Ugh, I recoil at the idea that the USA, UFP or anyone need to go teach alien species of our ideals. Its not really the job of any of these organizations to do that, also presumptuous and highly distasteful. The Prime Directive, imperfectly shown on each Trek series and in some movies, is meant to keep us from heading in this dangerous direction, based on the benefit of learning from Earth history.
Two replies to that.
The first one is that I'm simply talking entertainment
value here. Every now and then, it can be fun to watch our heroes go into action mode without any secondary thoughts or self-doubt whatsoever. Doesn't mean that I think that would be desirable in reality. When I'm in the mood for it, I enjoy watching Rambo-style movies where the bad guys get the shit kicked out of them. Doesn't mean that I think this would be a good solution in real-life antagonistic situations. At other times, I like to see deliberation, a Picard carefully deliberating how the prime directive should be invoked in this or that situation. But after watching several episodes filled with that stuff, it's just refreshing to me to see Kirk march into the thick of it, without
being filled with doubt or being ashamed of carrying out his own ideals.
Which brings me to the second point. In some ways, Kirk feels more honest
than Picard does. Kirk is basically just a guy trying to bring his ideals into practice -- no hidden agenda as far as I can see. Picard however confesses that he believes that every individual/society (won't get into that debate here) has the right to determine his/its own worthy causes and ideals, and he also believes his morality to be superior for this reason
. In other words, Picard is a hypocrite. I'm not sure there is a logical resolution for this paradox, but I would be willing to settle for Picard freely admitting that he does have
a hypocritical attitude about this, and then move on keeping those same ideals, as he still believes that set of ideals to be the best, but in a more honest way this time. We never see this admission come from his lips, though. Which makes the TNG series kind of having an unpleasant inner tension for me that is never resolved, a tension that is not there in the original series.
If anything, TNG shows me how unevolved
humans still are in the 24th century. They have moved one step beyond the TOS century, yes, seeing for the first time that their way not necessarily is
the best way for alle species. However, it is still a rational belief only, as a man like Picard does not seem to be comfortable with it at an emotional level. And it will still take centuries for humankind to develop to a degree that they can really
incorporate that belief and accept other societies and species just for what they are.
At least, that's the feeling I often get when watching TNG