I’m watching through Star Trek Deep Space 9 with the family and I was shocked to see an episode, “Progress” where the Bajoran government an the Federation come in to try to steal a man’s farm for “the good of the people.”
The man refuses to read, and interestingly, throughout the epsiode, he’s portrayed as sane, correct, while the government was portrayed as overreaching. He even went and compared what Kira was doing to the oppressive Cardassians who occupied and raped their territory for years.
It was shocking to see Star Trek so bold about personal property rights — it’s my understanding this episode is also a reference to a film where this was done in a non-sci-fi setting– but it seems to go against Gene Roddenberry’s “imagine all the people” vision.
Of course, DS9 occurred after Gene died, so his vision wouldn’t be there anymore.
The episode culminates in a high use of force as Kira goes in and burns down the farmer’s house in order to try to get him to leave. It’s pretty chilling to watch the lengths the government will go to and the lack of respect they will have for you, me, or anyone else.
And these are still supposed to be our “heroes.”
It was a bizarre episode, and so early on in the first season, seeing the leads of DS9 portrayed so poorly was an odd thing, but at least there was some decent messaging in this show. If only they’d taken it a step further for the rest of the series.