One of the appealing ideas in Star Trek was that the world had long ago stopped their petty warring and everyone lived in peace, prosperity, and freedom. I am under no delusions that this is even possible, let alone in the next several hundred years. But I have to tell you that I’ve been glued to the television this afternoon watching the protestors in Tahrir Square as they listened to Mubarak‘s speech, and I am so impressed with their determination to refuse to submit to his dictatorship anymore. The Vice President, Suleiman, appealed to the crowd to “think rationally.” What he fails to grasp is that when a people decide they want to be free, the only rational thing to do is to stand firm and demand what is rightly theirs as human beings.
Another tenant of “The Federation” was that all civilizations on all the planets had to decide for themselves what kind of society they wanted to live in. Kirk and Picard and their crews were not allowed to intervene and hasten the process leading to self-determination. We are witnessing the right way to grow democracies: let the people in their own country decide when their situation is untenable, and then let them organize themselves and effect the change they want. We did more than two hundred years ago. The people of the Soviet Union did. Now here in Egypt they are. It never works when another country tries to impose democracy on another country. Until the populace itself wants it enough to sacrifice for it, democracy from without will not translate to democracy within. I hope we are listening. Meanwhile, my heart goes out to the Egyptian people.