Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Politics of Trek: “A Taste of Armageddon”

Today’s episode is my favorite conservative episode. In addition to a bunch of other conservative ideas, this episode cuts to THE key difference between how liberals and conservatives view human nature. Let’s talk about episode No. 23, A Taste of Armageddon.
The Plot
As the episode begins, the Enterprise is en route to star cluster NGC 321 to open relations with the locals. The Federation wants a space port in this sector because the lack of facilities has cost thousands of lives over the years. As the Enterprise approaches, it is warned away by the planet Eminiar VII. Kirk, however, is forced to continue his approach by a Federation diplomat. When Kirk beams down, he discovers that Eminiar VII is at war with neighboring planet Vendikar. However, this war is fought by computer simulation with casualties accounted for in suicide booths. And while Kirk speaks with Anan 7, the leader of Eminiar VII, the Enterprise is “destroyed” in one of these simulated attacks. Now the locals want the Enterprise crew to beam down and kill themselves. Before everything’s over, Kirk destroys the computers that are fighting the war, risking a return to real war.
Why It’s Conservative
This episode starts with several conservative themes. First, Kirk rejects the idea that the Federation is the universe’s policeman. We see this when Kirk makes it clear he believes the planet’s wishes to be left alone should be honored and when he makes no attempt to jump in and stop their war. This is consistent with the conservative belief that one person or society should not impose themselves on another, and it fits the conservative foreign policy view that we should not get entangled in the affairs of others except where our interests are directly involved. Liberals, on the other hand, have no qualms about trying to control countries just like they have no qualms about the government trying to control the lives of citizens, and they believe a benign superpower or similar organization (like the UN) should force peace upon smaller countries for their own good.

Next, Kirk rejects out of hand the idea that some members of society should be killed so the rest of society may continue. This oft-repeated Star Trek idea is expressed here:
MEA: Don't you understand? Our duty--
KIRK: Your duty doesn't include stepping into a disintegrator and disappearing.
MEA: I'm afraid mine does. . . Don't you see? If I refuse to report, and others refuse, then Vendikar would have no choice but to launch real weapons. We would have to do the same to defend ourselves. More than people would die then. A whole civilization would be destroyed. Surely you can see that ours is a better way.
KIRK: No, I don't see that at all.
This goes back to the conservative respect for the sanctity of the individual and individual life. Conservatives simply do not believe that the collective should be allowed to decide who lives and dies for the benefit of the collective. Liberals, on the other hand, do think it is appropriate to let the government (or individuals by proxy) make such decisions. That is why they favor abortion and euthanasia, and why their support for those issues is premised on the idea that the unwanted child or adult would be a burden on society.

Kirk also rejects the idea that Eminiar VII can impose itself on his crew: “My people are not responsible for your agreements.” Kirk is staking out the very conservative position that people can only be punished for their own individual actions, i.e. human beings do not bear group guilt or group responsibility. Compare this with liberals who support group punishments, like reverse-discrimination against innocent whites/males to atone for the prior discrimination of other whites/males, or the banning of speech or guns for all because of the crimes of the few, etc.

But the real conservative homerun in this episode comes after Kirk destroys the computers which are waging the war:
ANAN: You realize what you have done?
KIRK: Yes, I do. I've given you back the horrors of war. The Vendikans now assume that you've broken your agreement and that you're preparing to wage real war with real weapons. They'll want do the same. Only the next attack they launch will do a lot more than count up numbers in a computer. They'll destroy cities, devastate your planet. You of course will want to retaliate. If I were you, I'd start making bombs. Yes, Councilman, you have a real war on your hands. You can either wage it with real weapons, or you might consider an alternative. Put an end to it. Make peace.
ANAN: There can be no peace. Don't you see? We've admitted it to ourselves. We're a killer species. It's instinctive. . .
KIRK: All right. It's instinctive. But the instinct can be fought. We're human beings with the blood of a million savage years on our hands, but we can stop it. We can admit that we're killers, but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes. Knowing that we won't kill today. Contact Vendikar. I think you'll find that they're just as terrified, appalled, horrified as you are, that they'll do anything to avoid the alternative I've given you. Peace or utter destruction. It's up to you.
Kirk has outlined the conservative view of human nature: our nature cannot change, but we are not slaves to it. Indeed, notice that he says that killing is instinctive, i.e. part of human nature, and it has been that way for “a million savage years.” Conservatives believe that, liberals don’t. Liberals believe that humans are malleable and human nature can change with education. This is the fundamental flaw in socialism, that it relied on the idea that humans could be taught not to covet, not to want. Conservatives know better, and Kirk makes this clear. Had this been Picard instead, he would have lectured Anan 7 how advanced the Federation is now that humans have evolved beyond violence. His solution would be to reeducate themselves to lose their violent instincts (an impossibility). Kirk’s solution is to use their brains and simply decide to ignore the instinct (very doable).

