Star Trek's Federation: Dystopian?

I’ve come to the conclusion, the Federation is a dystopian empire:

So Data is granted personhood in “The Measure of Man”. The fact that a decorated officer would have to fight for personhood in the first place is fucked up.

Now fast forward a year later. Data makes a “child”. Again, Starfleet steps in to claim authority of said child.

In another episode, Data is ordered to keep mum about the secret wormhole aliens. An order the captain himself would not remember giving Data.

Later, when the crew is wondering why Data is acting so weird, Picard threatens Data that Starfleet will “strip him down to the wires” if he isn’t forthcoming.

And then there’s Odo. Odo finds an offspring. He begins to nurture and teach it. Sisko then threatens Odo: “If you don’t start showing results soon. It will get sent of to Starfleet.”

Also, human genetic experimentation is illegal except when Starfleet does it and Dr. Pulaski has to step in to keep the genetically enhanced humans from (unintentionally) killing regular humans (with old age).

There’s probably more I’m not remembering.

It isn’t anymore dystopian than the current world. Which isn’t saying much.

Every human society has explicit and implicit bigotry. The Federation is bigoted against transorganics (constructs who feel they are alive), robosexuals (sexuality between humans and robots), and nonhumanoids (anything not standing upright on two legs).

Of course, being a fictional setting, it’s actually a commentary on us.

I thought Starfleet was supposed to be some sort of throwback populated with volunteers who are into that sort of thing with the rest of the federation living in some sort of post-scarcity utopia.

No, it isn’t dystopian. It’s a fair and free society with rules to protect freedoms. But once in a while someone in authority oversteps the bounds of their authority, breaks the rules, or violates someones freedom. Then Picard or Sisko has to step in and remind people of thew rules. It might require some sort of official trial or hearing. The point is that those rules exist, if someone breaks them then they are the episode’s bad guy, and official processes exist to do something about it. What more can you ask?

Why the Federation is Fascist.

Why The Star Trek Universe is Secretly Horrifying

Any society that employs professional pshrinks/psocial workers to act as “human engineers” is by definition unhealthy.

The show make more sense if you imagine that, in WWIII, the Soviets won. What you are looking at is “when Communism is perfected.”

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What do you expect from a Federation of ugly bags of mostly water?

[Kirk] that ought to be…just about right.

Root beer! did an essay claiming Star Trek was communist (from the Next Generation era onward).


Forbes seems to agree:

Although I proposed a similar thought, I have to say that article is a lot of happy-hooey. He picks and chooses facts to support the conclusion he wants. It’s actually more poorly written than the Communist manifesto!

(I did not get the impression it was tongue in cheek)

You mean like when Kirk abandoned Kahn and his wife and his crew on Ceti Alpha V? Yeah. I’m sure that definitely fallowed the Federation’s Uniform Code of Starfleet Justice. Certainly never ended up biting Starfleet in the ass later on.

I don’t know about “dystopian” but the Federation certainly is a flawed society. Or at the very least, a very hierarchical one in perpetual battle. Clearly core planets like Earth, Vulcan, Andoria, Risa enjoy an unprecedented standard of living. More far-flung planets obviously do not enjoy the same wealth and often seem to serve as no more than colonial outposts or buffer states. And of course that standard of living comes at the cost of the Federation being in a perpetual state of conflict ranging from “cold war” and gunboat diplomacy to full-on interplanetary genocide with Klingons, Romulans, Cardassians, Dominion, Borg, Species 8472, and various other one-off species, terrorists, criminal enterprises, discarded doomsday weapons and other “monsters of the week”.

I don’t know if there is an economic model for the Federation. Certainly they can enjoy more centralized, socialized services given that they have the technology to convert energy to matter and vice versus. But mostly we see this technology on paramilitary/scientific Starfleet ships and installations. I don’t know that we see a lot of how day to day Starfleet citizens live on Earth or Vulcan. Like does every home have a transporter and a replicator or do people (human or otherwise) need to take a space bus to the space grocery store to pick up space groceries?

It seems the OP’s position is based entirely on Data’s experience. I’m not saying it’s wrong though. Wouldn’t it be weird on a larger to scale to live in the same galaxy or universe as Q? Like the guy is basically the living embodiment of GOD and he just fucks with you all the time. And yet the knowledge of his existence doesn’t seem to even freak anyone out.

I read an article once that argued that Star Trek and Blake’s 7 were set in the same universe. Star Trek was the government propaganda, Blake’s 7 was put out by the opposition.

Khan could have gone back as a prisoner and face trial. He was the one who chose a “habitable, although a bit savage, somewhat inhospitable” planet because, as Milton said, " Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven."

One thing that always bothered me about the federation is the prime directive and the omega directive.

A federation starship comes up on a planet riddled with disease and death. Rather than do the moral thing and transport some medical holograms and replicators to the surface so that the doctors can provide medical care and build up a long term medical infrastructure, instead the captain gives a sanctimonious speech about ‘letting them find their own way and evolving at their own pace without interference’.

Unless that culture has something the federation wants.

if they have omega molecules, all bets are off. The federation is free to blow their planet out of space if they want to.

Also if they have natural resources like the anti-aging compounds of the baku world, thats fine too. Just transport them to a giant holodeck.

Its like the worst examples of Imperialism come to life. It is like a modern British or American government coming across a tribe where people are riddles with malaria, nutritional deficiencies, infections, etc and they give a patronizing speech about ‘let them find their own way in life’, but if those same people live above a diamond mine, all bets are off.

Replicators seem to be a standard household appliance on Earth; Picard’s father refused to allow one in the house and that was implied to be the exception rather than the rule.