Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Politics of Trek: “The Way To Eden”

Today’s episode is Episode 75: “The Way To Eden.” Hippies. Dirty, smelly hippies. How can hippies be conservative? Observe.
The Plot
As our episode begins, the Enterprise captures a group of hippies who have stolen a space cruiser. Among them is the son of an ambassador, which means Kirk must treat these hippies as guests rather than criminals. There is an obvious culture clash here, but the Enterprise crew comes to see the hippies as harmless and accepts them. But the hippies aren’t harmless. They are led by a brilliant research engineer named Dr. Sevrin, who is a luddite and is leading the hippies to a planet he believes to be Eden. Sevrin is barred from traveling to primitive planets because he carries a disease which would wipe out the indigenous populations. When Kirk tells Sevrin he will not be allowed to continue to Eden, Sevrin plots to hijack the Enterprise. Catching the crew unaware, the hippies knock out the crew using acoustics. These acoustics are strong enough to kill if left on, and Sevrin leaves them on when the hippies leave the ship. Moreover, the hippies have risked intergalactic war with the Romulans by taking the Enterprise deeply into Romulan space. In the end, Eden turns out to be a poisonous, uninhabitable planet.
Why It’s Conservative
“The Way To Eden” is crawling with conservative themes. For example, there’s a self-help message when Spock suggests the hippies make their own Eden. There’s also the old favorite rule-of-law idea both when Kirk points out his frustration that he cannot put the hippies in the brig because one is an ambassador’s son and in this exchange where Kirk and Spock debate the merits of the hippies:
KIRK: Doctor Sevrin is their leader?
SPOCK: Yes. A brilliant research engineer in the fields of acoustics, communications and electronics on Tiburon. He was dismissed from his post when he started this movement. . .
KIRK: Well. But they've rejected all that and all that this technology provides. And they seek the primitive.
SPOCK: There are many who are uncomfortable with what we have created. It is almost a biological rebellion. A profound revulsion against the planned communities, the programming, the sterilized, artfully balanced atmospheres. They hunger for an Eden where spring comes.
KIRK: All do. The cave is deep in our memory.
SPOCK: Yes, that is true, Captain.
KIRK: But we don't steal space cruisers and act like irresponsible children.
There are two conservative principles here. First, Spock points out that seeking their own utopia is a worthwhile pursuit (imposing one would not be). This is conservative because the idea of the individual charting their own course rather than following the herd is the very underpinning of classical liberalism, which sought to give individuals the freedom to make their own decisions. It is modern liberalism which seeks to limit the risks people can take, the goals they may achieve and how far they may stray from the herd.

Kirk then counters Spock’s point by noting that a noble goal does not excuse criminal and selfish behavior. This is rule of law and respect for property rights, both of which are conservative positions. Conservatives do not riot, do not steal, and do not destroy the property of others when they are upset because conservatives understand the value of the labor and the sacrifice/risk the owner undertook to obtain the property and they respect others’ rights to be left in peace. Liberals, by comparison, see property crimes as harmless, and consider minor violations of society’s rules as excusable (unless it is a law they like).

