RE: Humor/Star Trek linguistics

From: Dickey, Michael F (
Date: Tue Feb 26 2002 - 11:11:28 MST

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Lorrey []
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 10:31 AM
Subject: Re: Humor/Star Trek linguistics

"Dickey, Michael F" wrote:
> This is pretty interesting as well
> The Economics of Star Trek, as bogus as the physics of Star Trek. The
> author argues, reasonably well, that ST:TNG is a communist society.
> The author also has an extensive database critiquing specific episodes and
> noting the evidence of the true contradicotry, hypocritical communist
> of the federation

"WHich is all rather BS. I'll buy that Starfleet operates
communistically, much as many military organizations do today to a
limited extent..."


If you check out the site, he addresses things like the Abolition of
property rights, State seizure of transportation services, State seizure of
communication services, Elimination of religion and traditional families,
State seizure of industry, Citizens are forced to work. Just some examples:

No wealth: Counsellor Troi and Captain Picard have both boasted about how
the accumulation of wealth is no longer an incentive. What they don't
explain is why. Humans have always been territorial (and so have our
evolutionary ancestors), so our desire to accumulate more assets seems more
like a basic facet of human nature than a temporary cultural phenomenon. It
can be suppressed or modified through education and social conditioning, but
such methods are hardly 100% effective. Some greedy people should remain,
but not in Star Trek. So if humans in the future no longer desire wealth,
then why not? Do they use extremely advanced brainwashing techniques, so
sophisticated that no one can resist them? Or have they made the
accumulation of wealth illegal, as Marx advocated? The latter seems more
US Navy ships are even more so.

They're all company cars: What was the last time you saw a privately owned
personal starship? Starships are either government warships, diplomatic
vessels, or transports. The only one-person vehicles (apart from
non-Federation vehicles such as Quark's ship or Bajor's spacecraft) are
runabouts and shuttles, and they are always government property. Some might
argue that starships must be very expensive or difficult to operate and
therefore impractical for personal use, but Quark's ship disproved this

Ma Bell is back: The entire subspace relay system is owned by the Federation
government, as described in the DS9 tech manual. There is no private
competitor. Since all interstellar communications must use this relay
network, this effectively gives the Federation government total control over
long distance communications. Furthermore, it appears that local
communications systems are government-operated as well, since the government
was able to effortlessly impose a complete local news blackout during the
attempted coup in "Paradise Lost." As another monopolistic Microsoftian
measure, all communications start and end with the ubiquitous Federation
logo, even on mixed civilian/military stations like DS9. Quark once ran
afoul of this monopoly when he wanted to broadcast advertisements for his
bar, and had no alternative but to break into DS9's communications system.

Nietszche Wins- God is Dead: While the TOS episode "Balance of Terror" began
with a wedding in the ship's chapel, no TNG era ship seems to have a chapel
at all. Christianity appears to have been purged from society. One of the
most extreme examples of this deliberate suppression can be seen in a recent
episode of Voyager, the holographic Doctor actually portrayed a Catholic
priest and conducted a ceremony, but somehow avoided mentioning the names
"God" or "Jesus" entirely! How someone can portray a priest and avoid
mentioning God or Jesus is beyond me. Also, while "Bones" McCoy often
mentioned Jesus and God, we never hear the name "Jesus" on TNG, DS9, or
Voyager. This situation exists in stark contrast to every other
civilization, such as the Bajorans, Klingons, Ferengi etc. which all have
their own curious religions (always precisely one religion per species; I
guess aliens aren't very imaginative in Star Trek).

etc. etc.

He also gives qualitative estimates of how fully these various things are
implemented (not all are 100%)

Mike Lorrey - "A Captain living in the world of Starfleet would have little
need of
money if all of his/her needs were met by the starfleet replicator
technology. However, we rarely see in Star Trek anyone who isn't in
Starfleet who ISN'T engaged in private enterprise."


He was referring to the federation specifically, how often do you see any
member race of the federation engaged in private enterprise?

Mike Lorrey - "Most of all, what is the point of naming the flagship of the
"Enterprise" if it is a communist society?"

Because the writers were merely idealistic english majors who had no concept
of economics or physics, and catered to the Whim's of roddenberry and
berman. Just cause the ship is named 'Enterprise' does not mean that the
federation supports free enterprise.

Mike Lorrey - "There are many incidents in Star Trek history of businessmen
openly, even if some are depicted in a rather typically
biased-Roddenberry fashion (Harry Mudd, of "Troubles with Tribbles" and
other episodes of ST:TOS featuring him, including the one with the
beauty pills and dilithium miners, and the one where Harry meets his
apparent end at the hands of an android that appears as his ex wife....)"


If you check the site out, he starts off (at some point) by saying that TOE
was mostly a free enterprise system, and joked that there must have been
some kind of coup in the intervening years.

Mike Lorrey - "In ST:TNG, Capt. Picard's brother owns his own vinyard in
France, which
he labored to keep "in the family" while Picard went off to the stars.
Furthermore, the Ferengi ARE a part of the Federation, even if they are
looked down on by snooty starfleet types."


Interesting point, checking the database on his site I referenced above I

Season 4, Ep# 78: "Family"

(looking out over the vineyards)
LOUIS: One man's idea of paradise.
PICARD: Two men. Robert's. And my father's.
LOUIS: Never did I know anyone less interested in grapes than you, Jean-Luc.

PICARD: No, I was interested, Louis. And I was proud that my family helped
to preserve the traditions. But I did not feel bound by those traditions as
they seemed to be.

His comments on the episode are...

Culture: not once in the entire episode do we hear talk of sales, but we do
hear of traditions. It seems as if the Picard family vineyard exists simply
to provide scenery for the local community.

This isn't unprecedented in real life. In certain European countries, some
farms are deliberately maintained despite economic unviability strictly for
reasons of aesthetics, so that tourists will see the quaint "old world"
agrarian lifestyles they've read about in books.

If you watch this episode you may notice that their agricultural techniques
are strictly primitive: everything is done by hand, as it was done centuries
ago. This contradicts the common Trekkie argument that the Picard farm is
proof of capitalism in the Federation, since a capitalist farm would be much
more profitable using modern technology (never mind the advanced technology
they would presumably have in four centuries).

At best, this would be analogous to modern "throwback" farms such as the
Amish and Orthodox Mennonite farms, which deliberately conduct their affairs
in a primitive manner. Of course, both of those religious sects preach that
money is the root of all evil, so a distinct resemblance hardly makes the
Federation look like a free-market society ...


Mike Lorry - "Furthermore, in ST:DSN, there are numerous incidents of
businesspeople, including the Ferengi Quark, who owns his own bar/casino
on the space station, as well as the Cardassian tailor, who owns his own

Are the Ferengi and the Cardassians actually MEMBERS of the Federation?



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