January 22, 2019


Harlan Ellison wrote Star Trek's greatest episode. He hated it.: The famously cantankerous science-fiction legend died this week. The story of "City on the Edge of Forever" represents his career in miniature. (Keith Phipps  Jun 29, 2018, Vox)

Here's the version of "The City on the Edge of Forever" that's been seen by countless viewers since 1967: After administering a small dose of a dangerous drug to Lt. Sulu (George Takei), Dr. McCoy (DeForest Kelley) accidentally administers a massive dose to his own abdomen after getting knocked about when the Enterprise hits some interference from a strange time distortion.

Driven temporarily mad, McCoy beams down to the nearest planet, home to the Guardian of Forever, a talking portal that allows visitors to travel through time and space. When McCoy uses it to travel back to Depression-era New York, the Enterprise's landing party learns their ship has disappeared. Whatever McCoy has done has distorted history in such a way that the universe as they know it has ceased to exist.

Captain Kirk (William Shatner) and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) give chase, in time learning that McCoy has changed time by saving the life of Edith Keeler (Joan Collins), the near-saintly proprietor of a soup kitchen. If allowed to live, her idealistic message of pacifism and tolerance will delay the United States' entry into World War II, allowing Hitler to develop the atomic bomb, win the war, and dominate the Earth -- shutting the door on the hopeful future imagined throughout the series.

And so, as Spock says twice in the episode -- first as a question then as a statement arrived at through cold, hard logic -- Edith Keeler must die. The only problem: Kirk has fallen in love with her and isn't sure he can bring himself to let her die. But, after reuniting with McCoy, he does just that, stopping the doctor from saving Edith from a truck that strikes her down in the street.

This is the dilemma that Ben Shapiro presented.  His position is either that he would let her live or that there is something so peculiar about babies that he would save her as a fetus but not as an adult, which is curious moral reasoning.

Posted by at January 22, 2019 12:02 AM