But there’s something much bigger in this episode. Dr. Sevrin, who appears to be based on LSD/“turn on, tune in, drop out” advocate Dr. Timothy Leary, is using the hippies for his own evil purposes. He is a megalomaniac who wants to remake a planet of primitive people into his version of utopia despite the fact his body carries a disease which will kill those same primitives. Here’s the transcript:
SEVRIN: I have no influence over what [the hippies] do.
SPOCK: They respect you. They will listen to your reasoning. For their sake, you must stop them. . . . incitement to disaffection is criminal. The Federation will never allow the colonization of a planet by criminals. If they persist, they will be so charged and forever barred from Eden.
SEVRIN: As I have been barred.
SPOCK: Then you knew you were a carrier.
SEVRIN: Of course I knew. You've researched my life. You've read the orders restricting me to travel only in areas of advanced technology because of what my body carries.
SPOCK: What I fail to understand is why you disobey those orders.
SEVRIN: Because this is poison to me. This stuff you breathe, this stuff you live in, the shields of artificial atmosphere that we have layered about every planet. The programs in those computers that run your ship and your lives for you, they bred what my body carries. That's what your science has done to me. You've infected me. Only the primitives can cleanse me. I cannot purge myself until I am among them. Only their way of living is right. I must go to them.
SPOCK: Your very presence will destroy the people you seek. Surely you know that.
SEVRIN: I shall go to them and be One with them. And together we shall build a world such as this galaxy has never seen. A world. A life. A life.
There are three strong conservative messages here. First, this episode warns against charismatic leaders. Sevrin represents the danger of following a charismatic leader: there is no protection should the leader prove to be evil. If Sevrin gets his way, the Enterprise crew will be dead, a galactic war may start, and any indigenous population already on Eden will die. The hippies know this, but they wrongly trust Sevrin when he lies to them, as seen here:
IRINA: What will that do to them? What is it?
SEVRIN: Well, I'm using sound against them, beyond the ultrasonic. It will stun them and allow us time to leave. We'll go in one of their shuttlecraft.
IRINA: Sound pitched that high doesn't stun, it destroys. I remember when we read in the text that it--
SEVRIN: I've gone beyond those texts, Irina. It's correct for you to be concerned, but be assured also.
RAD: . . . It does destroy.
SEVRIN: We cannot allow them to come after us. It will not reach us in here. I can control it all. I have adjusted it so that it will suspend its effects after a few moments and allow us time to escape. Then, after we've gone, it will automatically reactivate. Rejoice, brethren. Soon we shall step together into Eden.
Note that Irina is a talented scientist who knows what Sevrin is saying is false, but she accepts his assurance because she has chosen to follow him blindly. This is how the Hitlers of the world come to power. This is also why conservatism subscribes to rule of law, rather than rule of man. Conservatism holds that the best society results when the rules apply equally to all and keep the country’s leaders in check. Liberalism, by comparison, is grounded in vague notions of fairness and it trusts charismatic leaders with extreme discretionary power with the intent that they will use it fairly. Sevrin shows the folly of that.

The second and related point is a direct warning regarding the hippie movement and similar movements. Mindless followers attract evil leaders. And by 1968, it had become obvious the American hippie movement was being overrun by radicals, terrorists, and communists, who sought to do harm. They used the hippies as a smokescreen. By not looking closely at the leaders of the movement, society let a dangerous, destructive element into their midsts. This point is driven home in this episode when the crew dismiss the hippies as harmless and when the hippies overcome a security guard as he is distracted by their music, giving us the conservative message to stay on guard and always find out who is pulling the strings and what they really want, i.e. trust but verify.

Finally, the episode raises an interesting question about tolerance. Throughout the episode, the Enterprise crew is told to tolerate the hippies: they may be different, but they are harmless. Yet, the crew is shown repeatedly that the hippies are abusing that tolerance, which eventually rises to the hippies trying to kill them. The message is clear, tolerance is fine, but blindness is not. You simply cannot tolerate someone who will not tolerate you. This issue lies at the heart of the multiculturalism debate, with liberals arguing that all foreign ideas must be tolerated and conservatives arguing that foreign ideas that seek to destroy Western ideas should not.

That is why this episode is conservative.

47 comments:

Joel Farnham said...

I agree. It is a conservative message. I liked the music on this episode.

I always knew that Hippies were bad for the United States. OWS are similar in the lawlessness practiced by Hippies.

History channel has a great episode which explains the hippy influence.

tryanmax said...

It's been awhile since I've seen this episode, but I remember it rather clearly. I am particularly impressed with the quality of writing in this episode. The setup is perfect because, only by making one of the hippies an ambassador's son could we accept that Kirk would allow them to essentially run amok.

The excerpt of dialogue presented between Spock and Sevrin is another fine example. Severin, as most charismatic leaders do, characterizes himself as the ultimate victim, the singular brunt of injustice. This is his ironic claim to understanding how to craft Utopia. But when pressed about the flaws in his ideas, he quickly evades returning to high-minded goals without plans to reach them.

This bit of dialog reveals lucid perception on the part of the writers of the way such charismatic types speak, over and over. That they were able to capture it so succinctly without making a caricature of it is a masterful work of talent honed by skill. Where are these writers today?

And finally, even though this is arguably one of the most dated Trek episodes, the message it conveys is decidedly not.

T-Rav said...

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that there was a show on network TV that criticized hippies. Who'da thunk it?

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I've seen that show and it's fascinating to see many ex-hippies talk about how they didn't know what was going on with their leaders.

OWS is exactly like the hippies only without the original air of innocence. And I think this episode is timeless in that regard because it warns against the very essence of this kind of movement.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I agree entirely. I think there's some seriously brilliant writing here. It's amazing when you look at how short scripts are to realize how much information they have packed into a just a few lines. Kirk and Spock and Sevrin need to convey books worth of information in one or two sentences.

