What. The. Hell.
What did I just watch? "Social Darwinism: Star Trek Style"? You guys. I don't even know where to begin.
Okay. Here's what happens. So Enterprise meets a species called the Valakians, who are suffering from a deadly epidemic, and who also share their planet with another, less developed species called the Menk, who seem to be immune to the disease. Phlox eventually discovers that the disease is not caused by a virus or bacteria, but is actually genetic; in fact, he believes that the Valakians will become extinct within a couple centuries. He develops a cure, but decides to withhold it on the grounds that -- get this -- the Valakians are destined to die off, and the Menk must be allowed to take over as the dominant species on the planet. And Archer goes along with it.
Is there an emoticon for ripping one's own hair out?
How is this okay? Their basic reasoning is, "Your genes are inferior, so you don't deserve to live." Isn't that essentially the same reasoning that has been used throughout history to justify genocide? Holding back the cure would be like a doctor refusing to treat a patient with a hereditary disease, because if they really deserved to live, they wouldn't have been born with that predisposition in the first place.
Also, refusing to cure the Valakians because they're meant
to die off is not science. It's an assumption. And a pretty damned big one. Has Phlox seriously never heard of symbiosis? How does he know that two sentient species can't coexist on the same planet? And how does he know that the Menk would survive if the Valakians went extinct? Sure, they may have been developing quickly, but they still relied on the Valakians for food and shelter. If the Valakians did die off, there's a good chance that most of the Menk will, too. And who's to say that the Valakians need
to be gone in order for the Menk to thrive? Maybe they'll become the dominant species anyway. There's no way of knowing for certain. But based on an assumption
, Phlox and Archer were both okay with being complicit in the deaths of millions of people.
This wasn't a bad
episode -- I mean, it wasn't badly written or poorly acted. But the serious moral issues were treated as if they didn't even exist. And that's
how they introduced the idea of the Prime Directive.
I have to go take a shower now.