This is a key difference in how liberals and conservatives see humanity. This is why liberals believe in reeducation, because they think they can brainwash away your worst traits. Conservatives know better. They know those traits can only be controlled. That’s why they advocate laws to contain those traits or make them unprofitable.

And Kirk goes further too. He notes that despite human nature not changing, it can be controlled: “We can admit that we’re killers, but we’re not going to kill today”. . . the coolest quote in the whole series. This is again a highly conservative understanding of human nature. Conservatives understand that all of our actions require conscious effort before we can take them. In that moment, we have the power to overcome what our instincts tell us and to act rationally. . . “that’s all it takes.”

Liberals actually don’t believe this. They believe that our instincts are taught to us by our experiences and, once learned, they overwhelm us and force us to act. That’s why they speak of cycles of violence and root causes and why they consider those excuses to crimes, i.e. because they think it is beyond our control. In other words, if you were beaten as a child, then you will be forced to beat your child by your instincts, and we should not hold you responsible because it was beyond your control. Conservatives reject this because we understand that humans are perfectly capable of controlling their actions.

There you have it, a highly conservative message: human nature cannot change, but it can be controlled, and we are all responsible for our own actions, but none of us should be responsible for the actions of others. Every piece of that is fundamentally conservative and complete anathema to liberals. Indeed, this belief is the very building block from which all other conservative ideas will sprout. And that makes this my favorite conservative episode.

80 comments:

AndrewPrice said...

As a head’s up, Friday’s film will be Triangle (LINK). I recommend checking this out before the review posts.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...

"That is why they favor abortion and euthanasia."

Any sane person favors euthanasia. There's no moral justification for forcing somebody to, say, live out the rest of their lives paralyzed from the neck down, or worse.

Tennessee Jed said...

remember this episode and will be back to comment later after getting the chariot serviced for my trip :)

tryanmax said...

Another thing to like about this episode is the way it refutes the possibility of diplomatic relations with a known aggressor. Despite acts of deception and aggression from the Eminiarian council, Ambassador Fox maintains foolish devotion to diplomacy, and is nearly killed as a result. Scotty gets some of his most memorable lines as he commands the bridge while dealing with Fox. "The best diplomat that I know is a fully-loaded phaser bank."

AndrewPrice said...

JCS, Absolutely there are moral justifications and it's stunningly ignorant to claim their aren't. It's also interesting how you seem to skip over the facts of euthanasia which end up with people being pressured to kill themselves or where the government makes the decision for you.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, We'll be here! Chariot... LOL!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's true too. I didn't have room to go into everything conservative about this episode, but it does indeed go back to the idea of showing that weakness in the face of aggression will only kill you.

Interestingly, when I first saw this (just like when I first saw Battlestar Gallactica) I assumed no one could be as foolish as this diplomat or the President of the BSG council. But the last 30 years have shown me that liberals are indeed this stupid -- especially in how they kept advocating disarmament to show the Soviets we weren't "a threat" to them. Idiots.

tryanmax said...

JC Supercop, have you seen the episode? You've paraphrased the episode's villain.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, He's also repeating the liberal idea that disability is a reason to exterminate people. That's the same argument used by people like that "professor" to justify "post-birth abortion."

And he's narrowed this issue down to it's most simplistic level, ignoring all the other issues -- like the effects of social and familiar pressures on people who become a drag on the family. That's what's happening in the euthanasia countries -- people are being pressured to kill themselves by family who don't want to support them.

DUQ said...

Excellent as always Andrew. It's interesting that you say this is the core of conservatism. I had this same discussion recently. We were trying to decide if there is a fundamental principle at the core of our thinking. And we came up with this and with "I want to be left alone."

Doc Whoa said...

Andrew, excellent breakdown. I continue to be surprised at how deeply conservative this show was. I knew I liked it and I agreed with it, but it never dawned on my how truly conservative it was time and again, or how powerful the dialog is. They really managed to pack whole philosophies into a handful of words. Very cool.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks DUQ! I would say that conservatism has three pillars.

First, you have the idea of the sanctity of the individual, i.e. leave me alone. That forms the belief that we should all be responsible for ourselves and not try to control others except where absolutely necessary.

Secondly, you have the idea that human nature is fixed, which tells us that we can't remake ourselves, we can only control our impulses.

Third, you have the golden rule, which is a way of judging "fairness" by asking if you would apply the same policies to yourself.


Liberals reject each of these (except rhetorically).

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, It is fascinating. They've managed to distill conservative ideas down to a handful ideas and not only that, they've managed to present them in a storyline. It's very impressive.

