For some strange reason, Star Trek.com gave an outlet to someone to ramble on about how Starfleet Admiral Jean-Luc Picard has to “reckon with his privilege” in the post-“Next Generation” Federation.
Ruth Terry, a “black/Latinx freelancer based in Istanbul who writes about culture, travel, and wellness” (and who hasn’t yet finished watching “Deep Space Nine”) writes
In 2020, representation and inclusion have just as much, if not more, importance than diversity. Claiming to be an an ally to marginalized people without acknowledging your own privilege feels hollow. Picard’s ensemble of writers and actors lean into all of this — even Number One the dog represents a marginalized community — serving up a multi-layered narrative that explores how power and privilege play out in relationships with people who are different.
Holy crap — Picard’s dog portrays a “marginalized community.” Cripes. Be sure to note, too, that Terry considers the Klingons and Romulans as “marginalized.”
OK, now even though I haven’t watched a single episode of “Picard,” I feel no qualms about addressing Terry’s nonsense. Aside from the fact she concedes she hasn’t completed “DS9,” she obviously missed a great deal of “TNG” and its movies. Or, at least forgot much of it.
Using “marginalized” for the Klingons, Romulans, and whatever other Federation enemy is the 2020 equivalent of saying “all cultures are equal,” and that we have to “respect” cultural differences.
No. We do not.
Do we have to respect cultures which hang homosexuals merely for their sexual preference? That subordinate women merely because of their gender? That imprison people for having the “wrong” opinions? Of course not. Unfortunately, the modern Left would quickly call you a “bigot” (among other things) for not showing understanding and respect for such a society. In the Left’s concept of “intersectionality,” there are unwritten rules which its adherents follow, and this includes overlooking egregious cultural practices if said culture is still a “victim” of some sort. For example, it’s not a big deal that Iran engages in all of the things noted above, because the country has been “oppressed” by the “imperialist” United States for decades.
In the 23rd and 24th centuries, the Klingons and Romulans (not to mention Cardassians) are militaristic, authoritarian, and expansionist cultures with little concept of individual freedoms. They should be marginalized by the Federation. Starfleet and the Federation constructively engage with them (and even forges an alliance with one, the Klingons) just as the US does with nations who hold opposing values (like China, Saudi Arabia) because it’s better than constant military conflict.
The Left considers Western nations “privileged” because they’ve been more successful than other societies. They’ll tell you this is because the West exploited and decimated other cultures; while there’s a lot of truth to this, the fact is the West didn’t do anything different from other civilizations. It was just more apt at it. But as an offshoot of this success, the West offers the greatest degree of individual freedom and comfort on the planet. The United Federation of Planets evolved in much the same way. Vulcan endured endless violence until Surak’s teachings transformed its culture into one based on logic. Earth needed World War 3 to open its collective eyes and embark on more peaceful era.
However, “privilege” in the early 21st sense doesn’t even exist in the 24th century Federation. As much as we might scoff at the notion today, the fact that Jean-Luc Picard is white and was raised in France gives him no more privilege than Geordi La Forge, born in Somalia of the future African Confederation. Such concepts make no sense in a multi-species society anyway. (Not that there wouldn’t be occasional squabbles like when the Klingon Azetbur remarked that the Federation is a “homo sapiens-only club,” or the seemingly unending arrogance of the Vulcans ticking off people, especially in the Federation’s early days.)
Recall when Deanna Troi informed an incredulous Samuel Clemens that the societies which make up the Federation freely chose to join. And recall when Picard chastised Worf, noting that joining Starfleet means abiding by its rules and regulations.
If the modern Left had any sort of voice in the Federation and Starfleet — which, unfortunately, it is now getting thanks to “Discovery” and now “Picard” — the “TNG” episode where Wesley takes the Starfleet Academy test would have delved into the “cultural bias” of the exam, and how humans have “privilege” for myriad reasons. TOS’s “The Ultimate Computer” would have included a subplot on how Dr. Richard Daystrom faced hurdles in his education because very few of his teachers “looked like him.”
(“TNG” began falling into this sort of nonsense in its last season: In “Journey’s End,” a direct contradiction to Picard and Q’s debate in the premiere “Encounter at Farpoint,” Jean-Luc is chastised by a Native American chief about his ancestor’s ancient crimes on Earth. In addition, “Force of Nature” attempted to jump on the climate change hysteria bandwagon by showing how warp drive damages the fabric of space-time.)
True Trek fans will shun Terry’s nonsense, and that of the writers of “Discovery” and “Picard.” In spite of some occasional good stories, it’s not Trek. Instead of showing an enlightened future society which faces analogies of 20th and 21st century problems, these shows have contemporary issues foisted upon them. Which makes for lousy escapist entertainment.