We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Science Fiction critiques

Continuing in the same spirit of the last few posts, a tip of the space helmet to Samizdata reader Neil Eden for providing us with two excellent essays located on The Proceedings of the Friesian School website:

The Fascist Ideology of Star Trek: Militarism, Collectivism, & Atheism

Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace, A Response to Critics

Satan ist der Führer

A young German couple were sentenced today after being found guilty of the murder of a friend in a Satanic Ritual.

The couple claimed to be under the influence of Satan when they stabbed the young man to death after luring him to their home.

In their defence they both said that they were “only obeying orders”.

Some things just never change, eh.

Not Really a Star Trek War

Like most of the Samizdatistas, I have my critiques of the Star Trek universe. I particularly like Lagwolf’s comment about it containing a lot of the 1960’s without the good bits, eg Sex, Drugs, Rock&Roll and Revolution for the Hell of It.

But all that aside – I suspect the lot of us watch and enjoy them. Critique is not a dismissal. And for myself, if faced upon a winter’s night with the choice between BBC News and an old episode of Star Trek…

Star Belch

Lagwolf writes in to sound off about Star Trek as well

Star Trek is an odd combination of secular multi-culturalism and happy-clappy-ism. The overwhelming belief is that the Federation can solve all the universe’s problems. Its “let’s all be friends” mentality even when sometimes confronted with naked aggression is political correctness at its worst. Of course they have some temperance elements as well as there is no booze, drugs or tobacco around. Trek represents everything bad about the 60s and “boomer” generation without the fun bits.

Babylon 5 however makes a point of establishing that humans and earth are not the centre of the universe. In fact, truth be told, humans are the equivalent of a pimple on a knat’s bum. We are so insignificant that there are species in the universe who can even be bothered to acknowledge our existence. Bab 5 was more a “space-opera,” having plots that went over several episodes and series. There is none of the “we can right it all in a hour” ethos as there is in Star Trek. So threatened were the producers of Star Trek that they pinched several of Bab 5’s writers to work on DS9. Of course, Bab 5 makes use of Cthulhu themes in its plot lines.

The vitriol that one gets from trekkies upon criticising the show is a sign of religious-like fervor that surrounds Star Trek and its followers. No doubt a bunch of trekkies will try and launch an attack on Samizdata for blaspheming their blessed show.


[Editor: with one exception the e-mails have been fairly temperate so far]

What I love about Science Fiction is the Sense of Wonder

Perry left out the best bit of Ken Layne’s comments, namely:

“I also want to blow up that planet of Furbies who ruined the third Star Wars movie … before PETA gets over there. The PETA ship will come out of hyperspace and find nothing but pelts floating around.”

I find that so inspiring.

Samizdata slogan of the day

Great Moments in Capitalist History: on this day in 1990 McDonalds opened its first restaurant in Moscow.

Star Trek: more stories about Lycra Totalitarianism

I had forgotten how popular critiques of science fiction are, but reader responses via e-mail have just reminded me of that fact following my less than flattering remarks about the politics of Star Trek! Here are some earlier articles on the same subject that produced much the same response:

The trouble with the Federation

Star Trek: the Post-Christian Generation!

More on Star Trek: An amuzing/alarming suggestion

Star Wimps

British television: the subtle propaganda of the relentless socialist meta-context

Here’s a poser for today – Have any fellow bloggers come across an example on a television drama programme in the UK which has ever portrayed a businessman or woman in straightforwardly good light, with no qualifications, ifs or buts? I haven’t. Check out the average British soap shown mid-evening to see what I am getting at. It is pure negativity towards any activity remotely creative or positive. And of course we soak it up because when coming home from a hard day at the office, factory or wherever, our mental faculties are at their least sharp.

News from gun-free Britain

Two people were shot, one of them fatally, in a West London restaurant today

United Socialist Federation of Planets

I am a great fan of both pugnacious blogger Ken Layne and Sci-Fi afficionado King Abdullah of Jordan, as both are anti-idiotarians who have excellent taste in women by all accounts. However both the worthy King and Ken seem to have a misplaced affection for Star Trek.