I also agree that the episode is definitely dated because it feels like it applies directly to the 1960s version of the hippie movement rather than something broader, but it also has a message that resonates today. Consider OWS for example, you could do this exact same episode today by just changing the way the hippies look and a few lines of dialog.

I agree about Sevrin too -- he's brilliantly written. He captures the essence of all of these megalomaniac leaders. He has this grand vision but no real means to get there except force his will upon people and go trial and error until he thinks he'll suddenly get there. And whoever needs to be killed or pushed aside in the process doesn't bother him in the least. And you're right, when questioned, he presents himself as the victim and his cause suddenly comes about "justice" for himself rather than Utopia for others. They really have done a brilliant job of writing the character.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, It's fascinating isn't it? This was 1968, right before the hippies turned nasty too. So this was at the very zenith of the hippie movement.

What's interesting/sad though is how many people see this episode and describe it as promoting hippies because the crew tolerates them.

CrispyRice said...

Very interesting, Andrew!

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Crispy!

Tennessee Jed said...

let me ask you a question, Andrew. To what extent do you believe the writer of the episode (I haven't looked it up,) was consciously trying to portray these themes? Having been around back in '68 you should not be quite so surprised. The hippies started out as a drug, drop out penomenon. It had not yet been really coopted by the socialist left, yet so it is not surprising a network was not pushing it. I think they were trying mainly to be (pardon the expression) "hip." I'm sure Hawk could speak volumes to this as he one of them and at "ground zero" to boot.

Tennessee Jed said...

sorry for my atrocious gramma. I didn't mean to imply you were around then, Andrew. Hawk and I were and probably Joel (?) :)

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, That's a good question and I can't answer it directly as I haven't seen any discussion by the writer of what he intended.

That said....

There is no doubt the writers of the episodes were liberals. Many of these writers specifically wanted to push civil rights and anti-war ideas. So the intent of being liberal is certainly there.

But at this point in history, liberalism was doing something interesting, it had temporarily abandoned most of its nastier tenants in response to the threat of communism and it's failed flirtation with fascism/communism. So for a brief moment, liberalism wasn't progressivism, it was more like classical liberalism. That's the point these episodes were written, which is why they contain so much conservatism.

Had they been written even 10 years later, they would been very different as liberalism was by then moving into groups rights and oppression theology.

So I think the answer is that the writer intended these messages at the time, but he probably would have disavowed them a few years later.

Patriot said...

Gentlemen and Ladies........ as a card carrying (Red Card) member of the hippie generation, my recollection (such as it is) was that the true "hippies" wanted nothing more than to be left alone with their "Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll" All things that society frowned upon and made made to look "bad." The true libertarians at the time. You can still see a lot of that mentality in the politics of the Libertarian Party today. Remember the communes of the Sixties and early Seventies. My family members were in one for years in Northern California. The oldest member of my hiipie brethren in the commune came to realize that it devolved into communism with a "dear leader" who made all the arbitrary and capricious "laws." they left when it turned into a situation like Severin in this episode....focused on the "leader" and not on the original intent. (Cult of personality huh?)

Once the movement was co-opted by the SDS and other radicals, it was pretty cool for a teenager in NoCal at the time. "If you're going to San Fran Cisco, where some flowers in your hair".....

Go and watch some old Monterey Pop Festival videos and see what could have been guys. Never to prosper...never to fail

Patriot said...

.....make that once it was co-opted it turned bad...... (Damn, the drugs and rock and roll are still with me...not the third unfortunately)

Joel Farnham said...

Yep, Jed I was around then. I grew up in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Hippies did gravitate to the Indian Reservations. The actual Indians didn't like them. The Indian Activists convinced the Elders to allow them to camp there.

Eventually, hippies were so obnoxious that they were kicked off the Reservations. Also, hippies learned always to travel in groups and to avoid back roads. It seems that every one has a gun there and didn't appreciate the hippy message of peace, love, and thievery.

Patriot said...

By the way.....doesn't the actor playing Severin look like a younger version of the guy who is in the Farmers Insurance commercials these days?

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, There's a fascinating documentary on hippies, which is the one Joel mentions. In it, they talk to a lot of former hippies and it's remarkable how much they sound like libertarians and how they all said they felt their movement was slowly taken over by people like Sevrin.

In fact, it's interesting to hear them say how they would meet just to play music or have a good time and then suddenly one day people would start showing up to the meetings with a political agenda -- an agenda they really wanted little to do with, but these people somehow just took over. And by the end, they were completely dominated by socialists and terrorist.

