, “What...is...love?” Heh, heh...
A liberal government would never create the prime directive. Meddling is what they do best.
I remember an episode of Star Trek Voyager where Paris and Torres were hiding to eat real meat because it was illegal to have. They were also hiding because others would want it as well.
I did however find it interesting that despite being illegal, the desire was still there.
Thatd be an awesome planet to visit for what ails you.
I watched that episode in the student union at XXX XXXXXXXX University with a few of my fellow grad students (in a "hard science" discipline). We all called it "bullcrap" ... I never watched another episode.
I actually got through the first season before giving up on TNG. It seemed to me that they would be confronted by a menace, and the menace would then let them go at the end; so, nothing was really resolved.
A friend convinced me to revisit the show in reruns. It really hit its stride in the third season. That's when The Borg became major badasses on the show. The Borg were like the episode from TOS described in the article. They were part organic, part machine. They assimilated people into the Borg Collective.
The remaining seasons were pretty good. I didn't agree with every idea and concept on the show; but found it entertaining.
I saw some of the borg stuff. What was good about it was it forced them to deal with an adversary that you simply could not negotiate with. Which is how the world works a lot of the time.
They had to have some battle scenes. ;)
I dumped tv in 1997 but I will say my favorite space show at the time was Babylon 5. It was like “TV science fiction for people that actually read science fiction novels”.
I loved the guy trying to get a woman in his apartment so he could show her his “favorite thing to do”. After many failed attempts he got her in is place and proceeded to watch centuries old episodes of Warner Brothers cartoons.
Sorry, a bit off topic...
I’ve seen every episode of TOS at a minimum of 6 times. Some many more times.
And in case you are interested, some new episodes have been created. Also, some of the old ones have been spruced up with CG. This only affects the outer space scenes. The flyby’s of the enterprise (so close you can see people behind many of the windows) and planet surfaces that look like a modern SciFi movie.
Here is a fun thing based on TOS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9mHyGlqsjsQ
Now consider this in economic terms.
I'm not sure Roddenberry wanted his work to be considered in those terms. Of course he wasn't a Communist. Not many people were or are. But the argument is more against a world without effort, not so much for libertarianism or individualism.
Submitted for your consideration: Rod Serling's Twilight Zone tales were heavily moralistic, and made the point over and over again that you can't get something for nothing. But in his day Serling, like Roddenberry, considered himself a liberal and was considered by others to be a liberal. Liberalism in those days wasn't what liberalism later became, but when it changed, Roddenberry changed with it.
Heh..tell me about it. I liked when Q showed up to needle Picard, though.
I really liked the Commentarama website but apparently they are Romneybots and hate newcomers posting on their clubhouse wall.
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