Constitution Day: Star Trek Style!

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One of the “alternate Earth” episodes that became fairly common as the original Star Trek series proceeded, as explained by Hodgkin’s Law of Parallel Planetary Development, and by limited production budgets,  this episode featured an Earth where a cataclysmic war had driven the Americans, the Yangs, out of their cities and into primitive warbands.  Chinese Communists, the Kohms, settled in America.  Their technology was a few steps higher than the Yangs.  The Yangs had been waging a war for generations to drive the Kohms from their land, and the episode coincided with the Yangs taking the last of “the Kohm places”.

Over the generations, the Yangs had forgotten almost all of their history and what little knowledge remained was restricted to priests and chieftains.

“Cloud William: Freedom?

James T. Kirk: Spock.

Spock: Yes, I heard, Captain.

Cloud William: It is a worship word, Yang worship. You will not speak it.

James T. Kirk: Well, well, well. It is… our worship word, too.”

The Omega Glory episode illustrates that documents like the Constitution and Declaration retain their importance only when we understand both the words and the history behind the words.  That is why one of the best ways that Americans can celebrate Constitution Day is to read the Constitution, think about it and engage in debate about it.  The Constitution is not meant to be an object of cult worship, but rather is a classic expression of how many Americans through the centuries have viewed Man and the State, and the ideas it expresses are just as relevant, and dangerous, today in 2013 as they were in 1787.

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  1. Actually, I have always believed this episode to be a pretty straight copy of the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel “The Red Hawk”, the third book in the “Moon Maid” series. The novel involves the end of a several century war by the nomadic remnants of Americans fighting against invaders from the moon who have themselves declined to a more primitive civilization. The Americans eventually utterly destroy the invaders, under the banner of an flag reminiscent of Old Glory – a flag to which is ascribed magical powers. Apparently Burroughs originally wanted the novel to be about an invasion of the US by communists and the centuries long struggle to defeat them, but the publisher balked, so he wrote it as a sci-fi novel instead

  2. The Constitution for the United States of America is the Law of the Land because it is written for “We, the people,” “for ourselves and our posterity” and is inclusive of all. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia speaks of a Law of the Land that limits the artificial person of government to the duties and obligations inscribed in The Preamble. A Law of the Land that prevents government from using the constitution to inveigh against freedom, to impose tyranny, usurp the sovereign persons’ civil rights and subjugate its citizens as subjects, no longer free men. A Law of the Land that acknowledges man’s right to be free.
    Human existence is the criterion for the objective ordering of human rights. Human existence is man, body and soul, rational, immortal human soul, endowed with free will, sovereign personhood and intellect. Man comes into being when “their Creator” creates for him a soul at fertilization of the egg by the sperm. The first thing the newly conceived human being does is create the office of mother and father. Simultaneously, the newly begotten human being constitutes the state through his sovereign personhood and all this through his act of his free will, an act of a living human person.
    That Roe v. Wade gave custody of the existing human being to the individual who intended his destruction is a misinterpretation of “our posterity”. That the court gave custody of Terry Schiavo to the individual who intended her death is another miscarriage of Justice. Justice is predicated on intent. Intent to end human life is not inscribed in the Preamble because all men are created equal and there is no other human being with the authentic authority to end human life. Capital one punishment is enacted through the rejected power of attorney of the convicted murderer. The executioner represents the murderer. The unborn and Terry Schiavo became the wards of the Court. The Court refused to secure the blessings of Liberty for them.
    Taxes belong to the taxpayer even as taxes are administered by the administration. Taxes and war can only be declared by Congress, the will of the people. Cruel and unusual punishment is outlined in Obamacare through the IRS. The seizing of personal property without eminent domain and without equal compensation are unconstitutional. Congress has not enabled the IRS to access bank accounts to confiscate cruel and unusual penalties for Obamacare.
    The Constitution limits government in every aspect to being Just.

  3. Love the classic Star Trek reference. I remember it well! It was an odd series with a mixture of traditionalism and progressivism, though almost always watchable (aside from the boring birth control episode).

    Other good political messages can be found in the one on the Nazi planet, and “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” with Frank “Riddler” Gorsham. The black/white makeup comes across as a hamfisted race relations lecture, yet the actual dialogue is much more subtle since the guerrilla leader Lokai is clearly an unsympathetic loudmouth and it is the elitist Bele that Kirk tries to dialogue with. For those with a sense of nuance it shows that old liberal dichotomy of “revolutionary” vs. “fascist” is not so useful, and that the former can be just as implacable and hate-filled as the latter.

  4. Roddenberry was a fairly doctrinaire liberal, but he didn’t direct the show. Additionally some of the best scripts were not written by him. Many of the shows had a fair amount of complexity which I enjoy. Compared to contemporary television some of it reads like Shakespeare which is a sad commentary on the crumbling literacy of our day.

  5. @Donald – I don’t know if I’m misunderstanding you…are you saying that books today are less intelligent today then they were back in the 60’s/70’s or that kids today don’t read as many books?
    I might agree with you on the former but the latter is a misconception. Kids today read more than adults and seniors do according to Pew Research. This article summarizes the Pew document:
    The Pew info:

  6. I am saying that television, in general, is less literate than it was in the sixties and that literacy standards are less than they used to be. As for kids reading more, if one counts the time they are parked in front of a computer that may be true, although I doubt it. Considering how many kids these days tend to be couch potatoes, judging from the deserted parks in the summer, maybe they are reading slightly more, but I doubt if what they are reading is increasing their literacy, at least judging from the declining literacy of college graduates:

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