By the way, note that neither Kirk nor Spock are opposed to the hippies in principal. In fact, Spock suggests that if they believe in Utopia, they should make it themselves. But they do object to the lawlessness and then the blind faith in a bad leader.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, LOL! "not the third"

I hadn't noticed that about the Farmers Insurance commercial, but you're right! He really does!

This is the same actor, by the way, who played the bad guy in Patterns of Force so clearly he's got a talent for playing power-mad leaders.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I think the lawlessness is the real problem. So long as you don't interfere with other people's rights and property there is no reason they should interfere with you and yours -- that is (should be at least) the conservative way.

ScyFyterry said...

Andrew, This has been a fascinating series. I am amazed at how deeply conservative this show is. I knew I agreed with it, but I never thought about why. Now I know! :D

tryanmax said...

RE: Lawlessness, that touches on the issue I take with social conservatism (socons). They are very much like liberals in that they cannot be satisfied with “live and let live.” Just as the space hippies tried to hijack the Enterprise for their Utopia, a group of space socons would do the same for their perfect moral society.

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, Now you know why! :)

It is amazing how deeply and thoroughly conservative this show is when you get down into it. It almost seems like they set out to write a show using conservative values -- though that's not true. It just happened that way.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I agree but only to a degree.

There are some like Santorum who want to control everyone's lives. Instincts like that are rotten and it's no surprise that he brings those into the economic sphere as well and wants to micromanage everything. He really is a leftist/socialist at heart and the only reason he thinks he's on the right is because the left has hitched their wagon to atheism. If the left hadn't turned against religion, he would be right there fighting for the progressive cause.

That said, most social conservatives aren't looking to force anyone to change, they would just prefer people to change. And where they would regulate are areas like abortion where they aren't trying to control your life but instead genuinely see that as protecting another human being.

In other words, most socons see banning abortion the same as banning murder and they don't see it as an intrusion in the bedroom, nor do they otherwise want to intrude. To the contrary, they are often arguing for more freedom, such as the right to pray in public.

It's the ones like Santorum who give socons a bad name because he truly does want to stop you from having sex for any reason except procreation (yes, he's said that), he wants to prohibit gay relationships, he wants to ban the use of bad words, pornography, and products he considers unhealthy or immoral.

So I think you are right about the hard core group, but I also think they don't represent the others.

rlaWTX said...

those are some amazing ears.

[I only vaguely remember this one, so no other specific comments.]

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, All the kids will be wearing them soon. ;)

Ed said...

I agree with Joel about the music. I thought it was pretty good. And love the fact one of the hippies is one of the Good Old Boys from the Blues Brothers!

Excellent analysis as always of the conservatism. I wonder how many other older shows were actually conservative an no one noticed?

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, In fact, he has my favorite line from the Blues Brothers: "you're gonna look real funny trying to eat corn on the cob with no f**ing teeth!"

Good question about older shows. Some of them definitely strike me as conservative or classically liberal rather than liberal. I think The Twilight Zone largely fell into that category. I know many of the sitcoms from the 1950s and 1960s were rather conservative. I haven't dug into it, but I suspect there was a lot of conservatism in Hollywood at the time, even despite the overwhelming presence of liberals.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

Not only did the late Charles Napier play a hippie in this episode but I believe he even wrote one or two of the songs (and of course, he showed up later in DS9 as a military man).

There isn't much background info at Memory Alpha or Wikipedia for this episode but apparently D.C. Fontana didn't like the way her original script was re-written and used the pseudonym "Michael Richards" instead.

The original script was titled "Johanna" and was about McCoy's daughter. I don't know if this version included the hippies or if they were added later.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I've read that, that she didn't like the way they twisted the script around. I don't know what her original script involved, but this one turned out well enough. It's memorable despite being right at the end of the series, by which time things were falling apart and some of the scripts were getting a little weird.

In any event, I do think the conservatism/classic liberalism continues to shine through in all the themes. Kirk never loses his character nor does the overall moral of the story. And I think its timing is pretty neat, being the year the "peace movement" went to war with the Democratic convention.

Also, this I think it's fascinating that at a time when Hollywood was drifting into modern liberalism and hippies were the rage, this show actually cast a warning. I doubt modern Hollywood would be as prescient.

Is this my favorite? Hardly. But it's an excellent example of the types of conservative themes that dominate the series.

I like Napier a lot. He was in many shows and I always enjoyed his addition.

Tennessee Jed said...