Like you, I know I liked the show, but I didn't knew it was this superbly written until I started to take it apart.

Doc Whoa said...

Andrew, That is an excellent breakdown of the pillars of conservatism! I need to write that down and use it! :D

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Doc! Be my guest. Feel free to add to the list if I missed anything.

Doc Whoa said...

Andrew, I can't think of anything at the moment, but if I do, I'll be back!

ellenB said...

I continue to be fascinated at how conservative this show is. It's more conservative than half the so-called conservatives in politics! I particularly like how Kirk didn't jump in to solve their problem until they made it his problem. I can't imagine Picard doing the same thing. I have no doubt he would immediately try to solve their war and that would become his total motivation.

AndrewPrice said...

Ellen, Unfortunately, a great many people who think they are conservative aren't. They believe in a couple conservative policies, but deep down they very much believe they have the right to tell other people how to run their lives because they know what's good for everyone else. That's where conservatives get into trouble.

Joel Farnham said...

What is really strange about liberals is they are for euthanasia yet are totally against the death penalty. Technically speaking, that is exactly what we are doing when the state carries out a death penalty. I guess they are not for the death penalty for just cause, but are for euthanasia for no cause what-so-ever. Screwed up thinkers those liberals.

Could it be because of the language? Let's call the death penalty the state sanctioned euthanasia from now on and really screw up the liberal minds!

tryanmax said...

Andrew, the only thing I would add, and this is not necessarily a pillar but a lintel that spans them, is the truism, "To everything there is a season" (to borrow from Ecclesiastes).

Liberals operate from a mindset that says X is always good and Y is always bad. They have no sense of degree or aptness. When a flaw is found in something from column X, they simply move it to column Y. Likewise, a single redeeming quality moves an item from Y to X. They frantically and constantly shuffle their lists of "good" and "bad" back and forth until there is no sense in it.

I think at present we find ourselves in a time where leftists are strangely self-aware of this habit. Talk of "the right side of history" is immensely popular on that side because they have taken note of the fact that many things they once considered bad are now considered good and vice versa. Sadly, they've concluded the meaning to be that good and bad are actually reversing rather than look for flaws in their own thinking.

(All IMO, of course.)

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I think there are two points to remember. On the one hand, they always think in a vacuum. So they assume that with euthanasia, the person wants to die (they never consider the outside duress), whereas with the death penalty the person doesn't. Since they pretend they support the right of the individual do what they want vis-a-vis the state (except in 99.9% of cases), they would allow euthanasia and reject the death penalty to preserve the "rights of the individual."

Secondly, don't forget that the philosophy upon which they've based euthanasia and abortion is economic value. These things can be killed because they do nothing but suck up resources. A criminal, however, could be reformed and made productive again. So again, euthanasia is justified and capital punishment is not.

Hence, it's no contradiction to them at all because any way they look at it, euthanasia and abortion are justified, capital punishment is not.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, You make an interesting point. I've always found it amazing that conservatives are accused of seeing the world as either black or white, while liberals claim to understand shades of gray. In my experience, the opposite is actually true. Conservatives are very good at grasping how much gray there is in the world and letting it be, while liberals are desperate to classify everything as black or white -- all extremes, no gray.

I think where this idea that conservatives are stuck in black and white came from is the fact that conservatives are consistent. We recognize things as right/wrong and don't change our minds on those. That doesn't mean we don't see all the gray, but we recognize certain points as fixed as black and white. Liberals, on the other hand, are constantly switching black to white and white to black and back again, and when conservatives refuse to accept the change, that's when liberals claim that they are morally superior because they see the grays and conservatives can't... whereas the reality is the liberals are just arbitrarily shifting blacks and white around without ever seeing a single gray.

If that makes sense?

K said...

Excellent analysis, Andrew.

You pointed out a bunch of things I never realized were there. When I saw this episode, I was mainly fixated on the story's point that if you make the war horrible enough, then it will end. My assumption was this was an affirmation of the media (and protesters) tactic of "bringing the war home" during Vietnam. Removed from that context, the show has an entirely different and conservative point.

Again, good job.

DUQ said...

tryanmax, I'm not so sure I agree that liberals are understanding that they were on the wrong side. They seem to get caught in the PC trap where something they said 10 years ago comes back to haunt them now, but only that liberal seems to realize what has happened, the rest just assume that person was once a racist or whatever.

I've never seen one liberal admit that they simply changed their minds.

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

What? You don't like my idea of calling the death penalty euthanasia!? State Sanctioned, just like the liberals always wanted.

AndrewPrice said...

K, Thanks! The first time I saw this, that was my initial take away as well -- that the point was that when we let the government "sanitize" a war, then we are likely to get more war.

