Saturday, December 26, 2009

Then too, he can act...

Titters of amusement are going around the blogosphere about Patrick Stewart (whose real name is Jean-Luc Picard) and his impending knighthood.
Palace sources say Patrick Stewart is about to be knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. It turns out he is an avid supporter of Britain’s Labour party; his support must be especially welcome in this, one of Labour’s darker hours. Coincidentally, I have over the past couple of months been watching DVDs of Star Trek: The Next Generation, a show I missed completely in its run of 1987 to 1994; and I confess myself amazed that so many conservatives are fond of it. Its messages are unabashedly liberal ones of the early post-Cold War era – peace, tolerance, due process, progress (as opposed to skepticism about human perfectibility). I asked an NR colleague about it, and he speculated that the show’s appeal for conservatives lay largely in the toughness of the main character: Jean-Luc Picard was a moral hardass where the Captain Kirk of the earlier show was more of an easygoing, cheerful swashbuckler. I think there’s something to that: Patrick Stewart did indeed create, in that character, a believable and compelling portrait of ethical uprightness. [Apologies for a 100% excerpt][Belated attempt at a save here]

Was STNG a bastion of conservative values?  I think so, but they were achieved and protected by progressive means. Conservatism has too often degenerated into entrenched self-interest in a framework of abstract justification. It also has a stultifying effect on "doing something".  One reason I have become less conservative is an increasing optimism about our ability to make things better for not just ourselves but others, in the face of belligerent doubters.

On the other hand, Stewart was a professional - a master at his craft. Consider this evidence.

Or even better:

That, my friend, is professional.  Let's see Shatner match that!

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