The Return of the Archons

An excellent parable for our time. In this episode of Star Trek, an inhuman machine using machine logic forces a people into compliance with its picture of a conflict-free world – achieved Grand Inquisitor style by suppressing free will. All are incorporated or “absorbed” into “the Body.” “Are you with the Body?” asks Bones after he is absorbed. Spock objects that without creativity, our humanity is lost. He could have added that without free will, love and goodness are lost. At one point in the episode, the robot-like people grab implements or handy pieces of wood that happen to be lying about after a kind of frenzied Dionysian revelry the night before that seems to be designed as a kind of release valve, and begin to stalk the “Archons” – the Enterprise core members, in the manner of a sinister, zombie lynch mob.

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Our politically correct overlords banish freedom of speech and thus largely freedom of thought, especially among those with no alternative models to follow, and periodically generate lynch mobs against miscreants. Perhaps the loveless, hook up culture, is the release valve for the young.

Detracting from the picture is what appears to be a veiled negative reference to Catholicism/Christianity. “Are you with the Body?” is strongly reminiscent of a combination of “the body of Christ” and “the peace of God be always with you” said at Communion and the agents of the Overlord are dressed in monk’s robes. On the other hand, since Landru is thought to be a god and he is a false idol, perhaps the monklike nature of his henchmen can simply be taken as of a piece with his religious pretensions – and likewise, “Are you with the Body?” could be interpreted as the sort of mimetic gobbledygook of pseudo-religions, of the pagan type dreamed up after the French Revolution.

15 thoughts on “The Return of the Archons

  1. Pingback: The Return of the Archons | Aus-Alt-Right

  2. Reblogged this on Patriactionary and commented:
    I have long loved this episode of Star Trek, and for some time now have been thinking the exact same thing: that political correctness and progressive ideology have replicated this world in our own. They talk about ‘peace’ and ‘tranquility’, but their peace is violent against those outside of their mind-control cult, and likewise their tranquility is also only with regard to their fellow brainwashed.

    No doubt the zealous humanist Roddenberry intended to knock Christianity with the ‘body’ references and the priest/monk-like garments, but in spite of that, it’s still an unfortunately prophetic episode, highly prescient.

  3. Pingback: The Return of the Archons | Reaction Times

  4. I recall seeing that episide when I was a youngster. I’ll have to go back and watch it again in light of what you have written.

  5. There were several Classic Trek stories of this nature. In one, two warring planets have “resolved” their altercation by regularly running “simulated” attacks on one another, after which those in the “destroyed” areas of each world are summoned to the disintegration chambers to be “peacefully” vaporized. As I recall, the guardians of the disintegration chambers wore monkish garb — and Spock had to disguise himself as one of them.

    These Trek stories and many others in science fiction like them are variants of a reductio ad absurdum on Kant’s already absurd program for “Perpetual Peace.”

  6. Anti-Christian ideas have been floating around in our culture for nearly five-hundred years, and some have become popular stereotypes. The trope of the sinister monk goes back to the Reformation, and even the Renaissance, when the monasteries were used as symbols of everything that was wrong with the Catholic Church and the medieval world (it’s funny how humanists and reformers agreed on this). When they are not depicted humorously, as jolly fellows gloating over their beer, monks are depicted as narrow-minded, sexually-repressed, and up to their elbows in intrigue. When anti-Christian writers took the name “free-thinker” in the 18th century, they of course implied that the Christians were marked by “slavish adherence to dogma” and credulous submission before “priestcraft.”

    We shouldn’t deny that monasteries grew decadent (although we should not be taken in by the monastery-porn of the 18th and 19th centuries), or that Christian churches are subject to periods of “dryness” (although we should point out that having this term means that Christians are aware of this). But we should insist that these are human liabilities, and not specifically Christian.

    One doesn’t need to down a whole bottle of red pills to notice that the modern university is narrow minded, sexually repressed, and riven by intrigue. If you’re interested in “slavish adherence to dogma,” you need only peruse the works of the Holy Order of Journalists, or one of those earnest good-thinking essays by some aspiring junior member of the elite.

    Pushing these universal tendencies into the past, and associating them with organized religion, serves to hide the fact of their recurrence in the present.

    • That makes sense JMSmith. The “free-thinking” PC pod people projects their own qualities onto some other group and then immolates them. Problem solved!

    • The fact that these are human failings seems to mean that we don’t get to blame PC for them, though. If freedom of conscience is not possible and if people are going to become officious, censorious busybodies in service of whatever orthodoxy rules, then the right question is “what shall orthodoxy be?”

      To usher in the glorious reign of freedom, just what, exactly, are we going to do with middle school teachers? Send them to re-education camps? Genetically re-engineer them?

      • Re: DrBill – I don’t think the episode was about human failings. I think it was about a permanent but entirely avoidable human temptation – the utopian attempt to prevent conflict through intimidation and indoctrination generating an artificial consensus. The remedy would be to avoid the situation described here: http://www.mindingthecampus.org/2016/12/how-a-university-moved-from-diversity-to-indoctrination/. The education department policies described here means it is only possible to become a teacher if a student appears to embrace nonsense.

      • Dr.Bill: It seems to me that Christianity goes off the rails when it gives in to the puritan impulse. I’ve left that lower case to indicate that I’m not only talking about certain folks in the Reformed tradition. The title “puritan” was first used as a slur to indicate that these people resembled new Cathars with their talk of an “elect.” This wasn’t altogether fair, but traditional Christians were aware–at least in theory–that they themselves were capable of degenerating into “officious, censorious busybodies.” PC commissars do not have such awareness–even in theory. Good and evil are for them social categories, not potentialities inherent in every human heart

      • @JMSmith: I agree. The correct answer to the question “what shall orthodoxy be,” is clear enough.

        @Richard Cocks: I wasn’t really engaging with the original post. Return of the Archons is anti-Soviet propaganda and fine by me on that score.

  7. Considered as myth, the episode discloses the strange obsession “enlightened” peoples, and Americans in particular, have for destroying functional societies.

    Symptomatic line from towards the end of the episode:

    “Sociologist Lindstrom is remaining behind with a party of experts who will help restore the planet’s culture to a human form.”

    Uh-oh! There was no follow-up episode, but given how the American state prosecutes this sort of thing in real life it’s a safe bet that the party of expert sociologists bailed shortly after causing the erstwhile functional society to descend into a Hobbesian war of all against all.

    What is it about modern people and destroying society I wonder…

    • Have you by any chance read the new novel called The Missionaries,, by Owen Stanley. It is black comedy in the manner of Evelyn Waugh, and it recounts the descent into anarchy of a primitive society as it passes out of the hands of imperialists and into the hands of sociologists. Quite funny and–dare I say it–sociological in its penetration of the sociologic mind. The kindle version is a good deal.

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