But the more I thought about it, the more it struck me that there is a good deal more here, especially in Kirk's payoff speech (my favorite Star Trek quote): "We can admit that we're killers, but we're not going to kill today. That's all it takes. Knowing that we won't kill today." That line is just so powerful about human nature, and it completely contradicts everything the left has tried to push on this country for the past thirty years. Indeed, we're now awash in people claiming they were helpless to stop themselves on issue after issue. Kirk cuts through all of that and tells us point blank that we control our own actions, and instinct or whatever you want to call it is no excuse. We are not prisoners to the past or biology... we make our own destinies.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, That's a tactic the left has tried for generations now. Whenever they want something horrible, they just give it a pleasant name to try to fool people (affirmative action, labor camps, reeducation, etc.). It only works on them.

So I guess... in a way... your plan might work? LOL!

tryanmax said...

Andrew, I follow you perfectly. The liberal habit of classing things so rigidly makes me think of how everything seems to cause cancer. The trials involve exposing rats and other animals to ever-increasing amounts of something until cancer develops. Then the report comes out that such-and-such causes cancer, period. It goes on the "bad" list. But any reasonable person can see that the real cause of the cancer is not the substance, but the dose. Such is the liberal worldview.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, That's a good question. And the more I think about it, I don't know any liberals who admit they've changed their minds. Take the gay issue. Twenty years ago, liberals very much disliked gays and laughed at ideas like gay rights. Now they believe in those and, interestingly, they all seem to claim they always believed in those? That's kind of fascinating to think about.

Many conservatives I know have changed their minds on the issue, but they don't claim they always believed it. The liberals I know do, even though I can actually prove to most of them that they thought the complete opposite.

Interesting.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's a good example. One day something is good. Then there is a suggestion that it might have negative effects in some instances. It instantly goes on the evil list and they rush out trying to ban it without any thought to the likelihood of the danger, a comparison or risk v. benefit, or a thought that people have a right to choose.

What I find interesting is the extremism of this. Everything is either angelic or the ultimate evil -- there's nothing in between. The bad things must be eradicated and the good things must be forced on everyone. And then for whatever reason, something changes their minds and something angelic becomes evil and must be eradicated or something evil becomes angelic and must be forced upon people.

It's almost insane.

ellenB said...

Andrew and tryanmax, Your black and white decision and how liberals are constantly reclassifying things is very insightful.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Ellen! :)

ScyFyterry said...

Andrew, This is an excellent breakdown of the messages in this episode! I agree about this being a truly great moment in Kirk-speak. His speech is the ultimate affirmation in the power of humans to control their own actions and puts to lie the whole theory of victimology, that we are all prisoners of the past.

I also love how the Diplomat comes around once he realize that he's been lied to. That's so typically liberal -- don't believe it when you see it done to others, but believe it when it happens to you.

ScyFyterry said...

Also, I agree with Ellen. That is an excellent point about liberals trying to make everything black and white and then attacking conservatives for both being rigid (something the liberal is) and not seeing shades of gray (something the liberal can't see).

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, Thanks! :)

This is my favorite speech from Jim Kirk in the whole series because I think the point is that powerful -- you control yourself. If more people grasped that, this would be a much better world.

Look at Obama's Julia website, for example. The whole thing is premised on the idea that Julia's entire life and future depend step by step on Obama. That's ridiculous. We control our own actions and we make our own choices. We cannot excuse them by blaming our pasts or by waiting for others to act for us.

darski said...

I admit to all that has been said but for me it was the "Living in Realville" that I took away from this episode. Hat tip to Rush.

I think that liberals just never seem to get to that point. Hence Islam gets a hall pass on some evidence I fail to see.

I also have a natural distrust of diplomacy. I think it was Spock who said that "dimplomacy is saying 'nice doggy' while you get a bigger stick." I think diplomacy is utter stupidity w/ protocols.

BTW and totaly OT... does anyone have a suggestion about why Hillary has just quit trying?

rlaWTX said...

I have no idea what comments come after comment #2 from JCS- I am stopping there for now:
@"J.C. Supercop" -- I have a good friend who, at the age of 20, broke his neck. Technically, he is a paraplegic. He has also been on the Australian Paralympic Rugby team, started a business that allowed others with disabilities explore the Outback, been a volunteer in the spinal/head injuries wards of the hospital, and now works for a mining company in Port Hedland. On Monday, he turned 40. At what point in the last 20 years should he have been euthanized exactly??????? Thank you for your idiocy.

AndrewPrice said...

darski, I think Spock did say that! LOL! ;)

The problem with diplomacy is the inherent lack of honesty and straight forwardness. It's all about speaking in code and saying things without saying them. And it's often used merely as a way to trick the unwary into letting down their guard.

