Science fiction often takes inspiration from real-world events and the sociopolitical environment, using futuristic worlds to explore and examine human society. One such example in the Star Trek universe is the Borg Collective, which shares striking similarities with fascism – a political ideology that has caused devastation throughout history. I wrote about the comparison between the Borg and fascism years ago and thought I’d revisit the subject given the current state of the world.
The Borg Collective: Assimilation and suppression of individuality
The Borg Collective, commonly known as the “Borg,” is a collection of different species forcibly assimilated into one collective consciousness. They invade other species’ territories, quickly absorb their technology and knowledge, and incorporate their members into the Collective by implanting cybernetic devices in them. This process, known as “assimilation,” results in a loss of individuality and free will for those who become part of the Collective.
Fascism, on the other hand, is a far-right authoritarian regime characterised by its dictatorial power, centralised control, and emphasis on nationalistic ideals. It thrives on submission to authority, conformity, and suppression of dissent to maintain its hold on power. The concept of unity under a single ruling entity echoes the idea of a singular collective consciousness found in the Borg.
A disturbingly familiar depiction
The Borg’s ultimate goal is to achieve perfection through assimilation, echoing some fascist regimes’ pursuit of their twisted ideal for their people. Within their sphere of control, both the Borg and fascism ruthlessly suppress individuality, creativity, and diversity in favour of uniformity and obedience.
This removal of personal identity bears an uncanny resemblance to how fascist states treat people as mere drones serving their purposes. In both cases, citizens or members are stripped of their unique identities and forced to submit to an all-controlling organisation. Each dehumanises people by valuing their collective purpose over personal freedom.
The contrast between resistance and submission
One key theme in Star Trek, especially when dealing with the Borg, is the resilience of the human spirit and the struggle to maintain individuality under oppressive regimes. While some Borg drones inevitably break free from their collective bondage, such as Seven of Nine, most remain trapped within the Collective’s mental and physical control.
Similarly, in fascistic societies, the resistance against authoritarian regimes arises as a counterbalance to oppression. History has shown that individuals are capable of fighting back and resisting submission to draconian rule.
The comparison between Star Trek’s Borg Collective and real-world fascism is difficult to dismiss. Both systems focus on the erosion of individuality and rely on conformity and submission to achieve their objectives. These parallels remind us that science fiction can serve as an important medium for examining complex sociopolitical issues and promoting awareness and dialogue about the dangers of such ideologies.