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Star Trek TOS, a “liberal” show?

Shet yo’ mouth.

Shatner Suggests That Moderns Feel Threatened by Capt. Kirk
I’m an actor, not an activist! That’s a line that a lot of modern entertainment gurus apparently need to hear. According to actor William Shatner, Paramount will not be bringing back his iconic character of Captain Kirk and will continue to sideline Kirk because people “feel threatened” by the heroic starship officer.

A strong male leader who defies the odds — and sometimes the rules — to be the main hero? That’s almost as offensive as misgendering a hulking dude in a dress! Some of us might be okay with Captain Kirk not being resurrected again from the standpoint that Shatner played the role best, but it does seem mystifying that so many recent Star Trek ads or graphics excluded Kirk. Fans might love all the supporting characters of the original cast, and all the newer characters that came after, but Captain Kirk was essential in making Star Trek the hugely popular franchise it is.

There were definitely undertones of progressivism and liberalism in the original Star Trek show, and I’d guess Shatner is no conservative. But it does make sense that the masculine, weapon-wielding Kirk, definitely in command of his ship and appealing to lovers of the classic American hero (as a white male, no less!), should have been beloved in his heyday but suppressed by modern wokies. 

The esteemed George MF Washington begs to differ with that “liberal Trek” business.

So first, let’s be clear about what the original Star Trek series, Gene Roddenberry’s first creation, actually was…it was a smart, muscular and unapologetic defense of the power of Western Civilization to change the world (universe) for the better…and it was a series which celebrated courage and risk taking as among the most important of all human virtues.

If any of that sounds like something that would send Conservatives fleeing for their lives like vampires before a runaway garlic truck with a busted brake line, well then you’re probably a BLM activist…or at the very least you are admitting that you’re entirely ignorant of the things that modern Conservatives actually believe.

The problem, in my experience, is that most Progressives have not actually seen much of the original series (TOS), and have only a very rudimentary understanding of the show’s ethos. To the extent they are familiar with TOS at all, it is often through modern media “criticism” of the show which focuses on what mainstream critics, which is to say Leftists, have concluded…that the show’s politics were proudly and unapologetically Progressive.

The problem is that this conclusion just ain’t true it’s a misunderstanding often based on a single episode… “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”, which has become the most famous episode of Star Trek precisely because it is about race…our modern culture’s most fraught, most talked about, most obsesssed-over issue.

“Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” (S3; EP15): In this most broadly well-known episode of TOS, Kirk and his crew stumble on two aliens, one of whom is a criminal being pursued across interstellar space by the other. These two men’s faces are split down the middle, one side is black, the other white. The intractable problem, these aliens explain to a befuddled Captain Kirk, is that while the right side of one man’s face is white, the other man’s face is white on the left side.

Other than that, they are identical in every way…the only thing that differentiates these two men is…the color of their skin.

But that is not the full story of “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.”

In the end, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” is not an argument for modern Progressive obsessions like CRT, Race-based preferences, Diversity and Equity programs, reparations or any other form of racial remuneration… the episode makes a much larger, and oppositional point. It makes the case that our obsession with race is unworthy of an intelligent advanced species, that it is terminally corrosive to any pluralist society and that, in the end, this unhealthy obsession will doom us all… just as, in the episode’s final twist, it dooms Bele and Lokai’s entire planet.

“Listen to me…you both must end up dead…if you don’t stop hating…” Kirk implores them both as the two men careen towards an entirely avoidable tragedy…

I do not know a single American Conservative, white black or other, who would object to that message.

And while “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” dealt specifically with the issue of race, the original Star Trek series tackled a broad range of political hot button issues week-in-and-week-out, beyond just race, over the course of its three seasons…

GMFW goes on to examine several TOS episodes in like fashion, with accompanying video clips including Kirk’s brilliant “Risk is our business” soliloquy, before coming to the beating, bleeding heart of the whole thing.

Look, I could go on and on, citing episode after episode which mirror aspects of our current political moment and which advocate for a modern Conservative (or at the very least a classically Liberal) point of view, but in the end that’s not even really the point, because STAR TREK: TOS has the ultimate trump card hidden in its deck…one singular thing that stands as an unimpeachable argument against the idea that Star Trek represents a modern Progressive ideal that has no appeal whatsoever to the average American conservative.

And that thing is the show’s main character…the iconic and incomparable Captain James T. Kirk himself.

Captain Kirk is everything that the broader Progressive dominated culture has been teling us for years that we are supposed to hate. He is the very definition of what is now called “toxic masculinity” by our Progressive “betters.”

Kirk is a total stud…he’s handsome, he’s unabashedly heterosexual, he has absolutely no confusion about his gender identity and he doesn’t hesitate to take his shirt off.

In his career, as in his life, Kirk is an aggressive Alpha Male… and while he certainly has the guts and skill to fight his way out of just about any situation, he’s also smart, charismatic and clever enough to talk his way out of trouble whenever he recognizes that his is the weakest hand at the table.

Star Trek, and in particular its iconic lead character, celebrated those things about Human nature from which Progressives, and our participation trophy culture in general, tend to recoil like slugs from salt…courage, risk taking, steadfastness, self-sacrifice and confidence in one’s culture and principles. One need only to have survived the COVID pandemic and its concomitant lockdowns and mandates to understand that Progressives no longer admire these things, that indeed they often seek to use their political advantage to suppress or even eliminate them altogether.

The courage to face risk has become something of a lost art here in America of the early 2020’s, to our country’s great detriment. It is our culture’s multi-decade project to decouple risk from reward that has softened the population to the extent that the COVID lockdowns were greeted, not with the rage, indignation and resistance they deserved, but with a quiet un-American acquiesence…almost as if large majorities of the population were eager for Government to remove risk from their lives, regardless of whatever rewards might be thrown overboard right along with it.

But once upon a time, Star Trek and Captain Kirk stood athwart this corrosive “safety first” instinct for risk aversion at all costs and tried to remind us of an America where risk was a necessary part of achieving the things we wanted most in our lives…love, adventure, career success, victory…all those things that make life worth living.

And that is a Conservative impulse to its core.

Much as I’ve always adored both TOS and TNG, I’ve never really thought of it this way before. But now that he mentions it, the man makes one hell of an excellent point, I think.

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1 thought on “Star Trek TOS, a “liberal” show?

  1. There’s a reason Logical Spock and Risk Averse Bones are not Captain and Kirk is.

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