I think there is much to be said for the Realville aspect of this episode too. Conservatives understand that sometimes war is necessary. But we're not war mongers. And part of what this episode is exposing is the danger of letting the cost of war be hidden. When war appears too clean and too "surgical," then people are less likely to think through the consequences and thus are more likely to favor war.

I don't think this is an anti-war statement so much as a "know what you are doing before you act" statement, because when we go to war, we send real Americans to fight and die on our behalf and that's not something we should do lightly.


As for Hillary, personally, I think she's worn out and I think she gets crapped on by Obama and it's very hard to work for a boss like that.

tryanmax said...

DUQ, it's hard to put liberal ideology into words because it is so shifty. I don't mean to say that liberals will ever admit to being wrong or changing their minds. They won't because they don't think they've ever done those things. They think doing wrong and righting wrong are mutually exclusive, so when they crusade to undo some past wrong they committed, they are incapable of recognizing their own earlier handiwork.

All I meant by "strangely self-aware" is that they've realized their pattern of toppling prior achievements. What is rare is that, not knowing whose accomplishments they undo, they are currently using the practice as it's own justification

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Bravo! I get the idea that some people reach a point where they think suicide is preferable, but the automatic assumption that disability is a reason to kill people is deeply troubling, especially because liberals push this all the time and because they are considering more and more things disabling.

DUQ said...

tryanmax, I didn't mean to imply I disagreed, I think you are right about the "strangely aware" because I see that a lot where liberals seem to be carefully talking around reality. I just meant that I've never seen them straight up admit that they changed their minds about anything. They always claim they "always believed this."

rlaWTX said...

ok - now I have read through the rest of the comments. and taken a deep breath or two.

Andrew, I like your favorite quote, but I also like the "I've given you back the horrors of war." I don't think this is a repudiation of all war. It is tying the action to the consequence. Just as they have the choice whether or not to kill, there are consequences of both choices. Sometimes the result of not killing is worse than killing. War is an option, but it shouldn't be allowed to become so removed that no one feels the consequences other than those in the fighting. I think both libs and conservatives have done this over the last 15 years. If it a liberals'/conservatives' "good war" (Serbia/Iraq), then the casualties are for the good in their minds. But both sides of the "leadership" have become inured from the losses incurred since their children are not generally at the front. Those in the military I have heard talk about their service believe that there are good reasons for their involvement in war zones, but we who are not there can get too far away. And the press filters the image of the war based on a political viewpoint. We at home tend to lose the immediacy and intensity and horror.

Back to ST - this society had a sense of duty that was shared, but there was no horror of the loss of potential of those lives. It was routine. The leadership could leave the choices up to the computer and never feel their own responsibility to themselves or their society. If they now choose to continue war, there will be no avoidance of their ownership of that choice.

rlaWTX said...

when I started my war comment, Andrew, yours above was not where I could see it.Yours is more concise.

Anonymous said...

Andrew - Excellent piece. Permit me to add that Kirk's crew reflects his beliefs of going to guns when necessary. At one point in this episode, Scotty and McCoy refuse Ambassador Fox's demand that they beam down to a (phony) celebration party. After Fox leaves, a disgusted Scotty says: "Diplomats! The best diplomat I know is a fully activated phaser bank."

And while Kirk and Spock rescue Fox -- who's scheduled for execution -- he's dismayed at Spock using a phaser: "What are you doing?" Spock replies, "Practicing a peculiar variety of diplomacy, sir."

--- Big Mo

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Those are excellent points!

I don't see this as a repudiation of war either, I see it as a warning that when war becomes too easy, too clean, and too removed, it will be waged without thought and without end. This is a warning that if you are going to use war, then you must realize the full consequences before you make your decision.

And I think you're right that we've forgotten this lesson over the past 15+ years. We get censored images, sanitized portrayals, and the military and politicians speaking in terms of "surgical strikes" as if only the bad guy will get killed. That makes the whole thing into a consequence-free videogame.

That causes the public to support wars too easily and it also makes us weaker because public support now falls apart at the first sign of something ugly from the war. Both of those are bad things.

As a conservative, I want the public to make fully informed, rational decisions, and when the leadership is presenting a sanitized version of the truth, that becomes impossible.

Great point too about the lack of responsibility. The leaders can blame the computers and death becomes clean, routine, and automatic. Without Kirk giving them back the horror, this war could go on forever because it's just like a machine chugging along which nobody notices.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Thanks! Yours is spot on as well! :)

Joel Farnham said...

Off Topic,

I just found this out, George Lindsey, better known as Goober Pyle, died yesterday, May 7, 2012. He was great as Goober.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Big Mo! I'm glad you liked it! Those are excellent points.

