Why Do Conservatives Like ‘Star Trek?’

Left-leaning space saga gets plenty of Republican love, confounding liberals

Every few months, a liberal on X asks the same question: “Why do conservatives like ‘Star Trek?’”

The popular television series—well known for being left-of-center and utopian—is admired by people on all sides of the political spectrum. Progressives often wonder what conservatives actually like about the show.

This question came up again after Paramount Plus posted an X video for “#TransgenderAwarenessWeek” promoting a transgender character in “Star Trek: Discovery.”


The video generated hundreds of comments. Many called the clip “cringe” and said “wokeness” had ruined recent “Star Trek” shows. Progressive “Star Trek” fans fired back, saying they don’t understand why conservatives even watch the show in the first place.

Just searching “Conservative Star Trek Fans” on Twitter draws thousands of comments by leftists mocking conservatives for “not getting” that the show doesn’t agree with them.

“Conservative Star Trek fans are just ridiculous,” says @CodySDax, who subsequently comments, “Sorry the conservatives are angry that I’m politicizing Star Trek…” before threatening to block commenters.

Progressive accounts called conservative Star Trek fans “hilariously sad” and “morons” who “paid no attention to Roddenberry’s world and philosophies therein.”

Others added these fans aren’t “smart enough to realize the source material is antithetical to everything they believe,” that conservatives shouldn’t like shows about utopian solutions and kindness, and that “they completely miss the point of the show.”

Many liberals are possessive enough of the show to claim, “You cannot be a conservative ‘Star Trek’ fan.”

Star Trek: The Libertarian Edition

The underlying question though is fascinating from a media-consumption and engagement standpoint.

“Star Trek”—in its 13 series (counting “Starfleet Academy”) and 13 films—does lean left and presents a highly idealized vision of the future. Money has been eliminated, enlightenment rationalism is the highest ideal, religion is generally absent, world peace has been achieved and a diverse crew of humans works together in harmony.

Recent shows have also embraced modern progressive ideals, from extensive LGBTQ+ depictions, criticizing the European Union for anti-refugee policies and depicting the Klingons as war-mongering nationalists.

And to be fair, many conservatives actually do dislike “Star Trek” for these thematic reasons.


There have been plenty of critiques of “Star Trek’s” premise, given that it presupposes problematic ideas about the perfectability of man, the possibility of utopianism and that religion and tradition hold humans back.

Classic episodes like “Who Watches The Watchers” and “Who Mourns for Adonais?” are highly critical of organized faith.

However, “Star Trek” remains one of the most beloved franchises of all time, and a significant portion of that fan base is either conservative, religious or both. What do conservatives see in this show that makes its unique viewpoint defensible or relatable to them?

We took this question directly to Hollywood In Toto readers on social media.

Hundreds replied, saying they loved the characters, the intelligent writing, the adventurous tone and its rooting in classical art and literature. They praised “Star Trek’s” depiction of “Men of action. Men of reason. Men of medicine. Heroism. Courage. Adventure. Chivalry. Quest for knowledge. Quest for beauty. Quest for wisdom. Exploring the unknown. Respect for the ways of other tribes. [And] high moral code.”

It is clear that many conservatives grew up with the show and have deep nostalgic ties to it. Conservative podcaster Kira Davis responded that she grew up on “Star Trek,” adding, “I always felt like I was on ‘the team’ when I watched the shows.”

Many even went as far as to defend the show as being nominally conservative. “The original Star Trek at its core was a western in space as some TV exec snidely told Roddenberry. But that was a strength. It was about heroics. Facing down an enemy,” says @JimRoseAF.

“There is some Conservatism in Star Trek. Star Fleet as an institution is driven by the Declarations’ natural rights. [Neither] Kirk nor Picard are determinists. Unlike teacher’s unions, they promote by merit, not seniority,” says @BelAves.


User @HoldTheWire1945 claims the show’s politics were never particularly heavy-handed to the point where it was unbearable to watch as someone who disagrees with it.

A handful of commenters spoke out against the show, calling conservative fans “masochists” and decrying its series creator’s “secular hedonism.” Most comments praised “Star Trek: The Original Series,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and a few even praised elements of recent shows.

