In between dealing with mundane matters like religious liberty and Planned Parenthood’s alleged organ trafficking, presidential candidate Ted Cruz bravely waded into one of the most divisive debates in America today: Captain Kirk or Captain Picard? Cruz, an avid Trekkie, threw his unequivocal support behind Captain James Tiberius Kirk:
“Kirk is working class; Picard is an aristocrat. Kirk is a passionate fighter for justice; Picard is a cerebral philosopher,” Cruz explained. “The original Star Trek pressed for racial equality, which was one of its best characteristics, but it did so without sermonizing.”
I’ve had my disagreements with Cruz, but I have to agree with the Senator on this one. Here are a few reasons James Kirk has the upper hand over his counterpart:
3. Kirk isn’t afraid to break the rules.
One thing no one can deny about Captain Kirk is that if he doesn’t like the way a scenario is working out for him, he’ll just change the rules. This was evident from the very start of his career, when he was faced with an “unwinnable” combat simulation known as the Kobayashi Maru. After failing three times, a frustrated Kirk reprogrammed the simulator to allow himself to pass, confirming later he doesn’t “believe” in unsolvable problems. Cruz has also shown a remarkable similarity to this behavior since being elected: Don’t like activist judges? Change the rules of the judiciary! Congress won’t vote to defund Planned Parenthood? Filibuster and hold up bills until they change their mind! It doesn’t always work, but it certainly demonstrates the “critical thinking” that got Kirk full marks at the Academy.
2. Kirk was proactive; Picard, not so much.
Of the two captains, Picard was definitely the more cerebral. He was a lot more likely to take a diplomatic course to any problem while Kirk was more inclined to go all in, dealing with problems when they came up. There’s something to be said for both approaches in military tactics, but ultimately, if we put the two in government, Picard’s approach reminds me a lot of President Obama, while Kirk might actually get something done, albeit with a lot of bumps along the way. Ultimately, I’m sympathetic to anyone who favors a Kirk approach to governing.
1. Kirk has blue collar appeal.
Cruz touched on this when he gave Kirk his endorsement, but I thought I’d expand on it a bit: Jean-Luc Picard was the son of vineyard owners in France, while James Kirk’s father was first officer on board a starship. Again, there are advantages for Picard, like a more stable home life and (presumably) an excellent education, but when you’re asking which of them has a background that appeals more to the working man, it’s going to be the Iowa boy from a military family, hands down.
Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.