What's funny about the Scotty point is that it should be obvious to anyone that these people can't be trusted. Yet Fox keeps going on about how they must have offended or scared the Eminiarians and how disarming themselves would be a show of good faith which will cause them to suddenly decide to be friendly. Scotty knows better. He knows that the only way to respond to an aggressor is to let them know you are ready to fight. That is again, a very conservative belief.

And you see it again with Spock. He knows that the only way to free themselves is to let the Eminiarians know that they can cause more problems than the Eminiarians can handle. Again bargaining from a position of strength -- something liberals don't understand.

I think it's interesting too that Fox comes around after he realizes that they really have tricked him. That's very liberal too, to ignore all the evidence until it affects you personally.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, I saw that yesterday. I liked him too. RIP

ScottDS said...

Also slightly off-topic... character actor George Murdock passed away a few days ago. He showed up here and there but he also played "God" in Star Trek V. I guess he'll finally get that starship after all. :-)

As for this episode, what always fascinated me was the idea itself: a virtual war waged by machines but with human casualties. Per Memory Alpha, it was a subtle comment on Vietnam and the ease with which the news networks would report casualty numbers.

Politically, I can neither argue nor disagree, though I am both pro-choice AND pro-death penalty, so I guess I can't be accused of inconsistency. I don't have much to say about euthanasia, but lets say my opinion of the matter is somewhat colored, what with living in Florida during the Terri Schiavo drama. (But that's another story.)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I have to say that Memory Alpha is not very good at understanding these episodes. I think they just try to squeeze out the most simplistic, most liberal sounding idea they can come up with and ignore all the contrary evidence.

Euthanasia is a tricky question. The libertarian in me says that it's nobody's business. But the realist in me says that this becomes a tool for those hoping to rid themselves of a sick relative or hoping to gain an inheritance. Terry Schiavo is an odd case and not very representative because you had a fight between different relatives. What is more instructive on the issue at large is what is happening in Europe where euthanasia is quickly becoming a duty.

It's the same problem with organ sales. It sounds like, "well, why not if people want to?" until you realize that people will be pushed into this for various reasons.

ScottDS said...

In this particular instance, Memory Alpha attributed the explanation to David Gerrold though there was no source. (One of the many pitfalls of the wiki-verse.)

I agree with your Libertarian side, though I also admit it's a tricky issue. My dad had to pull the plug on my grandfather last year... but unlike Schiavo, we had no family members fighting each other (thank God!) and it was accepted that the last thing Grandpa would've wanted was to live like a vegetable. And I know Dad thinks about it from time to time.

On the other hand, I'm turning 30 next year and if we lived in Logan's Run, that would mean I'd be dead!

Re: organ sales, I consider that a slippery slope and I'd rather humankind not dabble with it. Hell, most people don't know how to buy a cell phone, let alone a major organ!

rlaWTX said...

I agree about the "pushed" into it reservations about euthanasia. "Think of the children!" could be the duty-cry...

The whole "pulling the plug" thing is fraught with pain and ramifications - as it should be. I watched my ex have to do that with his dad (on Father's Day no less). And as hard as the painful memory is, it's better it IS painful than an automatic duty to the state.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, It's a tricky issue and it's made all the trickier as the advocates try to expand the scope of these things.


Whether it's accurately attributed to David Gerrold or not, it's simply not accurate. That may have been one intent, but it's entirely inconsistent with the whole thrust of the episode. I've seen this several times where they claimed a meaning, but that meaning was contradicted by what the episode actually said. So I'm assuming this is just after-the-fact liberalism trying to explain away something they didn't say/mean at the time. The alternative is that they are so stupid they had no idea what they wrote and they somehow created a brilliant example of the exact opposite of what they intended time and again. That kind of strains credibility.

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, That's the real danger. If someone wants to kill themselves, there isn't much you can do about it. But when the system suggests it's an acceptable alternative and makes it easy, then it becomes really easy for people to start pushing their loved ones into it.

I mentioned the organ sales to Scott because these are identical issues. If we allowed people to sell organs, you would see people start doing that, not because they wanted to, but because they felt they had no other choice to help their families. It's the same thought process with a lot of euthanasia -- people aren't making the decision for themselves, they have been pressured to make to benefit others.

Preying on the vulnerable is the most disgusting form of abuse in my opinion, and this really takes that to a new level.

rlaWTX said...

IDK, libs are pretty good about arguing themselves into an unexpected corner... ;)

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, That's true. And then they don't seem to realize that what they are arguing flies in the face of all their other beliefs.

I guess that comes from years of compartmentalizing their beliefs.

Tennessee Jed said...

"It is good thing that war is so terrible, lest we grow too fond of it"

Nice analysis, Andrew. It strikes me that liberals would tend to think conservatives are the war mongers, but Republicans are not always conservative, and liberals and too many others tend to think if (D's) are for it, it's liberal, and if (R's) are for it is conservative. Reality doesn't work that well as you often point out in your posts.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Jed! Yep, it doesn't always work out that way, sometimes one side or the other stumbles upon something good or bad unexpectedly.

