Thursday, June 15, 2006

The Politics of Star Trek

Galley Friend D.D. sends us this amazing link to a detailed, careful, and very scary examination of the government and culture of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets. (If that gets you hot, there's also this appendix about "The Impact of Marxism on the Federation Council.")

I'm not qualified to discourse on these essays in any substantive way. And I'm okay with that. But I am enough of a geek to appreciate paragraphs like this:
The majority of the evidence points to the Federation Council as the supreme authority of the United Federation. The Council appears to combine executive, judicial, administrative, and legislative authority in one body, in a fashion superficially similar to the supreme power of the Romulan Senate. In 2268, the Federation Council convened on Babel to discuss the admission of the Coridan planets to the United Federation in "Journey to Babel" (Paramount, 1967); this matter demonstrates both diplomatic and legislative powers, as the Coridan planets were independent states, and the matter ipso facto is a question of interstellar relations, as well as a question of internal law, regarding as it does the territory and jurisdiction of the United Federation. In 2285, the Federation Council sat in judgment of then-Rear Admiral James T. Kirk, former Chief of Starfleet Operations, on charge of nine violations of Starfleet Regulations, and ordered his permanent reduction in grade to captain, as seen in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; this is interesting in that it combined functions that normally belong to a judicial apparatus (a court martial) and to an executive apparatus (the demotion of a commissioned officer). In 2370, the Federation Council legislatively set a speed limit of Warp Five for all vessels in the United Federation, as seen in "Forces of Nature" (Paramount, 1993). In 2372, the Federation Council voted to condemn the Klingon invasion of the Cardassian Union (a diplomatic act), and further voted to provide foreign aid in the form of twelve industrial replicators to ameliorate the damage to Cardassian industry, in "The Way of the Warrior" (Paramount, 1995) and "For the Cause"(Paramount, 1996); it passed Special Order 66715 in 2374 authorizing Starfleet to "neutralize security threats to Deep Space 9 by any means necessary" in "Inquisition" (Paramount, 1998); during the Dominion War, the Federation Council voted in 2375 to withhold the cure to the morphogenic plague from the Founders in "The Dogs of War" (Paramount, 1999) and shortly thereafter approved a Starfleet operation to harvest metaphasic particles from an obscure world in the Briar Patch, in Star Trek: Insurrection (Paramount, 1998).

7 comments:

Peter said...

This is fantastic. I'd always known that ST was pretty left leaning, but I just watched the first couple of eps of TNG this week for the first time since my early teens. I'd not realized that, at least toward the beginning, TNG was basically an hourlong commercial for socialism. It makes The West Wing look positively moderate.

DocNeaves said...

Yeah, there were always lots of clues, like they don't need money, and stuff like that. A lot of utopian "we've advanced beyond all that caveman stuff". Oops, careful, I'll be buying lunch for a couple of hairy-butts.

Jacob said...

I found it very reminiscent of StarDestroyer.net (which, in fact, it is based off of). There was too heavy an influence of Star Trek novels which are non canon, and thus meaningless.

Captain Tom said...

Sheesh. Much of that detail is made up on the fly by many different writers over the years. The Federation with its many different members is just a loose metaphor for our multi-ethnic USA. The 'no money' messages are just nods to Gene Roddenberry and seldom appear beyond rare Original Series and first season Next Generation moments. Trek can be pretty 'conservative'/'right-wing' with its duty, honor, sacrifice messages. National Review's Trek day will probably opine on that.

Anonymous said...

Will there be an analysis of the Star Trek "reenactor" phnemenon as highlighted (complete with shots of paunchy guys in tights) in the Sunday NYT? FX

Alan Khodabash said...

I don't know why you're all so surprised. Isn't Star Fleet Headquarters in San Francisco?

The Federation Council probably meets in the ruins of the Upper West Side of Manhattan. And the Romulan Interest Section is doubtless out in Greenwich.

Anonymous said...

A Aegree with captain tom here. star trek has over the years become the work of a thousand hands, a thousand hearts and thousand minds.
the federation is neither left or right, but simply the 'good guys'. It's politics will reflect that of who ever is writes in that week. it's enemies will be it's staw man opponents