While the older series certainly were generally liberal in their handling of Civil Rights and religion, they were rarely overtly hostile. The shows mostly depict a post-scarcity world that is highly in tune with classical liberal ideals of human dignity and natural rights.

They even go out of their way to criticize collectivism and communism as hostile and anti-human philosophies—ideas that conservatives are largely sympathetic to.

The exact politics of classic “Star Trek” don’t necessarily map cleanly onto partisan politics, but Claremont Review’s Timothy Sandefur argues that they align with the optimistic liberalism of John F. Kennedy. The leader’s hawkish anti-communism is widely regarded by modern Republicans, while also being fairly disinterested in 1960s counter-culture.

The show also states that Republican President Abraham Lincoln is Captain Kirk’s hero and depicts him as a similarly headstrong and moralistic leader. Maybe it’s not surprising that the show would become less appealing to conservatives the more it embraced moral relativism over time.

Conservative political commentator Bill Whittle, arguably the biggest “Star Trek” fan in the Republican Party, says the show is quintessentially pro-American.

Bill Whittle's The Dowd Conundrum

“The bridge of the USS Enterprise; this is America right here–multicultural, multi-racial, the product of a federation based upon individuality, freedom, and human dignity. And like Captain Hornblower, who represented Great Britain [in his popular and influential book series and that influenced Roddenberry], the man in the command chair was the federation. And that meant that Kirk was the idealized American—sure of himself and his civilization, intelligent and friendly, but with a spine of steel. A man that not only likes to win but lives to win; a whole man, unbroken, confident, and secure.”

It doesn’t take much to see why conservatives admire “Star Trek,” even if they don’t approve of everything it says. And yet, leftists are still left scratching their heads as to why.

They don’t understand conservative “Star Trek” fans because they don’t grasp conservatives as people.

Like Spock, let’s consult the science.

As social scientist Jonathan Haidt notes in his book. “The Righteous Mind,” there is a massive divide of mutual understanding between conservatives and progressives.

“In a study I did with Jesse Graham and Brian Nosek, we tested how well liberals and conservatives could understand each other,” says Haidt. “Who was best able to pretend to be the other? The results were clear and consistent. Moderates and conservatives were most accurate in their predictions, whether they were pretending to be liberals or conservatives. Liberals were the least accurate, especially those who described themselves as very liberal.”

Conservatives have lived in a progressive media landscape for more than 50 years. We watch leftist shows, listen to leftist music and read left-leaning news sources.

Our media consumption habits are broader than those on the Left, and we’ve grown used to engaging with liberal ideas and understanding the motivations and logic behind what progressives believe.

Is it any wonder progressives can’t understand how conservatives think when they’re used to their entertainment fully agreeing with them at all times? They want “Star Trek” to be transgressive to society’s values—conservative values—and they can’t see why we like it in spite of their best efforts.

Tyler Hummel is a Nashville-based freelance critic and journalist, a member of the Music City Film Critics Association and the 2021 College Fix Fellow at Main Street Nashville.


  1. I’m copying and pasting a comment from a forum because I just don’t have the strength to argue any more with these psychotics on the left… This sums it up very well..
    “Despite the fact that Gene Roddenberry was a humanist and wanted our culture to outgrow such outmoded (in his mind) concepts as religion and marriage, and wanted Star Trek to show that, his writers didn’t always agree with that. So in “Balance of Terror”, the episode opened with the crew gathering for a traditional wedding. In “Bread and Circuses”, we had Rome and Christ meeting again on a modern Earth-parallel planet. And in “Who Mourns for Adonais”, they meet the Greek god Apollo. And when he questions them about their apparent lack of need for their gods, Kirk responds: “We find the one quite sufficient.”

    The unsaved liberal mind will never understand that the IDIC, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, is embraced FAR more by the Conservative then it EVER will by the Liberal. I think you hit the nail when you said, the demoniacs on the left don’t actually see us as viable people. How sad. This is why NuTrek fails and is absolute garbage.

    1. This is the most breathtakingly stupid, cherry-picked nonsense description of Star Trek I’ve ever read. The entire show (and its derivatives) were about inclusivity for all, in all cultures, across time and space. That was the message.


      1. Is that a fact, Jeff? So the Gorn were included? The Romulans were not kept on their side of the Neutral Zone by threat of force? The creature from The Man Trap was embraced? The culture of the Fabrini, Landru, or Vaal were respected?