It’s like Star Trek — and notice that the Star Trek universe is multiracial and multicultural and the whole deal is based on getting it together, exploiting science, taking the good stuff from every culture and leaving behind the stupid, racist, sexist, totalitarian nonsense. (No Saudi science officers in Star Fleet).

Roddenbery’s ‘utopian’ United Federation of Planets is a vision of the future in which society is starkly homogenised, with para-military governance and a total state allocated command economy the likes of which have thankfully never yet come to pass (even the Soviet Union did not completely abolish money as a medium for low level allocation of resources). How many gay characters crop up in Star Trek’s Federation? How many non-conformist extroverts? Any sign of a counter-culture? How often is an internal voice of political dissent heard in the Federation? The only dissidents shown, the Maquis, were forced into armed conflict with the Federation when it betrays them to the fascist Cardassians. The only attempts at political change shown were a couple failed attempts at a coup d’état by elements of the Federation’s own military, neither of which had liberty as their objectives. The Star Trek Federation is a dystopian nightmare: smiley face totalitarianism with a California “liberal” vibe, complete with attractive telepathic political officers (‘councellors’).

A similar vision of a fascist future existed in Babylon 5, but unlike Star Trek, they were the bad guys (and had much cooler uniforms)!

Oh, and Ken is also totally wrong about Spanish food.

More low quality reporting from the BBC

The BBC, in its on-line news, reported on Monday: “Roman Catholic lawyers should refuse to handle divorce cases, Pope John Paul has said.”

In fact, the Pope said nothing of the sort and the Telegraph points this out in an editorial after some ‘fact-checking of arses’*. As I have mentioned before, I would be a whole lot less bothered by what the BBC spews out but for the fact that I am forced by law to pay for this mouthpiece of the statist British establishment.

* = Pace Ken Layne: asses are a type of strange donkey and are less likely than posteriors to be repositories of facts and falsehoods.

In answer to a letter asking about libertarianism

A gentleman from France wrote in with some questions about what would happen in a society run under libertarian principles. He had some practical questions and I thought an extract form these remarks might be interesting to some Samizdata Readers. The gentlemen who sent the e-mail did not want to be pointed at books which he would find hard to locate, and thus I answered much by pointing him at various Libertarian Alliance pamphlets on the matters in question, as they are short, to the point and available free on-line (in .pdf format, requires Adobe Acrobat or similar to read).

Q: If there is no government/state then who pays the police?

Not all of us at Samizdata advocate full blown anarcho-capitalist social models. We range from ‘minarchists’ (small state libertarians) who see the role of the state as being security and nothing else, to other hyphenated libertarians across the spectrum between neo-conservative to anarcho-capitalist. There have been some interesting things written on the subject, such as:

Private Police and the Free Rider Problem by Max O’Connor.

Q: Who takes care of pensions?

You do. In the USA and UK (and unlike Europe), private pensions are hugely important and are the reason why as society goes ‘grey’, the EU’s state pensions are, in the long run, completely unsustainable whilst those in the US and UK are still financially viable due to [rivate sector involvement.

Q: Who regulates industries?

In the current sense, no one does. That is the whole point of the laissez-faire capitalism that underpins libertarianism. Much as in the USA there is less state regulation but more civil liability litigation, in a libertarian model, people will sue if others impose costs on them to prevent things like building a chemical plant in a residential area. The state is not the only way to achieve sensible results. As that greatest of Frenchmen wrote: said:

Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all.
– Frederic Bastiat

Q: Who decides who the judges are going to be?

There are several interesting pamplets on that subject such as:

Restitution: Justice in a Stateless Society by Christian Michel

Privately Produced Law by Tom Bell

Polycentric Law Versus the Minimal State: The Case of Air Pollution by Adam Chacksfield