I remember watching Star Trek: The Next Generation as a child. My dad, my sister (who hated and still hates the show) and myself would sit on the couch and my dad would explain everything to me, since I was five and naturally didn't know what was going on other than an occasional white flash across the screen as the Enterprise went to warp (oddly enough, I knew what the word "warp" meant at age five, and I clearly remember wondering, "wait, what are they warping?").

Such fond memories rarely withstand maturation and the advent of reason, however; I still love The Next Generation – I have four seasons on DVD – and I still watch it every night at eight o'clock on SpikeTV, but occasionally an episode will come on that simply bothers me: a moralistic episode that reveals some serious flaws in the thinking of the Trek writers. Occasionally a great episode comes on with some serious moral implications – "Conundrum" and that other one (sorry!) come to mind. But what follows is a list of serious moral flaws that makes me weep for the Trek writers:

1. Global governments are superior to national ones.

Well yeah, national governments get themselves into wars and whatnot, and we just can't have that. But if cities and counties can exist under states (or provinces or whatever you call them in your country), and states can exist under the federal government, then I daresay that sub-planetary governments can exist under the Federation, and even get along with each other while they're at it. And suppose two intelligent species existed on one planet – what if one species wants to join the Federation and the other does not? Does the Federation require that the people be united, or the planet?

2. Religion is bad. Except for aliens.

Of course, we humans are too good for religion in the future. We've moved past such ignorant, blind, and simple-minded ideas (not my words, by the way). But it's okay for Klingons – not only can Klingons be guided by religion, but according to the Trek writers, they must. Never do we see a Klingon who expresses skepticism of StoVoKor; naturally every Klingon believes in honor and duty and glorious death. All of them. No exceptions. I'm sure you can see how ridiculous this is.

3. Belief is genetic. Except for humans.

This is actually a problem seen in a lot of science fiction and fantasy – two-dimensional aliens whose personalities and personal beliefs are defined not individually, but by their species as a whole. But it's so much more disappointing in Star Trek, which has always strived to present complex moral situations. In one episode, for example, Dr. Crusher wishes to save Worf's life after a fatal injury; but Picard knows that Worf, being a Klingon, would rather die, and that saving him would require a cultural leap that's just "too far, dammit, too far!" Apparently, all Klingons, even those raised by human parents, simply cannot fathom the possibility of being saved from a mortal wound. Huh?!

The writers often seemed to forget that Worf was raised by humans; they'd rather treat him like the resident Klingon. After the apparent death of Data in the episode "The Most Toys", Word takes his comrade's position at Ops; when asked how he feels about this, he says, "Promotion due to the death of a superior is common on Klingon ships." At such moments, I want to reach through the screen, grab him, and say, "You've never served on a Klingon ship, durnit!"

4. Race and occupation are practically the same thing. Except for humans.

In the episode "Filler", Dr. Crusher strikes up a friendship with a Ferengi scientist named Dr. Regga. The Ferengi, as any TNG fan knows, are a race of greedy squabbling businessmen whose sole desire is profit. All of them. No exception. Well, except Dr. Regga. In the episode, he tells Dr. Crusher, "I know the thought of a Ferengi scientist is a little strange." Wait a minute – if Ferengi scientists are so rare, how did they develop into a spacefaring culture in the first place? They make it clear throughout the series that all Ferengi are the aforementioned greedy and squabbling businessmen, even going so far as to develop a religion and moral code based around profit. And don't even make me get into Klingons. They're all warriors, after all.

The unavoidable fact is, you cannot have a culture like that; cultures require diversity of specialization. There are simply too many occupations that any society needs that are not based around profit, and are not honorable and resulting in glorious death. It doesn't work.

5. One language, one religion. Hey, it's all we really need!

All species have one language and one religion. Humans have no religion, of course, and can understand any language whatsoever. This is occasionally accounted for by universal translators, but sometimes (such as the Original Series episode "A Piece of the Action"), less advanced species who don't have such devices can read and understand English as well. Huh?!

I remain an ardent Trek fan, of course, because despite the fallacies mentioned above, many a Trek episode presents me with great stories and great moral conundrums. When Picard stands up for what's right, I want to cheer him on. Then again, when he expects Worf to act like your average Klingon, I want to slap him. But that's not his fault; it's the writer's fault, and that shall forever taint my enjoyment of the show.