Due to nostalgia about watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with my dad on summer evenings on the floor in the living room, late at night after most people were asleep, I am currently re-watching the series.
What I can see now, illuminated by the political consciousness I’ve developed since childhood, is that I didn’t even realize I was being propagandized on those dreamy summer nights into subconsciously adopting liberalism as the default political orientation.
I have previously written about the liberal ideology embedded in Star Trek that might not be so obvious at first glance to the politically unattuned — at least in the older iterations of the show (I haven’t watched any post-Deep Space Nine Star Trek, but from what I gather here and there on social media, the newer series are unsurprisingly more brazen in their wokeness).
In the Star Trek universe, human civilization, represented by the United Federation of Planets, the multi-world, centralized government that swallowed up Earth and then expanded to other planets, is an egalitarian utopia. There are no gender roles, and there is no money. Healthcare is, of course, universal. To the extent possible facilitated by technology, human suffering has been eliminated. Multiple alien races serve alongside humans in the Federation military service, which sets it apart from other more primitive, less enlightened races encountered like the Klingons, Romulans, etc. This lends the Federation the moral authority it assumes as the justification for its expansion.
The best propaganda, of course, passes as entertainment so that the consumer isn’t even aware of it as such and, as a result, his guard is let down. MSNBC could learn something about this kind of subtle approach. Instead, the best they have on offer is the joyless woke scold Rachel Maddow who appeals only to a tiny niche of suburban liberal white women with purple hair and — apropos to the discussion here — a litter of uniformly non-binary children “liberated” from the Patriarchy™ or whatever. This is one of the many reasons their ratings suck, and they’re not likely to improve at any point in the foreseeable future.
I recently watched an episode called “The Outcast” (Season 5, Episode 17), which originally aired March 16, 1992. In it, the Enterprise crew encounters a sophisticated humanoid alien race called the J’naii that has advanced beyond the primitive gender binary that still afflicts the human race. The Jnaii are all androgynous in appearance. The actors were obviously selected based on how difficult their gender was to suss out.
After some foreplay in a shuttlecraft, some “misgendering” before misgendering was a thing, awkward questions about human genitals posed to the Enterprise doctor Beverly Crusher, one of the J’naii called Soren falls in love with Commander Riker, which is forbidden in their culture because men and women were phased out some years ago.
This little affair births a whole moral conundrum. Soren is put on trial on her home planet for her sex crimes. She is found guilty and undergoes some form of conversion therapy so that when she is reunited with Riker, who travels to the planet to save her, she has been “cured” of her primitive sexual urges.