Utopianism in Star Trek.
The Star Trek universe is sometimes claimed to be a utopia. From technological progress to an enlightened view of human nature and equal opportunity, the vision of the future depicted in Star Trek is often touted by fans as the best possible future for humankind. An often-overlooked aspect of utopianism, however, is that "utopia" literally means "no place," calling into question the plausibility of such an optimistic future.
From intragalactic wars to power-hungry admirals to secret government organizations, the struggles of the 23rd and 24th centuries are all very familiar to us here in the 21st century, potentially undermining the very notion of human progress for which Star Trek is so famous. With the overall darker tone of Star Trek: Discovery and, to a lesser extent, Star Trek: Enterprise before that, it is reasonable to ask whether fans themselves, when pressed, really do still believe in the Star Trek vision of the future.
In this episode of Meta Treks, hosts Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling discuss utopianism in the Star Trek universe, whether Star Trek should really be considered a utopia after all, the dark sides of "perfect" societies, and the importance of having an idealistic vision of future human society—a modern-day take on a futuristic Plato's Republic—whether or not that ideal future is possible to achieve.
Initial Thoughts on Utopianism in the Star Trek Universe (00:01:55)
DS9 and Criticisms of Federation Utopia (00:06:33)
What Ways is the Society of the 24th Century Utopian? (00:12:50)
The Role of Human Improvement in a Utopian Society (00:19:40)
Non-Utopian Aspects of Society in Star Trek (00:21:48)
Do Fans Believe in the Utopian Message of Star Trek? (00:33:50)
Plato's Republic and the Perfect Society (00:42:23)
Counter Culture Moving Humanity Forward (00:50:11)
Kirk: Destroyer of Utopias vs. Picard: Preserver of Utopias (00:57:50)
Final Thoughts (01:06:07)
Mike Morrison and Zachary Fruhling
Mike Morrison (Editor) Zachary Fruhling (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Patrick Devlin (Associate Producer) Kay Shaw (Associate Producer) Mark Walker (Associate Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)