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Video of the Day: Is The Star Trek Universe Secretly Horrifying?

When you really think about it, what are the implications of the society envisioned in Star Trek’s future? Where is the motivation when you have replicators? Why do they always talk about the 20th century? Why are all the admirals jerks? These are some of the questions asked in a new skit video from Check it out below.


Video: Is the Star Trek Universe Secretly Horrifying?

A Trekkie defends Star Trek’s future society in the latest episode of “Cracked After Dark.”


By the way, Cracked doesn’t just over think Trek, watch "Why the Ending of ‘Star Wars’ is Secretly Kind of Dumb."


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After 46-years of Star Trek, I still don’t understand how economics works in that universe. They don’t have money, right? But, there are Federation credits…so, someone please ‘splain it to me… sunk costs are irrelevant. I still remember that from the economics class I took in college.

Commodore Mike of the Terran Empire

Lol. Almost as good as Bob Orci. Lol.

Is this another “American’s Only” thing, because the videos aren’t playing for me, either here or on Cracked…

#4 If…it’s….any….consol…ation … they … buffer … really … slow … here … in … the … states … over … scree … ming … band … widths … appar … ently … they … are … running … on …. ser … vers … in … some … ones … basement … with …. a … 9600 … baud … modem … and … net … zero … account.


Might just be your own player Sherlock;;
Sitting here in Japan and they play fine for me~
/andaha yeaaaah, I try not to think too hard about ST’s normal society there. Ill just believe it all works out somehow

These people are quite pointless.

The video clips not the people commenting in this forum. I thing you all make good points. There is no Khaaaan its about Archaeoligy.

2. Jeffrey S. Nelson – May 14, 2012

“After 46-years of Star Trek, I still don’t understand how economics works in that universe.”

Here’s the thing about the Star Trek universe; for all the 700-odd hours of filmed Trek that exists, they generally focus on fairly small corners of that world. Voyager does this even more so. We really don’t know a lot about life in the Federation; what we really learn about is life in Starfleet. That has been the primary picture of what life is like in the 23rd and 24th centuries. This is what has created the idea that Trek takes place in a quasi-democratic state that is dominated (if not outright controlled) by the military.

Oh so close, but if only they did a BIT more research! Numerous episodes have showed “modern” art, but the key to the future vision of Star Trek is that human beings no longer have to fight to survive because all of their “needs” are satisfied, but you can never satisfy their WANTS because those are continuously evolving. Picard sums it up perfectly in ST: FC

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century.

Lily Sloane: No money? You mean, you don’t get paid?

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: We work to better ourselves.

@9. Starfleet is certainly a main character in the show, but there are so many examples of life outside it’s walls, from Picard’s vineyard, to the older Jake Sisko (who writes = art), to the actual Federation’s democratic make-up in movies like ST VI: TUC

Even other Federation planets and their daily “lives” have been explored in countless episodes, some with rich depth and some just as fleeting visits. Risa, Dr. Crusher’s grandmother’s world, etc. etc. etc.

Uh well… I guess you could look at it, that way… but then it wouldn’t be Star Trek anymore, would it ;)

@2. It doesn’t, and it’s best not to think about such things.

11. Captain Curt

We do see a lot of civilian life in Star Trek, but it is dominated by what we see of military life. Like I said, Starfleet has been the primary picture of that world, but it’s certainly not a complete picture. I think what makes people uncomfortable about Star Trek life is the seemingly pervasive military presence of Starfleet (it is the most commonly depicted form of authority in Star Trek).

Well…I’d like those 8 minutes of my life back, please.

One could just as easily argue that devoting one’s free time to watching, discussing and even obsessing over other people playing sports in an endless cycle is cult-like. People do it because they enjoy it.

Same goes for Star Trek. We watch it because we enjoy it. I don’t need someone else telling me that I don’t. People who spend their own time feeling entitled enough to tell me what I should and should not like need to get a really hobby.

Yep, everyone joins Starfleet because no one has a job.

9. Thomas –

I always felt that Gene Roddenberry and writers never had an answer to explain how economics work in the future. So, they just dodged a bullet by ignoring it. I’m surprised that even in Trek fiction there’s not a lot of explanation as to what life in the Federation is like.

Why Crack’d is kind of dumb: It’s not America’s only humor site/mag. All claims to the contrary notwithstanding.


I read once that Roddenberry thought that, perhaps, life on Earth was still based on supply and demand, and the population itself was quite insular.

Just like in the “Bakula Crap” episodes where bigotry is clearly still an issue (in San Francisco, no less), the idea was that the Federation and its fleet were clearly separate from Earth’s own society and self-government, and recruited those who felt otherwise for its exploratory missions.