        The fact is, Jeff, that you’ve layered your own politics over what the stories actually were about. You’ve drunk the kool-aid.

    2. John, you very succinctly express the elements of Star Trek Conservatism nicely. Well done.

      Liberals fail to understand anything that does not fall in lock step with their ideology and often completely reject those elements, ignoring that they are there or re-defining them in their own ideology. The Original Star Trek was quintessentially American and as we all know and see, Liberals are totally anti-American. “The E Plebnista” of The Omega Glory idolizes the Declaration of Independence that the Liberals despise. In my experience, Libs hate the original series, DS9, and Voyager, but love Next Gen and the new shows because those series embrace liberalism and eschew the elements that made TOS great. As a final thought, notice that for Next Gen to make it on the Big Screen, Picard and crew have to become Kirk, setting aside their “thoughtful, nuanced points of view” and take strong stands and action.

  2. I liked watching men and women of different races and national origins working together toward the common goal of achieving a greater understanding of the world we live in. What’s not to like about that?

    1. Working together is the key. That’s why I say “Diversity is chaos, unity is strength”. Diversity is great as long as everyone is working together for a common goal. That’s why old Trek was based on military discipline. You could have anyone of any race, gender, religion, etc. But all had to follow the rules and chain of command of Starfleet. Merit was rewarded. No one got a participation award.

  3. Spock is logical Vulcan. He is not a modern liberal progressive all wrapped up in emotions. On the other hand, doctors like McCoy act on their emotions and sometimes proven wrong. Captain Kirk is the ultimate alpha male and often hated by today’s leftists.
    Star Trek did portray a matriarchal society and shown how ridiculous it is. The men dress in revealing open shirts and put on fragrances.

  4. It is the left that is insanely intolerant and incapable of “coexistance”. “This is our show, and if you’re not in the tank with us, you are not allowed to enjoy it.”

  5. The original Star Trek was an action adventure show in Space. The original show had 2 good villains: Klingons and Romulans. The characters on the show were not perfect, and knew it. They were good at their jobs, but had foibles and failures like the rest of us. The universe had rogues, idiots, well meaning fools, and people just trying to do their job. Plus a lot of unknowns.

    I did not care for the follow-on shows: Next Generation and Deep Space 9. They were either way too perfect (or used the holodeck for lazy writers) and they also gave up a great villain (Klingons) or a badly thought out one (Feringi) to a really boring machine one (Borg). We also added a layer of “advisors” in the chain of command that were dumb.

  6. “Many even went as far as to defend the show as being nominally conservative. “The original Star Trek at its core was a western in space as some TV exec snidely told Roddenberry. But that was a strength. It was about heroics. Facing down an enemy,” says @JimRoseAF.”

    Actually, Roddenberry literally pitched the show to TV executives as “Wagon Train to the Stars”.

  7. I think most conservatives are smart enough to realize that society will change and adapt as resources become cheap (or free) and no one is really poor anymore. With replicators, food and tools are available to everyone and the current need to ‘work’ for a paycheck to survive disappears. Where I think Trek fails is in ignoring the fact that, in the absence of need, there will be many lazy people that refuse to be productive or add to society. Trek ignores this completely and only focuses on the highly-driven Starfleet personnel, doctors, scientists, etc… It completely avoids some aspects, like Harry Kim living in San Francisco in a condo with a great view…something with limited availability, so how does he get it over someone else? Need a Starship? How do you ‘purchase’ one when they claim there is no money anymore? There will always be things with limited availability. How is it rationed out? Completely ignored in Trek.
    Conservatives are not against ‘utopia.’ We just understand that human nature will never allow it to happen. There will ALWAYS be individuals and groups that want power, hate others, and are beyond selfish. They did pop-up in Trek as bad guys but it was never addressed in terms of society or how they live or came to be. The part we did see, Starfleet, is very much Conservative, based on achievement, merit, and duty. Yes, people are people and fail the ideal from time to time. It doesn’t mean society cannot strive to achieve the Trek ideal. It doesn’t make it liberal or conservative. It makes it 400+ years in the future where circumstances, resources, and more we cannot fathom have shaped society beyond our current understanding.

