Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Government and Science Fiction

I got to wondering about this after watching Serenity. The movie was at least partly publicists through conservative websites. Why? Where is the conservative message? I can see it there a few different ways.

First, the biggest Republican stronghold these days is the south. Serenity should appeal there. The rebellion is the confederacy without the stain of slavery. We are told in the first two minutes that the outer worlds rebelled because of states' rights. They didn't want a strong central government telling them what to do.

Then there is the Libertarian ideal that the crew of the Serenity tries to live. They don't think of it that way but it is there.

We don't know much about the Federation. It has a Senate but no House is mentioned so we can assume that it is a single-house legislature. We have no idea if there is an administrative wing or if the Senate runs everything. We do know that they have a strong military.

This matches the Empire in Star Wars. There is a Senate and a military (and eventually an Emperor) which was originally inspired by Rome.

Then there is Star Trek and their Federation. In the original series the Federation seemed like a natural extension of the United States. The cold war between the Federation and the Klingons with the Romulans on the side matched the politics at the time with the USSR and China as our rivals. The relationship between the Federation and Star Fleet was never quite explained. Maybe it matches NATO with individual worlds contributing to a unified force. We do know that there was one star ship crewed by Vulcans.

By the Next Generation the Federation was closer to the European Union than the USA. Members got to keep their local customs and traditions but had to adapt laws and economic policy. Star Fleet was a generalized force with aliens freely mixing in the crews.

Why is Star Trek's Federation god and the others bad? I guess it is because of respect for individual rights but that is never made clear. Or, it could be that the Federation was good because our protagonists were part of the military while in Star Wars and Serenity they were opposed to the military.

I will examine Babylon 5's many governments later. It will take an entire post by itself.

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