Can’t recall when or where I read it, because we need a good new “Making of Star Trek” to pull it all together, but I know I did, and it almost makes sense looking at how all Treks essentially had the Feds dealing with world governments/officials and not individual nation-states, and vice-versa. The military, on Earth in ‘Star Trek’ are more enlightened due to experience than the general population at large.

@ #4

Don’t worry the audio is out of sync and is painful to watch. It looks like an English dub of a Chinese movie.

Thanks peeps. :D

I think we have had this conversation before. Yeah, “working to better ourselves” sounds great, but I’m guessing that there are still plenty of dirty jobs that need to be done in the 23rd century. If you think about it if “working to better ourselves” was the singular goal, rank would be meaningless, as the guys cleaning the captain’s toilet would have just as much right to better himself as the captain.

There are references to currency throughout Trek. It’s time to bury the “no money” fantasy once and for all….

If memory serves, when Scotty gets out of the transporter loop in TNG, doesn’t he make a comment about back wages? Was he sorely dissappointed when he found out he wasn’t getting any?

There is a group that feels that in the upcoming years we as a human race could eliminate the need for money. That every person could have plenty to eat, have a roof over his/her head and healthcare. It is called the “Venus Project”. Google them sometime, it’s an interesting read, with an optimistic, utopian viewpoint.

From the website: “The term and meaning of a Resource Based Economy was originated by Jacque Fresco. It is a holisticsocio-economic system in which all goods and services are available without the use of money, credits, barter or any other system of debt or servitude. All resources become the common heritage of all of the inhabitants, not just a select few. The premise upon which this system is based is that the Earth is abundant with plentiful resource; our practice of rationing resources through monetary methods is irrelevant and counter productive to our survival.”

Of course there are many skeptics, including myself who believe that there aren’t enough resources currently to sustain the entire human population at this time. (I could be wrong though-who knows who has what really!) There are other reasons as well but won’t go into them now.

I don’t subscribe to the argument of the lack of resources solely, but feel that there will always be some people who feel the need to have more than others despite having everything necessary to survive comfortably. I think for that reason alone it wouldn’t work.

The major issue with any economic model is human nature. I could go into detail why this is so, but I think anyone needs to do is watch or read the news. For myself, I think it it logical to invest in social programs as part of a larger national security program. However, there are politicians in our country who are actively working to cut social programs, and these cuts will lead eventually to instability in our nation. This instability threatens our national security.

BS. Period

It’s weird. I like most of Cracked’s lists, but their videos….I haven’t liked one yet. Especially in this case where the supposed trekkie does a terrible job of defending Trek, and they conveniently (and explicitly) leave out DS9, VOY, and ENT – which address some of their questions…but then it wouldn’t be funny, would it? Because, like, trekkies are total nerds, right? And they’re totally not cool.


I remember a Brandon Braga interview where he was asked what exactly the point of life was in the 24th century — what does “we dedicate ourselves to self-improvement” actually mean — and he was like, I dunno, I guess everybody’s busy taking courses at the Learning Annex.

It sounds an awful lot like retirement.

Correction: the show is called “After Hours” not “After Dark”

It’s sad to see how Trekkies have changed. We used to be able to understand Roddenberry’s future just fine: Humans will reach a point where we are living for the betterment of self and society, not necessarily for material gains. We will get passed racism and sexism, and we’ll be BETTER HUMANS than we are now.

And then to see Ron Moore write, “…none of us could understand what that mean or how that society functioned. It all seemed very vague. None of the writers took it seriously. We all kind of laughed about it and joked about it.”

Maybe this is the problem: Too many people making Trek who aren’t hippies, don’t understand hippies, and even actually detest hippies. Sorry, folks, but much of Roddenberry’s view of the future–you know, this thing he called “Star Trek”–was built upon those hippie ideals.

If you can’t understand what “we work to better ourselves” means, then why the heck are you watching Star Trek?! It’s ALL ABOUT bettering ourselves and our world, rising to become a better form of human…

(sigh) What’s the point? Either you understand hoping for a future in which humans have grown beyond what we are now, or you don’t.

Go listen to “Aquarius” from the musical Hair: It has a better understanding of Roddenberry’s vision of the future than Ron Moore…or, apparently, most of you.

#31 should read “We will get past…” (Just trying to head off the grammar cops!)

