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Opening Arguments

A gay old world

Millions of Trekkies out there are going to be bitterly disappointed to learn that the Prime Directive is no longer in effect:

Seeking to mobilize a global front against anti-gay violence and discrimination, Vice President Joe Biden declared Tuesday that protecting gay rights is a defining mark of a civilized nation and must trump national cultures and social traditions.

Biden told a gathering of U.S. and international gay rights advocates that President Barack Obama has directed that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender men and women around the world

"I don't care what your culture is," Biden told about 100 guests at the Naval Observatory's vice presidential mansion. "Inhumanity is inhumanity is inhumanity. Prejudice is prejudice is prejudice."

So, the United States does not have a coherent foreign policy when it comes to dealing with terrorism or keeping the world safe or any of that stuff, but we're going to actively promote sexual-identity tolerance? As Mr. Spock would say, "Fascinating!"

The Prime Directive, all you nerds know, is "the guiding principle of the United Federation of Planets," and it "prohibits Starfleet personnel from interfering with the internal development of alien civilizations. This conceptual law applies particularly to civilizations which are below a certain threshold of development, preventing starship crews from using their superior technology to impose their own values or ideals on them." The TV series, remember, originated in the Vietnam era when the U.S. was widely criticized in progressive circles for pushing a poor, defenseless Asian country around. And series creator Gene Rodenberry has said that the directive also has roots in the belief that Christian missionaries were interfering with other cultures.

So the whole thing is very lefty -- no culture is better than any other cultue, who are we to judge and blah, blah, blah. It's interesting that the whole tolerance thing gets tossed when there's a cherished liberal cause that isn't taking hold like the intelligentsia thinks it should. I would have thought this one-world crusade might have taken hold over some other issue, like, say, unequal treatment of women, or child labor, or slavery, or religiously inspired beheadings. But here were are. The  tolerance police have now spoken.

It's a fine line, isn't it, deciding when to leave another culture alone and when to call it to account for violating some obvious standard of human decency? Well, it should be a fine line anyway.