MAD MAX VS. STAR TREK
PUBLISHED 30 July 2017
One of the memes bouncing around before the 2016 USA Presidential Election featured a scene from Mad Max - Road Warrior with full on post-apocalyptic combat labelled "Libertarian Society" contrasted with a picture of the serenity of outer space & one of the Star Trek military space ships flying through the vacuum labelled "Socialist Society". As a fan of both series & a social libertarian the comparison fell flat.
In the latest issue of PORK magazine I wrote about the totalitarian tendencies of Progressivism & Futurist Projection. The idea is simple - when you portray the future as ONE THING - this is an intentional limiting of possibilities, a limiting of ideas & a narrowing of opportunity - this is totalitarian. It isn't the way the world works - ever - it is primarily a mentality which can lead to a methodology. It can be comforting or discomforting to paint the future with such a broad brush - depending on how you'd like to see things - but the world isn't defined by broad brush strokes or ideology - so these phenomena are primarily in our heads. In reality - Star Trek & Mad Max coexist - just as Seattle's glistening Amazon towers & bio spheres & Nigeria's rag-tag gangs of post-apocalyptic pirates coexist. The world is full of different ways of living & there is no reason to think that the future would be any different.
Star Trek is a TV show about a military exploration space ship & its crew - boldly going where no one has gone before. As they explore the Universe - they discover strange new worlds that embody philosophical allegories & the crew - who are also essentialized fragments of the psyche respond accordingly. The original series is a fantastic exploration of basic psychological & philosophical themes not unlike the Twilight Zone. What you must remember is that this ship & its crew are the space equivalent of the Spanish armada with Christopher Columbus - Captain Kirk at the fore - while the show doesn't mention anything about the material concerns backing this exploratory mission - it can't be cheap to send this ship & its crew across the galaxy just checking out the aliens - someone has to pay for it & it has to have some kind of material motive because that's how the world works. Meanwhile on Earth - we see that the United Federation of Planets have very nice, clean, utopian, futuristic city bases - not unlike San Francisco - but it wouldn't be hard to imagine that to the east - over the Sierra Nevadas is a wasteland occupied by those outside of the rule of law. Or down in Australia - something completely different might be going on. The old penal colony, fueled on AC/DC, muscle cars, Fosters lager & methamphetamine might be too wild for the Federation of Planets, too expensive to rehabilitate & too morally perilous to exterminate.
Just as today in Sunny Portland, Oregon from whence I write this - we live & operate in the cheap, run-down, crime-infested, needle ridden, run by Russians & VietNamese, East of 82nd region which is where we're comfortable & I have extreme culture shock every time I go to the Portlandia parts of Portland where THEY have taken over - playing bearded man-bun mandolin & banjo music to organic squash & terrariums while drinking transgender lavender lemonade & voting for Bernie Sanders while being thoroughly integrated into the military industrial intelligence complex supported tech industry. These are the extremes in the city I live in - I can set up endless examples of living contrasts for you, but just look out the window - pay attention to reality & it will tell you this story.
Socialist VS. Libertarian - like Conservative VS. Liberal only make sense in an authoritarian, totalitarian (deluded) mindset. As you come to see the world as it actually is - socialism & libertarianism are just tools or pressure valves for society. Freedom & Rules are both necessary for healthy human existence & they aren't values unto themself - in fact - a lot of their value comes in contrast to their inverse. Humanity is what it is - it is our job to maintain balance & order - not to establish totalitarian ideological structures that dehumanize & distort. So remember, next time you're watching Star Trek or Mad Max - in space - there are socialist military expeditions with clean uniforms & matter transmitters - but there are also filthy space pirates & on Earth - there are cities of glass & steel with universal health care & no disease - but there are also people living in their cars, eating years old dog food & worshiping their guns as the only thing between them & the grave, & that's OK.
- Sean Äaberg