saving the world

I struggle with the do-gooders: the travelers to “third-world” countries who dig ditches by hand and plaster walls with purple hand prints representing Weber pride. The white saviors who bestow their blessings upon those in need. And this tragic story pulls together the threads of my struggle, puts words to the tendrils of fear I feel every time a group of do-gooders leaves Ogden to “make a difference” elsewhere. I looked for a definition of my attitude toward this kind of service, and I recognized that it coincides with the Prime Directive, Star Trek’s guiding principle:

The Prime Directive prohibits Starfleet personnel and spacecraft from interfering in the normal development of any society, and mandates that any Starfleet vessel or crew member is expendable to prevent violation of this rule.


As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the normal and healthy development of alien life and culture. Such interference includes introducing superior knowledge, strength, or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely. Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture. This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation.

If we are Starfleet–and many scholars have written about the parallels between the USA and Starfleet–then perhaps we should follow this directive?

About BJ

living the dream in northern Utah
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