I was going to mention I looked up the D.C. Fontana connection about McCoy's daughter, but find Scott already did so. The other person involved in the re-write apparently is an ex-Disney animator involved in Fantasia who turned to writing. He should have been around for your debate thread last night.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Yeah, that would have helped!

I am curious what the story would have been with McCoy's daughter involved? I could guess: maybe a cult-deprogramming sort of thing? But I guess we'll never know unless somehow it got saved and ultimately gets released.

rlaWTX said...

Then vs Now:
When everyone was more conservative than they are now, it's probably not hard to find conservative themes by today's standards.

And the establishment - even if the libs were already running H'Wood - hadn't adopted the hippie movement as espousing their defining principles yet...

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I think those are good points. On the one hand, Hollywood was "liberal" not progressive at that point. Also, even liberals were more conservative at that point.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

T-Rav said...
I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that there was a show on network TV that criticized hippies. Who'da thunk it?

And they did it by letting the hippies do it themselves.
Like the OWSers. Simply watching them reveals the gaping flaws in their movement and the dangers of the pacifists attracting predator leaders (or predators in general)...just like the OWSers.

Not only did this episode show the dangers of being fully invested in a cult leader but it also showed how silly the hippie movement was at its core.

Where does such idealistic thinking without taking into account reality lead to?

It always leads to death in one way or another. That's the "eden" they create and it doesn't matter how good their intentions are.

And the sheeple are not aware of it because they are in denial of reality.

Communes and becoming one with the land looks good on paper but it doesn't work well for very long and it isn't difficult to see why.

Many hippies became disillusioned the hard way when they discovered the real dangers of denying reality and, ultimately truth.

I was 6 years old when this episode aired and even at that age I wondered why the space hippies didn't listen to Spock and Kirk.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent analysis Andrew!

You nailed how conservative it is, or rather the core conservative principles within it and what happens when one tries to go cosmically offroad (materially, mentally and spiritually) without a good plan (mentally looks kind of funny doesn't it?).

This was a very memorable episode for me.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, "cosmically offroad" -- LOL!

Thanks! I'm glad you like the analysis. I think this episode contains a very conservative moral and principles. And I agree it's a memorable episode. What's funny to me is how many people dismiss the seriousness of the episode simply because it deals with hippies. Clearly, they are missing the underlying story.

I think you're right about the hippie movement in general. Something like that is just too strong a target for people to exploit. The problem with utopian thinking is that it rarely recognizes the evil aspects of our natures. Thus, it dismisses or ignores the danger in its midsts and it fails to guard itself against people who would exploit the movement. And I'm not just talking about hippies. I'm talking about any group that ignores the darker side of human nature and which puts its trust in leaders rather than laws. The more power you give someone, the greater the likelihood they will abuse it.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

BTW, it should be noted that some conservatives are vulnerable to charismatic, messiah-like leaders too when they forget or ignore reality.

This is one of the reasons I liked the TEA Party movement.
Unfortunately, some of the TEA Partiers have adopted leaders or pinned theiir hopes onto specific politicians which is a huge mistake.

Becoming "attached" or invested whole hog in politicians never ends well.
They ain't called cults of personality for nothing.

No one person is gonna fix the problems America faces.
Even Reagan had flaws and we must remember we rarely get leaders of Reagan's caliber.

I believe it's extemely important to be passionately dispassionate in the choices we make.

Not saying deny our emotions. Just that our emotions should be mastered by our minds.

The Space Hippies were mastered by their emotions and easily manipulated by Sevrin.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Well said Andrew!

I really appreciate how condensed and clear you are able to write.
That's a cool talent! :^)

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ben! I really appreciate that! :)

On your Tea Party point, I agree entirely. Sadly, many conservatives fall for the charismatic leader just as liberals fall for it. The Tea Party people generally (though not all) haven't fallen for this and that's something I truly respect. They seem to have grasped that they must put their faith in their ideas and not in a single person. And I think you're right that part of this is that they realize America will need more than one person to fix it. And relying on just one person not only won't work, but can kill the movement if that person proves unreliable.

I also agree entirely about the idea of being "passionately dispassionate." I think a lot of people don't get that. It's important to be passionate in your goals, but it's vital to be dispassionate in analyzing your methods. In other words, it is vital to believe in something better, but it's equally vital to let our brains and not our hearts chart the course for us to get there.

LawHawkRFD said...

Since you asked--Yeah, I was certainly around for the hippies, and the discussion of this episode very much fits the period. The Summer of Love was just having its nationwide impact, the hippies hadn't been lulled into the anti-American version of the peace movement, and Haight-Ashbury was still a tourist novelty. The warning about charismatic leaders was built around naive youth rather than the later vicious coopting of the hippies by the SDS, Student Non-Violent Co-Ordinating Committee, Weathermen, etc. That episode probably would have been written quite differently just a few short years later.

