Patrick Stewart, in an interview with BBC News, says humanity isn’t ready to move in to space because, in his opinion, the money and resources could be better spent elsewhere, that we should get this place ‘right’ first, and that our current civilization (civilisation for our British readers ;-)) is too flawed to put more of us on other planets.
Well, Stewart is a good actor, so, perhaps he ought to stick with that gig. I find it interesting that the role Stewart will be remember most for is a role whose view of space is diametrically opposed to Stewart’s. Of course, the Federation is a utopian ideal society with no poverty, etc. The only problem is that will never happen.
Let’s look at his main points a bit. His whole resource argument strikes me as a bit off. It seems to me that the technologies and techniques pioneered and used in manned spaceflight and habitation would be of great use to Earth-based societies. These technologies will be geared toward allowing people to live in a small, closed system. The aim will be to recycle as much as possible and to get the greatest yield out of food, water and air production. Sounds like those technologies would be of great use here too. But I guess using technology to actually solve problems here didn’t occur to Stewart. And lets not forget about the abundant resources out there. I bet those wouldn’t be useful to people on Earth.
Second, whose to say what the ‘right’ society is? Maybe Stewart forgot, but the Federation is a fictional society; a pipe-dream of Gene Rodenberry’s. Sorry Stew, (can I call you Stew?) but, because of human nature, there will never be a perfect society. And I’m not sure I want to know what his ‘right’ society is. Probably one where he never agreed to play Gurney Halleck.
Lastly, about or civilization being flawed. Yes, it has problems. As said earlier, we’ll always have problems. In fact most of what Stew has said could have been said about Columbus’ expedition, or any expedition to the New World. Just because we’re flawed, doesn’t mean we crawl into a hole and never come out.
Again, Patrick Stewart became well known playing in a science fiction show. SF is known for being optimistic about the future and the role of humanity and its place in the universe. I guess none of that rubbed off on Stew.