Jesus Christ Supercop said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AndrewPrice said...

BTW, I figured you all would want to know that our little fascist JCS came back and posted a comment suggesting a murderous intent... as you might expect from his kind. Sad, but that's the modern left for you.

PikeBishop said...

Just watched this one recently and I noticed a very interesting staging decision. Did you ever notice that "the women" (Asian and Barbara Babcock's character) disappear completely from the action about two thirds of the way through? They are not present at any of the disintegrator destructions, nor are they present in the control center for the entire last act! I guess they are still back at the holding cell with the Yeoman holding a phaser on the other. Seems odd, since Babcock's character plays such a key role early in the plot.

rlaWTX said...

let's feed him to the eagles... :)

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, I doubt the eagles would eat him. His brain seems a little moldy.

AndrewPrice said...

PikeBishop, I had never noticed that, but looking at the screencaps, you are right. I wonder why? Maybe they felt Babcock would need to say something if she was there and they didn't know how to work her in?

tryanmax said...

Although this argument only carries so far, if euthanasia, abortion, organ sales, and whatever one wants to do with one's own body are all okay, then so is prostitution. I realize that the libertarian would retort that prostitution is fine so long as you can remove the exploitation. What is ignored is that the exploitation is inherent to the trade. And it is/would be similarly present in all the others.

I think we can use this episode to draw a corollary from war to abortion. The pro-abortion side does all they can to limit information about the procedure and to remove it from public view. They sterilize the subject by euphemistically call it a women's health issue. Anyone who tries to discuss (or show) the actual affects of abortion is decried as hateful and barbaric.

None of this is to say that abortion is a procedure that should never be done. But it is at the very least a course that should not be taken lightly. What I see the pro-abortion side doing is working to make abortion an easy and weightless decision. Same goes for the euthanasia crowd.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's a really good point and I have often found that the side which works to hide the facts is the one with the worse argument.

I think you're right about abortion -- and I would say many of the left's ideas -- they work hard to make them sound like something they are not. They try to make them sound clinical and easy and "fair" and a dozen other good things. And they absolutely attack and smear anyone who tries to point out the facts because they are afraid that once people know the facts rather than the gloss, they will reject the argument.

On your final point, I agree with you that these arguments don't justify a ban on anything, they merely point out that people need to be fully and honestly informed before they make decisions, i.e. people should not be making significant decisions based on spin or gloss.

AndrewPrice said...

JCS, Don't even bother. You showed yourself to be a brainless little troll, so you lost your Commentarama Privileges. No appeal.

tryanmax said...

Amazing how some people come in fists flailing and expect to make friends.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, He came in trying to cause problems from the get go. There was no attempt to discuss these issues or debate with anyone. As with other trolls, it was just an attempt to make himself feel like he had some control over his life by trying to make others upset. Sadly for our little friend, that doesn't work here because we don't really care what some wannabe whines.

Commander Max said...

Sorry to come into the discussion late. But that's what I get for working on Star Trek models all day. It's too bad I missed the troll, those fools can be very entertaining(luckily you don't get too many of those).

Great insights Andrew, your defining what TOS was. Something many a lib Trekkie would really be bothered about. So is the conservatism of Star Trek(TOS) a future book?

One thing about this episode that really stood out to me, was the arrogance of Mea and Eminiar VII. Their way was the superior way, they conquered all of the horrors of war. We can make war civilized. So we are better than you(atypical lib trait).

To make it worse their adversary agreed with them. (At least we were presented with two Lib worlds, which is really funny. In reality one world would grab all the tech, wait till the system went online, then nuke the fools who bought into the civilized warfare). Those two worlds could agree to work together, standardize and sync a computer system to exterminate their respective populous, but not the hardware. The materialism remains, which is much more important than the people(or the individual).

Of course their way is so much better, than another civilization that shows up in ships that are traveling faster than light. Capable of laying waste to their entire world(but not today, even though they might be asking for it).

Kirk threatening general order #24 displays another message of conservatism.
Facing reality.

The Federation diplomat, what historical comic relief(Hi Mr. Diplomat, thanks for coming, you can die right over there).

The guys that created STTOS called themselves liberal(LOL). Well, perhaps they were libs by the classical definitions.

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Max! There might be a book in this... there probably should be.

You're right about the smugness of the liberals in this episode. They are SURE their way is morally superior to Kirk. If I remember correctly, they even call him a barbarian at some point. And the woman going to slaughter like a sheep is equally smug about being better than Kirk, who is trying to save her. And Fox, the diplomat, is smug that he's smarter than these military types.