I hope T-Rav and Andrew will be doing a review of "And the Children Shall Lead" which involves innocent young people suffering a great personal loss who are then mesmerized by a ghostly and evil presence named Gorgan (played, appropriately enough, by celebrity lawyer and King of Torts Melvin Belli). Again, the charismatic leader who plays on the innocence and malleability of the very young.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, I will definitely address that one because it's full of a lot of great conservative messages.

Melvi Belli -- what an appropriate choice for a villain! He strikes me as much like Gloria Alred today (only competent).

I think you're right that episode would have been very different if it had been written even a year or two later. As it is, it's pretty prescient, especially being written a few months before the 1968 Democratic Convention. And talk about timeless issues, this same episode could be done today with the OWS crowd, only I think the individuals would need to be shown as much nastier and more materialistic than the hippies were.

ScottDS said...

I've said to friends on more than one occasion, re: OWS...

"I'm sure some of those kids have their hearts in the right place [after all, they are my peers] but it's a shame you can't protest something without being co-opted by some other entity."

Seriously, even if I wanted to, I couldn't protest income inequality without the "People for a Free Palestine" showing up? (I say that with tongue slightly in cheek but I know deep down it's true.) And that's just one example.

Oh, and T-Rav, The Simpsons has done its share of hippie-mocking, especially this favorite clip of mine (do beatniks count?). :-)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Some of those kids probably have their hearts in the right place, but I doubt it. I actually am more inclined to believe that about hippies. The hippies really were genuine and they didn't want anything from other people -- they just wanted to go live a different way.

The OWS kids are demanding, arrogant hypocrites. They want money from the government, from the rich and from workers. They think they are entitled to have the benefits of the rules of society but not have to live under those rules. They don't respect other people's rights to disagree with them. And they spew a lot of hate. Anyone who can stand next to someone who is shouting racist and anti-Semitic stuff and still say "yeah, I'm with him" does not have their heart in the right place.

Futurama does a great job of attacking hippies.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I just read this at my friend Gagdad Bob's site and I think it's a good addendum to this discussion:

"Truth is both timeless and universal, so that what is true will always be so. Scientific fads and fashions will come and go, but Man will always be in the image of the Creator, a meta-cosmic truth from which our rights, our duties, and our dignity flow. An undignified man has no rights, and a man with no rights has no dignity. Likewise, a man with no obligations is not a man. (We are not speaking legalistically, of course, but morally, or better, ontologically.)

Man's obligations are prior to his rights, for if the reverse is true, man makes himself a god. This is the upside-down god of the left, for it is the undignified man who is entitled to his rights, which are actually your obligations. But to be forcefully obligated in this manner is to be treated in an undignified manner, so we end in a tyranny of the undignified. See contemporary culture for details."

Sums it up well IMO. This applies to all the folks throughout our past (hippies) and including the present (OWSers) that worship at the altar of the Free Lunch and Everything Else and how dare you criticize us because we are victims.

Victims of liberty.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Re: hippies, I don't wanna imply they were as bad as the OWSers because they weren't.
They had their share of freeloaders though, particularly after that movement got unsurped by the commies, neocommies and socialists.

However, the authentic hippies learned rather quickly that their idea of a peaceful commune at one with nature doesn't work.

It required significantly more than 8 hour (hard labor) workdays especially since not everyone in the commune produced the same amount of work or whatever.

But at least they had the dignity not to blame everyone else in society for their failure to usher in utopia.

Well, most did. But the OWSers are several magnitudes worse than the worst hippies.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I think by the time the hippie movement was absorbed by the radicals, whatever innocence it had was gone.

That said, even innocence can't save you from folly. And things like the commune system just don't work because they run counter to human nature. And chief among the problems are the free loaders. Moreover, the other problem with the "drop out" lifestyle is that it eventually leaves you without a means of support, which leads to criminal behavior and I understand the hippies were beset by that.

In terms of truth and duties/dignity, I agree with you that it's all interrelated. There are universal truths, particularly about human nature and we ignore those truths at our own peril.

Jim Jones said...

Andrew

I am confused. You act as if the ending of this film was a bad thing...


Hey look they did not even have to make any Kool Aid

AndrewPrice said...

Yes Jim, that the other problem with following a nutty leader... you often end up dead waiting for the comet to take you home.

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