Star Trek and its Descent into Crass Americanism…


Whether Gene Roddenberry – a former union-leader and police officer – intended it or not, his original series of Star Trek (which first aired in the late 1960s) offered a distinctly ‘Socialist’ image of the US disguised as science fiction and futurism. Indeed, it could be said that what he created on-screen was nothing short of a ‘Communist’ vision of not only the US, but of the entire planet earth. Earth culture had evolved beyond predatory capitalism, racism and imperialism, with each race or ethnicity viewed as ‘equal’ as well as interestingly ‘diverse’.  It is this model of reality (where money nolonger existed) which was projected into deep space and used to mediate with other species from different planets. The emphasis was one of ‘learning’ through ‘exploration’, not interfering with the internal affairs of other planets – but offering scientific and technological assistance where appropriate or required. Civilisations or species deemed to be below a certain scientific level of development were left alone to develop at their own pace. All this was written, produced, turned into a screen-play and aired on national television in the US not long after the witch-hunts for Communists had died down (during the McCarthy era), but with anti-Russian and anti-Soviet hysteria remaining more or less unchallenged – except by Roddenberry that is – who had a Russian (Chekhov) as a permanent cast member. Over the years, however, and as a consequence of various reboots, the new versions of Star Trek, although containing elements of transcendence, have slowly morphed the Star Trek narrative from one of opposing contemporary (capitalist) US culture and society, into one of representing, reflecting and reinforcing contemporary US (capitalist) culture and society. Star Trek has been brought very much in-line with American mainstream culture, with the US steadfastly refusing to mimic the original Star Trek and move in any way toward a ‘Socialist’ model (perhaps the most obvious example of this is Seth MacFarlane’s parody of Star Trek – ‘The Orville’). Instead of a ‘united earth’ scientifically and technologically developing toward a collective and ‘Internationalist’ space exploration, Star Trek has been ‘reduced’ to a crass ‘Americanisation’ which sees space exploration as being a liberal expression of Eurocentric imperialism and expansionism. Rather than a developed and unified human species pooling resources and exploring the cosmos with curiosity and wonder – the new versions of Star Trek see the main characters behaving like the United States – with its aggressive militarism disguised as United Nations ‘liberalism’.

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