    1. This has always bothered me. You look at DS9 with its more gritty world and they realized the need for money. Latinum was created just for this problem. The Federation might not have money but they need some way to trade with other civilizations. At some point there needs to be a unit of money that all space-faring cultures can use. Enter the Ferengi with something that can be used without tracking and not be replicated.

      Even though Star Trek likes to portray humans as evolved, we see they aren’t really much different than today’s humans. And there’s probably vast numbers of useless and lazy humans living on colonies being fed bugs and living in pods.

  8. To me, there was only ever one Star Trek, the original. I could never get into any of the others. I gave most of them a try but found that the more recently they were made, the worse the writing.

    That isn’t even about liberals vs conservatives. The old characters, Spock, Kirk, Dr. McCoy and the rest, were dynamic, compelling, believable people. The newer shows have no such skill in characterization or story-telling.

  9. I have liked ST:TOS and later ST:TNG throughout the decades, even though I was more socialist oriented in my youth and am much more Libertarian/Conservative now. I like humane characters, exploring new things, better understanding of existing structures, and keeping babies while pouring dirty bathwater into the Recycler.
    As others have noted, what we see in Star Trek are people who appear to be in their positions because of merit and job performance. There is no discussion of how they distribute goods that are necessarily in short supply, like condos with great views and extensive living space, or permits to climb Half Dome, or hours in the Alhambra in Grenada, etc.
    In the presumably Progressive world of Star Trek, is society dominated by the lazy and unproductive? If not, why not? New Soviet Man? Post-scarcity, can you have all the children you want? Is there Freedom of Speech? Of Religion? Who controls the contents of education?
    I’m not being argumentative. This kind of question must be addressed no matter what system you have.
    In the old Soviet Union, a visitor noticed that even in the “Classless Society”, the seats up front on AeroFlot were more spacious and comfortable, so he asked, “How do you get the nicer seats?” Answer: “You pay more.”
    You have abolished money. Who gets desirable scare things? Who decides? Who decides who decides?

  10. I’ve been watching from the beginning. However the latest one, Discovery I quit watching after one character wanted to be called by the correct pronouns.

  11. I always suspected, that on some barely habitable planet somewhere, was where the Federation put all the people that didn’t want to sit around and drink synthehol in snappy uniforms. With the destruction and rebuilding of the Enterprise in many episodes it seems the Federation has a massive military budget. As I get older Star Trek is looking more like a authoritarian system than a peaceful collection of planets. On the aforementioned planet is all the hippie protesters and jeans wearing rednecks growing their own weed and making their own liquor. Of course it’s penal planet and they can leave and infest the Federation with their non=conforming ideas.

  12. What appeals to conservatives about star trek, especially the original series and the next generation, is the dedication to fairness and justice. The shows were always about maximizing the individual and honoring his or her rights to self-governance above all else. Many conservatives are not religious, but many are. Among those who are, there’s an extreme distaste for organized religion. Organized religion and Faith are two very separate things. Star Trek was never about eliminating faith entirely, that was made clear in multiple episodes and in several of the movies. Star Trek talked about the dangers of organized religion, hierarchies, and so forth.

    The primary principles of the original shows were Justice for everybody, not pushing agendas but rather allowing individuals to choose their own course in life, and the accumulation of knowledge through exploration. Those principles apply to most human beings. Trying to divide those beliefs between conservatives and liberals is an idiotic false dichotomy. Most Americans have more in common with one another than they do with the politicians and media that claim to represent them. If we all stopped worrying about whether our Choice wins or not in any given debate and actually just talked to one another in a reasonable manner, we would be reminded that most of us want the same things, self-governance, peace, prosperity, and opportunity.

  13. Willing suspension of disbelief is neither a “Progressive,” or Conservative concept.

    Cognitive dissonance isn’t triggered by a contradiction between fiction and reality.

    Star Trek’s portrayal of a Utopian society is fiction, the butcher’s bill tallied by 20th-century derivatives of Utopian Socialism is historical reality.

    You can read and enjoy Tolkien’s trilogy without questioning your evidence-based recognition that neither Hobbits nor Orcs exist.

    A Conservative can view and enjoy Star Trek’s portrayal of a Utopian society, without questioning their understanding that the word “Utopia” literally means “nowhere.”

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