Broadcast 2596

The Space Foundation Conference

01 Dec 2015 Timothy Sandefur
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Guest: Timothy Sandefur; Topics: "The Politics of Star Trek," Kirk & Spock, science fiction, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica & more. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See For those listening to archives using and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience. We welcomed Timothy (Tim) Sandefur, principal attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation, to discuss his article at, "The Politics of Star Trek." You can download this article at During the first segment of our 81 minute program, Mr. Sandefur introduced us to the Star Trek universe, explained the focus of his article, his long standing interest in Star Trek, and why he wrote about this subject. He discussed Star Trek in the context of what was happening with liberalism in the country at the time as the New Left was just starting to develop. All the writers were liberal, the Vietnam war was a crucial turning point with liberalism as was the Chicago Democratic Convention with its riots. The New Left, which he described, was challenging the traditional left, a challenge that Star Trek picked up upon in the various series. Our guest was asked if political correctness was part of Star Trek since the original series which aired from 1966-69. As you will hear mentioned several times in our discussion, Star Trek aired during turbulent times in the country and political correctness was at its earliest stage of development. He cited some examples of how the writers were going off in this direction. In addition, he talked at length about the differences represented by Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock, again citing various episodes by name as examples of what he was describing. He backed up his description of tension between Spock and Kirk with episode facts. Later, I asked him if the basic Star Trek themes, especially for the original series, were also themes represented in literature as well as other movies such as The Matrix. Mr. Sandefur talked at length about the Matrix and said Kirk always chose reality no matter how harsh it would turn out to be. Kirk always chose the red pill. Mr. Sandefur talked about the background of Roddenberry and others coming out of WW2, NAZI hunting which was going on even as the show was being produced, all of which helped to solidify their view of humanity which they worked into Star Trek series. Again, our guest cited several episodes by name, describing why that particular show reference supported what Mr. Sandefur was describing. A listener asked him about the Klingons. Our guest explained how the Klingons were cast as unmitigated evil as Rodenberry and the writers equated them to the former Soviet Union in the Cold War. The Klingon discussion was most interesting. We talked about the development of Warf in the later series &the Klingon warrior culture obtaining almost celebrity status. Before the segment ended, the Romulans were quickly mentioned. Here, our guest said they were mainly about race but more was said about them in the second segment. In the second segment, we started with a call from John in Ft. Worth. John talked about the Romulans being an offshoot of the Vulcans, their perhaps being an example of the Chinese or the N. Koreans at the time. Our guest said that some of the battles with Romulan spacecraft were actually submarine warfare battles using spaceships instead of submarines. Listeners asked about the economics of the Star Trek society. Our guest had much to say about this, especially in light of the transporter which in theory would render useless an economic system, supply and demand, scarcity, money and more. We then talked about constraints imposed on the series by both the replicator and the transporter. The recent J.J. Abrams version of Star Trek was mentioned but our guest did not like what Abrams had done with the franchise. Next up, we talked about the Prime Directive which he said was designed to be broken. Kirk broke the Prime Directive all the time because he firmly believed the people had to be free. The Lincoln Douglas debates were referenced as were other examples of Kirk's views which contrasted with Spock who did not want to interfere in other societies, even when the people were enslaved. by a computer like Vol or by a brutal dictator. In Next Generation, Capt. Picard was the opposite of Kirk and followed the Prime Directive. In essence, Mr. Sandefur said the Prime Directive was created to be broken. Our guest received a question about NASA and space exploration, then we talked about Seven of Nine and the Borg. He said the Borg were extremely evil because the took away individualism which Kirk would have never allowed. Eventually, the Borg were destroyed by reprogramming the captured Borg Hugh to allow for individualism to be spread back into the collective computer much like a computer virus. Don't miss what Tim had to say about the Borg. Several times during the discussion, Tim referred to the Battlestar Galactica series in contrast to Star Trek. We also talked about Star Wars in contrast to Star Trek. Tim said the differences were stark because Star Trek did not do magic and Star Wars was based on magic. He pointed out parts of Star Wars which were very offensive, racial, and discriminating. Again, he cited examples in support of his comments. Near the end of the discussion after talking about the Borg, we talked about the character Q. Q was always putting humanity on trial and in fact in the final episode, humanity finally wins out. Saving humanity & individualism was an overriding theme of the Star Trek franchise. Our guest offered us a closing comment to hold close in that Roddenberry viewed humanity as a special gift needing constant nourishment. It reflected our courage to never let go of this perspective on humanity. Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog. You can reach Mr. Sandefur through me.



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