And yet, they are all exposed in the end! LOL!

I think it's amazing that this show was created by liberals.

Commander Max said...

They say they are libs, but what they produced says something else. I must assume their perspective came from the events of WW2 through the cold war. During that time it was real obvious the socialists/communists were the bad guys. It only took about a decade or so to cloud those waters. With some special thanks to Soviet covert action(and a bunch of dupes), we have all of the anti American nonsense of today.

Andrew, since there have so many other books on Trek. Why not, your perspective is right on. You have plenty of material sitting on this site.
"The Politics of Trek", that would cause a firestorm. The arguments would get really entertaining. I'm sure most of them would be on the intellectual level of, "You Suck!".

It would be just as entertaining to see the people that wrote for the show, all stating that wasn't the message we were trying to convey(all still hoping to find work).

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Outstanding post, Andrew!
Love this episode. Kirk shows model leadership here and I agree, Scotty gets some plum lines.

One of the biggest things that seperate leftists from conservatives is that leftist libs are ideology oriented (which doesn't conform with or consider reality).

I'll just quote my pal Gagdad Bob because he writes it far better than I can:

"An ideology is any system of thought that superimposes a second reality on the first, which has the practical effect of severing man from the ground in more or less coercive or violent ways. Ideology ends in the murder of man, either physically or spiritually (and usually both)."

And this:

"Nor should conservatism be reduced to an ideology, but rather, should simply be a healthy respect for the Nature of Things, whether human, societal, economic, political, spiritual, or in any other way. The point is, reality always comes first, not the ideology (very much what Gerard means by American.)"

Quotes by Gagdad Bob:
Cause And Cure
And referencing Gerard Vanderleun:
On Rebranding Conservative To American

I think Gerard has a brilliant idea! It reminds me of John Wayne's speech about hyphenated Americans.
Now, this is not to say there ain't some conservatives/republicans/libertarians, etc., that also are soaked in ideology (and we are constantly trying to change that).

They simply have their core principles messed up and don't fully understand what liberty and free markets really are (thus they also like to coerce or use force like leftist/libs do...for our own "good" of course.

Thankfully, there's a huge push back against this and more and more folks are opening their eyes and listening.
But the ideology based proregressives won't go down without a fight.

I'm gonna say it from now on. I'm in the American party. Good luck attacking that liberals, lol.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I forgot to say that the two factions in this episode are trying to impose their own reality on Reality.
With disasterous results.

Now they must deal with reality rather than destroy their own people or face extinction.
Quite a wake up call!

BTW, notice the words the troll uses:
"Any sane person favors euthanasia."

Yeah. This guy or gal needs a serious shot of reality.
Translation: anyone who is pro-life is insane.
Typical leftist trope.

Then there's this smelly nugget:

"There's no moral justification for forcing somebody to, say, live out the rest of their lives paralyzed from the neck down, or worse."

Ah, he's appealing to our morality. How cute. How dangerously naive.
We ain't about force. That's the point.

But the troll is. What's abortion and euthanasia to the humans that have it forced on them?
Troll is abdicating death to anyone he deems unworthy or inconvenient.

Really, why would anyone want to be ruled over by idiots playing a warped god of death?
Do we really wanna put our very lives in the hands of people who can't or refuse to see reality?

Well, troll and those who believe in the use of force rather than life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can stick their precious ideology up where the sun don't shine (and where their heads are).

Where's their vaunted compassion when they deem to murder their fellow human beings?
And make no mistake, these people who wanna impose euthanasia on all Americans are a culture of death!

AndrewPrice said...

Max, I'm thinking about it very much. I just need to finish a couple other projects first. I seriously need more time these days.

I think you're right about WWII. Liberalism flirted with fascism and communism in the 1930s and WWII exposed those as evil, so you had a real backlash among liberals. That backlash swung them all the way to the far right -- to classical conservatism. And for a period of maybe 20 years, those two overlapped. Then what you say happened with the intentional infiltration and the dupes, etc. and liberalism swung far back to the loony fringe, where it sits today.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, Thanks! I love this episode too. I think you're right about the ideological aspect. Ideology is often imposed over truth and reality and that's where it goes wrong. And it doesn't matter if it's done by the left or the right, it's wrong both times.

The troll really exposed his thinking right up front. Notice that there is only ONE acceptable believe in his little world and anyone who doesn't subscribe is mentally deficient and needs treatment. That's very fascist thought-police stuff.

tryanmax said...

Since euthanasia came up, I thought this was a good place to share a very touching story and video run by the Daily Mail: 'He is the love of my life': Mother's inspiring YouTube video about son born with severe cleft palate that left him with no eyes

tryanmax said...

P.S. You may want to grab a tissue first.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I read about this earlier. What a sad story.

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