Look — why is this utopianism such a weird concept? A society without money is possible if science and technology are so advanced that all needs — not just basic ones — are met at almost no cost. Correction: At essentially no cost. I think we’ve lost the utopian feeling because we’ve become caught up in the present. The future contains technological advances so amazing that electricity becomes too cheap to meter; replicators can make whatever it is that is required; maintenance machines maintain other machines; money is unnecessary and is replaced by a quota whose threshold is so high that it is essentially unlimited. Think of your phone’s data plan if you have “unlimited” data. True, it’s not really unlimited, but it is essentially unlimited, for various reasons. Most people don’t reach the data usage level where they throttle it back. If they do, the companies do throttle it back. Ten years ago, unlimited data for anything would have been unthinkable. Three hundred years from now, fusion and other forms of power provide the unlimited power needed to generate any and all goods — including luxury goods. In an ideal world, economics would reflect the great abundance of goods and services (with services mostly provided by robotics) by reducing all costs down to essentially zero. With the occasional exception for outliers, and for personally customized services such as creative endeavors, research, and development. I haven’t seen the Crack’d video, because I don’t have time to waste, but I’ve seen… Read more »

^^ The gift of the Magi being totally irrelevant, the correct word is “magic.” As corrected.

#33 — Well said, Hat Rick!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for mentioning that the 23rd Century might not be the Utopia that most fans think it is. On TOS, did you ever notice that the civilians are all TOTALLY unhappy? How many mining officials, diplomats and scientists have we met with pinched faces and pathetic lives? It seems that everyone on the Enterprise (with the exception of Nurse Chapel) is running AWAY from something when they enter the Academy, rather than face whatever life has to offer on the outside. Chapel, of course, is looking for her lost fiancee, Roger Corby, so she gives up a life as a scientist to enter nursing school, so that she can get into Starfleet. What? Starfleet, an occupation with a mortality rate of about 20%, is something people would want??? When the only place in society where people are reasonably happy is Starfleet, something is wrong. It seems that the only people we meet who ever laugh or have smiles on their faces are the criminals and con men. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of creativity or spontaneity. So many rules and regulations in life tend to hog-tie the populace. One longs for some kind of anarchist type to shake things up once in a while. Is Rigley’s Pleasure Planet the kind of fun most people would want? Money does still matter in the 23rd Century, and there is income inequality, as it is possible to become wealthy if you strike it rich… Read more »

#31 I totally agree.

#33 Well explained.

My idea is that credits only matter in dealings with other civs, like Ferengi. And not among Federation citizens. Even though I always wondered about what Sisko’s father got out of running that restaurant. Was he waiting on people just for fun?

#36 All good points, but I’d argue that it’s pretty hard to make a good story, with conflict and narrative and eventual resolution, if everyone’s happy as clams. The Enterprise runs into twisted, backstory-rich, fascinating people through The Power Of Plot, the same thing that determines the exact value of maximum warp.

Thanks, 35 and 37! :-)

@31= By the way,about the Aquarius song: We are now IN that Era,at least astrologically/astronomically speaking, anyway. On May 5, the astronomical alignment the song mentioned happened. Look it up.

#36, no offense, but your argument sounds much like something someone from the Terran Empire in the Mirror Universe might say.

first of all, i tuned out right after the supposed “trek fan” kept saying “teleporters” not tranporter

second of all, i agree with #15 CK, i wish i could have gotten those minutes of my life back.

oops *transpoter

oops again *transporter

For what it’s worth, I kind of take Rodenberry’s utopian outlook in the same way I take Spock’s having no emotions. We (the audience/fans/dreamers) know deep down it’s a crock. Spock’s veneer breaks many times, and so does the Federation’s. But, it’s the trying to improve that truly matters.
Heck, just getting a starship built (with credits or through corruption and bribery) is quite an accomplishment.
Human nature change for the better? Ask me in 250 years.

BTW – “North Korea? Apple Stores?” — Love it!

And then DS9 came along and destroyed the image of a perfect federation!

2. Jeffrey S. Nelson

In the first season of Star Trek, Kirk mentions Starfleet (either in City on the Edge of Forever or Errand of Mercy) has spent a lot of money on his and Spock’s training. The no money in the Federation nonsense stems from a joke in STIV:TVH and Roddenberry’s hippy-dippy Californian revisionism for ST:TNG. Frankly the Federation of TNG is damn sinister and corrupt, forcing its citizens to be state employees and refusing to pay them.

Trek’s future utopia is a wonderful fantasy.
But sadly, that’s all it is. A fantasy.

And let’s remember the word “utopia” comes from a Greek word that means “no place.” No wonder.

47: Exactly! I wonder why they never reference DS9 in the above video. Is that because DS9 made much more sense than TNG?

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